Jonas is only slightly older than I am and he was raised under the Communist regime here in Hungary. This greatly affected his parents outlook on church and religion and he was raised as an atheist. It wasn't until he was an adult that he even found out that he had indeed been baptized as a child. His parents had never told him. It was simply something they did in case he ever needed a "certificate".
It was when Jonas became a father himself and felt the need to raise his children with some sort of moral code, that Jonas looked back towards the church. He was 38 years old at the time. His local priest refused to baptize his child due to their lack of involvement with the community parish. Jonas didn't know what to do. He was curious and had questions but didn't know where to turn.
Jonas "happened" upon an Alpha for Hungary website. He saw many of the topics we are familiar with listed on that site. "Who is Jesus?" "Why did Jesus Die?" He was thrilled to find a site like this because he honestly had NO IDEA. He had rarely if at all heard of Jesus and certainly did not know why he had died. In Hungary, people are celebrated for their lives, not their deaths, so it was highly perplexing to him at first. He tracked down a local Alpha course, attended, had an encounter with the Living God and his life was changed! At age 38!
Having grown up in the Bible Belt it is hard to get my head around the idea that anyone really wouldn't know about Jesus. But here Jonas is, living on the opposite side of the world from me, without ANY clue. The Alpha course changed his life, his families lives and will forever change his family tree. His response was to start devoting one working day a week towards volunteering for Alpha Hungary. He works the other four days of the week and says God has honored and blessed his commitment and that his four days of business are more productive and profitable than the five ever were.
So, since his transformation, Jonas devotes himself to helping tell churches here in Hungary about Alpha and how they can offer the program in their communities. Hearing his testimony made me realize the profound impact Alpha is having on this country. The people here are so hungry for God's word and love. Riverside should indeed be very proud to have partnered with them to help train pastors and leaders so others like Jonas can find answers to the questions they so desperately seek.
Blessings be to an amazing God who works such wonders!!! Cathi
|John & Jonas - Alpha brothers|