Photo - Kaka

Kaka

I need Jesus every day of my life. Jesus tells me in the Bible that without Him I cant do anything. I have the gift and capacity today to play soccer because God gave it to me.

Photo - Ivona Škvorcová

Ivona Škvorcová

I noticed a little lump on my neck and it changed my plans and my life. We will have to remove it, exclaimed my doctor. It is just a simple operation… I spent three days in the hospital and I waited three weeks for biopsy results. I wasn’t worried at all. I was a 22-year old university student, full of energy and vitality. I didn’t expect it could be something serious. On 22 February 2006 the doctor told me: “It is positive“. I didn’t even understand what it means. Everybody in my family was shocked – I had CANCER. I was confused. I had lots of questions and fears.

Photo - Augustín Ugróczy

Augustín Ugróczy

Hi everybody, whoever you are and wherever you are – YOU ARE DISCIPLES. That’s the way I call my boys and invite them at our regular PAJTA meetings.

Photo - James Manjackal

James Manjackal

He prayed: "Father in Heaven, send your Son Jesus now to this priest suffering from kidney T.B., kidney stones and infections and restore him complete health of body and soul". Then I thought in my mind that he might have seen the hospital chart where my sicknesses were reported!

Photo - Róbert Slamka

Róbert Slamka

I am 52 years old and I am a lawyer. I have a beautiful beloved wife, Helena, and 5 beautiful children, Róbert, Jakub, Andrej, Annamária-Rút, and Lukáš.

Photo - Mudr. Silvester Krčméry CSc.

Mudr. Silvester Krčméry CSc.

If I have to be punished for what I did – i.e. for the goodness, truth, and Christ – I wouldn’t choose the smallest punishment, but the most terrible one; I would be so happy if I could die for Christ, although I know that I am not worthy of such a great grace.

Photo - MUDr. Emília Vlčková

MUDr. Emília Vlčková

I healed my daughter who had bronchitis, after antibiotics showed no effect. I had a wart and it disappeared on the following day after I had used my homoeopathic drugs.

Photo - Vlado Žák

Vlado Žák

I knew about God, but I didn't know Him. I saw God only as a strict judge. One of the predominant feelings when I thought about God was a sort of fear. Today, I know I was completely wrong.

Photo - Dominik Dobrovodský

Dominik Dobrovodský

Yes, bones were my life issue. I was born with a fracture. Since then I had several fractures during all my childhood, every time I fell down. I spent a lot of time in hospitals. I suffered a lot. But I also saw other people suffering. It was for me great life experience, great learning experience. During this experience I understood that God is always with me and He never abandons me. This attitude of praise became (and it is continuously becoming) my expression of love towards God.

Photo - Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic

I am thankful to have been born 31 years ago with no arms and no legs. I won’t pretend my life is easy, but through the love of my parents, loved ones, and faith in God, I have overcome my adversity and my life is now filled with joy and purpose.

Photo - Jozef Demjan

Jozef Demjan

When I was a child I was sexually abused by an older boy. We lived in poverty. I experienced occult practices, depression, homosexuality, and suicide attempts. Only faith in Jesus Christ brought light to my life.

Photo - Marek Nikolov

Marek Nikolov

The aim of the “Jesus Heals” prayer gatherings is experiencing the fact that God is Love. He is Love that wants to give itself to other people. God wants to show us His mercy even through healing, signs, wonders, and miracles.

Photo - Rick Warren

Rick Warren

People ask me: What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

Photo - Renáta Ocilková

Renáta Ocilková

During chemotherapy I lost my menstrual cycle. After about half-a-year I asked my gynaecologist – oncologist about that. I was afraid I was going to badly react to his answer. He told me:
“It’s normal. Your menstrual cycles will never return.”

Photo - Anton Srholec

Anton Srholec

Faith and love for Jesus and for his cause filled all my heart and I was ready to offer my life for this.

Photo - Denis Blaho

Denis Blaho

I started to do fortune-telling and I said things that resulted to be truthful. I used to predict things that really happened in near future. Sometimes I read people’s thoughts. I disdained Christian religion. I had a bad opinion about believers and acquaintances who were not profound believers.

Photo - Bohuš Živčák

Bohuš Živčák

Despite persecution during the Communist era (or actually because of Communist persecution) my search of God became a continuous adventure. Pilgrimage and travelling rather than studying. When I studied at high school God came dramatically closer to me.

