Poland’s first black member of Parliament a bold witness for Christ

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By John Godson —

John Godson
John Godson

If someone had told me 21 years ago when I was coming to Poland, that I would one day be a member of the Polish parliament, I would not have believed them.

I was born into the family of a Methodist preacher. Both of my parents were teachers and so I was taught discipline and to work for everything I needed. Despite the efforts of my parents I was very rebellious. Twice I ran away from home for two weeks, and when I was 11, I started smoking and drinking, as I wanted to appear to be ‘grown up.’ I continued in my ‘independent’ and rebellious ways until I finished secondary education.

I received my first Bible from a young Methodist priest – Samuel Uche – who became Archbishop of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Enugu Diocese, and is now Prelate of the Church in Nigeria – and I began to read it and I discovered, to my surprise, that God loved me. Yes that was a great surprise. He was a loving and caring Father.

I remember reading in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” But, to me, it was too good to be true. My parents had taught me that I needed to work hard and be good to earn God’s approval, but the Bible told me that it was a free gift. The more I read the Bible, the more I was convinced that I was a sinner. So, in May 1987, I knelt down in my room, and with tears in my eyes, I confessed my sins to God asked Jesus to become my Lord and Savior. I was 17 at the time, and it was a simple boyish prayer, but that was the beginning of the greatest adventure of my life.

(Godson said after his conversion, he was admitted into university and felt God’s urging to preach the Gospel wherever he went.)

I would preach around the student’s hostel, in the class rooms, in the auditorium, also while traveling in buses, and during visits to a local prison and hospital. In 1988, while attending a missions conference called the ‘GO Festival,’ one of the speakers asked us pointed questions such as, ‘What are you living for?’ ‘What will you be remembered for?’ ‘What is the sense of your life?’ and, ‘If what you are living for is not worth dying for, then it is not worth living for.”

Missionary Jim Elliot once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose,” and so Godson revealed that, together with a few other young people, he (and they) decided that they wanted their lives to have “real meaning.”

I prayed, “Everything that I am, and will ever be, everything that I have, and will ever have belong to you. Do with me what you will.”

Immediately after this conference, I got in touch with a Romanian couple — Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, from whom I would receive a magazine called ‘The Voice of Christian Martyrs.’ In one of the editions, there was the story of a young man called Ivan, who was killed by the Soviet KGB for his faith. The picture of him and of his corpse was shown, and as I read this, I started crying and told God that I was willing to replace Ivan. I started a prayer team to pray for Eastern Europe. That was in 1988. When the Iron Curtain came down in 1989/1990, I knew I was going to come here someday.

After graduation from the university, I applied to about 50 mission agencies but none was willing to accept me because I was from Nigeria — and would not be able to raise the $2500-3000 USD needed for missions support. Finally I was accepted by IFES – International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, which is affiliated with Inter-Varsity. I was given three countries to choose from – Russia, Poland, and Hungary. I thought about Russia because of Ivan, but as I prayed and sought God’s guidance, I received a letter from Poland from a Scottish missionary working in Poland. He invited me to choose Poland, so on the 2nd of August 1993, I arrived in Poland as a missionary with IFES. All I had was my plane ticket, $100 USD in my pocket, and no family, no support, just faith and my call to Poland.

I worked with IFES for five years, first as a team member and later as a regional coordinator. I was also lecturing in the local university. In 1998, my wife Aneta, and I felt that God was calling us into a new ministry. I resigned from my university job, and from IFES, and we moved to a town called Choszczno, where there was no church and so we started one and also a national prayer meeting for Poland. Our prayer meetings brought together between 300 and 500 Christians to pray for revival in Poland. We also ran a language school were involved in various social projects for our community.

In Lodz we started a 24/7 prayer center for Poland. Our primary focus was the government. As we prayed, I felt God was asking me if I was willing to be the answer to our prayers. That was unthinkable. I had always eschewed politics. The burden continued and God was showing me that politics was taking responsibility and serving, so I decided to give it a try.

In 2005, I ran for the district council election and I even end the highest number of votes out of 107 candidates. That was a great encouragement. In 2008, I became a city councilor and in 2010, I was sworn in as the first ever black member of the Polish parliament in Polish history.

Being in politics has not been easy, but God’s grace has been available to me. Last year, I had to resign from the ruling party to protest ‘trials’ to force MP’s vote against their conscience on gay marriage/partnerships and abortion issues. It was a very difficult decision because the Prime Minister was my friend and has been in our home with his wife.

We just held the first ever evangelistic parliamentary supper for about 100 participants of which there were about 40 MPs, key church leaders, and our students. We have also started an association- The Christian Social Movement – which is a platform for Christians who feel called to politics, and also a school to train aspiring Christian politicians. We presently have 33 students. The training lasts one academic year (nine months)

Please pray for God’s continued wisdom, guidance, and favor as I continue to work here in Poland.

 

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