One Student’s Obedience 40 Years Ago
In the days before the Iron Curtain fell, Joe Losiak responded to a speech by Dr. Bill Bright, challenging U.S. students to take the gospel to places where missionaries couldn’t go. So in 1974, he went as an exchange student to Poland where God gave Joe opportunities to tell his testimony and sing Christian songs around the country. After one event, Joe met Father B, a Catholic priest who had become a believer while a prisoner in Auschwitz. Joe, with Cru staff and students, trained thousands of Polish students to share their faith at Father B’s summer camps over the next few years.
One summer, a group brought the Jesus film, but were soon expelled by the secret police. Undeterred, they took the film to Father B’s friend from seminary, Pope John Paul II. The Pope’s approval of the film opened the way for the movie to be shown in Catholic countries. Father B then worked with Cru to show the film to an estimated seven million people in Poland.
Fast Forward to 2016
Last summer, one million young people from 180 countries traveled to Poland to meet Pope Francis on a pilgrimage for World Youth Day. 1,500 people were also brought in by the Catholic Church to come for the express purpose of sharing their faith at the event. Because of our decades of work in Poland, Bishop Grzegorz Ryś invited Cru to work with these evangelists. Over 150 Cru staff and students from more than nine countries helped train the evangelists and went out in teams with them to share Christ.
Cru staff created “Fully Charged” stations to offer the perfect place for students to charge their devices, but with another purpose. While waiting, many people were open to spiritual conversations with Cru staff and our students. Also, many Christians who stopped by were trained to use our evangelistic digital tools. These apps enable the gospel to be shared easily in many languages, through short films and other conversation starters.
Musical performances to entertain the crowds flowing through Krakow were held on 50 different stages. Polish staff members of MT28 (Cru’s name in Poland), along with evangelist volunteers, had the chance to share their testimonies and the gospel, calling the audiences to respond in prayer to receive Christ. In two weeks, 2,905 people heard the gospel and 326 people indicated decisions to trust Christ. Our MT28 staff hope that Cru may again be invited to be “official evangelists” at future World Youth Day events.
Through your partnership with us, you have touched the lives of millions of students. As Bill Bright would say, “Win the campus today. Win the world tomorrow.”
Thank you for joining with us in ministry!