Kyle Williams and I are standing in front of a building in Bytom-Miechowiche, Poland. Not just any building. It's a place where ministry to abused women and children in Poland is taking place. The man and woman between us runs these ministries from this building.
See the beautiful red roof on top of the building? The people of Emmanuel Enid rebuilt it.
Five years ago Emmanuel Enid voted to remodel our youth center and rename it "The Connect Space." In conjunction with that project, our church voted to set aside 10% of the funds we raised for our youth center spend that money on an overseas missions project. The project chosen was the one pictured above - to replace the roof. Doesn't sound exciting does it. Just wait for the rest of the story.
Ultimately, $100,000 was wired from Enid, Oklahoma to Bytom-Miechowiche, Poland.
I'd like to give an amazing report on what happened after we wired the money. It's an illustration that God mulitiplies the seed given by His people to bring an incredible harvest.
The building chosen by Emmanuel Enid was not just any building. It is located on the property of -- and sits next to - the original home of Eva von Tiele-Winckler (1866-1930). Eva was born in southeastern Germany into a family of nobility and wealth. Eva, raised a nominal Catholic, came to faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 17 while reading John 10.
Upon her conversion she decided to do something to help the poor in her homeland. When her father gave her property and a home on her eighteenth birthday, she turned it into a place she called Friedenshort, which means "an abode of peace." Eva's passion was to care for women and children who were poor, destitute and in need of help.
Forsaking her life of privilege and riches, Eva opened her house, and built additional homes on her properties for orphans, widows, the poor and the infirm. By the end of her lifetime, over 40 homes had been established in Poland through her labor.
But that first property Mother Eva turned into a ministry for the forsaken, the building above, always had a special place in her heart. Mother Eva would preach the gospel in women's prisons and when those women were dischaged from prison, she'd bring them to her "abode of peace" to care for them and disciple them. Eva eventually sent a number of the women whom she discipled to China to serve with the China Inland Mission. Other women under Eva's influence went to serve in Guatemala, Africa, and India. Eva herself was greatly influenced by George Mueller and was personally encouraged by contact with Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis, Hudson Taylor, the Welsh Revival, and the Keswick Convention.
The orphans that Eva helped in her lifetime numbered in the thousands. It was these orphans who gave to Eva the name "Mother Eva" for the care she gave to them as if she was their own mother. Mother Eva is buried on the grounds of the old German orphanage she founded. She insisted before her death that name should not be placed on the tombstone and only two Latin words should be etched in the stone: "Ancilla Domini" which means "servant of the Lord."
After World War II, communism and Stalin took over Poland. Mother Eva died prior to the war, but her ministry to women and children carried on. Communist officials went on the offensive against Christians, persecuting those in Poland who professed to follow Christ. The underground church was developed, and the first evangelical Christians in Poland began meeting in Mother Eva's buildings. In 1950, thirty men and women met for a week of encouragement and Bible study, a week of meetings that have carried on for sixty-four sraight years, through persecution, the eventual fall of communism, and some dark economic times in Poland.
Today, July 4, 2015 marked the beginning of a week long evangelism meeting in Dzieliegow, Poland, the continuation of those meetings first begun in 1950 in Mother Eva's home. This evening I preached from Philippians 4:11 and approximately 16 women and 4 men gave their hearts to Christ. We are meeting in a large tent, and hopefully tomorrow or Monday I'll post some pictures of the meeting for you to get a feel for what is happening. The guest speakers at this conference in year's past include Luis Palau, Ravi Zacharias, Leighton Ford, Stuart Brisco and others. I'm a short weed in some tall cotton, but it's fun to be part of a week where you sense God moving.
But before we had our meeting tonight, we toured the building. Remember that $100,000 that Emmanuel gave to rebuild the roof? Not a colorful mission project is it? Well, if you had seen the building five years ago, you would have known why it was important. Built over an old coal mine, the entire building was about to collapse. We heard today from structural engineers for Habitat for Humanity that the "incredible timing" of the gift of Emmanuel Enid, which enabled the complete rebuilding of the roof -- prevented the building from completely falling in upon itself.
But there's more.
Because Emmanuel Enid gave the gift the rebuild the roof, the European Union stepped in, understanding that the building had historic significance, and gave $2.2 million dollars to compltely refurbish it from the inside out. The reason the ministry was able to obtain the EU grant was because Emmanuel Enid had already rebuilt the roof (that was the condition of the grant).
But there's more.
When the EU stepped in to remodel the building, they forced the coal mine to make foundation repairs, which included underground support, filling in the chasms created underneath the surface of the ground by coal mining.
But there's more.
That little $100,000 gift given by Emmanuel Enid five years ago has blossomed into well over $3,000,000.00 dollars of funding. We were told, over and over again today, that everyone involved in the project of rebuilding this building marveled at the timing of Emmanuel Enid's gift. Had it not arrived when it did, the building would be gone.
Now, abused women and children are finding shelter in the area Mother Eva once called home. By the way, Mother Eva is buried just behind the building I'm writing about. She may be gone, but her work carries on.
Thanks, Emmanuel Enid, for being a church that cares about mission work around the world.