Photo - Veronika Barátová

Veronika Barátová

I always have wonderful memories of my return to God; still today they are pretty important. Everything happened during my university studies at times of normalizing Communism.

Photo - Oto Mádr

Oto Mádr

This epoch is not easy at all for Christians; but for big-format Christians it is a great and marvelous epoch. “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.“ In such glorious moments the Church sings to the Lord a heroic song of love and faithfulness. It is a privilege and a gift: to live just now, to love, and to fight.

Photo - Lucia Tužinská

Lucia Tužinská

My core problem was – how can I trust God again?! How can I understand Him? What has happened? What we believed in before suddenly became not valid. We needed to reevaluate our faith from the foundation.

Photo - Martin Hunčár

Martin Hunčár

My conversion does not fall under the category “extraordinary”. I know you would like to hear about the miraculous conversion of a former drug-addicted or alcohol-addicted. I was neither drug-addicted nor alcohol-addicted. Maybe this is the reason why my conversion was even more miraculous.

Photo - Dan Baumann

Dan Baumann

The beatings would start and they would be slapping in the face, hitting in the stomach, sometimes kicking. “I struggled with faith, ‘Was God with me? Did He love me? If God is good why would He allow me to go through this situation?

Photo - Dária Miezgová

Dária Miezgová

But I was also interested very much in the communist ideals as in something that surpassed the ordinary life. So I became a member of a communist party – because I was convinced and I wanted it. And in spite of the fact I went to church and believed in God. I did not feel it as a contradiction

Photo - Matúš Demko

Matúš Demko

Then I directly felt that God is a living being, close to us. Back then, God, our Lord, clearly and expressly intervened into my life. He completely changed it. I became another person.

Photo - Richard Vašečka

Richard Vašečka

My grandfather from my mother’s side had a great influence on my life. Besides that he loved me very much and spent much time with me, he became my ideal and inspiration in a faith, but also in a male character.

Photo - Branislav Škripek

Branislav Škripek

I was born and brought up as an atheist and I can confirm that I had never been told me anything about God during my first 20 years of life. It was something that was an unknown concept for me.

Photo - Sasa Patalakh

Sasa Patalakh

Drugs, sex, Ukrainian mafia, and prison…
“…the story of a young man from Ukraine freed by God…”

Photo - Ondrej Tarana OFM cap.

Ondrej Tarana OFM cap.

I was indeed horrified that I don’t know God and His Love although I was ministering in the church.

Photo - Dominic McDermott

Dominic McDermott

Hearing from God through dreams. Biblical basis, Why God would use dreams, The process ...

Photo - Štefan Esztergályos

Štefan Esztergályos

I got more and more entangled in different occult practices. I applied myself to astrology, healing (reiki) and I practiced martial arts. Instead of prayer I meditated in solitude, which pulled me many times away from the life’s reality.

Photo - Geoff and Gina Poulter

Geoff and Gina Poulter

We had decided with a great sadness that we had to go where we were being fed and leave the Catholic Church. Just as we were about to make this public statement Geoff had an open vision which simultaneously was confirmed to Gina through a word from the Lord.

Photo - P. Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmcap

P. Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmcap

Something of the kind must happen once in our lives for us to be true, convinced Christians, and overjoyed to be so.

Story - Goran Čurkovič

small_Goran Curkovic 2.jpg

As a former thug, drug addict and homeless man found joy and meaning in life.

My name is Goran Čurkovič, I was born in Split and today I am 47 years old. I was born in a Christian family but there was no real faith in our family. My father allways boasted he had never been a communist, but on the other hand he never went to church.

Since I was a child my mother and father had been repeating I should go to church and attend the religion classes, but I always used to follow the example of my parents and told them:

„When you do not go, why should I go?“

I have received all the sacraments, I have been baptized, I have received the first Holy Communion, confirmation, but all the time it was all just about materialism. I remember my first communion, when our friends and godparents came, but it was all just about the food and drinks. And actually it was all about gifts. That is why I was from a very young age tied to material things. I remember that when friends came to our house I always watched what they had in their hands. If they had some gifts for me, if they gave me money I jumped around them and embraced them, I liked them, but if they only came for a visit and gave me nothing I did not even look at them.

