Nick Szkiler

Profession: Musician

My father came from Poland.  At the age of fifteen, he was taken by the Germans to work as slave labour on a farm.  When the Germans were short of troops, he was even conscripted into the German Army to fight against the allies of his country.  Providentially however, he was able to escape, and joined the allied army.  After the war he settled in Huddersfield, where he was employed in the textile industry.

When I grew up, after a spell as a disc jockey, I joined the motor trade and became a Director of a Jaguar dealership before I launched out in 1992 to indulge my passion for vintage cars.  Liz and I married in 1978, and in 1979 we went through the painful experience of losing twins late in her first pregnancy.  Our first child, Victoria, was born in 1981 with Down’s Syndrome.  So there we were, a couple of heartbroken kids who had lost their precious babies and then had a disabled child.  Little did I know that Victoria was to become one of our life’s greatest blessings.  We had two sons, James and Richard, and adopted our daughter Gabriella whose mother had died very young.  Few people understand how bringing up a disabled child places a great strain on a marriage.  By 1996 I was heading the way many men go in their forties and we had reached the point where we were ready to split up.

But my brother Paul, who had become a Christian, had been praying for us.  I gave my life to the Lord, sitting with Paul in a Range Rover.  Almost as soon as I began to read the Bible, I read ‘Do not break faith with the wife of your youth’ in the book of Malachi.  It was as if those words were written for me.  They jumped off the page and I knew God was speaking to me.  I promised the Lord I would stick with my marriage.  It was a miracle.  Almost as if I had been given back the wife of my youth.  I began to understand how my long hours at work had taken so much from my family, and that I was responsible for the near breakdown of my marriage.  In summer 2008 Liz & I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in Krakow.  We are as much in love now as we were as teenagers.  I am blessed with a beautiful, compassionate wife whose heart is for the disabled, especially those with learning difficulties whom she teaches.  I often now say to men, “Whenever you see something in your wife that you don’t like, ask yourself what it is about you that caused it.”

After five years of being a Christian business man I felt dissatisfied that business took up so much of my time that I had little time for God.  So I decided to give God two days of each week.  I had a sense of excitement as I surrendered to God unconditionally in a way I had never done before.  Amazing things began to happen.  The Lord brought a stream of people into my life that were either sick, terminally ill, or recently widowed.  I had many opportunities to talk to them about Jesus, and to pray with them with marvellous results.  A man called to ask me to lay hands on him as he had cancer.  He had heard I had prayed for a man from Beverley with cancer, who had been healed.  I explained that it was Jesus, continuing his ministry today through those who know him.  Later I sold two cars over the telephone; the Lord was looking after the business!

So now I find myself as a business man evangelist, mentor, teacher called to serve those God brings to me.  At the end of 2007 my brother Paul and I handed over the running of the vintage car business to my eldest son, James.  I am now working with John Gaughan, a Christian singer and song-writer who has worked with some top bands.  We have formed Gilead Music.  We work with musicians whose lives have almost been destroyed by alcohol.  We make beautiful music and, in the process, God heals their lives and sets them free.  All that matters is to live the life that God has planned for me.Â