Ania – she engages in love because, as she says, God loved her first. She’s on the way. That means that her home is where she lives. That means that every day she learns how to love. And yet, she never knows where to go, because she walks with Him. She also likes to meet other people. Forest. Cold Polish sea. Staring at the sky. Walking barefoot. She is sensitive to words. She leads (also in English) the blog To love. Stories from the road.
At the end of 2015, she has given up a well-ordered life to start a journey of love. She started working at the You Can Free Us Foundation, which helps victims of human trafficking. In the meantime, she was on mission trips in India and Mozambique. At the beginning of October she is going to Mozambique for the second time.
In a few days you are going to Mozambique. For what?
Love. And learn how to love perfectly. I will spend two months at the Harvest Missionary School. It is a school run by Heidi and Rolland Baker, who are well known in Poland, especially Heidi. On the one hand it will be a time of separation for God and, I believe, preparation for the mission. On the other hand, the time of sharing and sharing the love I received from God.
How did it happen that you went there for the first time?
Previously I was in Mozambique once, last fall. I have no other answer like that God invited me on this trip. At first I was thinking of going to missions somewhere to Iris Global, I considered Nepal and Mozambique. This thought did not fit my reality. I just moved to Łódź, where I started working in a foundation helping victims of human trafficking. All this was a huge challenge for me, and here I was leaving the comfort zone. At first I thought that my troubled soul was demanding news. But in my time with God, I saw more and more clearly that this thought was from Him, though I myself was afraid to fly. But it was growing into me. Finally, I was convinced by the dream:
It was night. I was in a room somewhere in Mozambique. Suddenly a few children ran up to me to get me out of bed and told me to go with them to pray for somebody. They did not succeed in convincing me, so they ran out of the room, and I was left with the thought that I was very tired and that I wasn’t able to stand up. And then I heard the voice of God: You have the right to rest, sleep at night. After all, night is from sleeping, and you are tired. You can not go with them, but then you will not see how I work.
When I woke up in the morning, it was clear to me that I was flying. Not because I have to. Not because He works only in Mozambique. But because I want to see His work in the way He wants to lead me.
Was it a logistical challenge? For example collecting money?
Of course. It was a challenge for courage and funds!
As for the courage, just the belief that I’m going to be so strong that I wanted to do it despite all the fears. Ordinarily, I did not attach myself too much to them. A big role here had the people whom God placed near me. They supported me and believed with me in my „impossible” for that time.
As for the finances … there is a funny story about them. I was so excited that God told me I was about to fly to Mozambique that I just started the app, not counting the cost. When I received a confirmation e-mail that I could fly, I was struck by two emotions: joy and fear. At that moment I realized for the first time that I missed a money to go. In retrospect, I think that God has temporarily blocked me in this matter.
I would not undertake such a challenge without the resources already collected. But after I was accepted … I could not imagine that I could not go. So I came with my mountain of impossibility to God and I said that it was He who invented this trip, so I ask that he lead me through it.
And so began my first miracles of supply. And so I received several transfers from my loved ones, although I did not ask for support. The day I bought the plane tickets, I had a little more money than I had. It was the final decision – if I buy, I’m flying. But I still did not know if I would get the money for the rest of the expenses. Another thing was that it was mid-month, and my account was almost empty. For the first time in my life I had no emergency exit.
I repeated to God: You invented Mozambique, I believe that You give me money. For a few days I ate fridge supplies, and finally reached for rice supplies. I was standing by my side. Or rather, by God. Within a few days I got an unexpected return for water, and the tax I was supposed to pay turned out to be 500 zloty lower than I expected. It was enough to live until the end of the month. Soon supplies came from other sources. God himself told people that I needed money to go.
You came to Mozambique and what?
When I arrived, I immediately felt good there. Very nice and happy couple of missionaries took me from the airport and took to the base. They guided me. As if I fit into this place from the first minutes. For the first few days I had to explain myself that I was in Africa.
Immediately the colors impressed me. Dry red earth, damp green plant and ocean in the blue color I never saw before. When I first saw these colors together, just before landing in Pemba, I could not keep my eyes on them.
And people. Open and warm. As if they had been waiting for me for a long time.
What is the life of a volunteer / missionary on such a trip?
The base lives with its own life, and the short-term missionary is allowed to be part of it. Although what is always emphasized by Heidi Baker, more important than the action is to meet Him there.
Every day about 200-300 children from the city come to the base. They are taught the principles of God’s Kingdom through fun and they receive a meal. Missionaries can be with them during class, give out food and then spend time with them. You can also go to the hospitals to pray for the sick, detention and to the prison to share the Gospel, to the surrounding schools to teach about Jesus. During the day there are three common meals in the kitchen, where you can get to know the children and make connections with them.
