Communitas and our partners minister around the world to help people see the love of Jesus. Whether young or old, the message of the gospel breaks chains and provides hope for those who are lost.
Jim and Candy minister in the town of Pizek, Czech Republic, about an hour and a half south of Prague. There, the hope of Christ reached deep into the heart of a 19-year-old teenager who had lost her way… but is now choosing to follow Jesus.
Adriana (name changed) had her first encounter with followers of Jesus at a children’s English camp led by Jim and Candy. Through Candy’s testimony during one of the discussion groups, Adriana realized that there has to be a God.
“Right then, I confessed that I believed in Him, but I did not move forward in my relationship with Him,” she recalls. That fall, she started going to youth group, and she initially went for the people, not for the Lord. “I kept doing bad stuff, smoking cigarettes when I was 13 and 14, drinking underage, and missing school on purpose as I tried so hard to fit in with the cool kids.”
Shortly after her 15th birthday, things took a turn for the worse. She developed anorexia, an eating disorder where she didn’t want to eat at all. She lied to her parents about eating at school and at friends’ homes. She read pro-anorexia websites, including ones that talk about self harm with razors. “My body slowly became my enemy,” she says, and over time, anorexia and bulimia continued to occupy her mind and habits. Within 3 months, she couldn’t get out of bed and cried for one straight week, developing signs of anxiety and depression.
Her mom fortunately got in contact with a psychiatrist and she was prescribed homeopathic antidepressants and sleeping pills. But still, Adriana struggled—some days not wanting to take the pills, even throwing them out, thinking “I can manage without them,” and other days overdosing on them.
“I resigned. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be alive. I didn’t even feel worthy to ask God for help. I was pretty stubborn on my good days, and I felt like I had to do everything on my own. The only person I was able to open up to at that time was my best friend, and I didn’t even tell her everything.”
As time passed, Adriana realized she could not continue living this way. She realized she needed to come to God, “even if it meant coming crawling on all fours,” she says.
“I started building a deeper relationship with God. I started reading the Bible and praying. And eventually, I was asked to translate our Sunday services to English for overseas visitors. After one youth program and a lot of prayers, I knew I was ready to take the next step—to get baptized. Who else could have been a better person to prepare me for baptism than Candy? I have been baptized and I have been an official member of Elim Písek church for over a year. Now, I continue to serve others, for example, as a camp leader at the very same camp where I met Jesus for the very first time!”
“I would be lying if I said that life is all roses now. But I know the Lord loves me no matter what. Even though there are some worse days, even though I still take an antidepressant every day, even though I still enjoy earthly things.”
Adriana is still following the Lord as she is in college now. Her story reminds us how God is at work in the lives of this next generation of leaders around the world. Though they face many temptations, God’s Spirit holds them close as He provides a community around them to disciple them toward Jesus.
Will you please pray for Adriana and many other teenagers who are trying to find their way? Would you support the churches and communities that are discipling and evangelizing these young leaders around the world for Kingdom work? Thank you for your continued support and prayer as we strive to pour into the development of new leaders for God’s mission at hand.