Falling into freedom
By Imants Praulins
From Latvia, living in Denmark
It all started with a book
In 2015 my best friend sent me a Christmas gift. There were many different things and also a little book. It was The New Testament (Gideon Bible). I knew my friend was a Christian, but I had my own worldview – I believed in myself and there was nothing supernatural in this world. Even though I had many encounters in my life which I could not logically explain, I still tried to convince myself that there wasn’t anything besides what I can see and touch. I didn’t throw the Bible out, because it would be disrespectful for my friend, so I put in on the shelf and forgot about it, for a time. In the summer of 2016, my friend came to visit me, all the way from Latvia to here in Denmark. At that time, we partied a lot, we were just living it out. Even though my friend told me the Gospel one day, it was hard for me to see it in his life as he wasn’t living the Christian life at that time, as he should have. Still a small seed was planted even though I don’t remember much from it.
Then depression came
In November 2016 I received a letter. Because my employer did not pay taxes and also because of my dishonesty, I needed to pay back my scholarship for 1 whole year. I was shocked. All my life I was in control of all things, but this was too big of a burden for me. I even thought to runaway to Alaska, a silly thought. But this really broke me, I wasn’t able to concentrate in school or to do anything at home. I was totally helpless.
I don’t know how I thought about it, but one day I asked God for help. It was my last straw. It was really humbling, but worth it. In the night I went to a hill and shouted to God. I did not know how to pray, so I just said: “Where are You? If You are real, help me. If You will help me, I will believe in You.” Almost like bargaining with God. But, He says: “You will seek Me and find me, when you seek Me with all your heart.” (The Bible, Jeremiah 29:13)
It all came to a fall
After 2 weeks I was working as a cleaner in one restaurant. I was bringing some glass jars to put outside and then I slipped and fell on my back. The glass shattered in my hands, a bit of blood, but I wasn’t hurt. Still something happened. I went in to sit down and looked around in the room. I saw a statue head, which looked something like the devil, and some weird symbols in the restaurant. They were there before, but I did not notice them. It was like somebody shook me out of a deep sleep and now I could see. I felt dark presence around me, so I went home. All the way home I felt uncomfortable and a choking feeling in my chest. I also felt like crying, but I thought: "Not in the bus."
Then freedom came
When I came home, I went to my room, sat on the bed and started crying like never before in my life. I was weeping for over 15 minutes, I didn’t know really why, but after that I felt so light and like a bag of bricks fell off my shoulders. Now I know that was God’s Spirit. Straight away I called my Christian friend and told him what happened to me, and he said: “You just need to calm down, it’s the Holy Spirit and He has started to work in you”.
I had so many questions, but now I had the protection from all the evil I experienced in the restaurant - and believing in God, I knew He will lead me through all of it. I watched a movie called “The Last Reformation – The Beginning” which helped me a lot, especially in the beginning of my Christian walk. After watching it, I knew that I need to repent and get baptized, that is what Jesus wants me to do. So I did it and there came even bigger freedom and boldness for God.
I remembered every person who had shared the Gospel with me and prayed for me in the past. Now I see that every time it was like a seed planted in my heart and one day it brought fruit. I always tried to figure out things by myself, but I realized that this life is like a game, where if you do not ask Jesus for help, you’re not gonna get out alive. After all this, I started reading that little book my friend gave me. It was there sitting on the shelf, waiting for me. But don’t wait any longer my friend. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”