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Vlada and Tanja's wedding; Vlada and Tanja celebrate Filip's birthday

God changed everything

by Pastor Bera Dushan, Protestant Christian Fellowship, Novi Sad, Serbia

[Editor's note: Entrust comes alongside church leaders who desire training, mentoring and encouragement, to strengthen them in biblical ministry understanding and skills. Here's the story of one such leader, Pastor Bera Dushan, and others from his church. Entrust is no longer involved. The church is flourishing and God is working mightily.]

Vlada, Tanja and little Filip. This is their story.

It could have been a very sad one, with all the pre-dispositions for being such — dysfunctional families of origin, husband a drug addict, difficult financial situation — but God changed it all.

Vlada was not a classic drug addict, although he had used drugs  since high school. Under pressure from his job, and even though he had a little child and was living with Tanja, Vlada gave in to harder drugs and began to use them more and more. Eventually he completely lost control of his life.

“I gave up on myself and believed there is no use trying,” Vlada says. “But others didn’t give up on me. They asked for help for me, and I turned to the Rainbow Rehabilitation Center.”

The Rainbow rehab center is a ministry of our church, Protestant Christian Fellowship, here in Novi Sad, Serbia. The program is based on biblical principles and discipleship. We help addicts gradually re-build their lives, but this time on firm foundations.

“When I entered the program,” Vlada says, “I prayed to Jesus, but no great change happened. But then God showed me my corrupted heart and I begged him to change me. And he did change my life. I finished the program, got back with my family that waited for me, and we started from the beginning, but this time right.”

Tanja picks up the story here. “I am Vlada’s wife. I started coming to church because of him [Vlada]. I would come to support him [because he was in the rehab program connected to the church], but the message and worship was constantly touching me. I would often cry listening to the words of the worship songs.

“I come from a dysfunctional family. I’ve been with Vlada since I was 17. Now I’m 34. That dysfunctionality of my family just kept following me. I was searching for love, and gave my best, and tried everything, but was never fulfilled. Life with Vlada was difficult, and I hoped that would eventually change.

“When he entered the program, I couldn’t sleep for months; I struggled with fear, worry, anxiety.

“After one sermon, Pastor Bera made a call for prayer, so I stepped forward asking for night sleep, to be able to sleep. But the prayer team led me to a repentance prayer. I accepted Christ in my life, and my heart changed.

“One sister prophesied over me, telling me, ‘You have come to church for your husband’s sake, but I have chosen you.’”

Vlada finished the rehab program in 2022. He and Tanja were not married. So in the spring of 2022, they decided to get married. Then, in June, both of them were baptized to confirm their faith.

Vlada has a job again, but now it is a job that allows him to be part of the church. Both of them serve God in the church.

Little Filip played a part in the church’s Christmas play in 2022. God has reached the whole family and renewed them.

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