Dezider (38) arrived in the UK 10 years ago, with not much besides the shirt on his back. Struggling to find work and feed his family, he tells us how his life was transformed after meeting our evangelist Jane Emson and how she helped him and his family to find Jesus.
I’m originally from Slovakia but had to leave as there was no future for me there. The government is corrupt, there are no jobs and there’s racial tension, which makes life dangerous.
I came to the UK in 2009. At first, I lived in Bradford, where I got a job in a factory. It was hard as I didn’t have enough money to rent my own place so I had to sofa-surf, but I couldn’t stay longer than a couple of weeks at each place. To make things worse, I had an accident at the factory and badly injured my hand, so I was unable to continue working there.
I moved to Rotherham to look for work and that's where I met my partner, Monika, who is also from Slovakia. We now have four children: Sheffcat (9), Simona (6), Simon (2) and Dezideria (10 months).
A year ago, we moved to Sheffield. We like Sheffield, it’s a very nice city and the people are friendly. In December 2016, we found a tiny studio flat in Winn Gardens, a housing estate in the north west of the city.
The flat we moved into was completely empty; we didn’t have a single piece of furniture or any appliances. Our son, Simon, was on formula milk but we had no fridge to store the milk. He became very ill and started losing a lot of weight. I turned to the council for help and they assigned us a social worker. It was our social worker who put us in contact with Jane, who works on the estate.
She immediately rallied the community and her church, who all helped to get us the essentials we needed, including a fridge and a stove.
It’s also thanks to her that I have a job as a security guard. I had to do a course to get my qualifications but I didn’t have enough money to pay for it. Jane told me not to worry and sure enough, she got funding for me. I now work as a security guard at the local football stadium. I love my job.
Jane has helped in so many other ways too. She’s always popping in to see how we are, often bringing clothes, nappies, books and toys for our children. The children absolutely adore Jane. Our older kids go to Jane’s after school club on a Monday. They learn a lot about Jesus through Bible stories, songs and games, and they’re always excited to tell us all about it. They also attend the homework club Jane runs on the estate, which helps them to improve their reading, writing and maths. We’re very grateful for the help, as Monika and I don’t have the English language skills to be able to help them with their homework. They can also use the computer, books and resources at the club, which we don’t have at home.
About a year ago, my family and I started attending community church on the estate and we decided to follow Jesus. I’m a new person now, I’ve changed a lot. I wanted to mark this change by getting baptised. Jane baptised Monika and I together and it was a special day, filled with happiness. Being Christians has made us much stronger as a couple. Around Christmas last year, our children were baptised too. Jane has been the angel watching over our family since we first moved here.
Before coming to faith, we were quite isolated and didn’t know many people. We’re now friendly with lots of our neighbours. I try to give back to my community through volunteering – I help Jane in the kitchen and at the food bank, take part in litter-picking days on the estate, and give a hand at the children’s club. Jesus died for our sins, so the least we can do is change and try to be more like him.
You can support our life-changing work and help more people like Dezider by donating online.
Don't miss out on hearing stories like Dezider's - sign up for free and receive our next Catalyst magazine posted straight through your door.
You can also read more stories of transformation here.