How did Poland capture my heart? First, she earned my respect. Let’s rewind a little bit. 3 years ago, I began a journey on the road to becoming a better communicator for Christ. I began participating in competitive speech and debate. One of the many skills I acquired was researching. In my research, I discovered that Poland is asking the US military to build a base in Poland because they experience a very real threat from Russia and they need our help to keep Russia at bay. But Poland is not just whining and asking the US to come and take care of their problems, Poland is willing to pay 2 billion dollars to pay for this base. But they are asking the unsurpassed US. Military to help design this base, build this base, man this base, and arm this base with superior US technology. They are humbly acknowledging our superior military and they are willing to foot the bill for us to help protect their freedom and the freedom of Europe (as Poland is a gateway to the rest of Europe). As a patriotic American, the Polish dedication to remaining a free country and taking their share of the responsibility, earned my respect and piqued my interest.
Through this piqued interest, God touched my heart in a special way and kept pointing me toward Poland! I found myself discovering or rediscovering the heroes of Poland: St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. John Paul II, St Faustina and the message of Divine Mercy. I even “stumbled” upon a movie about Blessed Jerzy, a Catholic priest who refused to be silent in the face of tyranny and helped the Poles to peacefully organize and throw off the chains of Communism. Ultimately, he “disappeared” like many others who were a perceived threat to the Communists. But in the end, through the efforts of so many heroes of freedom, God blessed the Poles with freedom once again.
But Poland, like much of Europe is sliding. Poland is fighting harder and this has stemmed the tide of neo liberal anti religion ideologies in Poland.
The numbers of people who identify as “Catholic” in Poland are falling somewhat but still high. But sadly, only 35% of these Catholics go to church on Sunday. This means that while many people identify with Christianity they are slowly falling away from a vibrant life in Christ. I want to see Poland regain its strength as a staunchly, actively Catholic population. The question kept haunting me, why wait? Why wait until the social fabric of Poland is destroyed beyond repair? Why stand idly by until faith is lost and the hearts of the Polish people are irreparably frozen over? I cannot stand by and do nothing while Poland is sliding down the same path as other once-strong Catholic nations like Ireland and Italy which are unrecognizable today!
The tremendous tenacity of the Polish people, the quiet humility of the Poles, their steadfast commitment to freedom and their strong faith in God. All these virtues of the Polish people have warmed my heart and really made me love them so much! I cannot wait to meet them, learn from them and love them more! I am amazed how God put all this in my life, and I am thrilled to see what God does through me this summer!