Tuesday, May 31, 2011

J&C #191: Our Friend, Viliam

Vilo (short for Viliam, the Slovak equivalent of William) and Monika, are a Slovak couple that are the most enthusiastic and the most accommodating within our church.  Their apartment was where our leadership met before we started the church plant in the Free Time Centre in Sala, and we were there every Sunday for a good few months.  Mark (Holdcroft) preached while we ate amazing food given by Monika, and all the while we were impressed and surprised by Vilo's commitment.

After opening up their home to us, Vilo wanted to be even more involved in the possibility of leading worship.  He had a old nylon-string guitar that he had replaced with metal strings, basically due to not knowing what he was doing, as all guitars must be the same, right?  The neck bent like Rolf Harris's wobble board, and so instead he borrowed Mark's guitar every now and again, learning songs and playing simply in the key of G.  As both he and we as a church progressed, it got to the point where he felt, after some prodding, that he could lead worship.  Although he had the case of the jitters all the way through, we were impressed with his ability and for the love that he showed just to play for God.

The family as a whole has done so much for us.  Monika leads a prayer group, and her daughter is a regular within our youth group.  But what is even more extraordinary is that Vilo was once a 'patient' at the TeenChallenge Centre near to Sala.  For a large part of his life before he started his walk with Christ, he was addicted to drugs, so much so that even after he quit all those years ago, they were still affecting him by the time we met him.  During his addiction, his body was ravaged from the lack of nutrition, as it had by then decided to take as much as it could from other parts of the body, and for a while that meant his eyes and teeth.  After we got to know him for a little while, he was able to get a replacement set of teeth, and I remember how we all just sat and stared at this newer, younger-looking version of Vilo.

Recently, we as a church decided to give into his care his own guitar.  They are in a lot of debt due to his past use of drugs and other family problems, which have long since been and gone.  At this time, they're really getting back on track and with their mature handling of their debt, and they should be free from it within the next year and a half.  A black guitar was Vilo's dream, and for the good of the church and wanting to show our gratitude for the past year and a half, we decided that it would be a great thing to do this one thing for him for his birthday, after he and his family had done so much for us.  Within our church, we want people, especially new Christians, to dare to dream.  So, please excuse the wobbly camera footage, but here's Vilo on his new guitar for the first time:

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