June 8, 2020
Thank you for joining us for another episode of the LifeSong ZOOM COVID-19 Monday Night Speaker Series here on ZOOM at LifeSong. This week our guest is Ion Cheptene. Ion is a personal friend of Pastor Harold Long, and they were members of First E-Free Evangelical Church in the early 2000s in St. Louis, MO. Ion has lived anIon amazing life, below is a brief bio for tonight’s special guest.
Testimony shortest (by Elena Brewer)
Ion Cheptene was born in 1965 to a poor family in Moldova. Growing up under communism in the Soviet Union, Ion’s only exposure to religion as a child was when his mother secretly took him to church for Easter and occasional celebrations.
He soon abandoned up all thought of religion and made it his singular goal to pursue fighting as a Black Belt Master. He was wildly successful in this feat, eventually winning some of the most prestigious martial arts competitions in the Soviet Union and gaining thousands of followers as leader of the Moldova Tae Kwon Do federation.
On the side, he also became the leader of a mafia group and pulled together a group of the best gangsters from his disciples. Hoping to gain even more power and followers, he began studying the Bible to learn about the psychology of Jesus and what made him so successful.
However, in 1991, God spoke to Ion through his studies and convicted him of the broken state of his heart. Though he at first struggled with the idea of allowing God to take control of his “fighter” lifestyle, God proved the stronger fighter and changed Ion’s heart. Ion returned home with the desire for his family and Tae Kwon Do followers to experience the same change. He soon made inductive Bible study a mandatory requirement for Tae Kwon Do training, and many teachers and students began to convert. The entire purpose of the Tae Kwon Do Federation in Moldova has been transformed by the saving work of Jesus Christ.
In 2005, Ion and his family escaped the communist regime in Moldova with the help of an American missionary couple.
For the last 20 years, Ion traveled with the Gospel to the most restricted countries in the world, like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and others. He now lives in California and serves as a Missions pastor and executive director of International Leadership Training while continuing to use Tae Kwon Do as a tool for sharing Christ.
Ion and wife Svetlana have been married for 27 years and have three amazing children – Vlad, Daniela, and Emmanuel.
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