I was brought up by the television and the street. The reason for this were the tragedies which had occured in our family. My sister fell out of the window on the fifth floor and died and my brother got ill with meningitis when he was one year old and became deaf-mute. Because of these events my mother got depressions, she used to cry a lot and was very sad all the time and after some time she began to drink alcohol. My father was a sailor and was constantly on the ship which I really welcomed because there was no one who could keep me on a short leash. I refused to stay at home and see my mother the way she was. I used any opportunity to leave our home. Since I was a child I had always been looking for freedom and had thought that freedom meant being able to go anywhere I wanted and do what I wanted. And so, trying to find my freedom, I became a slave step by step, a slave of the worst things that exist. I always tried to have older friends, but my problem was that I always tried to become friends with the problematic ones. Because they were problematic, I thought they were men. The television influenced me a lot and my personal hero was Robert De Niro, who was always fighting, had tattoos, got arrested and stayed in prison and I thought that a man should be like this. But I had a problem, because deep inside my soul I knew that I was not like that.

When I was eleven, I started to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol - not because I liked it, but because I became a man. When I drank I could do such things, such foolish things I would never do normally. So, searching for freedom, I ran away from home in another city where I robbed a newsstand. I was caught by the police and arrested. My father thought he would teach me a lesson if he refused to pick me up so he left me there for two days. But this lesson did not teach me anything. Later, when I was thirteen, my mother died. Reading my story you can think that I did not like my family. But in reality I had a big problem. Deep inside I was very withdrawn and had never shown my real feelings. It was due to how I perceived men - I could not show that I was nice, because that would be a disaster. The death of my mother was a great shock for me. I thought that this could only happen to someone else, that my mother could not die and would live forever. At that time I decided to commit suicide, but nobody took me seriously.

Eight months after my mother´s death my father married again and since that day the hatred had started growing inside of me. Hatred against my father, against the woman who became his wife, because she came to play my mother and hatred against my brother who was deaf-mute and was living in his own world. I never had a relationship with my father. He was a good man and respected, but he had had a hard childhood and so I could never talk to him as a son to a father. I remember when I came from school and had a problem to solve I tried to talk to my father. But he always said:

„Leave me alone, what kind of problems can you have? Just keep going to school and keep learning, what other problems can you have? You will see when you grow up, get married and will have your own children, then you will have real problems, now you have no problems.“

So I was searching for help on the street.

By that time I had become very problematic, I drank and took some kind of pills and I was very bad at school. At the day of my mom´s death anniversary I came home with a gun, which I had borrowed two days before from a friend, and wanted to talk to my father. But he only turned around, slapped me in the face and said:

„You little shit, go in your room! What do you want to talk about, just start learning!“

So I went to my room, took out the gun, pointed it at my head and shot. I fell on the ground. Suddenly the door opened and all our neighbors came. I do not remember how much time had passed before they took me to the hospital. I had a surgery and the next day when I woke up my step-mother was by me and told me that everything was allright and there would be no problem. After some ten days I left the hospital, but I was full of anger, because I had not managed to kill myself. My father told me that the bullet had been taken out, but after few months, I was hit in the head by a bottle in a bar fight. They took me to hospital and after the screening I learned that the bullet was still there. And that was another reason to hate my family.

So my life went on with alcohol and pills. I took the pills every day, more and more until one day I felt I could not get a sufficient dose. By that time we were six friends growing up together. We knew that we have to change something. We had become aggressive and we did not like it. Still there were the older ones who said:

„What do you care about? Just have a joint and everything will be alright.” But we knew that marihuana and hashish were drugs and we were afraid. But the older ones said: „What are you afraid of? You should be afraid of alcohol and pills and not of marihuana. Marihuana is a herb. When you smoke it your brain works better, you sleep better, you learn better and what is most important, there is no crisis or addiction.”

We were still afraid but decided to do it because nothing could happen to us because what could happen to us if we tried it once. So we had a joint. After the joint someone felt nothing, someone was feeling weird, but what was important, we did not have any other joint for the following ten days. During those ten days we were trying to persuade each other that we had a strong character, that we were strong enough to handle the situation. And after ten days we smoked another joint. Then another week without smoking during which we persuaded each other how great it was without any crisis or addiction. But after some time we started to smoke marihuana every day and soon we stopped smoking cigarettes and only smoked marihuana and drank alcohol.

I used to come home drunk and stoned quite often, but when my father was not at home, my step-mother was afraid to say something. And during the time when my father was at home I always ran away from home or I just locked myself up in my room and listened to the music, so we had no lunch or dinner together. Even when he caught me in such condition seeing there was something wrong going on and asked me what it was it was too late because I was already a very good liar and I always managed to get myself out of such situation. Nowadays it all seems so funny to me, because I always used to tell my father that there was a party, a birthday and I only had two or three beers and that he knew that I did not like alcohol. And I still do not know how I could get through with it, but I did it every time. Anyway, I am sure that he tried to look away so he did not have to admit the mistakes he had done.

