Đuro

TRAIN DRIVER

That same day, there was a terrible attack on our village, grenades were falling on all sides. I was alone in the basement, thinking this might well be the end of me.

My name is Đuro Pavlić and I was born in 1960 in a Catholic family. My parents never told me much about faith. I received all the sacraments and occasionally went to church, but that was more just because everyone went. When I was 21 I got happily married to the love of my life, Katica. We had three kids, built a new house, it couldn’t have been better. Back then Katica read her Bible regularly, but I didn’t. Every night when we’d go to sleep she asked if she could read something from the Bible to us. Because I loved her I always said yes, but only because I wanted to please her. 

Later on, the Croatian War of Independence (Domovinski rat) started. My wife went to Switzerland with our kids and I stayed to fight on the battlefield. 

I was alone, hoping to survive. It was horrible. 

One day I received a letter from my dear wife. She wrote: “My dear, please take the Bible from the bed and read it.” I can’t remember which verse she recommended, but she asked me to read it. That same day there was a horrible attack on our village. Grenades were falling everywhere. I was alone in the basement thinking this might well be the end of me. I remembered the Bible, took it and started reading it – for the first time in my life. I found great comfort and encouragement in God’s Word. 

I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore, that there in the basement would not be my end. 

After a few days our village was occupied and we managed to get out. The only thing I was thinking about was how to get to my family. They were settled in Switzerland with a nice Christian family who were part of the same church where Katica’s sister belonged. After a month of being a part of that community, my dear Katica got baptised.  I managed to get to Switzerland after a few months (what a coincidence, people would say, that a day before our village was occupied I took my passport and put it in a pocket thinking “just in case”). At the same place where my family was, they accepted me as well, as if I was theirs. That amazed me because for the first time in my life I got to experience someone actually living out their faith. That’s the way I always wanted to live with my family, but didn’t know how. 

That was when I realised I was also important to God. I realised God loved me and He died for me. 

After a month my Katica saw that something was going on with me. 

I told her I had to go back to the war field where my friends were. But I had to go back and tell them what happened to me, how Jesus found me. That was the most difficult decision in my life because I knew I was going back to hell. 

One of my friends told me as I was leaving: “God is looking after you and nothing bad will happen to you.” So I went back with a Bible in my hands thinking everyone would want to listen to me when I read. But that didn’t happen – they were laughing at me. The commander, my friend and loyal Catholic heard my testimony, stood next to me and told others to listen to me as I read the Bible to them. That was such a special experience. I am thankful to God that He took care of me and finally gathered my family back again in Zaprešić.

I thank God that I went through war because that was my way to salvation. If there had been no war I wouldn’t have encountered God’s Word or those wonderful people in Switzerland who showed me how to live out my faith every day. Strange are the ways of the Lord. Now I stand here asking God to use me for His Kingdom so that I might praise Him. 


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