We went through fire and water, but He led us to a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:12)
Wednesday, August 17, 1977, Kraków, Poland
The dark haired woman in the yard placed her spade in the dirt, pulled off her work gloves, and motioned for us to come inside. Later we would learn her name, Wanda.
This was not a typical day in our lives; ours was not a typical search. We needed a home, and we needed it fast. Our summer language institute with its provision of temporary housing ended, leaving us homeless. As undercover missionaries, we now faced an acute need for permanent housing.
Statistics in the Communist economy mocked our desire to find an apartment for our family of three - the housing crisis confounded belief. Typically, a Polish family waited nine to ten years to own an apartment, and in the interim, rented a room or lived in an overcrowded apartment with their family. In fact, it was a common practice for a couple, at the birth of a baby, to open an apartment account for their newborn, in hopes the child could own the dwelling when he/she reached the age of twenty one.
Facing dorm life as our only other option, we prayed. We asked our generous, miracle-working God to lead us to a needle in a haystack that only He could provide. Desperate in this uncharted faith terrain, we made a list for God.
Our prayer list for this desired apartment included:
- A kitchen
- A bathroom
- A washer (dryers did not exist)
- A yard where our toddler could play
- Warm for bitter cold winter weather
- Windows for light
- Located in the smog-free zone of the city for healthier air
- Situated within the home of a Polish family (to facilitate learning this new language and culture)
In summary, we were searching for a place to call home, a haven for two Americans with a baby, feebly following the call of God on their lives.
Our first lead, labeled luxury with all the comforts, turned out to be a combination living room-bedroom, no kitchen, and a semi-private bath. Reality taunted our tremulous faith. Could God do this? Would He come through? What if the dorm room became our home?
Our continuing search loomed ahead. Trudging wearily on foot, we hiked up a nearby hilly street. A couple working in the yard of their newly built home greeted us as we approached. We paused. Then, in a faltering Polish language, we explained our desire to rent an apartment. Our request fell on understanding ears. The dark haired woman in the yard placed her spade in the dirt, pulled off her work gloves, and motioned for us to follow her.
Once inside their home, Wanda and Ryszard gave us a tour of their new dwelling, which just so happened to include an upstairs apartment.
As the Lord would have it, they constructed this upstairs apartment with the future in mind - their young daughter would one day live here with her own family. In the immediate future, they eagerly agreed to rent to us, a small family of three.
Larry and I took in our surroundings with shocking disbelief. Our eyes met knowingly, and silently asked, “Have we just found God's needle in a haystack?” The layout seemed to be directly taken from our customized prayer list for an apartment:
- A kitchen - Check
- A bathroom - Check
- A washer - Check
- A yard where our toddler could play - Check
- Warm for bitter cold winter weather - Check
- Windows for light - Check
- Located in the smog-free zone of the city for healthier air - Check
- Situated within the home of a Polish family – Check. Specifically, we would share a common entrance and foyer. Only a stairway would separate our lives.
Cups of hot tea with lemon and freshly baked poppy seed cake confirmed the deal. Brushing off the crumbs, we eventually hugged good-bye as if we were long-lost relatives. Larry and I fairly flew out the door on the wings of angels.
Yes! God just showed us His needle in a haystack, a haven for two Americans with a baby feebly following His call on their lives – Check.
“Even before they call I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24)
Living With Eternal Intentionality: When have you seen God go before you in answer to a specific prayer?