The need to be in direct connection with people I am helping to was first named by Andrzej. I called him one day and talked for a long time about the bumps in my personal life and career path so far. And mismatch. And how uncomfortable it was. He didn’t speak for a long time. It’s just that as long as I don’t help other people directly, I will have this internal conflict. It was a discovery about how God had planned me.
At that time, I met Daniela, a girl to whom all roads led me. Who I would not ask, he was pointing at her. A few years earlier, I was at a conference for women where the problem of modern slavery and human trafficking was discussed. It was the first time I heard about it. The fact that someone cannot decide for themselves while God allows us to decide to live with or without Him, screamed within me of disagreement.
I sent one e-mail to Daniela to which she replied. Later, I invited her to speak at a conference for students about forced labor and modern slavery. It was the first time we met. After some time, it was she who invited me for training related to the problem of human trafficking. It was then, on the back chairs of the city bus in Warsaw, that we sensed that God had a bigger plan in mind – for both of us. Daniela invited me to co-create the foundation.
A few months later, I was packing all my things. One suitcase to India. One backpack for a trip to the mountains. Lots of cardboard boxes to Lodz. Me, a girl who wanted one job, one home and one place for all her life. Who understood stability this way. This was my path for the nearest future. At the time, did I suppose that I would fly to Mozambique by myself the same year? It didn’t even cross my mind. But God’s – yes. I have resigned from my work. The mismatch was gone. God was moving me from a place where I did not belong to the place He had prepared for me.
India was my first missionary trip as a part of the Charis Bible College Poland. I write about my most important lesson from there here: http://annadabrowska.org/the-invisibles/. But I also remember being tired from this trip. Heat. Stomach problems. And reaching out to your possibilities on every step. I remember one evening standing in the shower, exhausted, with a collection of doubts and questions in my heart, already stressed out with the next day. And how His words brought relief that it was not my strengths, but His*. That it is not me, but He who will do it**. I did not know then that I would have to use these Words every day in the coming years. However, at that time, still missions were not my desire or plan.
After returning from India and after a few days in the mountains, I was back in Lodz. It was a strange feeling. I left Gdansk and returned to Lodz. In the meantime, my brother and friend moved my things to a new place. Strange and exciting. The God’s shift.
The following months were one of the hardest and best in my life. I was there as much as was needed. Although we had a planned rhythm of work, the situation became very dynamic when the first people started coming to the house that the foundation had set up. When the police started calling Daniela and saying, “We have a woman. Will you come?” I remember one day leaving for work in the morning with the thought of what I would do in the afternoon. I returned to my flat the next day late at night. In the meantime, I slept a few hours fully clothed on the couch at the foundation house, to be on the road again in the morning. But that was not the hardest part. The hardest part was being with the women and to hear all their stories. And see what the other man did to them. The hardest part was staying home overnight with people towards whom you have to have limited trust, but at the same time to love them. The hardest part was when we were touched by the whole spiritual reality that these women were bringing to the foundation house. The hardest part was wanting to help, seeing temporary smiles, but not seeing permanent changes in their lives. And still believe that what we do matters.
On the way back to my apartment, I glanced over my shoulder many times. After returning home, I took hot long baths almost every day. That was how the tension was going down. On Saturdays, if I could, I slept as long as my body needed, then woke up and ate and napped again.
I cannot and do not want to quote here all the evil that I watched at that time. That’s why I will write what I liked the most. My favorite thing was to spend time with girls in my daily routine. Go for a walk in the park together. For waffles. Go shopping. Celebrate a little boy’s first birthday. Talking about girls’ little things. It was at that time that I watched all the music movies for teenagers! And I’ve been learning that loving begins just like this – in a seemingly insignificant presence.
And the people I met along the way. God wove the various relationships that carried me that season, but also, I only understood later, made it possible to follow Jesus later. In my impossible and His possible. Because when we need to make decisions, but what we see shouts louder than the invisible on the basis we live, sometimes we need people who at times of our doubt will help us. And when I did not see, there was always someone next to me who said it was, though not visible. The Church of Jesus Christ exists also to believe with us in our impossible. I write more about them here: http://annadabrowska.org/they/. About relationships that are about something more than just that time in my life.
I was right in my place. To love was my job. I was doing it imperfectly, but always looking at Jesus. However, I quickly noticed a desire for more in my heart. It’s hard to talk about it. I just came to Lodz, turning my life upside down. Only because of Him. But what was burning inside was about loving. About something else new to me. At that time, I used to come back more and more often to the book about missions that I had read the year before. Thoughts about Mozambique. The country I knew nothing about.
* “(…) My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
** “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
** “(…) Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zachariah 4:6)