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32. Finding a Church

Updated on March 13, 2013
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Finding a Church

Finding a Church is the continuation in a series of hubs in which I discuss my life of rebellion, dabbling in the Occult, drugs, crime and prison to life-changing conversion through Jesus Christ. Click here to read it from the beginning. In this hub, I will discuss how I found a Protestant church to worship at, after my deportation to Poland.

Do you think it is important to be a part of a church if you are a Christian?

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Searching for a Church

If you have already read through my series, you know that I became a Seventh-day Adventist Christian in federal prison. I never went to an Adventist church before my incarceration; so I didn't know what to expect from it after I got released. My experience of church consisted of a small group of prison inmates getting together every Saturday to honer the Bible Sabbath for about two hours in the prison chapel. We would pray, sing a few songs from the church hymnal, share testimonies about experiences we had with God and watch a pre-recorded sermon or biblical video on TV. If we were really lucky, a volunteer from the local church would come and preach a sermon to us. I was excited to see what my church had in store for me after getting released.

When I began my search for an Adventist church in Poland, it didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. First of all, I was in Poland, Europe, which is predominately Catholic. The last statistic I read estimated that 96 percent of people in Poland are Catholic; so I wasn't even sure if I would even find a church in my area. Second of all, I didn't have an easy time finding locations for Adventist churches in Poland on the Internet. My limited use of the Polish language was a factor. By the time I finally had it all figured it out, it was well over a month before I found an Adventist church to attend. The good thing is, it wasn't very far away from the location at which I was staying; and the location where I would end up living.

I remember my first time there. The people were very welcoming; and after Sabbath worship, I was invited back to someone's home for lunch. This went on for a few weeks, with different people and families from the church, until I got to know most of the members of the church on more of a personal level. I have since then developed a close friendship with some of them; and they have been instrumental in helping me adapt to Poland as well.

Divulging My Criminal Past

Getting to know members of my church on more of a personal level was nice; but they had a lot of questions about my life in America and reasons why I returned to Poland. I was advised by some family and friends to be careful in terms of divulging my criminal past to others. The population of the city in which I now reside numbers about 30,000 people. That means that new news spreads fast; and people like to gossip.

I did not immediately tell anyone about my criminal past. When I arrived in Poland, my father was actually doing a job here; so I was able to say that I came to help my father. This is not entirely untrue, because I did work with my father. I then told people, after my father finished his job here, that he went back to the United States but I decided to stay in Poland. Another thing I tell people who I just get to know, when they ask me about my reasons for living in Poland instead of the U.S., is that Poland is a calm country, it has good food, and lovely ladies. They typically laugh and say, "Fair enough."

Gradually, I let a few close friends (mostly from church) know the true nature of my stay in Poland. I figured, I would let people get to know me before revealing my criminal past to them. That way, I was hoping, they would be less judgemental of me. I was surprised in that they weren't judgemental of me at all. As a matter of fact, they seemed to feel for me. Their typical response has been in saying, "How could America imprison someone on a drug trafficking and gun possession charge for eight years, and then deport them after living there for so long?" That kind of punishment seems rather excessive to them.

I had a lot to adjust to after my release from federal prison and deportation to Poland. Not only did I have a language barrier to overcome (which I am still working on), I had to adjust to a different culture. There are many differences between the Polish culture and American culture; but by God's grace, somehow, I am managing.

I am also still involved in sharing the hope that Jesus has given me of better things to come. Of spending eternal life, with Him, in paradise restored! A lot of it consists of Internet evangelism. I know that sounds kind of cheap; but my Polish is not really good enough to conduct Bbile studies with people, so I do what I can. I hope you have enjoyed my testimony of how Jesus delivered from a life of dabbling in the Occult, drugs crime and prison. If so, please share it with a friend! God bless you!

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