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How God Found Me: A story of Hope, Redemption and Miracles

By Mariya Pypenko (Feit)
Translated and Written by Lisa Kravchuk

I was born into a family where my parents believed in God, but I did not serve Him and did not attend church. I was very involved at my school as a head-senior student, lead member of a Communist Youth organization and attended an atheist club where we stood against religions and superstition. But I never opposed my parents’ faith. When my parents read us the Bible, I didn’t understand or consider it.

My parents are Russian Germans and were banished to Siberia, Ural region, where I was born on in 1953, in the city of Kospach, Permskaya county. In 1956 our family moved to the city of Vorkuta where my maternal grandma lived. She was sent there due to religious and political reasons, because she was an Adventist believer and said a word in defense of America. Vorkuta was a place where Russians and Germans were sent for different political, religious or criminal reasons.

When I was 14 years old, I experienced the power of the name of Jesus even though I did not understand it. It happened when my brothers got into a fight and my older sister wanted to punish them. Our mom was gone, and my second oldest sister did not think punishment was appropriate; so the two began arguing.

I charged at them with tightly held fists saying, “Stop! Or I will kill you.” There was so much anger in me, they got scared, hid in a corner and began saying, “Satan, leave her, in the name of Jesus Christ.” That very moment, my anger went away. I was very startled by the change in me after these words.

God Found Me

Lightening landscape with text overlay of How God Found Me, a story of hope, redemption and miraclesI did not search for God; He found me! When I was 15 years old, my classmates decided to seek fortune-telling about their future and husbands the night before Christmas.

My father told me that it was forbidden to do that, so I said my first prayer before bedtime, “God, if You exist, then show me my future!” That night I had a dream where God revealed Himself to me and showed me that He is my future! I dreamed of a young man of average heights, dressed in brocade, silver suit (He did not show Himself in a dress, as I did not know how people were dressed in the days of Jesus and would have not understood).

His hair was wavy, the color of chestnut running to his shoulders. His eyes were visually vivid, bluish and full of love. I felt as though I was x-rayed in front of Him and He knows my past, present and the future. I had a knowledge that I would search for a man that resembles His image but would not find anyone like Him.

That morning we had a Christian friend visiting, who led my mother to believing and who was sent to Vorkuta for 25 years due to evangelizing. I told them my dream. Mother said, “It is Jesus Christ and He wants you to accept Him in your life,” but I continued to live as usual.

After God Found Me, I Lived My Life As Usual

It was exactly a year later when I had the same kind of dream the night of Christmas, but I continued to live my life. I finished school and enrolled in a Technology School to become a Certified Nurse. One night I had to stay late. When I was leaving campus, I noticed there were men walking, two from one side and one from another. There was no one else around.

They noticed me and turned my way. I understood they wanted to harm me and a thought went through me, “God if you exist, help me!” I was a fast runner, but this time I could not even move. I felt as though my feet were cast iron. The men continued walking my way and I heard them speak to each other, “Let’s not go her way. It’s a strong and tall guy by her, and he has a sword!”

I looked both ways but could not see anyone. I heard them repeat these words to themselves and they turned around. When they were a minimum of 10 meters from me, my feet suddenly became normal again and I took off so fast like never before.

At home, I told my mother about the experience and asked her who that “tall, strong and with a sword” could be, and she said it was an angel God sent to protect me because He thinks of me and because she was worried and prayed for me.

At that time, the church where my mother and two older sisters were attending was praying for the children of believing parents, that the Lord would deliver and baptize them. It was not legally allowed at that time, and there was no actual building to gather in as the prayer house was burned.

“God, if You exist, give me Your Holy Spirit or I will turn to the secular living.”

Because of government persecution, Christian gatherings were done at homes or apartments. It was a Sunday, a day of fasting. Suddenly I had a compelling desire to say, “God, if You exist, give me Your Holy Spirit or I will turn to the secular living,” for I was at the crossroad either faith in God or the world.

When I said these words, my mouth opened and I began talking and singing on clear angelic tongues. I felt as though God lifted me, along with my baby sister, unto the clouds. I was experiencing Divine Presence.

My brother Peter, who was in the same room, had a vision at the same time. He saw a black bird take off from my head to meet a dove coming from heaven. There was a fight in midair and feathers flying around; then, the dove increased in size and swallowed the black bird. When the dove landed on my head, I began singing and talking in heavenly languages.

It’s not people who seek God, but God seeks people! He knows our hearts. Don’t get despaired or discouraged. He hears the prayers of mothers and fathers. Click to Tweet

My mom was excited and took me to church that day. It was my first time stepping into the place of prayer. When those present found out that God answered their prayers, they could not pray in their own language. Everyone prayed and sang in holy languages. It was a huge glory to God!!

