Tomislav's earliest memories are of gunfire and explosions. He was born at the start of the Balkan war in Osijek, Croatia. His city was surrounded on three sides by Serbian forces and more than a million land mines, but his family was too poor to move to a safer place.
When Tomislav turned two, the government took him away from his parents because they were deaf. Since then, he has been living with his grandparents who are extremely poor. By the time Tomislav was in high school, he was suffering from severe depression and attempted to take his own life.
Around that same time, Missionary Associates Aaron and Winnie Horvat arrived in Osijek and started running Zadarska 19, a youth center aimed at reaching young people just like Tomislav. One night, almost three years ago, a friend invited Tomislav to come to a meeting at Zadarska 19. At this meeting, he prayed to Jesus for the first time and his life was radically changed.
He says that he "now has joy and peace" and he wants to share the gospel with others. The Horvats say that Tomislav is the first person out the door to do street evangelism and the first volunteer to help with children's ministry events. His dream is one day to be a missionary to Japan.
AG World Missions Director Greg Mundis states, "We have experienced firsthand the power of the gospel in children's lives in Europe through the ministry of Europe's Children. Tomislav's testimony certainly reflects the work of the Holy Spirit in children that touches their families, schools and opens hearts up to dream to become a missionary."
The Horvats designated the summer of 2012 as the summer of Extreme Missions for their youth group. Students were called to extreme evangelism, extreme service and extreme sacrifice. Tomislav immediately knew that he had to go on the mission's trip with his youth group this summer. When he heard that his team would do an energetic drama for kids with a clear gospel message called "The Puzzle," he said, "I am going and I want to be the flashlight man!" Winnie says, "It would be a good role for Tomislav because he loves to shine the light of Jesus."
However, Tomislav recently came to the Horvats asking if he needed a passport for the trip this summer, which he does. "I am not sure if I can go. I have saved money for the trip, but I have nothing extra to get a passport because I must help my grandparents," he says. His grandparents are now too old to work, and he helps to pay for their needs. The Horvats spoke in faith, telling him "Tomislav, you'll go on this trip. God will provide the money for you." His face lit up. "If I have a passport, no question, I go!"
Europe's Children is supporting Tomislav and other youth in Croatia this summer whose hearts desire to share the love of Christ with children in Europe.
"Less than half of one percent of Croatians consider themselves evangelical Christians," Mundis states. "Overall, 80 million children in Europe need the gospel. Imagine with us if only one percent of them would be saved, filled with the Spirit, and receive a passion to become missionaries? We pray for many more Tomislavs and missionary associates like the Horvats."
To learn more about Europe's Children, click here.