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A Sabbath Exit in Poland

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, August 12.

By Andrew McChesney


ll university students attended Saturday classes in Communist Poland. But Ryszard didn’t. Somehow he always managed to pass his classes. But then he got a new teacher.

“Give up your studies,” a friend said. “We have a tough new professor who will not give you Saturdays off. Just pack your bags and go home.”

Ryszard was not alarmed.

“No, I will not pack my bags and go home,” he said. “First, I will pray to my Lord. I will explain my situation to Him and ask for His guidance.”

As Ryszard prayed about meeting with the professor, two possible scenarios of what would happen came to his mind. In one scenario, the professor would reject his request to take off Sabbaths, saying, “It doesn’t matter what you believe. You have to attend my class.” In the other scenario, the professor would say, “Please be seated. I want to tell you something.”

Ryszard went to the professor and introduced himself. “I’m from the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” he said. “The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant church. We believe in Jesus, Mary, and the disciples. We live like them. Saturday was a holy, sacred day for them, and it is for me, too. So, I’m afraid that I will not be able to attend your class on Saturday.”

Ryszard waited quietly for the professor’s response.

The professor said, “Please take a seat. Please listen to my story first.”

The professor said that years earlier, he had flown to the United States for a one-year internship after graduating with his doctorate.

“I didn’t know anybody there,” he said. “When my plane landed, I thought, ‘Where will I stay?’ To my surprise, a family picked me up at the airport and took me to their home. They invited me to live with them and eat their food. When I wanted to pay them, they refused.”

The professor lived with the family for the entire year.

“When I left to return to Poland, I thought, ‘How can I pay back these people? How can I show my appreciation for what they have done for me?’” the professor said. “I had absolutely no idea what I could do. Now I hear you saying that you are a Protestant. They were Protestant, too. I will give you Saturdays off.”

Ryszard was stunned and amazed by the wonderful news. Who would have thought that God would have sent a Protestant family to his future professor in the United States to pave the way for him to keep the Sabbath as a Seventh-day Adventist in Communist Poland years later?

Ryszard’s friend was wrong. The professor did give him Saturdays off.

Ryszard never had to attend the class on Saturday. When he took the final exam, the questions were so simple that it seemed that the professor had gone out of his way to make sure he would pass the class.

Today, Ryszard Jankowski is the president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poland. He has never forgotten how God helped him keep the Sabbath at the university.

“I saw how God leads us even when we are stuck in a situation that seems to have no exit,” he says. “Jesus says, ‘I am the door through which you can always find an exit in difficult situations.”

In John 10:7-9, Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (NKJV).

Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in 2017 that helped build a television studio for Hope Channel Poland. Ryszard is a regular speaker on Hope Channel Poland, the local affiliate of Hope Channel International.