The Apostle Paul was compelled by God to share the gospel (or Good News), saying, “How terrible for me (or “Woe to me!”) if I didn’t preach the Good News!” Indeed, he gave his life to tell everyone about the wonderful things God has done for them in Jesus Christ. God radically used Paul and many other disciples in their time.
But what about our time? Today? Sharing the Good News isn’t reserved only for apostles and evangelists but for every follower of Jesus. We all are to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Although nestled in rural Ohio, we, as a family of faith, have the opportunity to impact eastern Europe with the gospel. A unique turn of events has led to doors being thrown wide open for the message of Jesus’ reconciling love to reach those who are spiritually starving in Poland, people who barely existed under the oppression of communism, to say nothing of Nazi occupation.
The light of the gospel is penetrating the deep recesses of darkness.
Read on for more on the circumstances, then the need, and finally how you can get involved.
The Incredible Story
Watch the video or read the story below.
The people of Poland are hungry for the gospel. The doors of ministry opportunity are wide open and the people are yearning to hear about having a relationship with Jesus. On their faces is the look of despair and emptiness. The older men and women still show the effects of communist rule in their countenance. Their sons and daughters remember those days well and try to fill their emptiness with tangible things. And the youth of Poland are being influenced heavily by Western society. The harvest is ripe in Poland. What workers will come?
What the Team Will Do
A half dozen musicians who regularly serve in the worship band at Eaton Church of the Brethren will head to Poland in late June to share the gospel in both musical form and through conversational interaction.
We will play roughly nine concerts in six days. The band, recently christened Harken (which means “to listen”), will play at outdoor festivals, clubs, a dignitary’s garden, a couple churches, at least one school (probably two), and, amazingly, a palace before the President of Poland and other notables. We’ll serve, as Paul says, those in “both the civilized world and the rest of the world … the educated and uneducated alike,” sharing with them the truth about sin and grace, death and rescue.
The band is working on songs written by Christian artists, such as Sara Groves, David Crowder, Johnnyswim and Colony House, as well as music with crossover appeal by “secular” artists like Coldplay, U2, Sting and The Fray. The lyrics speak about spiritual pursuit, such as, “I’ve been searching for something taken out of my soul”—the restlessness we all feel until we find rest in God. The message will be both subtle and overt: “If you’re trying to fill the same old holes inside, there’s a better life.”
We will have an interpreter on stage for the moments between songs when we’ll share about a particular song or brief personal story of God’s faithfulness. Otherwise, many people, and nearly all the younger people, understand English. As such, they’re quite eager to speak with Americans. We’ll chat with common folk at town festivals, teenagers in schools, and the brass at a Presidential ball—and everyone in between. Their ears are wide open to hear the gospel.
How You Can Get Involved
Here’s what’s needed and how you can, though you stay, serve those who are going:
- Pray for the people of Poland, for receptive minds to the Good News—that God would work even now to till the soil of their hearts, for he already knows who will be in each audience.
- Pray for the band of servant musicians, as we select and strenuously rehearse over the next couple months a few dozen songs that will promote the message of Christ.
- Follow us on LifeShare and Facebook leading up to and during the trip.
- Attend an initial concert on Friday, April 28, featuring songs Harken is working on, in addition to a time of worship and prayer. Additionally, attend a dress rehearsal (of sorts) concert sometime in mid-June before we head across the pond.
- Give financially for the team to meet its support goals:
- the first $7,800 by April 15,
- the additional $7,800 by May 30.
These are daunting amounts that caused us to briefly reconsider our participation this year, since we were late in getting onboard (early February!), but we are confident God is calling us to the field and are assured he’ll provide the means of getting us there and back.
HOW YOU CAN GIVE
- Mail or place a check in the offering plate, noting “Poland” in the memo.
- Give with debit/credit card on our website, selecting “Poland” in the TO field.
All donations are tax deductible.
Be a Sender
Quoting the prophet Joel, Paul says that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Then he proceeds in his letter in a logical manner:
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
We need you to send us, the messengers on behalf of ECOB—and more significantly, as ambassadors of Christ, taking the message of reconciliation with God to a spiritually starving people.
The Story (written)
Over ten years ago, Richard Dietrich, a youth missions pastor in Arizona, was in Poland for a short mission trip and decided to surprise his wife with a gift by investigating her Polish family tree. Upon walking into the city hall in Żary, Poland, Richard’s query was met with a shocking discovery to both Richard and the city officials: Unknown to Richard, his wife is the direct descendant of the royal von Promnitz family, who were thought to have been scattered and extinguished centuries before. Upon this discovery the city engineer of Żary apologized to Richard, saying, “I’m sorry, sir, but we just sold your palace a few months ago.”
“Palace? I’m just here to get a copy of our family tree!” Richard said in disbelief.
The engineer replied, “Sir, Poland is a country of laws, and you are of the royal family von Promnitz. Whatever has your family’s name on it belongs to you.”
The von Promnitz family ruled the country of Silesia from the 1300’s until the 1700’s, in which time they established many of the towns and villages still in existence today, in addition to many estates, cathedrals, businesses, and schools throughout Poland. Recognizing God’s providence, the Promnitz family has chosen not to seek fame or riches from this strange revelation. They instead
The Polish government was thrilled to welcome Richard and his family—now heirs of a sort—back to Poland. Richard, now a Count and knighted this past year, was invited to bring music to Poland, as the von Promnitz family had done in the 1700’s by employing Georg Philipp Telemann as chapel master and court musician for the court of Count Erdmann II of Promnitz. For the past ten years Richard has led mission trips throughout Poland featuring Christian musicians who play to tens of thousands of people throughout the summer months. And because the Promnitz name is on many of the Catholic cathedrals, Protestant churches, and schools in the region, Richard has access to preach the gospel without compromise in these facilities.