I have a crazy plan to tell you about … but it needs some backstory!
Terry and I went to work in Eastern Europe in 1980 (Weren’t we cute? And that hair!) . Our first assignment (one week after we landed in Vienna!) was to travel to Communist Poland to meet with a priest named Franciszek Blachnicki.
“Father B” had come to faith while imprisoned in Auschwitz for his role in the Polish resistance.
He survived Auschwitz and became a Catholic priest with a vision for reaching all of Poland with a renewal of faith in Christ.He started a movement of young people called Oaza (Oasis). In 1974, he
met Joe, a Cru student studying in Poland, who showed him the “Four Spiritual Laws.” “ We need this!” said Father B. “Can you send people to help us?” That was the beginning of a cooperation that resulted in thousands coming to Christ.
By the time we met Father B in the summer of 1980 there were about 80,000 students coming to camps, hearing the gospel and being trained with our Bible study and evangelism materials - all under the noses of the Communist government! One summer team brought a copy of the film “Jesus” with them, got caught by the police with the film and expelled from the country. They went instead to Rome to show the film to Father B’s good friend from seminary, Karl Wojtyla … otherwise known as Pope John Paul II! He gave it his approval, which opened the way for the film’s use in Catholic countries.
Our job was to help Father B to show “Jesus” (which had been translated into Polish) in every parish in Poland. He needed films, projectors … and 20 million copies of the gospel of Luke! Terry devised some clever ways to get those into Poland … including having an entire printing press smuggled in. His skills went to good use as he put it back together and set up a secret printing operation in the attic of a rectory.
It is 40 years this summer since the first Cru team went to Poland… and because of that connection, I have a unique opportunity this summer!
The 2016 World Youth Day, a massive rally of youth with Pope Francis , will take place this summer in Kracow, Poland. The archbishop of Kracow has asked Cru to come as official volunteers to do evangelism among the 3 million spiritually interested youth from 187 countries who will gather in Kracow. And I was asked to lead a team from the Northwest to join with Cru students from a number of countries to volunteer.
It really is a crazy plan … but I have sensed that this is something that God is inviting me into. I am always talking to students, telling them not to be afraid (fear seems to be a big problem with this generation of students) but to follow Jesus! And I felt that this is a time when I need to go - in spite of my fears. I told the Lord that I would go if 10 people would go with me …
We have a group of 17 … including two students who were refugees from Iraq … a couple of Polish speakers, a seminary professor, a digital media maven, and some younger staff. And … our son Dan is bring a team of Russians as well!
please pray! This is all daunting to me - and I need prayer!
- The dates are July 22-August 1. Please pray that all will go well at home with my mom and Laura. I find that often when I am about to go on a ministry trip - things happen.
- Pray that we would all encounter Jesus as we follow him in this, and that He will lead us to the people who need to hear the gospel personally in that vast crowd. He knows them…