Ondrej Garaj grew up in a small village outside Bratislava, Slovakia. His parents were farmers under the Communist regime and had chosen to resist the pressure of the Communists, who wanted to take their property into the colchoz, a type of farming collective.
Ondrej says, “You must remember this was during Communism, when nobody had his own property. It was believed that everything should belong to everybody.”
His parents resisted Communism until Ondrej graduated from elementary school. At this time, they were told to give in to the government’s demands or Ondrej could not continue his studies. His parents gave up their resistance and their land was taken over by the government.
“To ensure a good future for oneself,C Ondrej explains, “it was necessary to be an active member of the CYO because only Communists could assume high positions of employment.“
Since Communism is connected with active atheism, “I became the organizer of atheist education in my high school.” As Ondrej became more indoctrinated in Communism’s ideologies, he desired to further his atheist education. Part of this education required him to get to know his enemies – Christians – by visiting a nearby church.
“From my youth,” says Ondrej, “I had believed Christianity was a traditional religion for old people who, at the end of their life, wished to reserve for themselves a place in heaven – if it existed at all. But I was surprised: in this small church I saw excited people spontaneously singing. People in the CYO sang only when drunk! I also witnessed positive relationships, totally opposite of the conﬂicts I saw between people in the CYO. These experiences brought to my Communist heart a deep skepticism regarding atheism and Communism.”
After six months, this doubt helped Ondrej open his heart to Jesus Christ. He became a Christian and his life was transformed completely. He quit his job in the CYO and as a consequence was unable to continue his studies.
Soon Ondrej was being spied on by the intelligence service, harassment he endured until the end of Communist rule in 1991. Through it all, Ondrej believes God is using his testimony to help others.
“God was and is with me,” he says. “He gave me the opportunity to share my testimony of His love and support in all of life’s situations – and He has used my story to impact others.
“Now many who have heard my testimony are preachers, pastors and evangelists. So I enjoy the blessing to have a lot of spiritual children, not only my three children. I encourage everybody to deal with his own doubts, and rely on the Word, which helped me ﬁnd salvation through Jesus Christ.”
Ondrej Garaj, EHC Regional Director for the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union), gives oversight to the many home-to-home outreaches across this vast region. The region is fragile, and complex factions cause rising political tensions. Lives fractured by a long history of tyranny can only find peace in the Gospel of Christ. Please pray for God’s Kingdom to come and for His grace, wisdom, protection, provision and perseverance to be experienced.