And when the neighbors came and said to him: „Marko, your son Goran meets some problematic people.”, he always found some excuse: „He's young, he is a teenager, he will be all right.”

It was not good because I fell deeper and deeper every day and as a result of the mix of marihuana, hashish, alcohol and pills I began to see strange things. I heard strange voices, got paranoia from people, depression and fear. I was not able to walk with anyone on the street anymore. I only went out alone or with people I could trust. We went to the forest, because I was so afraid of people, I thought that they wanted to kill me. I felt hatred against myself from anyone I saw and bit by bit this was making me mad. And I knew that I had to change something, because I could not go on like that anymore. Because of marihuana and hashish I suffered from such strong depression that I cannot express it in words. They told me then that there was no addiction. I did not know how to get out of all that but I knew I had to do something. I could not stop because I would not have any character anymore. I was also afraid to seek help from my father because he hated drug addicts. I knew that because of what he had told me when I was young.

So again I sought help from the older ones who of course were few steps ahead of us. They told me:

„Put all this stuff away and try heroin, this will solve all your problems.”

Today we all know what heroin is about. We can see it in television or in the newspaper, we can see it every day. I was afraid, but my condition at that time was much fearful for me. So I told to myself that I would try and I would not care about anything. I remember the first time I took heroin I did not even know how to prepare it. We were a small group of friends in some basement and the older ones prepared it for us and I was watching every move they were doing. They put it in a syringe and then it was my turn. I was not afraid but I always had aversion to injections. So the first time I took heroin I simply stretched out my arm and turned my head away. And this boy who gave me the first injection had such a gentle hand that every nurse would envy him. After some seconds, I cannot say exactly how long it took, I felt euphoria. And I said to myself that was it, that was my life. All my complexes, all my fears that were inside of me, just disappeared. I felt free, and it was freedom in the true sense of the word.

The next day I took some money and went to buy heroin by my own so I did not have to share it with my friends. And as I watched them preparing it before, I knew how to do it. But my problem was that I could not inject it by myself. So I spent about twenty minutes pricking into my arm which was soon all covered with blood. Finally I succeeded. Since that day I had not left heroin for about twelve years. At the beginning it was great. It really was as the older ones told me before. But there was a problem, because no one told me about what was going to happen next. At the beginning it was all great because you only needed some money and just a little dose of heroin and the feelings were great. But as the time went by more and more money was needed to buy more doses of heroin and the euphoria become shorter and shorter. On the other hand, the crisis became stronger and stronger. It was not enough to steal some alcohol in the shop (wine, whisky) therefore I started to steal things from our home. I sold everything that could be sold – gold, new plates – and later I started to brake in to cars, flats, restaurants, etc..

It was normal that my father realized the situation himself while my step-mother kept telling him, that something was wrong with me, that I was not in a good condition, but she could not say what it was. So my father quitted his job in the marine and returned home. But I had already grown up and he had no influence or power over me anymore. He was watching me and realized that I had changed totally. So he went to the police and asked for advice. They told him:

„Marko, you have to be tireless and search his whole room, all his things, clothes, you have to go to the basement and search for places where he could have hidden something.“

So he watched me every day. At the beginning I was careful. But with the time passing by I stopped carrying about anything. So one day they found an syringe and the panic started.

One day my father told me: “Look son, you have problems, let us sit at the table and have a nice talk.” And I told him this: “Listen you old man, you and I have nothing to talk about because when I needed you then you had no time. You just live your life and I will live mine. Leave me alone.”

I wish we had had this talk then.

He was in panic and had no idea what to do with me. So he went to the police again, because we had a relative working at the drugs department. And they arranged a little game, that they had found heroin in my room, so there would be a reason to arrest me. In this way I spent two months in jail. And once again my father thought that because I had been in prison for two months I would learn my lesson and get out more reasonable then before. I did indeed. I learned for which tape recorders I could get more money, who can pay more for gold and all the stuff which you can learn in jail. So after these two months I returned to my old life. However, my father was still trying to find help for me and someone told him:

“Marko, why don´t you send him to a psychiatrist? Doctors know their job, they went to school and they know exactly what would help him.”

