My favorite part of working here at the Shelter is getting to see God at work in the lives of people. In the Shelter, we sometimes see people surrender their hearts to God. Adam was one of those people.
“I came to Amsterdam for a weekend holiday. After my weekend ended I thought I might stay and try to find a job. My friend suggested that I should work for accommodation at a hostel and recommended the Shelter hostels. She warned that it was a Christian hostel, but I decided to go for an interview anyways. The day I was about to leave Amsterdam, I got a call offering me a position on the housekeeping team at the Shelter City.
I was scared about the Christian thing. I did not believe, but I had been desperately looking to find God for two years. Even though the Christian thing made me hesitate, I took the job. Normally I was too high to focus on the lessons, but the 1st one I remember was about the parable of the seed and the fertile, rocky and bad soil. I thought to myself ‘wow, there must be something to this, and I want to be the good soil’.
That night I was given a new testament in Polish, and as I lay in bed holding it, all I could think was ‘who kept this away from me for so long.’ I knew something weird was going on inside of me, and that it must be related to this. I had to know more about God. But I was scared to accept it. He said, “I AM” so he really must be. But, because I was too afraid to accept it, I kept busy so that I wouldn’t have to think about it. All I knew about the Bible was from our cleaner devotions, Bible discussions, and evening prayer times.
One day I went out to the coffee shop. I was thinking about all of this stuff, and felt I was not ready to take a leap of faith to believe. I told God that I wanted Him to reveal himself to me and that I needed to see Him.
A little while after that I started to have a panic attack. I thought I was dying and my only thought was ‘Only Jesus can save you’. I thought that was weird so I went outside to get some fresh air. And right in front of me was a woman with a sign that said ‘Only Jesus can save you’. This freaked me out. I stopped smoking to see if it was just the drugs. But I could not shake off that thought ‘Only Jesus can save you.’ So I started to pray about it and ask God for an explanation. One of the managers encouraged me not to be afraid, but to keep praying until something happened.
At this point I believed that God was real, but I still did not understand the importance of Jesus. I never thought I was a sinner because I did not believe in sin. But I started to read about sin in the Bible. I asked one of the staff members what her favorite passages was from the Bible. She said Isaiah 53 because of how much love she saw in it. I could not see any of the ‘love’ she talked about until I watched part of The Passion of the Christ. Then it made sense. I felt like I did not deserve this love, but the same staff member assured me that salvation is by God’s grace alone, we are all undeserving.
I wanted to be the good soil from the parable, so I thought I would give it a try. It seemed impossible to believe that all I had to do was really believe and say that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Those words were too big for me to say, but I did it.
I felt no change, so I began to question the sincerity of my prayer. That night, I spoke to one of the night receptionists about it. I prayed again with him and another staff member. This time it was different. I was so anxious that night. While we were praying I was crying and repeated ‘I need you in my life God’ over and over. And I truly believed it. All my anxiety disappeared, and I was so happy. I thought to myself, ‘Whoa I did this!’ I started reading my Bible more and asked God to help me understand, and He did!
My fear had gone. The only thing that scared me was that my faith was too small, that I would lose it. But I know that God won’t let me go. At first I did not think that I changed at all, but I have. It was God at work all the time. The way I look at life, at people, everything has changed so dramatically. I’m so convinced that everything in the Bible is true. It’s funny because sometimes I will be talking to people about God and I can’t believe what I am saying, and I will have answers from the Bible, and I think, “Wow, how can everything change so quickly?!”
Everyday I am learning something new about God. The questions that I used to ask God did not matter anymore. I like to think, but at the end of the day, faith is faith. Knowing all of this and seeing the change in my life, how can I not believe? I am ready to do whatever God asks me to.”