David Drab is a young man from Liberec, Czech Republic, who was impacted by the ministry of Ignite during a Czech national youth camp called Kristfest. This is his story:
I have always struggled with a feeling of inadequacy. I used to be compared to my sisters and my friends, and to their accomplishments in school and subsequently at the workplace. I would always hear phrases like: “He or she did an amazing job, why didn‘t you?” This went on for a while and even more so during my high school years. I wanted to be accepted so badly; I was always trying to show off and impress my friends; I thought that people would respect me and admire me as someone who was popular, good with girls and fun-to-be with at parties. And that is what I used to do – going to parties, getting drunk, flirting with girls and giving reports to my friends the next day, desiring their appreciation and words of approval. And they always would. So I accomplished what every high schooler would desire, I had friends, girls, and parties. But deeply inside, I was desperate and empty, longing for something else.
I was raised in a Christian family; I went to a Christian primary school and I went to church every week. Even though it sounds ideal, it really wasn’t. I could not define who I was and moreover what church meant to me because it seemed to be a bunch of rules, which I did not want to follow. Despite my ignorance of God, I would go to church every Sunday and act like a Christian there. One summer, my Christian friends asked me to go to a Kristfest, a Christian camp, and I decided to go. So I went and at the end of this week-long camp, I had a weird feeling that I had never felt before – I wanted to change the way I lived. I felt guilty, I wanted to stop partying and define who I was in spite of my accomplishments and failures. I arrived back home filled with a passion for God and a determination to change. I stopped partying and I worked hard in school. However, it took only two weeks before I fell back into my old lifestyle.
The next summer I went to this camp again and I felt guilty again and I wanted to change again. But I came home and being surrounded by my friends, I was unable to break my old habits. This went on for few summers until at one camp Jason Vana, the Ignite Founder, came up to me; I was expecting small talk, the usual, “how are you, where are you from,” etc.
However, the message he shared literally shocked me. He looked at me and told me to stop always looking around, comparing myself to others, worrying about public opinion. Instead, he told me to be cool for Christ, because He loved me and wanted me to follow Him. What shocked me about it was that this guy had never seen me before; he had no clue what I was doing back home.
So after this conversation, I prayed earnestly for the very first time in my life. I prayed that God would help me because I realised I had not been able to do it on my own before; so why would it be different this time? Yet, after I went home, I was invited to spend some time in the USA, away from my friends, parties, girls, drinking and everything else. During that period, when I was not in Czech, Jesus began to reveal to me how much He loved me and how I was accepted by Him no matter how successful, smart or handsome I was. I was brought to tears realizing how sinful I was. I was expecting punishment for everything, but Jesus wanted me only to honestly repent and to believe in Him with everything I have.
So this is my story – I do not need to share with anybody what I have accomplished, nor do I need to look cool in front of other people. God has transformed my heart and filled me with an enormous amount of love and joy and I finally feel accepted and not empty anymore. Yes, I still sometimes struggle with comparison and confidence, but Jesus has shown me that there is a meaningful life in Him and that I can be myself without proving it to people around me.