The Stoyko family was amongst some of the pioneers of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement Australasian Union, who came from Europe in the late 1950’s. The Stoyko family knew what it was like to start life anew with nothing, and that made them very attentive to the needs of others. Their hospitality was experienced by many, their home was always opened to visitors, and even became the first home to many who immigrated here from Europe, especially the Slavs. The Lord has truly blessed Sr. Stoyko, and we are privileged to have her with us at Schofields Church, and so grateful to God that she is now able to join the “90’s” Club. What a blessing!
We would like to share something of Terezija’s life with you, as expressed by her daughter Maryanne:
Terezija Stoyko grew up on a farm in Yugoslavia in the Ivastinovic family, being woken up at 5am to look after cows from the age of seven and working on the farm in her teenage years. From the age of eight, she lived through the Second World War – a traumatic experience which saw soldiers from opposing sides passing through and occupying their home, forcing the whole family into one room, which they did, and took whatever they wanted, leaving the family with little food to eat. But even though these were trying times, they prayed, and God looked after them, and preserved them as a family.
When she was little, she would sing a song about Australia with her sister, Mara, and said, I wish to be able to go there one day. Well, little did she know that her wish would come true, upon marrying and eventually settling in Sydney in 1957 with her husband Teodor and first-born son, Michael, who was 18 months old at the time.
Life wasn’t easy – on arrival in Australia you lived in a house with 4 bedrooms. Each bedroom was home to one family—imagine sharing the kitchen and bathroom with so many others! At one point in time, they lived in Br Heslop’s home in Annandale. Finally, a home was purchased in Ashfield – close walking distance to church in Summer Hill, which was a similar walking distance as were the churches she attended in her youth.
She found it difficult at Summer Hill church with English being the second language – Sr Haynes and Sr Stewart used to talk to her, and she would wish they would just leave her alone, as she was unable to communicate. But she was glad that they continued to talk to her, as she started English language studies at nighttime and would use the Yugoslav and English Bibles to compare verses whilst studying the Sabbath School Lesson, which helped her immensely with her ability to comprehend and read English.
As the family continued to grow – Joe, John, MaryAnne & Helena being born, the hard work continued. She always gave her best, to whomever it may be, being part of the kitchen cooking team at Auburn during delegation and conference time. As the children grew and moved on with their lives, she was so thrilled to welcome the 7 grandchildren as they were born. It has also been a great blessing to see her 9 great-grandchildren born.
The hard work from a young age started to take its toll, age slowing her down, but never dampening her spirits or preventing her from trying to make up a new recipe in the kitchen, even in her 80’s. Her pita (walnut roll) and bread has been famous for years, and she has passed on her kitchen skills by teaching others. The grandchildren used to say, ‘Baka, you should open up a pizza shop,’ because it was just so delish! ‘My time has passed for that,’ would be her reply.
When she saw her mother arrive in Sydney at the age of 60, she thought she was old. Little did she think that she would be blessed to reach the age of 90! My Mum has been a blessing to so many, giving as she has received, praying to live the life that God would have her live.
Restrictions have temporarily halted her family from gathering to be with her during this milestone, but she praises God for His watch care, protection and leading, praying to be among those saved in His kingdom where there will be no more sin, and she will be youthfully immortal, with her Saviour.