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I was born in the religious family and was involved in the church life as long as I can remember. Being a teenager I never got into drinking, smoking etc., however I started to enjoy the metal music, which often has very anti-Christian lyrics. Despite regular church attendance the message of Christianity didn’t have much place in my life. I rather enjoyed humming “666 the number of the beast. 666 the one for you and me.” (song ‘The Number of the Beast’ by Iron Maiden). When I was about fifteen I read the whole New Testament and decided that serving and obeying Jesus Christ is not something I desire. I remember I had the attitude, that the fact God exists can’t be denied, but I am not going to serve this God.

I was a geeky teenager. After doing my homework I spent time programming or playing on the computer and listening to heavy metal. I was example of someone who is evil and enjoyed evil, but actually can be an exemplary student and obedient child.

One spring day in 1997 I was in my room programming or playing computer games I felt very bad, had thoughts about the meaningless of life and how it doesn’t make sense. Thinking about my life, how it doesn’t make sense and being angry at it and the whole world, I had this idea, which seemed crazy at the time, that only Jesus Christ can help me. I wrote ‘Jesus help me’ on the piece of paper, suddenly my room filled up with loving presence, quite difficult to explain, but I burst into tears. The next day I forgot all about it, but apparently Jesus did not forget.

The same year during the summer I went for the camp with the English school. It was sponsored by Christian group and apart from English lessons and entertainment, the program included some short Bible lectures.

I was doubtful that I can be told anything new about Christian religion, but I did not mind to listen to people sharing their life stories.

I was impressed with the way these people talked about Jesus, like He was very real part of their life. I realised that their life are so joyful because of Jesus, that He is not some distant figure from the history and religion but the way they speak about Jesus is as He is very alive in their life.

One day one speaker was sharing how he started to believe in Jesus in his late teens and this story quite touched me and made me interested in learning more. I talked with him afterwards and asked him many questions. Also, I decided to stop listening to music, which God would disapprove the lyrics.

After the camp, I was eager to learn more about Jesus. I started to read the New Testament again, this time with the desire to know more about Jesus, to obey and serve him. I also attended the Bible study for beginners.

I can’t point to any definite moment in time when I accepted Christ, said the ‘sinners prayer’ or the date at the front page of my Bible, but as I was learning more about Christ the more I had a desire to love Him and serve Him. I saw Jesus Christ as someone who has the real ultimate power and authority, I saw he is the stronger than devil, that serving Him brings joy. I know that now I have complete forgiveness of sins and the assurance of life eternal with Jesus

The specific changes I see in my life since becoming a follower of Jesus include several areas of my life. Firstly, as I was reading the Bible and started to evaluate my religious knowledge against it, I had to change my convictions about certain teachings and practices in which I grew up. Secondly, I changed from the geeky teenager to a person who easily made new acquaintances and friends. I believe this is easiness about talking to strangers is a gift from God, as it is very useful in evangelism. And at last, I was told that I have a joyful personality, I know this is was not so before I believed in Jesus.

This year it is thirteen years since I started to follow and serve Jesus. I realise that often I am not perfect and fail to please God, but I see from the Bible how God the Father knew me before the creation of the world, how He sent Lord Jesus Christ to die for sinner like me, and how the Holy Spirit revived me from death to life and transforms me into the likeness of Jesus to the glory of Triune God.

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