From Empty to Fulfilled

When Ivan was 20, he moved from Lima, Peru to Jacksonville, Florida chasing the American dream and looking for opportunities. Through his hard work, Ivan went to college and started his own company. It seemed as though Ivan’s dream had been fulfilled. On the outside, everything seemed perfect.

But Ivan felt completely empty.

“I tried to fill myself with more and more, but I couldn’t find the answer.”– Ivan

After 5 years, around the time of the recession, his company was taken over by a larger company. Ivan moved to Bangor, Maine to start over and rebuild what he had lost. Things started to get better, but once again, a larger company planned to take over his business. “I went into deep depression and became disillusioned about everything around me. I decided to leave everything and go back to Peru,” Ivan said.


Ivan turned to drinking and using drugs. He was barely holding on and waiting for his ticket back to Peru when he received surprising news. The bigger company was no longer coming and he could continue to operate his business. “I decided to give it a chance again and try for one more year. I was just going day by day,” Ivan said.

One day, Ivan had a conversation with someone at the mall where his business was located. They talked about God and the woman mentioned a pastor at her church who is from Peru, just like Ivan. Ivan had heard of this pastor before and, intrigued, visited the church. “I realized that I was finally home. Listening to the pastor preaching, I felt like he was talking to me,” Ivan said. That day, Ivan received Christ into his life.

Ivan got involved in the church right away and went on a mission trip that year to New York City. The group served in a homeless shelter and Ivan watched as people who had once been homeless were finding new life.


“At that moment, my life started changing radically. Seeing the transformation in people gave me hope that real change can happen to anyone, no matter their circumstances.”– Ivan

Ivan was deeply impacted by his trip to the shelter and began searching for opportunities to serve the homeless in his own community in Bangor. He began selling Christian t-shirts out of his business and used the proceeds to fund a monthly breakfast. Through this breakfast, Ivan wanted to share love and the hope of Christ with people experiencing homelessness and hard times. After a few months, he found CityReach Bangor and joined their vision of reaching the lost.

Ivan was involved with CityReach Bangor from when the church planted and even helped get the men’s Hope Home up and running. For a time, Ivan stepped into the role of Home Director, pouring into the lives of hurting, broken men on a day to day basis.

“I knew this was God’s plan for my life in this season. It was probably the most challenging and most rewarding time of my life. I got to meet many people from different walks of life and help them find God.”– Ivan

Ivan transitioned into a new role helping graduates of the men’s home and handling the finances of the church. “I made the decision to fully move into CityReach’s ministry, since everything I was doing in ministry already involved CityReach! It just made sense,” Ivan said.


Shortly thereafter, Ivan met a very special person at CityReach Bangor, who also happened to be the women’s Hope Home director. Their friendship, centered around their passion to help the lost and hurting, quickly grew. Today they are married and expecting their first child. Ivan is currently taking classes to become a licensed minister and continues to be instrumental in many outreaches of CityReach Bangor, including the breakfast for the homeless, Bible studies, and a discipleship group for Spanish-speaking people in the community.

Through serving at CityReach Bangor, Ivan has been able to use the challenges he faced to impact others. God has fulfilled his dream!

“Never in my life have I been filled with so much joy knowing that I don’t have to be looking anymore. Letting God lead my path is the best decision I’ve ever made. God’s love is enough and with him on our side we can accomplish anything!”– Ivan

This story is part 2 of a 4 part volunteer spotlight series. Read Sarah’s story by CLICKING HERE. To get involved in a CityReach Church near you, check out our locations here:

Find a CityReach Church
2018-01-17T00:21:59+00:00 April 15th, 2016|Church Planting, Stories|