For Darek, who lives imprisoned in a Polish jail cell, this verse has so much significance: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and ordained you that you should go and bear fruit, and your fruit should remain…" (John 15:16).
Darek's story begins like this…
"I remember when I was six years old. At that time, we lived in a tiny village near Pila. My father and mother cared for the farm, and my Aunt Jola, who lived with us, cared for me. In the evenings, when it was quiet, I visited my aunt. She read the Holy Bible. I remember asking her, "Is this how you read the Holy Scriptures… I wonder when you will finish reading them to the end?" My aunt looked at me and said, "Son, this story has no end, and reading it is helpful in everyday life."
This encouraged little Darek, and his aunt started reading to him first, and then he continued on his own. It lasted two years until he moved to a big city - Bydgoszcz, and since his aunt didn't live with them then, Darek stopped reading the Holy Bible. He didn't know that soon he would need this consolation. His mother died, and her death broke him for the next two years. His dad couldn't get up either. Time passed… The home finances also collapsed, so Darek began a life of crime, completely forgetting God's values.
He liked this life very much at first. Money, expensive clothes, motorcycles, women… nothing seemed to be missing. He fell seriously in love with one woman. He says, "I thought I was the happiest man in the world. I found out that we were having a daughter. I was so happy; I thanked God and prayed that she would be born healthy. I wanted to start over, so I took an honest job at a construction site. My first paycheck was small. I looked at this money and realized that's how much I "earned" usually in one good night. But I was determined, gritted my teeth, and kept working."
But life without God and His Word soon took its toll. Even before the baby was born, one day, there was a knock on the door. Police! They arrested Darek and sentenced him to one year and three months in prison (for recent assault charges). Two weeks later, he saw his girlfriend and little daughter for a so-called "seeing." "My newly born daughter looked like an angel," says Darek. Little did he know then that this first time would be their last for many years.
He missed his daughter especially, and when he got out of prison, he immediately headed to their door. Unfortunately, his partner and their daughter had left for England. He did not know the phone number or address, and few people had Facebook – so contact was lost. Months and years passed without God, without His Word, without His rules...
He met another girl, fell in love, and started a company. Unfortunately, without a changed heart, Darek continued to go in the wrong direction: "Being "resourceful" I extorted a few loans. The case went to court, where convictions were handed down, and I was sent back to prison. My story has come full circle: the girl is gone, and the love is over."
In prison, he went back to reading the Bible, but there was a difference. There, he met Adam, who turned out to be a born-again Christian serving some old sentences. It was from him that he saw what it means to truly repent, pray, and build a relationship with God. "I watched him carefully, listening to his loud prayers. One morning, we got up, and Adam extended his hand, hugged me like a brother, and said: Don't worry - it'll be fine. As long as I've been in prison, I've never met anyone like that before," recalls Darek. Then they transferred him to other prisons, but he tried to pray, read the Bible like Adam, and seek contact with other Christians.
"And that's how I met Darek, a Reach A Village Ministry partner with whom I began to correspond. In letters, he motivated me to learn God's Word and sent a guide to the Gospel of John, "Discover Life." So, I started to get to know the Gospel of John like never before, to think, wonder, and look for answers to the questions in the text. It was a breakthrough and an amazing journey to a new world. I began to see and, more importantly, understand what I had not seen before." Darek, the missionary, also began regular meetings with Darek in prison, guiding him step by step through God's Word: "Every meeting we had, every topic we discussed there brought me closer to God and gave birth to my faith in His Word. During these meetings, I forgot that I was in prison," – recalls Darek with emotion.
God began to straighten his path in an amazing way. A scheduled, difficult back surgery turned out to be unnecessary. "You are completely healthy," - summed up the doctors, looking at the tests done on the eve of the operation. While on leave from prison, he visited one of the churches. After 20 years, he found Aunt Jola among the Christians he needed so much. On Facebook, he reconnected with the girl with whom he had a child and was able to talk for the first time with his daughter, whom he had only seen once; she was now 17 years old. The living God is perfect in straightening a sin-twisted life (Ephesians 2:1-5)!
How is Darek now? "I only have months left until the end of my sentence. When I think about my story, I remember how a few years ago, sitting in prison, I asked someone to send me a TV and game console ... Now I'm sitting in an empty cell without any equipment, and the only thing missing is a light to read the Word of God longer. And thank you, thank you, Lord Jesus, for salvation and His Word, which finally became a torch on my path. I would also like to thank everyone that God used to find and save me: Aunt Jola, for my first steps when I was little; for Adam, who was an extraordinary testimony for me; for Darek, who, during meetings with the Bible and guidebooks showed me what it means to be a disciple of Christ, and others who made it possible."