Last Monday near Zurich, as I reached to open the taxi door, the driver beat me too it and opened it with a welcoming smile as I took my seat next to him. A nameplate on the dash stated, “Milan *” with his last name being clearly Eastern European. So the conversation began, in funny German, as he spoke a funny High German, and me with my funny Swiss German (or whatever the German that comes out of my mouth)! Obviously not Swiss, I asked where he was from and the proud Czech native didn’t hesitate to share he was from the Czech Republic, although having been in Switzerland for a long time. He returned the same question, then complimented me that most Americans, Canadians and British don’t speak German…or anything other than English for that matter. I agreed. Since I travel a lot, I complimented his beautiful Prague, and also the nearby sister country of Slovakia, where I often go to Bratislava. His smile was contagious as was his friendliness. He was a bit older than I, later finding out he was 63, with a wife of 17 years, the same age as his 17 year old son, although he and his wife were together more than a decade prior to making it “official”, thus about 30 years together now in total.
There was something about him, that seemed different, a familiar friendliness that wasn’t just from two “Auslaenders” (foreigners who are comfortable with Switzerland, although I do have a Swiss passport, my language skills give another impression) connecting with simple small talk. Looking around, I noticed on the dashboard a small cross, and another hanging from the mirror, although that doesn’t always mean much in Switzerland where crosses are readily found all over the country. However on the dashboard was a small little “box” looking golden booklet that had the words, “Echtes Gold” (pure gold). I took the bait and reached forward opening it while at the same time stating the words, “Echtes Gold”, then seeing various Bible verses within, and Milan, the driver, quickly pointing out that those were God’s Words, verses from the Bible. I then stated, “Actually, I too know this “Echtes Gold”, Jesus, and yes, He is truly pure gold in my life”. The already friendly smiling Milan, now came alive with enthusiasm as he shared “HIS STORY”….without hesitation! Within 30 minutes, the rest of this ride and then the ride back to the office, God simply made my day (week, actually) in showing me insight in how He is still in the business of changing lives and making a difference in real ways in people with faith, hope and love.
Milan grew up on the other side of the Iron Curtain in a beautiful country and culture under the thumb of a foreign power (his statement, not mine). He was a self called atheist, as he was told to be, and didn’t think there was much real purpose or hope in life aside of what’s seen, which definitely wasn’t perfect. He and his woman, shared love and life and tried to make the best of it, even leaving their homeland to try and have a more successful life elsewhere…..and Switzerland was/is a beautiful and rich country to go to. The short version is that after years of getting ahead, and still not really feeling fulfilled, they attended an Alpha Course (a course churches often offer to introduce faith and a relationship to God, not just religion). Being invited to that course by of some of their friends, changed their lives forever…….not to mention that about the same time, after clearly NOT wanting to bring a child into this atheist world, Milan found out that he was to become a daddy. The two found and experienced Jesus, their own son and even true marriage all in same year………17 years ago.
Today, he is still smiling and sharing that life changing experience any chance he gets. This is what I call; LIVING HIS FAITH AND GIVING IT AWAY! Milan’s story is still being written, so is yours and so is mine. What a reminder and great example, even in his workplace, of being a light for Jesus to those he encounters!
In His grip and grace,