“It seems like the more we try to live the gospel, the more trials we have. Why ?” I will never forget Beata’s question; I gave a thoughtful answer, but my words felt empty and my heart ached for her pain. Beata’s question was not original, but there aren’t easy answers in any language….
All year I prayed for Beata, her husband Cezary, and the missionaries assigned to the tiny Lublin branch in Poland. I received a brief thank-you note from Beata after Christmas, but I had no idea how they were really doing. I hoped my prayers were being answered in some small way.
This summer I returned to Poland. Beata stood to bear her testimony. A young missionary leaned back and whispered, “Beata asked me to translate for you. She doesn’t want you to miss a single word.”
Beata told us that last year was horrible. Every month their trials would just get worse. Her husband lost his job and ended up in the hospital. She tried to have faith, but by December she had lost all hope. She still believed in God, but she didn’t believe that God loved Beata. She hit her lowest moment of despair on the morning of Christmas Eve. They had no money and no food, but she had invited eight missionaries for Christmas Eve dinner.
In the late afternoon, Beata’s neighbor knocked on her door carrying two large bags. They had just finished their family party and had tons of leftovers. Did Beata want any of these yummy desserts? Beata gratefully took them all.
Later, Beata went to the mailbox and found two Christmas cards from the United States. One card contained a small amount of Polish money (zloty). Beata was amazed because everyone knows that there are dishonest people working in the post office who open all the letters from the United States and steal any cash – especially in December. She immediately took the small amount of zloty to the store, where they had just slashed all their prices before closing for the holiday. Beata was able to buy a large amount of meat and vegetables with that tiny amount of zloty. By the time the missionaries arrived for dinner, Beata had prepared an amazing feast for her eight beloved missionaries who were far from their homes on Christmas Eve.
Beata ended her testimony by saying that she knows God loves her and that amazing blessings from heaven have continued flowing into their lives, including a great job for her husband, ever since the Christmas card with the small amount of zloty arrived on Christmas Eve.
Next I stood and this is part of the testimony I shared: “In October I was in the Warsaw Airport with 50 zloty left in my purse. I figured I should spend it because I had no idea when I would return to Poland. Maybe I could buy a t-shirt or a magazine. But the Spirit told me to keep the money and put it in a Christmas card to Beata. I told the Spirit that was not a good idea because everyone knows there are dishonest people working in the post office who open envelopes from the United States and steal any cash –especially in December. The Spirit told me again to keep the money and put it in a Christmas card to Beata. So I did.”
The same Christmas Eve that Beata received her miracle, I was blessed with my own little miracle–an e-mail from a mother in Germany. She had invited four missionaries to her home for Christmas Eve dinner; one of those missionaries was my son. She sent four mothers photographs of our four precious sons, as they celebrated the birth of a baby born in Bethlehem. I wept as I looked at the photographs of my goofy son hamming it up for the camera; I was so grateful to know he was loved and fed on Christmas Eve.
All over the world there are women just like Beata and the mother in Germany who don’t just believe, but actually live these words of the Savior: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13:34) Merry Christmas!