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It’s not people who seek God, but God seeks people! He knows our hearts. Don’t get despaired or discouraged. He hears the prayers of mothers and fathers.

Often people seek the gifts and blessings of God, but God gives as He desires and sees fit. It is important to desire and love the Spirit of God Himself, and the rest God will provide.

God is worthy of people’s love. He is grand! He chooses people from variety of families, nationalities, and denominations; for He knows the past, the present and the future.

He hears prayers and continues His works of saving souls. I am very grateful God found me, and to this day, He is my greatest Friend and Husband according to my heart. I give Him all praise! He found me on time, for He is a God of a Right time!

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Lisa Pypenko Kravchuk is  the young mother who translated God Who Are You? AND Who Am ? into Russian. Her mother is Mariya, who wrote this article and edited the book. You can see the book at the button below–along with an update on her story:




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How God Found Me by Mariya Pypenko

M1B El Roi God Who Sees Me

7. God El Roi Who Sees Seeks and Finds

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Seeks and Finds Me in the Desert

Who was this angel of the Lord, or God as El Roi who sees, in Verse Seven, who found Hagar? Most Bible scholars agree that the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament represents Jesus Christ before he is born of the Virgin Mary because of “his promising to perform what God alone could do and foretelling what God alone could know.”1

The angel of the Lord found Hagar, meaning He was searching for her. Jesus himself tells us He came to seek and to find those who are lost. After He met Zacchaeus in a tree on the road to Jericho, Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:9). God’s unseen Spirit is constantly seeking, constantly finding, constantly saving, and continually initiating a relationship with us until we make the right choice to follow Him.

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God, the Son–Jesus–found Denise in the bookstore. She made the right choice in answering yes to the question the lady put to her, “Do you want to be saved?” As time went on, she knew what that meant, because the Lord’s presence was with her.

Some years later a friend gave her a book, Angels on Assignment, by Charles and Frances Hunter as told to Roland Buck. It emphasizes our Heavenly Father’s passion for His family and the searching He does for His children, creating choices for them, over and over, until they make the right decision.

Denise realized how important it was to share her testimony, so she wrote it down. She then emptied her savings account, bought thirty books, and mailed them to her friends across the United States. She does not know if the lady in the bookstore was an angel or not. The lady said she had been to a revival at her church, held a tract from which they prayed, but never followed up with the girls, which always bothered them. Whatever the truth is, Denise became an angel on assignment to her friends as God’s messenger had so boldly shared with her.

8. God El Roi  Who Sees Calls Us By Our Name

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Calls Me by My Name

In the Eighth Verse, the Angel of the Lord said, “Hagar, servant of Sarah.” He knew who she was and called her by her name, and then He proceeded to remind her who she was, “servant of Sarah.” He was saying to her, “Hagar, I know you, I created you. But, the question is, “do you know who you are?”

The Lord was saying to her, “I have called you by your name. I have surnamed you though you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides Me. I will gird you and arm you though you have not known Me” (Isa.45:4-5 Amplified).

Notice the angel of the Lord did not ask her who she was. He knew He was the only one who could reveal that to her. He is the only one who can tell us who we are. He was telling her, “Hagar, you are my child; furthermore, I have even tattooed your name upon my palm” (see Isa. 49:16).

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After meeting Jesus in the bookstore, Denise told Marie, “I began to face the reality in my life–that it was based on lies. I was filled with emotions I didn’t know how to deal with, and a realization that I didn’t even know who I was or why I felt the way I did. I had to ask myself what else in my life I was not facing.”

8. God El Roi  Who Sees Asks Us Two Questions That Enable Us To Look At Who We Are

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Asks Me Two Questions that Enable Me to Look at Who I am

In Verse Eight, the Lord asked, “Where have you come from, and where are you going?” Hagar is truthful because the Angel of the Lord knew everything anyway, “A man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths” (Prov. 5:21).

Hagar honestly answered, “I am running away.” But, she gave no answer for where she was going. She had not even considered her destination. All she knew was that she was running away. The reality of the situation was this: she was alone in the middle of the desert, on a road leading to death. If the Lord had not intervened, called her by her name to cause her to consider these two questions, she would have died.

The reality of blind decisions is death-the termination of life, whether mentally, physically, or spiritually. Honestly facing the Truth is the first step to life, whether it is eternal life or living one of vitality here on earth.

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When Denise began to face her life in honesty, she was able to see the physical answer to the question, “Where are you going?” Her husband tried to persuade her to go to her dad’s house (to get her to leave). When the Lord revealed to her that she should, she left and took her younger brother with her. Amazingly, Denise’s husband, who was out of the Marines and unable to hold a job, tagged along. Eventually though, he chose to leave permanently.

