The moment we most doubt can sometimes be the very moment God chooses to use us, in all our weakness.
That was certainly the case for Kuba, SIM’s only mobiliser in Poland and one of only two in Eastern Europe.
He joined SIM late last year, with the goal of mobilising workers and galvanising the Polish church to become more mission-focused.
But the major turning point in his life had come five years earlier, when, after a long period of doubt and withdrawal from the church he’d served all his adult life, God called him to re-commit his life to Jesus.
Born and brought up in Gdansk, a port city on the Baltic coast, Kuba was born into a Christian family. His grandfather pastored a church and was imprisoned under the Communist regime for his faith.
His parents took him to church and he went to Sunday School and then Christian camps as he grew through his teenage years.
Kuba says he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t interested in mission work, reading biographies of famous missionaries of the past. He even went on mission trips to orphanages in Belarus and became friends with members of the Finnish mission agency organisers.
He went to technical college, where he studied IT and electronics, and harboured a desire to become a mission pilot. While studying, he qualified as first a glider pilot and then an aeroplane pilot, but after college, where he met the woman who was to become his wife, that dream faded as he confronted the reality of having to earn a living.
“After we got married, our first daughter came along and then her sister two years later,” he recalls.
“It was hard to see how we could go into mission at that point. My wife was working as a chemist and it seemed impossible. I also thought by then I was already too old to go into missions!”
Kuba continued to serve in his church, but after some years, he noticed a growing sense of disconnectedness between his faith and his life.
He says: “That time coincided with a period when the church had gone through a painful time, which led to some people leaving. It was very tough and gradually, I stopped going to the midweek meetings and then stepped down from being an elder.”
For the next two or three years, Kuba stayed disconnected and wonders now whether he was having his ‘midlife crisis’.
Kuba says: “I cried out to God, knowing that I wanted him to change my life. I prayed and started to read the Bible more. Slowly, people started noticing a change in me. I began going back to the midweek meetings and people could tell something had happened in me by the way I spoke and my new attitude.
“Even though I can’t remember a time when I didn’t call myself a Christian, I really doubted at whether I’d really been a Christian. It was as though I’d just been converted and I knew I’d been really saved.”
Eventually, Kuba was invited back as a church elder and now preaches regularly, his life transformed by God.
However, the born-again Kuba has found his path to mission since then, has been far from straightforward. There are no mission agencies in Poland and he found it hard to get any information.
As the pandemic unfolded, Kuba, like so many people, was thrown back to the internet, which is where he came across SIM UK, which put him in touch with DMG, our partners in Germany, who in turn, put him in touch with SIM’s Central Asia director.
Central Asia is a prime location for Polish and other Eastern Europeans to work in mission. Many of those countries have a shared heritage as former Soviet states; many of them can speak Russian so communication is less difficult than you might think; and the provision of visas is usually easier.
Kuba is now an associate member of SIM, being mentored as a mobiliser and working out how best to mobilise the Polish church. Alongside that, he is working full-time as a software developer for a large multinational.
Kuba is realistic about the challenges. While other Eastern European countries, like Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, are sending many mission workers, Poland is a long way behind. He knows he must first challenge churches to be more mission-minded and believes the way to do that is by inspiring pastors to be more mission-minded.
He says: “I hope to make good connections with pastors in the Polish church and to see more Poles go into mission, but this is long-term work.
“I hope my story can help people see that God can use anyone at any stage of their life. I thought I was too old for mission and worried about earning a living, but God has different priorities. He calls us to serve him in all aspects of our lives, not just in church, and that is what I’m trying to do.”
“I hope and pray many other Polish people and Eastern Europeans will do the same.”
By Tim Allan
- For Kuba’s ministry to grow and prove fruitful so many will be brought into a relationship with Jesus.
- For the Polish church to see itself as a potential sender of mission workers and to catch the biblical vision for global mission work.
- For God to raise up more Polish mission workers to serve in places where the gospel is least known.