I obeyed and went to a psychiatrist. I spent about month or month and a half in hospital and I had a very good time, because in Split the department of psychiatry is on the ground floor. So my friends came and brought me drugs and alcohol and the doctors gave me pills. I was such a great liar that at the end I managed to persuade the doctor that my father was the one who needed a doctor - not me. So I came out in a much worse condition than before.

But my father got another idea, because someone told him that I needed a job and when I would work eight hours a day I would not have time to think about silly things. So my father found me a job in his factory. I got a job in a warehouse where all possible things for ships were stored. And he also told his friends about me and my problems so they awaited me with open arms and they were very enthusiastic because they wanted to help me. But at the end this decision of my father turned into a disaster because I stole half of the factory, borrowed amounts of money which I could not pay back. One day I took out a knife pointing at my boss so finally they fired me as they realized there was no help for me because I was crazy. Thus, once again I returned to my old life. My father was desperate because he realized that he could not help me and he did not know what to do. One day I came home drunk and in a crisis. Thousand times I had demanded money from my father but finally he was fed up with it and hit me with his fist. I took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him in the stomach. Immediately there was panic, the police arrived and I got arrested again.

The wound was not that serious but it was a gesture confirming that I was totally crazy. And actually my condition, paranoia and depression became hundred times worse. I even got epilepsy. De facto it was a great problem, because every day I fell on the ground and hurt my head. After they released me from jail I wanted to go back home, because for me it was normal to go back, even after having stabbed my father. From my point of view it was all his fault because he refused to give me money I wanted. But when I arrived at the door I was ringing and banging on the door but noone wanted to open it. Suddenly I heard my father´s voice from behind the door telling me: “Listen son, you are old enough but you have no common sense. You have the right to destroy your life, but not to destroy ours. Between family and friends you have chosen friends. You have friends so go and live with them and one day when you decide to undergo treatment you can come back and we will help you as a family.” So all the hatred I had felt against them became even bigger, because all my life I blamed the others. I blamed my mother because she died, I blamed my sister that she died, my father, my step-mother, my brother, the communism. I was always trying to blame the others because I was the only one who was good.

After that day I spent about nine years on the street as a homeless and the street broke me totally. There were no soups, beds or showers. I had to steal twice as much as I did before because I had to share all the money I could get with someone to have a place to sleep. As you all probably know there are no friends on the street, it is all just about interests. I was like that, too. I thought there were no good people in this world. So I behaved as I thought they deserved. I did not care if I assaulted an old lady or if I stole a wallet or if I broke into a flat or a car. I simply lost the rest of respect I had for other people or even for myself. I did not care about what the others would think. I reached the ground. Many times I got into a situation where nothing could calm me down. The only thing was my own blood. So I took some razors, broken bottles and cut my face and hands. And only after I was covered with my blood I could find some peace. Actually, every now and then I was in prison.

After countless times in prison I was sent to a prison neuropsychiatrist who determined the diagnosis – schizophrenia. Today I cannot say if I had it or not, but I know that I was insane. So they did not send me to prison anymore. I was responsible for twenty seven law violating acts and they sentenced me to two years in a mental hospital. I did not know where I was going and when I saw where they were sending me, what kind of people there were, I got really scared. They started with the therapy. And after a month or so I decided that I must get out of there. It was not a place for me and it was really horrible as more than ninety percent of the patients there were murderers, multiple murderers who killed two, three or four times. And they all were psychologically disturbed. So it took me some time to find out how I could escape. And when I got the opportunity I stole some money from one of the patients.

I managed to get out and I returned to Split. By the time we were in war and I thought that I was smarter than the others. I thought that I would take some drugs, then I would go and fight in the war and after Croatia had become a republic the law would change and I would be free. It would not matter if I died of drugs or a bullet because I would die anyway. But nothing had come up as I thought. I spent some ten days taking drugs all around Split. And after those ten days I went to the recruitment office where the guys just laughed about me because I only weighed about fifty kilograms and said:

„You are hardly able to walk, how do you want to hold a gun?”

As my plan went bust and I was still on the run I continued with drugs. But I got caught by the police and was taken back to the mental hospital. I was really afraid to go back because the patient I robbed then was a guy who killed four people with an axe. And there were murders going on in the hospital and those people were there forever, for their lifetime. Thus, there was nothing they had to be afraid of anymore because there would be no more trials. They would only be pumped up with medicaments and tied in a straitjacket. And after some while the personnel of the hospital would just let them go and they would then just walk around in the hospital. Therefore I was really afraid that they would kill me.

