This article was originally published in the May 2023 edition of ITMI Monthly.
To understand those words, written by ITMI’s Andrew Gorski, you need to understand the battle our partners in Poland have fought to earn the right to share the Good News.
For years, if one or two people showed up for an outreach done by an evangelical church in Poland, this would be a big deal. That’s why it was so exciting that the Lord opened the doors for the sharing of the Gospel with thousands through the gospel music workshops and concerts put on by Andrew Gorski and our partners at Gospel Joy Workshops and Evangelism.
Evangelicals are an extreme minority and are viewed with fear by many in Poland. They are also among the sliver of the population that believes in salvation by faith alone, so they have an important message to share - that salvation comes not through things you do but by faith alone and that faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior provides a way to deal with the problem of sin.
But to share that message, they needed - still need - to gain enough trust to speak and interact.
As a group, our supporters have helped make big inroads in changing this stigma through their partnership with our godly nationals in Poland. Piotr Zaremba’s translation of the Bible from its original languages into Polish was eagerly accepted by many as it illuminated the Gospel in never-before-understood ways.
It continues to circulate widely. In 2022 alone, 58.9 million chapters of Piotr’s translation were opened via the YouVersion Bible application.
Andrew explains, “Because of our history - German oppression, Russian oppression - our nation never developed a concept of teamwork and helping each other.”
In addition to the outreaches of Gospel Joy, Andrew and Anna Gorski have worked toward eroding fear left over from German and Russian occupation by establishing Evangelical Poland. Evangelical Poland unifies God’s people from evangelical denominations in Poland by providing the means and network for them to share resources and encourage one another.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, almost 10 million people passed through Poland. Many stayed and began new lives.
“This is a huge mission field for us as churches,” Andrew writes, “This is an opportunity for us as Christians to have a huge impact on others with the Gospel.”
The border city of Przemysl had so many refugees cross the border every day that there was no place to accommodate them, and a humanitarian crisis burgeoned. One pastor worked with the city’s mayor to turn a shopping mall into a hostel for the refugees. However, the renovations quickly drained the city’s money.
The networking groundwork laid by Evangelical Poland for just this purpose - to help the church quickly respond to opportunities to share the Gospel - was activated. Andrew helped connect this pastor with believers who could help.
Two Christian organizations came to their aid, providing truckloads of fold-out beds, blankets, bedding, and towels. Their involvement helped demonstrate the Gospel as thousands of vulnerable people were able to spend a few days in safety on their way to other destinations.
The church is now well-known in the city as a group of people to whom others can turn to for help and find it. What’s more, the city recognizes the evangelical church as part of the community, inviting the pastors to various events.
This opens the door not just for these pastors to share the Good News through relationships and interactions at these events, but for people, in general, to realize they don’t need to fear someone simply because they are an evangelical Christian. It opens a door for the Gospel to be shared.
Andrew’s words attempt to describe how meaningful it is for evangelicals to finally be given a seat at the table. He writes, “This changes everything in our context.”
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.
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