Will Denise’s eyes be opened to be able to face her past and the question, where have you come from? Will she experience other aspects of God’s nature to find the emotional and physical health she so desires? We will follow Denise’s story in following chapters as she experiences God by His Hebrew names.

What is our response to these two questions?

Hagar eventually found where she was going by facing the fact she was running, “I’m running from my mistress, Sarah.” It is no different with us. This is a hard question, for our situation may not be so obvious. Although happiness is a surface and fleeting goal, if we ask ourselves what we think will make us happy, we can usually find something we are not facing.

Hagar could have said, “I’d be happy if Sarah treated me well.” The reality was, she was not treating Sarah well, and that is why she was in such a hot spot. Many of us can say we would be happy to be out of debt, but are we facing the discipline to make it happen? We would be happy to be thin, but is the truth that we aren’t taking care of our bodies–we are running from eating correctly and exercising regularly?

At any given time, no matter where our relationship is with the Lord, we can go no further with Him until we have asked ourselves this pressing question: Am I running from something I need to be facing? Maybe we don’t have trouble like Hagar did with her employers; but, are we rebelling against the holy ways of God, not loving our husbands or wives as unto the Lord, or not taking responsibility for our own words and behavior?

Many times we can only find where we are going by facing the fact that we are running, out of fear, from the direction we should be heading. Are we resisting change-leaving our comfort zone to launch out into a new career path, ministry, or leadership position? This book will not provide answers to all your problems, but it will point you to the One who sees all,knows all, and does all things well. It will help you find who you are, where you have come from, and where you are going.

9. God El Roi Who Sees Requires Accountability for Our Choices

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Requires Accountability for My Choices

The angel of the Lord told Hagar in Verse Nine, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” God was requiring Hagar to be accountable for her actions. Who was she? She was Sarah’s maid. In essence, the Lord, by appearing to her, was saying, “You are my child first, Sarah’s maid second. Know that and be that. Face that fact and go home and trust Me to take care of you and to make good come from your life situation.”

Hagar then had a choice to make. She was faced with a life and death decision. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” God laid out for her, in a personal way, His words of life for her right here, “Go back; submit; grow up.” Being accountable for our behavior always brings with it-a choice. That choice may not seem like a happy one, and rarely is, but when it is based on the words of the One who created us, a deep satisfaction and joy grows through being obedient.

It must not have been easy for Hagar to face the fact she must be obedient ultimately to God and go back to Sarah, to humble herself before her “boss,” her “supervisor,” and the father of her child who was not her husband. If going back would cause physical harm to her, God would not have asked her to return. Everything He asks us to do eventually pushes us to grow from a child to an adult, mentally and spiritually. Colossians 3:22-24 says:

Slaves obey your earthly masters in everything, and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

God’s desire for Hagar was a change in attitude-which is what the Bible is, an attitude book. Being accountable to God first brings purpose in the drudgery of day-to-day existence. It is choosing life.

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Denise was no different than Hagar. She was faced with a life and death situation. She had fought hard for her marriage even though her husband gambled away the savings she had before they married. Many nights he left her waiting alone in the parking lot where she worked until 2:00 a.m. She had constant stomach problems during this period: worked one week, off two weeks, and never weighed more than ninety pounds. She knew that for her own life’s sake, she had to let him go; when she did, a whole new life awaited her.

Denise summarizes her feelings, “When I was told the truth of why my husband married me, I began to remove my rose-colored glasses. My whole life, I denied all the hurt and negativity I lived with day-to-day, pretending in my heart I was happy when I was miserable and depressed; I buried my true feelings.”

Denise’s choice in being accountable to choose life meant returning to her father’s house, and God took care of the rest.

10. God El Roi  Who Sees Blesses Obedience

El Roi God Who Sees Me
God Blesses Obedience

The Angel of the Lord added in Verse Ten, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” God is saying to Hagar, if she will repent, change her mind and attitude, turn around and go back home, she will find life and become the mother of many. But we find later, she was only partially obedient. She went back physically, but did her attitude change?

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Some time after choosing to return to where her father lived, Denise met a man who loved and appreciated her. After moving in with him, she began to listen to Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program. It convicted her of how she was living. In obedience to God, she and her fiancé moved into separate bedrooms. Her fiancé asked a friend of his, who was the pastor of a small church in town, to marry them. Finally, Denise found a church through the man God brought into her life. They committed to this small group of believers who became their accountability support group.

God began to urge Denise to be baptized, so she asked God to convict her husband also. One Sunday morning when leaving church, she asked the pastor, “What do I need to do to be baptized?”

Her husband, who accepted the Lord through Denise’s witness, responded, “I was going to ask the same question.” (The sermon had not been on baptism.) They were both baptized on Easter Sunday, thus, beginning their spiritual relationship with God together.