Life by grace
my name is Franz Orasch and I was born in 1963 in Bregenz/Vorarlberg. My mother comes from the Gurktal in Kärnten, but she went to switzerland when she was 17. My father is from spain and he was part of the foreign legion in france. After he heard that my mother was pregnant with me, he tried to escape but he was captured. After my mother married my first stepfather in 1965, we moved to Marchtrenk in Oberösterreich where I grew up. This marriage resulted in me getting two younger sisters.
When I was about 10 years old, my mother divorced and married again. My 2nd stepfather was widower and had two sons. Therefore two families were living in the same house and we learned to ignore the other people. As a family we never did anything together, not a single trip oder holiday. We also had very few guests in our house.
Jesaja 65,1: I am sought of [them that] asked not [for me]; I am found of [them that] sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation [that] was not called by my name.
Epheser 2,8-10: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Thanks to the mercy of my teachers I was able to finish my compulsory school after which I made a apprenticeship as a glazier which I successfully finished. In my polytechnical course I was in the worst class of a huge school. My problems were so huge that I made a deal with god. He should bring me through school and I would pray and read the bible everyday. How to pray I didn‘t knew even tough I grew up as part of a catholic family. Interestingly I felt that each time I talked with god there was somebody with me who was listening. I sensed that there was a person to whom I had no access and I couldn’t figure out who it was. But I realised that this „Person“ was looking after me and apparently it had accepted my deal. After my school was over, my deal with god was over as well and I walked my own way again.
In the last lesson of religion, in the third year of my vocational school, the religious teacher killed the little faith in God that I had. Somehow we started talking about Adam and Eve. And then the religion teacher asked us if we really believed that they had ever lived? Of course, we all eagerly agreed that Adam and Eve never existed and that the whole story is just a story. At that moment, my little faith in God died and my life went really downhill.
Between the age of 18 and 22, there were many things that changed my life negatively. I began to practice various martial arts and therefore became anxious over time. With meditation and other Asian methods I tried to fight this fear, unfortunately without success. I got more and more anxiety and suffered from insomnia. I saw things that did not exist and things that existed I did not see. My family doctor, whom I told one day, gave me some pills and explained that every fourth person has these things in his life and that this is not so bad. After about 14 days, I threw the tablets away - I would rather be sick than my whole life dependend on tablets.
I was everywhere, where I could be against something, for example at the founding of the first unemployment self-help center in Austria (ALSH-Wels). I had contact with many people and groups. I also spent five years in the Catholic Workers Youth (KAJ). We were a really good and active group. Without these friends my life would have been even worse.
Over the years, a dream of a simple and uncomplicated life built up in my heart. I wanted to live on a farm in the mountains, with a few sheep and no electricity. I didn‘t want TV or radio because I didn’t wanted to hear advertisements all the time. A homeless man who innocently got stuck on a LSD trip as a student told me about an elderly couple in the Katschberg region in Kärnten. They would live like that and I could live with them.
From 1985 I worked in a company in Wels - Thalheim. At the beginning of June 86, I overslept and had to wait for the next bus from Marchtrenk to Wels. When I arrived in Wels, I missed the city bus to Thalheim. Since it was a very nice and sunny day, I decided to walk to my workplace. First, I went through the old town and then along a river. It was about 9:30 am when I saw the big company sign on the roof from a distance. Then I sat down on a bench and thought about it. If I want to change anything in my life, then I must do it now. So, I sat on the bench and saw the company sign on my right, if I went there, then my life would go on as before and that was not very positive. To my left was Wels and the bus home, which meant a radical cut in my life, with an uncertain outcome.
I sat on this bench for more than an hour, thinking, then I got up and went back to Wels. I drove home, immediately quit work and went to Kärnten on this farm. When I left Marchtrenk, I internally left my old life behind. I finished my old life and knew that I needed a new life now, but I did not know where from. In Marchtrenk, with my family and friends, I did not want to be anymore. Greece was the paradise for dropouts at that time. But I had no money and no passport. So for now I went to Kärnten, that was already heading south.
On the doorstep of this couple, I was told that these are Christians who read and pray in the Bible every day. I was terrified because I had nothing to do with God and the church, but I could not leave. I had no money and was somewhere in the Katschberg area at about 1000 m. The nearest bus stop was 7 km away and the nearest train station was in Spital / Drau and over 30 km away.
When I was only there for a few days, I knew that I heard the truth here and I understood God answers prayer. I now had to choose between the psychiatrist (who was waiting for me sometime in the future) or Jesus Christ, the son of God, who wants to give me a new life.
At 8:00 pm on August 1st, 1986, I went to my knees and prayed about the following prayer:
Lord Jesus, if you exist, then you are holy and I am a sinner. I do not know if you really exist, but if you exist, I ask forgiveness for my sins. Forgive me and cleanse me. If you think you can do anything with my life then I'll give you all of it, I cannot do anything with it anyway. You can have my life and do whatever you want with it. Amen.
After that I went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I was completely healed psychologically. I got a new life from God. After that, I went back to my knees and prayed about the following prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am excited. You are awesome and thank you. I want you to use me. Send me somewhere where I can tell people about what you did with me. Amen.
Since then, my life has changed radically. I was completely empty inside, as I had left my old life in Oberösterreich. God could fill this empty vessel with love, peace and joy. Now I had contact with the person I had already experienced as a 15-year-old during the crisis in my school days.
During a prayer time God showed me that I should go to Dornbirn in Vorarlberg. At the end of February 1987, I came to Dornbirn and then lived for more than 6 years in the "Kaplan Bonetti House (former house of young workers)". Three days after my arrival in Vorarlberg I went to the Free Christian Community in Dornbirn, where I also became a member.
In 1998 I met Kerstin from Kamenz in Saxony (former GDR). After only 6 months we got married. After her training as an office clerk, she attended Malche Bible School and became deaconess in the deaconess motherhouse Zion in Aue. From 1993-96 she was a volunteer in Israel. When I met her, she had already left Zion and was a member of the Jesus church in Grossenhain. She died of a brain tumor in February 2016.
In the spring of 2005, I was ordained ministerial assistant to the FCGÖ. Also around this time, God sent us as a family to Feldkirch to found a new church here. In 2010, we were officially registered as a municipality in the network of the FCGÖ and recognized by the state. Until 2014, I volunteered to run the FCG-Feldkirch, which now has the status of a church in the framework of the "Free Churches in Austria - FKÖ". On January 1, 2015, the FCG-Feldkirch with church status became the independent free church "Leben durch Christus", which I continue to lead on an honorary basis.
On 24/25 July 2020 I married my Internet acquaintance "Maria", a sister from the Vinyard parish in Aachen(D).
God bless you