Following is an update on my friend Laura’s trip to Eastern Europe. She begins her journey home tomorrow. There is a great need in Poland for English teachers who will share the gospel and their lives as well.
Wow, is Poland ever different from 27 years ago! Back then everything in Eastern Europe came in varying shades of gray. Cars and buses were dingy and dirty, apartment buildings were gray and in disrepair, and peoples clothes were even old and worn. Their faces matched the gloom around them. But now it’s quite the colorful place. The buildings have been refaced and it starts to feel like you are in a perpetual Disneyland. The old cars have been replaced with Audis, VWs and Mercedes. Sometimes you might think you’re in Germany and sometimes it looks like Illinois.
Our first day here was Easter Sunday and church started at noon. It’s traditional to have a big breakfast on Easter, plus the time changed overnight so they pushed church back an hour. Church is just a 10 minute walk, plus our hosts don’t have a car. Bus transportation in this city is free as well. The congregation is very small, maybe 40 people. The city sold the church group a plot of land a stone’s throw away for pennies on the dollar. The plan is to put up a building where they will hold English classes as well as hold church. Teaching English is a huge draw and it is the bridge to building relationships. They need close to a million US dollars to build, which is nearly impossible for 40 people to pull off.
In another city 45 minutes away, the government gave a huge building to a church because during WWII the church was confiscated by the Nazis then taken over by the communists. Because the church was able to prove this, the government gave them a building as restitution. This is a great opportunity for more outreach of a similar kind. The building is undergoing renovation and already, and since November, English classes have begun. A missionary couple from the Philippines has moved there and a local couple has come to faith for the first time. Once advertising begins for teaching English, students will come in droves, but they have to hold off for lack of teachers.
Last night was the night I spoke here in Lubin at the tiny church. There were about 30 people there, mostly the church members but a handful of English students came as well. At the end of my talk someone offered New Testaments and challenged attendees to read the gospel of Luke during the month of April. Afterward we took part in good conversations between the missionaries and students. I spoke to one lady who had arrived late and had missed my talk. I gave her my printed speech to take home. We talked about religion. She has attended a church, but is not sure about some of its teachings. She is clearly looking for truth but wonders if all religions point to God. I explained that Islam clearly states that Jesus is not God, and Hinduism has many gods and they will even accept Jesus as one of them. Then I told her that Jesus said he was God, and proved it by rising from the dead. How can we not believe the words of someone who does that? She believes Jesus died and rose and agreed that is proof of his deity. She said she would read the New Testament because she has tried to read the bible starting at Genesis, but always got bored at the lists of names. This is just one conversation that came out of last night’s event.