As Tibor Miklos speaks to a classroom of high schoolers at Christian High in O’Fallon, he casts a smile over them and for a few minutes, there is a reverent silence in the room as Miklos talks about his love for Jesus and his dedication to making sure everyone has the opportunity to read [or hear] the Bible.
Miklos is blind due to retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that took his eyesight gradually over his lifetime, leaving him now only able to occasionally see tiny glimpses of light. But, for almost 20 years, that fact has not gotten in the way of his passion for spreading the gospel.
Miklos, a resident of Hungary, visits the United States every two years to speak to schools and churches in the hopes that he can stir passion in others to join his mission.
With a team of volunteers, he started a Christian organization called the Bartimeus Foundation in Budapest, Hungary. Through the organization, he and his team work with communities in Hungary, Romania and surrounding areas to help provide both daily necessities and faith-based needs.
“In the United States, you have God’s word and you are able to study it – there is nothing like that!” Miklos exclaimed. “You have great teachings, great pastors and many churches. All of that is such a great blessing, not to be taken for granted. God is using my blindness and my background to show the gospel to those who don’t get that privilege.”
Miklos lived his entire childhood and teen years in Orphanage 1, a children’s home in Romania where it’s estimated that from the 1960s until communism’s fall in 1989, over 500,000 children were beaten, starved and suffered intense neglect. At the time, Miklos still had his vision.
“Even the building we lived in had once been a prison, and it still felt that way inside,” Miklos said.
In 2015, Miklos contacted the Hungarian Bible Society to find a way to get the Bible into a format for individuals who were illiterate or who suffered from blindness. The Hungarian Bible Society gave him permission to get the Bible converted onto the Meta Voice, a dedicated electronic device that is prerecorded with the New Testament in various languages.
When Miklos’s team distributed the Bible in audio form during an outreach in a small village in Romania, a woman who could not read was one of the individuals to receive one. Three months later, she told Miklos she learned more about God in those three months than in the past 25 years of her life.
“Just to know this story, it is enough for me to continue to do what I am doing,” Miklos said. “Everyone should be able to read and study God’s word.”
Students who heard Miklos speak in October at Christian High were moved by the experience and by others that Miklos shared.
“It’s amazing what Tibor is doing,” Kenzie Steward, a sophomore, said. “Sometimes it’s hard for me to open my Bible every day and I see it as a chore, but after hearing Tibor, I yearn to read my Bible in that way.”
Sophomore Grant Overton added, “Through our difficulties, we need to find a way to worship God and to show worship in our lives.”
Miklos’s favorite scripture is Habakuk 3:17-18, a verse that mirrors his start in life: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Miklos added, “I choose–even in my difficulties, to believe in God and to follow his calling. This is real in my life.”