When I got caught first of all the guards and the doctor beat me up, then gave me a straitjacket and tied me down to the bed. Even worse was that they put me in the room with the guy I had robbed before. Some five or six days later this guy was sitting on his bed rolling up a cigarette, staring into my eyes. As I was tied down to my bed I could not do anything. The worst thing was that the whole time he did not say a word. He was killing me psychically. And every time he stood up I wetted my bed because of fear. And this was going on for about five or six days. Finally he spoke. First he swore about my mother and everything that could be swored about and then told me:

“Listen you shit, you know who I am and what I am. You know what I have done and what I could do. You had the courage to steal my money. The last five or six days I have been thinking if I should smother you as a rabbit or not. But as I think about it, if you had the courage you deserve a respectful bow for that.”

Hallelujah. All my fears suddenly disappeared and from that moment on I had become a different person.

After some time they untied my legs so I could walk around my cell freely, but it took other three months till they released me from the straitjacket. There was always someone who was merciful enough to feed me. There was some kind of collegiality. But the situation was terrilble because we were at war and all medicaments came from Serbia. I am not sure but about seventy percent of us suffered from epilepsy. So as bombs fell around the hospital, from the fear, if one of us got an epileptic seizure and fell down, we all fell down too. I swore to myself that when they let me out I would never take drugs or drink alcohol because they told me that if I would commit another crime I would spend the rest of my life there. Because of the escape they prolonged my sentence for six months and after that the day of my release finally came. The night before that day I took out some razors from the shaver and slashed my wrists. Till this day I still cannot understand why I did this because the next day I should have been free.

The next day I took a bus to Zagreb which is about an hour and a half of travelling. In Zagreb I went to a drugstore, took two packages of pills against schizophrenia, washed down ten of them with two litres of wine and took a bus to Split. The first door I knocked on there were the dealer´s. I bought heroin and I started again. I was nobody and nothing. This time I fell down much deeper than before. I had about fifty kilograms and no strength to steal or rob. It was all about begging and from time to time I managed to fool someone. As I was so weak many people had beaten me. I remember that people who had walked around me were kicking me, spitting on me and telling me that I should be killed. They forced me out of their reach because I was offending their children. Simply, I was alone. I had no friends anymore, not even because of the same interest. I looked so horrible that even if I had some money nobody wanted to stay with me.

Today I do not remember how many times I tried to kill myself with overdoses of heroin, pills, alcohol, slashing of wrists. I fell unconscious for two or three days but there was always some good soul who took me to hospital or I simply woke up some days later. I had no idea where to seek for help, because I was left alone by everyone. I just did not know what to do. I slept on the street, which is only an empty phrase because since I left the hospital I could not sleep anymore, I lost my sleep. I could not even eat and I was ill and alone and I was tired from that all.

One evening I was lying on a piece of cardboard in some abandoned house, staring at the sky out of the broken window. It was winter, the second month. And in that moment I started to think and I came to that point that no one was guilty. That everything that had gone wrong in my life was my fault. I started to think about my family, father, mother, the step-mother and began to cry. Then I started to pray. Me, who was breaking in to churches and swearing about God every day as well as about the Virgin Mary. But I did not know how to pray. I could only remember something that was left from my religious education before my confirmation. Actually, I mixed some prayers to God, Virgin Mary, but I prayed with heart. I abased, I cried and said:

“My Virgin Mary, help me. Either take me with you, or reach me your hand so I could change my horrible life. Nobody is guilty but me.”

I was crying and praying like this the whole night.

Two or three days after, I was sitting in a park, it was in the morning and it was cold. I saw a woman going towards me. Immediately paranoia gripped me and I wished she would not aproach me.

“Good morning young man,” she said. And I, staring at her, said hello too. She said: “Listen, I have a problem, can you help me?”. And I said: “Let go woman, I do not know how to handle my own problems, go away.” But he said: “Oh no, I am searching for some young man, they call him Čuke.”

She had been searching for me. Suddenly I did not know what to do. What if I would say that it was me? Maybe I robbed her flat or sold her a drug, I did not know what I had done before. But my curiousness overtook me and I said that I was Čuke. She started to cry. And I told to myself: “Oh, mother, she is stupid. Nobody cries for me and a woman who sees me for the first time is crying for me.”. She took my hand and began to tell me her story.

