I’d like to take this opportunity and share with you not only this picture, which my friend had just uploaded on Facebook, but also share in brief the story of one of the most amazing people I’ve come to know in the last 2 decades.
Meet Peter Peev, who is, amongst other things married to his wife Alisa and together with their five kids are one amazing family. You see, I came to know Peter and Alisa back in the year 1999-2000 when they were coming off many years of drug addiction in Sofia, Bulgaria. At that time I was pastoring the church known today as Breakthrough Christian Center.
A move of God was taking place in a community of some 12-15 of these drug addicts, when they started coming to the church I was pastoring at the time. They were kind of a wild group, going from church to church, some of them not quite sober yet and very controversial.
One prominent Bulgarian pastor called me on the phone to warn me that I now have responsibility to have these people clean their act together and complained that they were preaching some strange ideas and doctrines. My response was what I can only imagine Jesus would have told this very concerned with proper things pastor – take it easy, so long as they hold on to the Lord and are serious with Him, they’ll get it right, they just need some grace and love and patience. And most of them did get it right.
Peter and Alisa are one of those who got serious about not only quitting drugs but getting back into life and completely starting anew.
I had no idea Peter was one of the leaders others looked up to. But he was.
In addition to being a drug addict, Peter was a drug dealer himself. He came from a family of intelligent parents, his father being the nationally well-known and loved by many actor, Svetoslav Peev. Still, his son, as per his own admission and testimony, grew up on the streets of Sofia, partying with friends and taking part in theft and other small crime exploits already as a teenager. All this taking place in Communist Bulgaria in the 80s and throughout the post-communist 90s period.
Peter and Alisa with their kids.
Several years into his career as a heroin, weed, ecstasy pills and amphetamines dealer and an addict, Peter was trying to quit. Nothing seemed to work. He lost weight and was depressed all the time. He kept trying to quit for about five years. His parents began to spend all kinds of money on recovery treatments. In addition to drugs, he was also drinking.
“My psychological condition was worsening. I started to suffer from neurosis and didn’t want to leave home. My daily dose was pushing the limits. At night, I couldn’t even go to sleep without four heroin shots, smoking weed and taking some pills. I wouldn’t bathe for weeks in a row. Toward the end there I had no spot left on my arms where to give myself a shot. I started to look like a walking deadman”, says Peter.
One day two former drug addicts came to his home. He knew one of them. He looked very different. Peter hadn’t seen him in a while and was sure this guy had been dead from overdose for some time.
Instead, he was looking great, standing in front of him and talking to him about Jesus. Peter was blown away!
“For the first time in many years I wanted to live, I wanted to have the same power like him”, says Peter.
These former drug addicts told Peter they have been set free by Jesus Christ and that this was Peter’s only hope.
“I gave all my pain to Him. I’ll never forget this moment. I was crying profoundly while they were talking to me about the cross. I couldn’t even understand why! I could just see the cross and the body hanging on it and I was crying. It was washing me clean and I felt naked before Him. All my sins and mistakes were obvious to Him. But He wasn’t judging me. On the contrary, He loved me. Jesus gave me a second chance. I stopped doing drugs! I changed completely. I realized this is the life I’ve always had been dreaming about.”
After quitting drugs he became part of our church and later on married Alisa, who is also a former drug addict.
They became part of a church plant in the city of Pernik, Bulgaria. Peter worked hard for several years to establish the newly planted church in one of the toughest spiritual climates in Bulgaria.
Peter and Alisa have four beautiful children. Today they live in Varna, Bulgaria. Peter is developing a small business and in addition to that he and his wife are building relationships with people who don’t know the Lord. No one knows where all this will lead this family on fire for God.
They may form a new Christian community or they may continue to bring Christ to individuals and families as they continue to grow in Him and share their amazing testimony, which has been featured already on Bulgarian National television and major internet publications.
When Jesus transforms drug addicts, the result is nothing short of an amazing turn-around and a testimony for the generations!
Photography: Ivo Oreshkov https://facebook.com/ivo.oreshkov
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.