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God Met Me in My Communist Kitchen

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Looking out the kitchen window, only the dim streetlight illuminated our surroundings. In Kraków, Poland, night descended early these cold winter evenings, and the darkness reinforced our sense of isolation.

Peering into the cold night, I searched for Larry’s bundled up figure. His return home—our upstairs space in the house we shared with a Polish family—marked the end of another grueling day in cross cultural living.

At long last, his form emerged trudging up the hill.

As he walked in the door, he left behind the demanding life of language study, and climbed the stairs, to engage fully as husband and dad. Within the context of our clandestine lives behind the Iron Curtain, our upstairs nest and our evening routine provided a cozy feeling of safety and security, albeit it fragile. Ironically, this season of our lives would be looked back upon as one of the sweetest in our marriage.

After tucking our little one into her bed, Larry and I sat down at our table. A pot of steaming black tea and a simple meal of bread and cheese awaited us. If the line waiting outside the meat store had not been too long, there might even be salami for our open-faced sandwiches.

The shortwave radio stood nearby like a sentinel on the windowsill. In these frigid days of the Cold War, isolation from the outside free world, forced us—as part of our safety protocol— to rely on the radio and BBC for news of world events.

Our forbidden possession sat hidden on the floor during the day. But for clear reception, we carefully brought it out at night, and reverentially placed it on the ledge. Then We. Held. Our. Breaths. The Communist government menacingly sought to jam the reception, thus we never knew for certain if the signal would come through.

On this particular evening, using only my thumb and index fingers, I delicately turned the radio dial. Going back and forth (forth and back) I painfully listened for the faintest evidence of a verbal lifeline to my familiar world far away. Yet, only the painful screeches and shrills of the government’s jamming mechanisms shouted back at me.

Touching the dial with the deftness of a butterfly, I made one last attempt.

But I refused to give up. Leaning over and leaning in, I prayerfully begged the ionosphere to have victory over the Communists. Touching the dial with the deftness of a butterfly, I made one last attempt.

Then, wouldn’t you know! The Hand of God—not BBC, not Voice of America, not Radio Free Europe—broke through to deliver the shocking, booming voice of our dearly beloved Bible teacher, Dr. Manford G. Gutzke! This is the voice of Manford G. Gutzke and you are listening to The Radio Bible Hour. With that familiar introduction, marching right into my Communist Kitchen through our illegal radio, Dr. Gutze launched into teaching one of his spiritually rich lessons from the Word of God.

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Don’t ask me how it happened. Don’t ask where it originated. Never again did we hear Dr. Gutze; never again did we stumble upon the station. But for one night, with one voice, for one couple on Kingdom assignment behind enemy lines, God broke through with spiritual nourishment for their needy souls. Thank You, Sweet Jesus.

No, never alone, No, never alone, He promised never to leave me, Never to leave me alone. (Anonymous hymn lyrics)

"I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

“My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19 NKJV).

The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us. I know; God Met Me in My Communist Kitchen.

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

When has God surprised you with the reality of His Presence?

What were the circumstances?

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My Communist Kitchen: I am studying Polish with my notebook and tape recorder, and my little girl is studying English with her    Richard Scarry    dictionary.

My Communist Kitchen: I am studying Polish with my notebook and tape recorder, and my little girl is studying English with her Richard Scarry dictionary.