This article was originally published in the July 2020 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Andzia had never seen anything like what she was experiencing. She stood in the balcony of the large concert hall, tears spilling down her cheeks.
Andzia’s best friend was part of the volunteer event staff, and she’d invited Andzia to be in the audience. Andzia had arrived at the concert too late to sit in the already full lower level.
A Gospel Joy concert fills a large auditorium.
Her seat was next to the sound booth. Andzia hoped the operator wasn’t noticing her overflow of emotion. She squeezed her eyes closed, trying to contain the droplets of moisture, but at the same time, she knew she needed them to come out.
Scenes from her past flashed on the back of her eyelids like movie clips.
Andzia was raised in a Polish Catholic family she describes as having a “frivolous attitude toward tradition and church rules.”
Growing up, she was heavily involved with social and cultural activities like music, theater and helping people with disabilities. As she reached her teenage years, she began searching.
“My adolescence was also a time of getting into inappropriate relationships,” Andzia says, “...I kept looking for authority outside of my home - in group guardians or my friends with whom I got involved romantically. College was a time of getting hurt...”
The painful scenes washed over her - all the times where a search had dead-ended and all her misplaced hope was ripped away. In those moments, hope had seemed gone forever.
As the joyful music of the Gospel Joy concert surrounded her, touching her very core and giving rise to hope and past pain at the same time, questions began piling up in her head.
“I felt like a child,” Andzia recalls, “I was completely lost and at the same time so excited. I had never seen this many people gathering together because of God. I felt so lost with myself - I was thinking, why hadn’t I heard that the Lord is good and mighty, why hadn’t I seen this kind of joy, much greater than I had [ever]seen in relation to God and Jesus?”
At the end of the concert, one of the Gospel Joy leaders took the stage. What he said answered a few of her long-held questions. He told everyone in the crowded concert hall that Jesus has provided a solution for their sin problem.
ITMI's Andrew Gorski closes a Gospel Joy Workshop concert.
The average Pole knows they have a sin problem.
They go to confession, attend mass and strive to help others and the world - as Andzia had done - in order to atone for their shortcomings and failures to keep church regulations.
But few realize that Jesus’ saving work on the cross means their sins can be forgiven if they accept Him as their Lord and Savior. Many don’t know that Jesus pursues a loving relationship with them.
After an altar call from the stage, Andzia responded.
“In my utter helplessness over my life and its burden,” remembers Andzia, “I gave my life to Jesus, I wanted Him to take everything that was overwhelming me - the shame, and the feelings of uselessness in my family and professional life.”
After the concert, Andzia accepted an invitation to join one of Gospel Joy’s Word Zone groups.
“After the concert, my heart desired to serve God,” Andzia says, “I wanted to fight so that what I experienced would become my everyday life. Joy and peace. The feeling that in Jesus, I am loved, important and strong.”
At that time, the Word Zone group was meeting at a coffee shop.
(For long-time readers and supporters, one of the leaders of the group was Joanna Przybyło, also known as “Cookie”, whose story of coming to Christ through Gospel Joy’s ministry we shared years ago.)
Andzia wanted to understand and know God’s Word, and she thought the Word Zone group seemed like a good place to start. She was right.
“Those were some great Tuesdays!” Andzia remembers of the Word Zone meetings, ”It was a safe space to share what I was really thinking and feeling while reading the Bible.
“I also had a lot of fear - would I be able to persevere in God? I wasn’t sure, since I already tried so many times. After some time I understood why I failed before, it was because back then I didn’t know Jesus, I only had some feeble practices that were supposed to bring me close to God.”
Andzia’s friend, who had invited her to the concert, kept discipling her, reading the Bible with her and answering her questions.
They talked about God, the Word Zone meetings, Andzia’s personal conversations with God about what was happening in her life, and about how lost she felt without Him.
“It was my friend who shared the Gospel with me, it was her perseverance and willingness to answer all of my questions and lead me to understanding the Word on a deeper level.
The Word Zone and testimonies of other people encouraged me to keep turning to God. Also through reading the Bible I understood that I can only be saved by Jesus, not by helping others, not by going to church or any other good things for the world and people.”
Overnight, Andzia stopped cursing, taking God’s name in vain and lying, “I stopped thinking only about the things that are pleasant and comfortable to me and I started thinking if what I’m doing makes sense to God and for my eternity with Him.”
Other growth, such as surrendering worries about small things and trusting Him to be in control took longer, and she still continues to grow in these areas.
A few months ago, Andzia was baptized.
Because evangelicals make up just one half of 1% of Poland’s population, being baptized is often viewed as having joined a strange cult.
Andzia was fearful about what her friends and family would say about her decision to be baptized. But her desire to be obedient was greater than her fear.
“It was an excellent decision! God gave me a conviction that He will bless me and He showed me that He is the King, not other people. He gave me comfort during this time.”
Andzia being baptized!
Today Andzia is part of the new church, Amazing Grace Church, planted by ITMI’s Andrew and Anna Gorski in 2019. She’s also a wife and the mother of two young daughters.
Andzia says her family life “is where my relationship with God happens. God is deeply sanctifying me here. He’s leading me out of my selfishness and self-centeredness.
He’s teaching me about serving another person, being sacrificial. He’s teaching me how important it is to invite Him to my marriage.
I think God is using me now for His Kingdom through my prayer - I have a burden on my heart to pray for people and care for them spiritually.
He’s also giving me the desire to share my life with Jesus with other moms who base their lives and motherhood on children and husbands and not on Jesus.”
With your support, our partners, Andrew and Anna Gorski, have built the thriving ministry of Gospel Joy Workshops and Evangelism that meets many Polish seekers where they are at and offers a discipleship process that gently and patiently guides them to Jesus.
The Lord has used your sacrificial gifts to reconcile many like Andzia to Himself.
translation: Daria Pryzbyla, Gospel Joy
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.