A Polish Boy from Chicago
My older brother Marian ran away from home when I was ten years old, he was only thirteen. He became a gang leader in Chicago and was involved in murder, counterfeiting, drugs and theft. I saw how he was trapped in this lifestyle which included heavy smoking, drinking and having three marriages over the course of his life. My brother died early of lung cancer. He didn’t want to talk to anyone about Jesus Christ and the Bible for most of his life. I wasn’t looking for the answers to be found in Jesus either. I didn’t see how it helped anyone in my Church including my brother. I was brought up in a typical Polish home in Chicago and completed the required sacraments of infant baptism, confession, communion and confirmation by the time I was nine years old. I knew that God was in three persons and that the Son became a man through the virgin birth, but what did that mean for me? I didn’t understand much more, except that my sin separated me from God and did not know and believe in the Gospel of good news until I was a young teenager when I first heard the words of Jesus Christ directed at me. I came to a Friday night youth meeting in a church basement with many other teens and after some fun games they sang songs about Jesus which I laughed at. Then I listened to a teacher tell us what was said by Jesus to all of us. It surprised me, because I never knew that God was on my side and had died to rescue me. As a young teen, I wanted something more from my life and listened carefully to the fantastic promises of Jesus to change my life completely right now and forever. I personally believed in Jesus and His promises to me that night. It was a surrender of my trust to depend on Him alone for my eternal salvation, as well as for revolutionizing my life on Earth here and now. Before this, I believed that God was filming me and that I could be sent to Hell for all my sins when I died, regardless of all my efforts to change and to reform; I just might not be ì good enough î .
My life was completely changed and that was over fifty years ago. In all those years I have seen it happen to thousands and never met one person who wanted to go back to their old life unless they were ” fakers “.
” They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. ” 1 John 2: 19
None of us became perfect, but we were never the same again in our hearts which could now forgive and love others as we have been by Christ and the Holy Father. God the Holy Spirit now lived inside of us and gives us the power to be more than conquerers in overcoming our own flesh, the world’s evil system and even the devil himself.
In my Chicago High School, many of my teachers were Jewish agnostics. They were very interesting and I enjoyed their classes very much. They found out that I became a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ as a young teenager. My teachers would challenge me in class before all the other students; And though I knew that Jesus Christ changed my life and I never lost faith, I still wanted to know more about Him and why He alone could say He was the only way. Why would I say He was the only way to Heaven and not one of many ways as some of my teachers would say? Why did I believe what Jesus said about Heaven and Hell was true? Simple logic tells us that something is either true or it would have been in this case a dreadful lie. I was always open to every challenge. I also knew that nothing could be more important in life if this was all true. The Lord consistently answered all of my honest questions that came to my mind as I brought them to Him. My teachers philosophy however seemed to be, ì Search but donít find î ; But I did find from the beginning to the end that Jesus of Nazareth has no competitors in all of history. There was no other game in town. It was during the full course of my High School years in Chicago that I discovered more and more why Jesus Christ was so important for millions of individuals, nations and for me personally; And why true followers of His Word changed the world for the good and continue to do so today.
Welcome to MissionPoland. It is our prayer and hope to see Poland changed forever!
Come and join us.
A Polish Girl from Cracow
I would like to share with you of God’s presence in my life and His faithfulness. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 1: 6, ” Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ “.
I grew up in a Catholic family and did not know what it meant to be ” saved ” until I was 15 years old and when I went to a Church camp in my country Poland. This camp was part of an evangelistic youth movement in Poland which was started with the help of Campus Crusade for Christ. My husband Joe was part of this from the very beginning, it was his mission in Poland in the 1970’s. It was here where I heard the ” Four Spiritual Laws ” and became a follower of Jesus Christ. The second law upset me as I was a very religious person who didn’t consider herself a sinner. The Holy Spirit convicted me during the camp time and I was born again. I placed my faith in Christ alone and understood that He died in my place. I participated in the 1980’s and we met in America in 1990. We were married six months later. This recent picture below shows how God has blessed us.
