Zoran

ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL TECHNICIAN

In the 1990s, poker machines came to town and I spent every penny I had on them. When I needed more money, I stole it from my dad.

My life was the usual life of a teenager who belonged to a group that was looking for fun, and most often we found ourselves in some trouble. We all acted like "big guys" and proved ourselves in various ways.

There were weekends of drunkenness, ridicule of others, fights, harassment of weaker guys, and often the use of lighter drugs like hashish.

On the other hand, I was known as a good guy from the neighborhood. I went regularly to the Roman Catholic Church where I received the sacraments of baptism, communion and confirmation, and I was also an altar boy. Yet deep down I knew that everything I was doing was not good, but for a long time I didn’t understand why. I noticed that I was different from the others and did not enjoy these aimless outings too much, but again I wanted to be loved and accepted by my friends. The family situation was not ideal and I spent most of the time with one parent because they lived a separate life for a long time. Since my dad worked all day, I was mostly alone and left to myself.

I spent a lot of time on the street and with my friends, who raised me in a certain way. I was quite rebellious, arrogant and grumpy. I was often beaten.

In my rebellion, at a certain point I started to train in boxing, and although usually people give up quickly in that sport I didn’t give up. I won’t say I was the best at it, but I loved the sport. It became a part of me somehow. Soon most of my friend group started training too, so we just redirected our goals and we continued to socialize through the training sessions. Boxing kept me from the further abyss of drugs and even smoking itself. But it didn’t save me from gambling which I was pretty addicted to.

In the 1990s, poker machines came to town and I spent every penny I had with me. When I needed more money, I stole it from my dad. I was a rather closed and complex person at the time, and pubescent acne that I couldn’t get rid of for a long time certainly contributed to that.

In a way, I was dissatisfied and hated myself.

After graduating from high school, I often began to wonder about the meaning of life because everything seemed pointless to me. I searched for answers to many questions, but could not find them. Gradually, instead of going to church, I started going around the church, and the emptiness I felt was getting bigger. I was so dissatisfied with life that at one point I even thought about suicide. Yet I did not have the courage to do it. Thus began my search for the answers to questions about life that had plagued me. My friends and my environment didn't help me much because they mostly avoided those questions and told me that I was still young and that I shouldn't bother with all that.

Deep down I somehow knew it all had to do with religion. I just didn’t know which direction to go. I started with Hinduism and started reading books about it, but they quickly let me down. They simply did not answer my key question: "What is the meaning of my life?". In addition, I began reading books on the philosophy, psychology, and parapsychology of death.

I wondered what happens when a man dies? Is there anything after that?

Books on the subject of life after death were indeed interesting, but I still had not received satisfactory answers.

As a child, I read an illustrated Bible for kids, but I made my first real contact with the Bible through Jehovah's Witnesses in my family. I started reading the Bible from the Old Testament, but I didn’t understand anything. I was quickly disappointed in the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses, although there were some interesting things that made me even more interested in Bible content. In the meantime, I got a seasonal job and earned my first salary by which I decided to buy a computer. Through an advertisement, I contacted the seller, Dalibor Puljiz, with whom I arranged the sale. As I was quite a computer ignoramus, we often met so I could learn something. Over time, we became very close, so we touched on the topic of God and the meaning of life. He mentioned to me that he believes in God and that he goes to the Baptist church. That was the first time I had ever heard of it. He told me, "It's a church where they preach with their hands in their pockets." He gave me the New Testament and a few books which I started reading. I sought the truth with a truly open and sincere heart. And then everything suddenly opened up.

It was enough for me to read the first few pages of the Gospel of John when my hair literally started to rise on my head and I suddenly realized who Jesus was and what he wanted from me.

He wanted me to confess my sinfulness and repent of my sins. I realized that Jesus wants to give me the true meaning of life in every situation and to give me a new opportunity to live. Dalibor became one of my best friends, and I started coming to church regularly. Almost every Sunday the preacher seemed to speak to me personally knowing all the problems that plagued me. I later realized that God was speaking to me through him.

I turned to God and redirected my life to him. There were many more falls, doubts and "drunk" weekends, but after a while God freed me from all those things. I was soon baptized. 

I talked about God to everyone around me, but it wasn't very well received. My faith was a frequent object of mockery and ridicule in the group of people in which I found myself. Even my parents turned fiercely against me. There were a lot of problems, but in the end God has arranged it so that I can talk to my parents today in a normal and open way about faith.

Today I know that my life is in God’s hands and that Jesus is my only meaning of life.


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