“The sponsors appeared and donated thousands of zlotys for banners or fliers. One married couple bought equipment worth 4 thousands of zlotys,” Fr. Radek Sliwinski, the originator of the “begging” evangelization, says. Last year the evangelizing team numbered 6 people. Now we are an over 80-person powerful team including clergymen, members of male and female religious congregations, the young and the old, and even whole families. Fr. Radek imbues with his idea not only the north of Poland but also the south. People from Krakow and Lublin, as well as from abroad, volunteered for the mission of evangelizing seaside places. “There are various communities of the Church among us: Renewal in the Holy Spirit, Oasis (youth movement), St. Michael Archangel Knighthood, and people with experience of the Bieszczady Evangelization or “Przystanek Jezus” (Polish nationwide evangelistic initiative),” Fr. Radek explains. “People are drawn by the Gospel. When they are told that they can, like the disciples of the Lord, go and preach and God will take care of everything, just as it is written in the Gospel, they want to experience it.” We get up very early and go to the Blessed Sacrament to…“recharge their batteries”.
As young people say, we derive energy directly from the source – from Jesus. And it remains unknown to us what will happen next. If God could make the sea to go apart or manna from heaven to fall down in the wilderness, what is it for him to provide a few sandwiches? God provides even for the simplest things daily. Because if a person is “on fire”, he wants to carry this experience of God to others. This is the second time that the evangelizing team set off to the seaside settlements. Walking through beaches and promenades, young people distribute fliers inviting people for an evening meeting in the church. They do not take anything with themselves. Like the Apostles, they depend totally on Jesus.
“Catechesis is not enough. One needs to become a witness,” the evangelizers of the Good News believe. Ilona already knows what to expect. A year ago, I thought: “Lord Jesus, so I am putting you to the test. There is no accommodation? Ha! I caught you!” Suddenly a woman appears taking all of us to her house. “Well, how one cannot trust Him?” she says laughing. Immediately afterwards she tells about the miracles they had witnessed. About a boy, who came to the church on his own, and so far he had not been able to get out of his house without help, about a girl who started to hear, about a woman who eventually forgave her mother. “God works at every step. We did not expect that we would experience so many conversions, churches filled with people to the full and so much evidence that it is enough to ask,” she says. Some of us doubted chances of success in preaching the Gospel to the tourists basking on the beach. The beach? This place is as good for evangelizing as any other. Jesus also walked everywhere and talked with everybody. He would also go at the beach. So we go to the seaside beaches, housing estates and promenades, inviting for an evening meeting in the church. They travel the length and breadth of the town, singing, giving personal testimonies of their encounter with God, performing mime and proclaiming the message of evangelization. Warm welcome and churches filled to the brim during the evening prayers are for evangelizers confirmation that their conduct makes sense. People stop; they want to talk and join us when we dance and sing, and then they reply to the invitation and attend the evening Mass and common prayer at the church.