How did the Lord bring us together ? I came to the United States, taking a break from my Theater studies at the University of Kraków. I was planning to have a career as a theater director. By this time I had already drifted from the Lord, after four years of University studies away from my high School fellowship group.
Satan is always working on you, looking for weakness and the right moment. My ” weaknesses” were the theater and being too open to new things, changes and new people. I was like ALICE IN WONDERLAND.
You may have heard about the story of the frog who was thrown into boiling water and jumped right out; But of you put the frog in cool water on a burning stove, he will sit there and die slowly. In this way I was caught up in the business of theater life, doing projects, watching plays, studying and strange relationships. I was falling slowly, slowly for four years and I was almost spiritually dead. I was still acting good, looking like a believer and having some sucess in my career, but with a painful emptiness in my heart.
It was so painful, because I once experienced a fruitful spiritual life; Unspeakable joy, peace and closeness with God. I was teaching other girls and leading others to faith by sharing the four spiritual laws. Now I couldn’t pray or read the Bible: doing this was so hard and awful. Remembering my past was like a dream and I even wondered; Was this me? I was miserable and like the frog dying slowly. I left my home town because I thought that maybe I just needed a break.
One week after my arrival to Chicago I met my husband to be, Joe. I had to deliver some political books to him from my brother who knew about Joe and his newsletter about the situation in Poland during martial law. We didn’t plan on spending more than five minutes together, but Someone had a different plan for us.
For both of us, this time in our memories was the most meaningful and joyful time of our lives, which we could never forget. We both had our own situations now and were amazed to come across one another at this time in our lives. On this first day we spent about eight hours talking and sharing like we couldn’t remember when for years.
In America I learned not only to read the Bible, but to love God’s Word. Through the study of Romans the joy of my salvation has returned. Mary Whelchel of the Moody Church was my first teacher. Here are some of the first things that I learned about God’s love and forgiveness.
The passage from the Bible that challenges me to leave my own little private world is the last two chapters of John.
Jesus meets with different disciples three times after His resurrection in these two chapters. Just before Jesus came the third time, Peter told some of the disciples that he’s going back to fishing, they went with Peter. Shouldn’t they have been planning an evangelistic outreach at this time ? They had two boats and a big net. Maybe they were thinking of going back to the fishing business. They returned to their nets where Jesus first found them. They fished all night without any success.
Jesus came to them and I like the way He did it – gently and lovingly. They were tired. Jesus called out to them from the shore where he was standing in the early misty morning, “ Friends, did you catch anything to eat ? ” Jesus tells them to throw the net on the other side of the boat and there is an abundance of fish ! Jesus is the One who provides.
Jesus then made breakfast for them. They ate together on the lake shore by the fire at the dawning of the day. It’s quite and they don’t dare ask questions.
But Jesus asked a question of Peter – the famous one. Do you Love me ? The question was directed at Peter but I think it was for everyone there and for us too.
I don’t think Peter didn’t realize how deep his relationship with the Lord should be. Maybe Peter didn’t feel worthy to be that close to the Lord. After all this time with Jesus, after the death and resurrection and after Peter’s denial of Jesus, he must have wondered if the Lord even wanted him back as a worker. Peter wasn’t feeling like the right person for the job anymore. The others with Peter also may have thought that they failed Jesus.
Jesus is not giving up on Peter, He’s asking again and again. ‘ Do you love Me’, helping Peter to come back to his first love.
Jesus is also repeating ‘ Feed My Lambs ’. ‘ Do you love Me – Take care of My sheep ’. To love Jesus is to take care of what matters to Him. People around us may not always be precious to us, but they are precious to Jesus.
To love Jesus is to take care of what matters to Him. If you love Jesus you cannot live in your own little private world.
There is one more thing that I’d like to share with you from my experiences on being in the mission field for seven years. We’ve done many different things: Christian Radio, Camps, Christian Bookstore, Conferences, Concerts, Newspapers, Trips to Poland.
What do we do when no one wants to hear what we have to say? It comes to something that we all know. Catch their curiosity with lives so well lived that they can no longer ignore that Jesus offers something they desperately need. Remember that when they stop listening they will still be watching.