It was not without some apprehension that we entered Poland. In the first place, our visas had expired before we entered the country! My wife and I learned of this in the formalities of passport inspection at the Warsaw Air Terminal. How did it happen? We were informed that our stay in Poland had begun on the very date the visas were issued in July. Now it was October 2. We did not make the discovery because we cannot read Polish. What could we do?
A brief discussion followed in which the port authorities suggested that we secure an extension of our stay from the front office. For a fee we were granted a thirty-day extension.
But how much could be accomplished in evangelism in thirty days? Originally, plans were set for three months. We moved by faith and hoped for a miracle. Our faith was wonderfully rewarded.
The entire corps of ministers in the Polish Union assembled in Warsaw for a workers' meeting. Among them were representatives from Czechoslovakia, and they were the first to visit this country in many years. Together we spent a wonderful week reviewing the responsibilities and problems of the ministry. Three days were spent in preparation for the evangelistic series.
14 Young Ministers
On the evening of October 11 more than 500 persons filled the chapel, balcony, and side room to overflowing. The series was begun, and persons from all walks of life attended regularly, including ministers of other persuasions. For two weeks fourteen young ministers, half of whom were fresh from the classroom, joined with church members in a door-to-door canvass, inviting guests to be present at the nightly meetings. When signs of weariness were observed, the people were assembled four nights a week, instead of the customary six. Yet within the first two weeks thirty-five persons had accepted Christ as their personal Saviour, even before the more testing truths were presented.
A second extension of twenty days was granted, just four days before the thirty-day period expired. This was the miracle we had hoped and prayed for. We made the most of this extension by continuing the nightly meetings and visiting churches in the major cities of Poland.
Interest increased as the testing truths were presented, and so did the attendance. At the end of three weeks a prayer scroll was introduced, and soon several hundred names were entered upon the scroll. Thereafter hundreds of prayers ascended to God day and night for problems that arise out of the messages that reform careless patterns of life, and especially for problems of employment and Sabbath observance. Of the ninety-seven persons grappling in prayer with the work-and-Sabbath problems, twenty-seven gained the victory by the fifth week. In time, many more will rejoice in Sabbath victory, for this is what they promised.
Dreams Come True
Many of these victories were miracles within themselves. In a dream a woman was told that the Lord would soon come and that she should get ready to meet Him. Next day a worker visited her home and invited her to the meetings. She attended for the first time that night, heard a message on the second coming of Christ, and made her surrender to Him immediately.
Another dreamed of Christ's coming and saw her husband, whom she had driven from their home because of his faith, taken to safety with the redeemed, while she was left. Next evening she came to the meeting and surrendered.
A husband threatened to kill his wife and family, whom he had brought to the meetings, because they decided to join the church. Special prayer changed his mind, and the family is now obedient to the faith.
A back injury, which prevented a woman from bending or stooping, became painless and normal on the evening the church gathered around the scroll to pray for the sick. The woman is now baptized and happy in her faith.
The Polish believers are warmhearted, faithful, and cheerful, and are kind to the extreme. They enjoy the blessings of freedom of worship above many others in Europe, thanks to wise, farsighted, and honored public officials, and to our God who watches over His own.
World Evangelism Congress Goals Cited by Dr. Henry Arms of the ten-day World Congress on Evangelism scheduled in West Berlin in 1966 were outlined in Washington by Dr. Carl F. Henry, editor of the conservative Protestant fortnightly, Christianity Today, which will sponsor the event. Evangelist Billy Graham will be honorary chairman of the October 26-November 4, 1966, congress and Dr. Henry will be chairman.
"The overriding concern of the congress will be the absolute necessity of fulfilling Christ's command that His disciples go into all the world and preach the gospel," Dr. Henry said as he listed seven specific aims of the event, all related to evangelism. He said these objectives are:
To define Biblical evangelism.
To expound the relevance of Christ's gospel to the modern world.
To stress the urgency of evangelistic proclamation throughout the world in this generation.
To discover new methods of relating Biblical evangelism to the present.
To study the obstacles to Biblical evangelism and to propose the means to overcome them.
To discover the types of evangelistic effort currently employed in the various countries.
To summon the church to recognize the priority of its evangelistic task.
"We hope one by-product of the congress will be an advance within many churches from a type of modern evangelism that relies on the minister for evangelistic messages, to an evangelistic church membership," Dr. Henry commented. Attendance at the congress slated for West Berlin's Kongresshalle, will be by invitation only and will be limited to some 1,200 church leaders, guests, and observers. Participating will be leading evangelists from around the world, denominational leaders whose administrative responsibilities are related to their church's involvement or evangelistic activity, and teachers and scholars whose areas of specialization relate significantly to evangelistic endeavor.
Dr. Graham told a press conference his hope is "that the congress will speak to the whole church with clarity and authority on evangelism and the mission of the church." He added, "Many of the recent statements coming from church conferences have been vague and confusing on the subject of evangelism."
The theme of the congress is "So Send I You," taken from Christ's words to His disciples in John 20:21.