A Tough Goodbye
In the summer of 1985 the Solidarity Movement in Poland was threatening the Communist control of Poland. The previous fall on October 19, 1984, Popielusko, a priest associated with Solidarity, was beaten to death by three Security Police officers. They weighted his body with stones and dumped it into the Vistula River. I arrived in Warsaw with three friends and after being pulled over by the police in Warsaw to check our papers, we drove far out into the country to a secluded camping area.
Almost a hundred students listened as we taught them what God had to say about money, sex, and power and God’s insights for skillful living in Proverbs. On Wednesday evening, when we made the Gospel clear from John 3, many stood and believed in Jesus. At the end of the week, we took a camp photo and then all the campers lined up. One by one each came and gave us a kiss on both cheeks—a Polish goodbye. There were lots of tears.
The Apostle Paul knew this same love that the Holy Spirit generates when He changes hearts and makes us family as the Ephesian elders said goodbye to him for what they thought was the last time.
“After saying these things, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they fell on his neck and kissed him. They were especially grieving over his words saying that they would no longer be seeing his face. Then they accompanied him to the ship.” Acts 20:36-38
I was able to return to Poland several years after the liberation of Eastern Europe. Two of the leaders at the camp in 1985 went on to establish PROeM Ministries in 1990, and now each year over 2000 youth come to their camp in Zakosciele, Poland. Their dramatic Christmas and Easter programs bring folks from all over Poland and thousands get to hear the truth about Jesus Christ. I’m thankful that that farewell kiss at the camp in 1985 wasn’t the last time I was able to be face to face with my precious brothers and sisters in Poland.
LORD, thanks for tearing down the Berlin Wall in 1989 and for how your Spirit has used this freedom to build a powerful biblical ministry like PROeM. Bless all the campers who are now hearing the Gospel and being taught your Word at the camp this summer.
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