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Samko Polhoš, 12, standing on the outskirts of Rakúsy, a Roma settlement of 2,000 people, in Slovakia. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Roma Boy Expected Fistfight. He Found God

Life has never been the same for Samko Polhoš after he visited the house church in Slovakia.

By Andrew McChesney

Grandmother and 5-year-old Samko Polhoš stopped on the dirt street and stared as dozens of people streamed into the Mižigar family house on a Saturday morning.

A crowd meant only one thing in their Roma settlement in Slovakia: a fistfight!

Curious, Grandmother pulled Samko toward the house. She wanted to catch a glimpse of the fistfight.

But no one was throwing punches and yelling angrily inside the house. Instead, about 50 people were crammed into a large living room. They were singing songs about Jesus and praying.

Samko watched the proceedings closely. He listened to the songs and prayers. He liked them.

After about two hours, the meeting ended, and Grandmother said it was time to go.

Father was furious when he saw Samko and Grandmother. He had been searching for them for two hours, going from house to house of relatives in Rakúsy, a Roma settlement of 2,000 people. No one knew their whereabouts.

“Where have you been?” Father asked, and began to swear. “Where did Satan take you?”

“We went to the Mižigar home,” Grandmother said, calmly.

“Why were you there?” Father demanded. He had heard that Christians worshipped there on Saturdays. “Devils live in their home.”

“No, no. They have really nice singing there,” Grandmother said. “God must live in the house.”

“No way. It must be Satan,” Father said. He didn’t want to discuss the matter further. “Don’t say another word. You’re talking nonsense.”

Grandmother fell silent, but Samko couldn’t keep still. As walked around the house, he sang songs that he had heard about Jesus that day. He went to Father.

“Daddy, I want to take you to that house next Sabbath so you can see what is going on,” he said.

“No,” Father said immediately. “I won’t go.”

But when Saturday came, Samko returned to Father.

“Let’s go to that house,” he said.

When Father refused, the boy took him by the hand.

“Let’s go,” he insisted.

Father went. The tall man and little boy walked hand in hand to the house church.

Grandmother was already seated in the house when Samko and Father arrived, but they didn’t see each other because of the crowd. Father and Samko stood again a wall on one side of the room, listening to the singing. Suddenly, Father started to cry. The tears surprised Father. He didn’t recognize himself. He was a strong man who never cried. Even when his grandparents died, he hadn’t shed a tear.

Samko also was surprised. He had never seen Father cry.

Across the room, Grandmother caught a glimpse of Father and saw that he was crying. She began to cry.

“He will become a Christian one day,” she thought, joyfully.

That afternoon, Grandmother asked Father, “Who do you think was present in the house? Satan or God?”

Father had no doubt.

“I’m convinced that God lives in that place,” he said.

He couldn’t explain why he had cried, but something changed inside him. From that day, he stopped drinking alcohol and yelling at Mother. He started to read the Bible from the beginning in Genesis. He read the Bible every day for six months, often smoking as he read. Then suddenly he quit smoking.

He used to ignore his family and spend all his time with friends. He didn’t work regularly, and he refused to share what little money that he had with his family. But then he found work as a logger and began to take care of his family. He also stopped going out with his friends and instead spent time with Mother, Samko, and their two other children.

Father returned to the house church every Sabbath following the first visit. After two years, he was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Grandmother and Mother were baptized on the same Sabbath.

Samko, who is now 12, also wants to be baptized. Every Sabbath, he goes with Father, Mother, and Grandmother to the new Seventh-day Adventist church that was built in his settlement in 2018. He said God lives in his home.

“Life is better now,” he said. “Father reads the Bible to us, and he started to work to support the family.

Samko Polhoš thanking God that his life has changed. In English and Slovakian. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in first quarter 2020 will help fund programs for vulnerable children at Samko’s church in Rakúsy, Slovakia. Thank you for planning a generous offering.