She was mother of one drug addict who was ten years younger than me. I had met him two or three times. Once we had bought a drug together and I also helped him with the police, but that was it. Now, he was imprisoned and his mother was visiting him. And every time he had spoken to his mother he mentioned my name. As I have already mentioned, he was a drug addict and drug addicts are very selfish. He had his own problems, because it was the first time he was imprisoned. And that was the miracle, because we had never been friends but he mentioned my name. And this woman had decided to help me and she prepared all papers, took me to the bus station in Split and bought me a ticket to Medugorie and said:

“Here you have the ticket, go to Medugorie, there is the Virgin Mary and she will help you.” Then she added: “There is a community, go there, there are young men who have the same problem as you have and you´ll be alright.”

So, having no idea, I took the bus and travelled to Medugorie which is in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When I arrived there and the people from the community saw me, they immediately let me in. Without any talks, colloquiums, without any working days and without anything that was needed before anyone could join the community. I had no idea where I was going and I did not know anything about this community. When I woke up the next day I had a huge crisis. But from that day on I have not had any epileptic seizure anymore. However, I felt fear from the unknown. I thought that my biggest problem was heroin and I also thought that when I would be cured of this addiction, if I would stay clean for one month, I would become normal. I did not know how many problems I had been carrying with me. I simply thought it was only the one thing and had no idea how many small things I had to change. All the dirt that had stuck on me after all those years had to be washed away. Simply, a man has to get down on his knees, to abase and then he can start to create a new character to become a new man.

The community, as we call it, is a school of life because it teaches you to live honestly. It teaches you to pray, to behave, to get on with others, to work, to be responsible and it teaches you that a smile at someone else does not cost anything. Simply, it teaches you how to live, because life is so simple and beautiful. But I was not able to live it. I complicated my life by myself. Today I am grateful for the patience and effort of those people who accepted me and everyday tried to bring me back on the right path. From the first day on they always told me:

“Goran, you have to change. Change yourself.”

I refused to accept what they were saying, but with time passing by, with the help of a prayer, I slowly opened my heart more and more. Just imagine being in a community without television, cigarettes, women, without anything, just isolated from everything. I saw the older boys – one example, but a good example. In the community I experienced what was freedom, because I saw how they lived, worked, behaved. They had no problem to be humble and that gave me the strength. So I started to think that if they can be like that, why should not I?

However, after some time I started to feel jealous because boys from the community were visited by their parents and friends and I also wanted someone to see me. But I was sure that my family did not know that I was in the community. And even if they would know, they would not bother. In this way I was actually trying to find a way to contact my father, because my conscience had woken up. I wanted to apologize for everything and I thought that I could write a letter, but the boys told me:

“What, letter?! How many letters have you sent from prison and what was that? Only a dead word on the paper. But if you want to reconcile with you family you have to bring a sacrifice. You have to wake up at half past one in the morning, go to the chapel, pray there and believe.”

In the community people work for twelve hours and those jobs are very hard. So the only thing that you desire is sleep. Therefore waking up at half past one is a real sacrifice. But I really wanted to reconcile with my family so I woke up at half past one, went to the chapel, got down on my knees, prayed, however, I did not believe. I thought I would die before my father would want to reconcile with me.

And again, after some time, one of the boys came and told me to come to the dining room, because there were some people whom I had to explain the life of the community. I said ok, no problem, so I went there, opened the door and the first head I saw was my father´s head. That was the hardest moment in my life, because I had no courage to look at him. So I looked down on the ground and inside of me there were emotions racing around, I was ashamed. And my father saw that I felt badly, so he came to me and he gave me his hand. I gave him my hand and we started to cry. We did not say a word and after some time, when he was leaving, I spoke to him. For the first time I was sincere to him.

“If I succeed, I don´t know. All you can do is going home and praying with your wife for me.” And he told me: “Son, we have been praying for a long time. And we thank to God.”

After that they sent me to Italy. Soon there was the day when I was ready to begin a new life. When I joined the community I thought it would be for two or three months, because I thought that would be enough to get free from heroin, but I stayed for four years. I did not want to get back to Split so I decided to live in Medugorie, because I felt that I was born in Medugorie. But I did not know anyone and I asked the Franciscans to give me a job. My first job was the cleaning of public toilets. If someone had told me to do this job during the time I was on drugs, I would have killed him. Because at that time I thought “I was somebody and something”. But now there was noone happier than me, because I had a job. But it was very hard because I had to wake up at five in the morning and close down at ten in the evening. Even the Franciscans saw that it was too much so they found a family to do it. And I moved a level up, because I got a broom and started to clean the streets. After that I performed physically hard works, but as I had an operation of my back I was not able to do that kind of work anymore. So I ended up at the parish office where I collected money for the Holly Masses.

