This week, we want to share something special with you. Tomáš is a young man living in the Czech Republic. His life has been changed through the Gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit, and humanly speaking, through the work of the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC) LCMS GEO Missionary, Benjamin Helge, whom the LCMS has sent to assist the SECAC with a church plant. Tomáš‘ story will be in two parts. In them, he recounts his journey to becoming a Baptized child of God.
–By Tomáš Přeček
Hello. My name is Tomáš. I would say that I’m a pretty average teenager in high school getting ready for my exit exams. In the past, I never had to deal with questions about what is the purpose of life. However, there were many factors that made me think about this.
It began when I was a child and pretty much friendless. I had imaginary friends that I would talk to and play with. This started in my heart during my childhood and remained as I grew up. When I had some troubles, I talked with myself, thinking that it was some friend, rather than talking with my parents, sister, or others.
I was always pretty confident, not humble at all, and thought I could do everything by myself. It was maybe all caused by my parents’ arguments and some cases of domestic violence that I didn’t want to talk to anyone. When I was in Kindergarten, I was very offensive to other kids. I would hit them and use vulgar words because that’s what I heard at home. When I got to primary school, I was one year older than all the kids because I was held back in Kindergarten. It didn’t take them too long to realize that I liked to be the centre of attention. I always was. I liked when someone would say “good job” because I was only told what I did wrong.
I became a real rebel when I was a little kid. It was hard to control me and hard to teach me. I didn’t really want to learn anything. My report cards in the first four grades were average. I had many notes in my pupil’s book saying I didn’t behave properly and that my parents should visit the school for a teacher’s conference. During this time I would do anything to get some friends. I interrupted classes and did some silly jokes to get attention.
I started to think about my career in the fifth grade. I wanted to become a lawyer because I thought that there (was) no justice in the world. I only saw evil happening to me and not to anyone else. So, I started to concentrate on my studies. This was the first year I got straight “A”s. All my teachers were surprised and satisfied with my grades thinking the explanation was puberty. My confidence was getting higher, and I thought even more of myself than I did before. I didn’t respect authority. I only thought about what was good for me, and that’s what I did. I did anything for success.
I started playing PC games where I quickly became an “internet hero.” No one knew my real self. I was able to get good and competitive in many games. These games were the source of my English abilities. Going to school and playing games were my only activities causing me to become more and more fat.
Somehow I found a group of people behaving poorly, and we spent time together outside. These friends stole things from the supermarket. They threw eggs at the windows of old people. They made life hard for the inhabitants of our city. I never had fun doing these things, and I was the first person ready to run away. But, I had friends. When I was 13 or 14, we joined a community event that MISE (a local Lutheran mission organization) created. MISE in Šumbark planned a mission week. They read the Bible on the street, did things for people, and held a cookout. Because we were kids and we liked sausage and food, we visited the event. I remember this event very clearly. When we were full and delighted, some young pastor came with a book and shared the Gospel in a very simple way. He said that Jesus is the SIM card that every phone needs for calling. I just laughed at this and didn’t take anything seriously.
By attending this event, we were invited to join the beginning of a kids’ club. My friends and I were attracted by a chocolate party. When we got to the club room, there were chocolate, sweets, good food, and friendly people everywhere. We ate what we could and put into our pockets what remained. We left after we ate everything and didn’t care about anything else.
We visited this club every Tuesday. I was going there with my “friends” to get some food and fun. When I look back now, we were the worst group that any organizer could wish for. We would interrupt when the Gospel was shared and laugh when the name of Jesus was mentioned. The patience of the organizers was amazing, and we were never banned.
After a while, my friends stopped visiting this club because there was less food and more Gospel. But I liked the people and I thought they were cooler than my friends, so I eventually left this group of friends. I kept going to the club for maybe one year. I just had to get myself past the Gospel part. But, because I began to know something about God, I started to pray and test it out. They were only simple prayers. I was talking to myself or some higher power thinking that my god is only for me and different from the God they were talking about. My imaginary friend from childhood got a new name, god…