Like many young people in Czech Republic, Jana [YAH-nah] grew up in a family that had no religious roots or spiritual guidelines. As a teenager she and her friends went to discos and then graduated to techno-parties. She and her friends experimented with drugs, and she lied to her parents to avoid worrying them.
Jana graduated from high school and went to study in a university in another city. There she met three classmates who were Christians. One was an Adventist. The girls spent a lot of time together, and Jana wondered why they always seemed so happy. They didn’t smoke or drink or go to discos, as she had. And yet they truly seemed to enjoy life.
Jana especially liked Alena, the Adventist girl. Something about her drew Jana’s admiration. Jana wondered if she could be happy without drugs or alcohol. Jana stopped going to discos and parties, but found it difficult to give up smoking and drinking.
Although her lifestyle was quite different from her Christian friends, Jana enjoyed them, and they remained her closest friends. They shared their faith with her, and she listened. But she wasn’t ready to make such a radical change in her life.
The girls all finished their studies together, and Jana and Alena decided to continue their studies in another city in Czech Republic. They agreed to share an apartment.
In Brno [BUR-no] Alena began attending a youth program called INRI Road. She invited Jana to go with her and assured her that it wasn’t like traditional church. Jana went to the program and was amazed. She loved the singing and the warm friendship. She immediately wanted to be part of the INRI Road fellowship.
Jana made lots of new friends and joined in a number of their activities—game nights, prayer meetings, Bible discussions—just to be around these Christians.
Jana spent more and more time with Alena and her new friends at INRI Road. When Alena invited her to study the Bible, Jana agreed. Everything about Christianity was so new to her; so she started at the beginning.
A year later Jana felt she had to make a decision. She wanted to give her heart to Jesus, but she still loved her boyfriend, and didn’t want to break up with him. She invited him to attend some INRI Road programs, and he joined the guys in a few sports events. But he wanted nothing to do with Christianity. Reluctantly, Jana was torn by her new love for God and her old love for her boyfriend. She prayed and cried, and in time chose Jesus.
Jana gave up smoking and drinking as well as her boyfriend. But to her surprise, her parents resisted her decision to become a Christian. They had grown up atheist and found it difficult to understand why their daughter would want to become a Christian. They didn’t know anything about Adventists, and they weren’t sure whether it was a cult.
Jana stood firm in her faith and was baptized. She continues attending INRI Road and became a group leader in one of the prayer groups. She also led a group called Face to Face, a discussion group that invited a Christian businessperson or community leader and interviewed them about how they lived their Christian life in a secular world. This was a popular group to invite non-Adventist student friends to attend.
Slowly Jana’s parents have learned to accept her new Christian life. They are asking questions about her church activities. Recently Jana and her mother were talking about her life before she became a Christian and after. Her mother now agrees that her life as a Christian is better, so much better.
“INRI Road was a great thing for me, a turning point in my life,” she says. “I probably wouldn’t have stepped inside a traditional church, but INRI Road isn’t traditional. It meets the needs of today’s young people, many of whom, like me, never experienced Christ before.
“The friends I have made here, the casual times as well as the spiritual times, have made a huge impact on my life. I saw that young people can be happy without drugs or alcohol. I had always thought that these things made me happy, but now I know they are only poor substitutes. Christ is the only way to be truly happy.”
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help expand the INRI Road outreach throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia so that thousands of young adults can taste for themselves the beauty, the love, the wonder of our Savior.