I would like to return to the time when I worked at the public toilets. I had a great desire to find a girl for myself. I knew that I was not looking very good. I had only three upper teeth, no hair, bullet in the head, tattoos, scars. And with my past I did not know who would want me. But I learned to trust God. I prayed to God to find a woman for me with whom I could grow old. At the toilets there was a little window so I watched girls from there. One day my heart exulted. I saw a girl and I said:

“This is her. God, I am sure that this girl is for me.”

I watched her everyday and found out that she went to the Holy Mass everyday. I said to my friends – you see, it is her. But my friends laughed at me and told me:

“Don´t be silly. Look at yourself and then look at her. She must be at least ten years younger than you. And look how beautiful she is – are you sane?”

But I was tireless. I found out that she was from the Czech Republic and that she lived in a family in Medugorie, where she cooked and helped with cleaning, so she did not have to pay for staying and could pray in Medugorie. Soon I became a friend of that family. I had an old car, VW Golf mark I and I arrived there with flowers and a box of sweets. However, when she saw me she almost started crying. One day I took her from that house to the church and I told her:

“Listen, I came out of the community and am looking for a girl whom I could marry.” She turned to me and said: “I will pray for you.”

And I told to myself, what praying, it is you! For about eight other months I was running around her like a dog. And she told me at least hundred times:

“Leave me alone, you are embarrassing, you are boring, go away!”

But one day she said ok, let us try. And immediately she let me know that I could only hold her hand. No kiss and by no means sex. I said:

“No problem, there is no problem. I have gone through so many things, I can live without that too.”

So we were together for about fifteen months and we married on the third of June 2000. But I was still thinking, I could not understand why she said we should try it together. My wife prays three rosaries everyday and everyday she goes to the Holly Mass. Twice a week she goes to adoration, she is indeed very faithful. And she gave me an answer, why she accepted to be with me. By the time she was deciding about being or not being with me, she went to Križevac and prayed. She saw a Slovak group and in the group a priest and she asked: “Father, could you lend me the Bible?” My wife, Katarína, said that she needed an answer from God. So she prayed again and opened the Holy Bible and her eyes fell at one part and there was this text:

“Don´t be afraid, I am with you, stay where you are and this is your path.”

That was the answer to her question – what she should do. So, as I have already said, we got married and have three children. We have Lucia, who is five, we have Luka, who is two and a half years old and we have little Anna, who is only five months old. So, all my dreams have come true. And not only that, because I had hepatitis type C for about fifteen years. A year ago I went to a doctor so he could tell my in what condition my liver was and the doctor told me the result:

A nielen to, ja som mal 15 rokov hepatitídu C. Pred rokom som si išiel dať urobiť nález a vyšetrenia, aby som vedel, v akom stave je tá pečeň a doktor mi povedal:

“You have no problems with your liver. There is no virus, your liver is like a little baby´s.”

I neither suffer from schizophrenia or epilepsy or other diseases anymore.

And when people ask me how I am doing, I tell them: „The older, the healthier.“

It is only thank to God and the Mother of God, because without them I do not know where I would be. I have to tell you one more thing about my step-mother, whom I hated the most in the world. During those nine years I had spent on the street, every month she went to the parish office and paid for a Holly Mass for my inversion. Finally, I inverted. But I did not know that until I left the community. She did not tell me but I heard it from other people. And my brother has got married too and he has two big children that are healthy and normal. And today my father tells me:

“Son, once again the sun is smiling over our house.”

What is the principal plan of this testimony? The drug is not the problem, neither are alcohol or pills. We are the problem. Because we have two options: take them or leave them. Live honestly or not. Lie or not. Everything is up to us. If you have a problem with drugs, this is an example, how you can get out of it. In our family the prayer is at the first place. We wake up with it and we go to sleep with it. We pray every day with our children and regularly go to the Holy Mass and to confession. So do not be afraid because God is with us and he really cares about every one of us. At the end I would like to let you know how precious everyone of us is to God.

I thank you from the deepest of my heart and I hope that I was not boring.

 

A transcript from the CD – Goran.


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