Growing up in Poland in the 1970s and ’80s meant that my family and I lived under the oppression of the Soviet Union and its communist rule. It meant facing arrest and interrogation when expressing one’s negative opinion of the government. It also meant long lines for food, which was becoming scarce as the Soviet military surrounded and controlled access to each Polish city.
Polish citizens lived under martial law, which meant no one was allowed to leave his or her town without the government’s permission. Fear reigned as officials made unannounced home checks, taking away those who posed a threat to the regime. Neighbor spied on neighbor, and people everywhere looked over their shoulders, fearful of what might happen to them.
As a child, I watched my parents struggle to put food on the table. I saw them fill out endless permission forms just to visit family who lived in another town. I heard them talk of neighbors who were taken away by the government, never to be heard from again.
I grew up among a people whose personal freedoms of happiness, free speech, and a prosperous future were taken away. As a result, many escaped to other countries in the hope of leading a free life. My parents and I count ourselves fortunate to be among those people. We escaped to West Germany and after a time were accepted as political refugees to the United States.
It wasn’t until living here in America that I experienced true physical freedom. I finally could go where I wanted, say what I pleased, go to a store and have a myriad of choices in the things I purchased. Why, then, was I such a sad and unhappy person? Why, down deep inside, was I still so insecure and scared? Wasn’t I finally set free?
One of my friends in high school shared with me about his faith in Jesus. I never had heard anyone talk about Jesus as his or her friend. When I was growing up, church and God were more sources of oppression. I knew of no one, aside from my friend, who had a deep and personal relationship with Christ. Through my friend’s consistent efforts in sharing his faith and even his showing me a movie depicting how Christ was made fun of in secular music, God began to chisel away at my hardened, distrustful heart.
Exposure to God’s goodness made me more aware of my sin. It is tempting to stay with what we know, though; I could have said, yes, I am a sinner, so what? But I am glad I didn’t. I made the decision to give my life, my heart, my trust to a merciful, loving (and very patient) God. I found myself kneeling on the floor, crying, asking God to forgive my sins! In July 1991, I asked Jesus Christ to become my Lord and Savior.
While I embrace the freedoms of my adopted country, the knowledge that I belong to God, that He holds me in His hand and nothing can snatch me away from Him, gives me a liberty far above what any worldly government or institution could ever provide.
God loves you
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Everyone is a sinner
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
Sin has a price that must be paid
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
Jesus Christ died to pay your price
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Pray and ask Jesus to be your Saviour
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13
Community Connection is an outreach magazine and blog from Valley Forge Baptist to provide relevant and uplifting articles for the families and homes of Collegeville, PA and area residents. Articles are not just from staff but from other community members who’s lives have been touched by Jesus Christ. If we have been an encouragement to you please let us know at email@example.com.