We met Branko at some English classes that we organized in the public school our children attended. His teacher, a fun-loving Italian from Philadelphia by the name of Mike Casertano, taught his students to say "Yo, Mike" as they walked into the classroom.
After the first week of classes, we organized a concert and invited all of our students. Branko came. Between two of the songs, I gave a short gospel presentation. Branko, out of kindness to Mike, wanted to translate what I was saying in Macedonian back into English so that Mike could understand.
Branko was a brilliant person and an atheist — fully convinced that God didn’t exist. As he translated the gospel for Mike, he qualified everything I said: “Now I don’t believe this, but the speaker just said that Jesus died to pay for our sins. I don’t believe this, but he said that Jesus rose from the dead.”
The English classes went on for four weeks, and Branko continued to come and enjoy the friendship of his American teachers. He kept being invited to events, even to attend a church service. Out of cultural respect for Mike, and perhaps with a “there’s nothing better to do” attitude, he came again and again.
As a matter of fact, Branko the atheist never stopped coming. The Spirit and the gospel worked their life-changing power and, a year later, Branko was baptized. As he came up out of the water, his hands held high, he said, “Yes!”
God uses English-language outreach to change lives in Macedonia! Setting up a language center is one of the first steps we take when starting churches. As our next church plant takes root, we are raising funds to open the Gyorche Cultural Center. Hours spent studying English are hours spent developing relationships, sharing the gospel, and letting God change lives like Branko’s.
Cost: $2,515/classroom – 2 needed