Last week in Krakow, Poland, 150 Cru staff members and students (from Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Russia, Slovenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Australia, the United States, and more areas) traveled to World Youth Day, a Catholic youth rally, to share the gospel. They were invited by Bishop Grzegorz Ryś of Poland to serve with World Youth Day's International Center for Evangelization.
This connection with World Youth Day developed as the result of a bold student named Joe Losiak who traveled to Poland to share Christ as an exchange student in the 1970s. Joe built a friendship with a Catholic priest named Franciszek Blachnicki, who became a follower of Jesus while a prisoner in Auschwitz.
Father B, as he was nicknamed, had a vision for reaching his country with the Gospel and created a movement of thousands of young people through a summer camp. He invited Joe and friends to share Cru’s materials, including the Four Spiritual Laws booklet
and the “JESUS” film
, in summer Catholic youth camps all over Poland.
Joe, who began the partnership with Polish Catholic leaders playing guitar in a Communist country in the 1970s
Decades later that strong partnership has continued. Polish Catholic leaders who were influenced by those summer camps remembered the ministry of Cru and invited them to serve at World Youth Day. 1 million young adults from 180 countries traveled to Poland to experience God, go on a pilgrimage, and see Pope Francis. As official World Youth Day evangelists, the Cru volunteers had full license to preach the gospel and share the message of God’s love for them.
Catholic Nun charging phone at Cru charging station
Polish staff members of MT28 (as Cru is known in Poland) helped organize evangelist volunteers to share Christ on 50 stages throughout Krakow, alongside musical performances and share their testimony, the gospel, and call the audience to respond in prayer to receive Christ.
A sneak peak at the Cru Charging Station
But the evangelism didn't end there.
In addition, our friends and fellow Cru staff members Tom Seely and Marek Matuszczak, who serve with Eastern Europe Digital Strategies, developed phone charging stations to serve the attendees and create opportunities for spiritual conversations. “The charging stations were the perfect place to serve both believers and spiritually interested people. Digital tools enabled the gospel to be shared easily in many languages, through God Tools, short films and more,” said Tom Seely. In less than two weeks, 2,905 people heard the gospel and 326 people indicated decisions to trust Christ.
You each played a special role in the successful ministry endeavor of World Youth Day, as Rich has had the privilege of coaching Tom Seely and the Eastern European Digital Strategies team for the last 3 years. In a season where bad news seems to be dominating the global landscape, we are so excited to share this good news and the part that you played in helping Rich to serve the Eastern European Digital Strategies team.
Tom and Valerie Seely with Rich and Kourtney in 2014 at an Indigitous Conference in Amsterdam
Thank you for standing steadfast with us in this important season of global evangelism.
With joy from your missionaries,
Kourtney and Rich
Many thanks as the story from our newsletter this month is compliments of Erin Dienst and Tom Seely, both members of Cru's Global Digital Strategies Network that Rich helps lead.
The boys got to spend a week fishing
with their precious cousin Ethan Street.
It was hard to say goodbye.