"Just keep giving out the Word," says Richard Zawadzki. "You never know what God will do with it!" Richard knows what God did with His word contained in a gospel tract given to him by a coworker. It changed his life.
He was hooked on Heavy Metal Rock music and thought he was heading for a big party in hell. One day, he was on a delivery run with a weird coworker named Bob who stood over 6 feet tall, weighed 300 pounds and taught Sunday school.
As they talked, Bob asked, "Those bands that you listen to, they all portray hell as a big party where the Devil's sort of a ring leader?"
Richard said, "Yeah."
"It's not true. The Bible describes it as a place of eternal torment." He said it with such compassion, that Richard could not take offense. To this day, Richard still remembers the impact of that statement.
When they parted, Bob gave Richard a couple of tracts. One was THIS WAS YOUR LIFE, by Jack Chick. Richard promised Bob that he would read them. Looking back, Richard says, "Do you know what he did? He planted a gospel seed!"
Richard did not know that his girlfriend, Kerry, had prayed the night before that God would do something in his life. If not, she planned to break the relationship. When he called her that night, he told her what had happened that day.
"She was calm on the phone," Richard remembers. "But when she hung up I know she was doing Glory Cartwheels!" Kerry had trusted Christ as her Saviour several years before but was backslidden at the time.
A few weeks later, the planted seed began to grow. "We need to get to church," Richard told Kerry. "Why don't you see what time that little white church has Mass?"
She checked and reported back that the service started at 11:00 am. Richard thought that was strange. Mass had always been at 8:00 am. But he replied, "That's great. I can sleep 'til 10:30."
That is how they came to be sitting in the pew at Mountain View Baptist Church in Holyoke, Massachusetts on February 19, 1995.
Richard remembers: "We sat and listened and I enjoyed the preaching. It was good, hard preaching. (Kerry later told me that she was praying, 'Please don't let him hate it!') We enjoyed the service, but I left the service lost."
The next Sunday Richard responded to "an old fashioned invitation." Since then the booze, heavy metal music, and pornography has been replaced with a call to the ministry.
Richard and Kerry are now in their junior year at Bible College. Richard is student body president, works a bus route, teaches Sunday school and is an inspiration to the other students.
Why the change? "One day a co-worker just simply, in compassion and love for my soul, gave me a tract," says Richard.