Mission Moment and Prayers for Poland: Romans 12:2
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your minds.”
Reaching out. Building relationships.
From Peterson's "The Message":
"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." Romans 12:2
Walking with international partners in missions is a mutual transformation society--everyone grows because of the relationship.
Tradition has it that three wise kings visited the Christchild on Twelfth Night, January 6. As a result of their courageous and hopeful journey, news of the coming of the Prince of Peace reached all nations. They received a revelation. Hence we call the day Epiphany--a moment of revelation, recognition and transformation that arrives when we take the arrival of new life and hope deeply into our hearts and lives. An epiphany alters us--changes our relationships in the world.
Such a transformation is what kingdom work is about--working one by one, person by person, incarnational moment by incarnational moment.
In some small towns in Poland, Protestants continue to suffer from the wounds of history. Religious battles especially harm families and communities divided by religious affiliation. In Zychlin, for example, many long have assumed that Protestants collaborated with the Nazis. This assumption came about because Reformed believers were given full German citizenship by the Nazi government that occupied Poland.
Our partner and yours, the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland, seeks ways to heal these religious rifts by building community connections--relationships. Sometimes that means something as small as attracting people to a public event in the church building. People are encouraged to come and see that the three “P’s” are possible: one can be Polish, Protestant and Patriotic. The hope is that there will be a revelation--an Epiphany--that results in transformed relationships.
We call the invitations to come and see “detoxing space." We have seen that it works. For example, one grandmother discouraged others from attending weekly English language classes in the Zychlin parish house: “Don’t bother. They only speak German over there,” grandma said.
One grandchild came to the first class anyway--a journey that took tenacity, hope and courage. Afterwards, we heard that she ran home and said: “Grandma you were wrong! At that church they speak Polish--and English!”
One heart and one mind was transformed by a journey and a relationship. This is how news of God’s reconciling love was spread that first Epiphany and how it continues to transform lives today. The grandchild in Zychlin came to see and know for herself. As a result, she had a moment of recognition that transformed her thinking and, perhaps, that of family and friends.
Many Christians to the east of us celebrate Epiphany AS Christmas--the day when God brought us all into a transforming personal relationship made possible by the love of Jesus Christ. That is a "mission moment" we can expand into every day of the year!
Loving God, we thank you for revealing to us your gift of new life in Jesus Christ.
We thank you for the transforming power of your love.
You daily bless us with the gifts of Advent and Epiphany: Hope, Peace, Love and Joy.
May these gifts heal and transform our relationships.
May we have the curiousity, the tenacity, the hope and the courage to "come and see,"
and then share the good news in the moments of our daily relationships.
In the transforming name of Jesus Christ we pray all this. Amen.
(Prayer by Liz and Doug Searles)
Video Resources for Poland:
- Pastor Semko Koroza, mission liaison: http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/index/video-mission-moments/poland-mission.html
- Doug and Liz Searles Skype Interview: http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/videos/video-mission-moments/searles.html
- Doug and Liz Searles “Dancing in the Spirit” (play music behind it): http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/index/general-videos/poland-dancing-in-the-spirit.html
Global Ministries Partners in Poland:
Founded in 1551, Kosciol Ewangelicko-Reformowany—the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland--is a small and marginalized minority denomination in a country where over 95% profess membership in a Catholic Church. Evangelical-Reformed Church of Poland: http://www.reformowani.pl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11&Itemid=8 It is a diaspora church of 4000 members spread over a score of churches and meeting places. The forced “repatriations” and ethnic cleansings that followed the World Wars of the 20th century, and the many occupations and divisions of Poland before and after these wars, decimated the ancient and traditional reformed church which, at one time, had hundreds of thriving congregations.
To learn more about the partners and projects in Poland: http://globalministries.org/mee/countries/poland/
Global Ministries Missionaries in Poland:
Elizabeth and Douglas Searles are Global Ministries mission workers with Kosciol Ewangelicko-Reformowany, a new partnership in Central Europe. Theirs is a joint sending, shared between Global Ministries and the Presbyterian Church (USA). Based in Lodz, Poland, Liz and Doug have a weekly circuit ministry of teaching ESL, English language Bible Study, youth programs, pulpit supply, and music development that takes them to many small communities beyond Lodz. The Searles are commissioned to support in whatever ways they can efforts towards church health, growth and outreach of the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland.