Vlado Lentz was born in Croatia and moved to Denmark when he was nine years old. He’s been a police officer for almost 38 years now and has been on Danish television programs about the police force. He came to faith eleven years ago and now uses his fame and status to talk about Jesus.
Before Vlado got to know Jesus, he was skeptical of the Christian faith. About thirteen years ago, his wife met someone at the daycare of their children. This person was a member of their local Pentecostal church. Vlado’s wife became friends with her and eventually started coming to church with her. “I wasn’t a part of it from the beginning. Actually, I didn’t want to be a part of it,” says Vlado.
A couple of years passed. During this time, Vlado’s wife organized home groups where they did Bible study. In the summer of 2011, her home group was studying the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. While Vlado and his wife were on holiday, it rained a lot. “I didn’t bring any books or anything, so I went to see what books she had with her. And that was the book she had with her, and the Bible.”
So Vlado started reading that book, because he didn’t have anything else to read. “It really got into me. The way he was talking about where we come from, and the purpose of our living, and so on. And all the time he was quoting the Bible.” Vlado started looking up those quotes, and that is how he started reading the Bible.
“I felt a strange feeling of coming home.”
When they came home from their holiday, Vlado went to church with his wife for the first time. When they were in church, Vlado was amazed by the atmosphere. “I felt a strange feeling of coming home, that I was a part of something that I hadn’t felt before. The music and the songs they were playing really touched me.” After that first service, Vlado was interested and started coming every Sunday. He was 51 years old at that point.
Vlado has been in the Danish police force for almost 38 years now. But he didn’t always want to be a police officer. “I wanted to be a part of the army and have a career there, but when I was there about three years, I found out: ‘I’m not sure this is me.’ I needed to do something else.” So Vlado stopped with the army and worked several different jobs the next few years.
“I met one of my colleagues from the army, and he was at the police force.” The colleague asked Vlado if he wanted to join the police force, because he thought it would be good for him. At the beginning, Vlado wasn’t sure, but he went to talk with the police anyway. “When I left the police station, I had applied to start at the police academy.”
At the police force, Vlado found his place. The work matched with his personality and preferences. “I like to work outside, be in contact with people, making a difference.”
In the beginning when Vlado became a Christian, he didn’t tell his colleagues. “I was kind of quiet about that, because I thought they would be skeptical about it. I was not comfortable in the beginning to talk about it, because I was not all sure what it was about and how it was going to end.” A couple of years later, an article about Vlado was published in a Christian Danish newspaper. Some of his colleagues found the article, and started asking questions about Vlado being a Christian. This opened the door for Vlado to talk about it.
“I like to have a relationship with people and talk with them.”
Now, Vlado is much more comfortable talking about his faith. “I talk about it in public, I’ve been interviewed a lot of times in the media, I post about it on my Instagram, things like that. But I am still not the person who is like: ‘I want to come here and tell you about Jesus.’ I like to have a relationship with people and talk with them.”
He notices that his colleagues now come to him and start asking questions about his church and his faith. When they found out he was a Christian, it opened the door for more personal conversations. “I realized, after they found out, some of them came to me and talked to me about personal problems. I think they find it easy to talk with me about things in their life.” Vlado explains that as a police officer, it is very important that you know your colleagues. “Sometimes you actually trust them with your life.”
Thirteen years ago, Vlado was part of a Danish television program called Politijagt, or Police Chase. This tv program opened a lot of doors for him. “Today, I have no doubt that that was part of Gods plan,” he says. It gave him the opportunity to talk with people, in churches and outside. Many people are a bit wary when they see a policeman, but because they recognize Vlado from the tv, they often come to him to chat. “It gives me the privilege to sometimes talk to people directly about faith, in all kinds of areas.”
A changed perspective
His faith has changed Vlado’s perspective on people. “Before, sometimes I was looking at people like: ‘He’s a criminal.’ Now I know there is always a person. Not that I didn’t know it before, but it is more obvious to me now. They are people, they have a life, they’re coming from somewhere. God opened my mind to see the person behind, instead of just looking what they’ve done.”
Vlado explains that his job is not always fun, but can sometimes be very tough. “There’s people dying, there’s people doing suicides, there’s traffic accidents, kids living in homes that are not very good for them.” Before, Vlado would sometimes wonder why those things were happening. “Now I know God will take care of it. In His way, in His plan. My part of it is just to be in that situation and do what I can do for these people.”
“It is not about me, it is about the thing I bring with me.”
Vlado has experienced several times that when he arrives somewhere, the atmosphere changes. He tells about how aggressive people sometimes calm down when they see him. “It is not about me, it is about the thing I bring with me.”
The most important thing Vlado has learned in his life is getting to know Jesus. “If you don’t know Jesus, just get curious, and try to find out who He is, what He comes from, what He means to us. If you do that, the rest will come. If you know Him, He will make a huge change in your life. Find out who He is.”
“Doesn’t matter what happens, doesn’t matter what I do, He will always be there.”
When Vlado got to know Jesus, it changed not only his perspective on people, but also on Jesus Himself. “He is a person to me now. Of course I knew who Jesus was before, it was a person from the Bible, about Christmastime, that was it. I know so much now, He’s a friend, He’s always with me, I can always speak to Him, I can always trust Him, He will never leave me. Doesn’t matter what happens, doesn’t matter what I do, He will always be there. I can always turn to Him and talk about everything in my life.”
“It is a big comfort, especially when you are in the world we are living in now, to know somebody who is always there and who has a plan with it.” Vlado doesn’t worry about all of the crises happening around the world. “I know God is in control. The things will come out as He wants them to. It gives me peace and comfort to know that God has everything in His hand, me and everybody else.”
One thing that amazed Vlado about Jesus is that he answers. “In all kinds of ways, it doesn’t have to be a voice that you can hear. It can be through the Bible, through the people you meet, through music you hear.”
“There is a purpose specifically for your life.”
He concludes with an encouraging message, especially for young people: “There is a purpose. A purpose specifically for your life. I wish I knew that many years before.”