In the morning and at noon you can help with the kitchen cleaning or preparing meals. It is also possible to visit the widows’ homes and help them with whatever help they need. There is also a home for the youngest children, you can go there to hug them and spend time with them. Also on Thursdays are trips to the surrounding villages, where you stay until Saturday morning.
Every night there is a movie „Jesus,” Gospel is preached, there is an opportunity to share testimonies and pray for people. During the day, it is time to have fun with the children and visit the locals to tell them about Jesus and pray for them. Each of these activities is voluntary, so everyone chooses what they want to spend their time and how much.
Heidi Baker is a famous figure in the Christian world. How is she in everyday life?
I had the opportunity to meet Heidi, she was in the base most of the time when I was there. What impressed me the most was her ordinariness and accessibility. Simply, she was at home. When I watched her when she was preaching during a church service Wednesday, I could not resist the impression that she was a girl from there.
I saw a white woman, but her manner of behavior – respect for Mozambians and their culture – made her not look like an American in Mozambique, but Mozambique. That was my impression.
What problems did you meet every day? What do these people need most?
Their material needs are enormous – money for food, clothing, medicines or paying bills to have even water, is still a huge need. Of course, they also need love – interest, hearing, prayer, need to know Jesus – but it is like each of us in the Western world. But we often have many options available before we come to him, and for them there is often a very simple choice – Jesus or death.
Because there is no money for food, for the doctor. They are faster than we are without a chance and then they have a chance to grasp the truth that Jesus is about to get out of their situation. And children, especially those outside the base, are hungry for love. Ordinary being, attention, smile.
What does it mean: to love people in Mozambique?
That’s all I’ve been talking about before. It’s giving up your comfort and your needs to be with others and respond to their needs; Through prayer, spending time together or practical help. There I discovered that the look in the eyes meant for some children everything. That the arms are more powerful than the words I even had not been able to say. Sitting with them on the floor or smiling as I handed them a bowl of rice and beans – small things – made them feel important. Every day I learned the simplicity of the Word: „Whatever you did to one of the least of my brethren, you did me.” (Matthew 25:40)
What unusual experience did you had?
During these three weeks I saw many who decided to give up their lives to Jesus. I saw the mothers taking off from legs and bellies of their children the strings they had received from the shaman, deciding to trust Jesus in spite of everything they knew and so far gave them a sense of security. I heard a man in his forties speak the first words in his life because Jesus healed him. During one of the prayers God allowed me to see Him see.
I had slammed and dirty children in ragged clothes from a village somewhere at the end of the world, who according to western standards have no future. And God did not do anything about it. I prayed for each of them, and he put in my mouth the blessings of the great vocations, allowing me to see their strength, the dignity and the good future that he had planned for them. There are no words that can describe how these kids are special to him. So He sees us.
What is Mozambique as for climate, threats?
Hot! Already two minutes after washing, you feel the first drop of sweat running down the body. Landscapes are different. There are places like the pictures. Such exotic paradise, which we have in our heads – ocean, palm trees, clay huts with thatch. And as I said before, colors other than in Poland. And the sun is more intense than ours. But there is also the other side. Places where there is big poverty, rubbish everywhere, houses that are stuck with what was at hand. But this is the place with the potential to love!
In January and February there may be heavy rain and floods, but I know only from the story. When it comes to threats, it is primarily malaria and other tropical diseases that we do not have resistance to. Hence, it is necessary to vaccinate, drink bottled water and be mindful of what you eat. Animals avoid people, although I had encountered two snakes. My biggest problem there is ignorance, which of the animals you encounter are dangerous, and with whom you can be friends.
What was your return from Mozambique?
When I was in Mozambique, I was tired of the heat. I was dreaming about autumn. I also lacked the usual Polish food, especially pork chop with beetroot and potatoes.
But when I’m in Poland, I miss the heat, I miss the openness of people, the freedom with which one can make acquaintance with strangers. I miss worshiping with Mozambique dances and freedom in the Spirit. And the people I met there. I also have my favorite picture I miss, the moment that happened to me.
I was sitting in the garden, under the roof of the gazebo (the thatch raised on the pillars above the stone floor in the circle). I looked around with plants of succulent green, banana tree, and in the scene, further, I saw the baobabs and the sketch of the ocean on the horizon. And then the colorful bird with the whir of the wings cut the silence and flew over my head. It was during my prayer when I first realized that God was making home for me in Mozambique.
Thank you and I wish you much love in Mozambique!