Summer 1984. We are navigating the rural countryside, far outside of Gdansk, Poland in our tiny Polski Fiat 125p. Along with the driver, Dad is sitting shotgun, while I am in the back with another Polish Christian man. The tension was palpable in the car as he and I occasionally had to duck down to avoid detection by the KGB during our trip.
We stopped at the end of a dirt road which wound its way up to a solitary house. We sat there, with the engine still running, and waited in stilled silence. Somehow I knew not to say anything. Fifteen minutes later, it was apparent that we were unsuccessful in our illusory attempts as a Gaz-24-24, driven by two KGB agents flew up over the horizon. The KGB agent slammed his brakes on, as he realized that he was found out, then slowly continued to drive past us trying to play it all off.
After the car disappeared behind us, Dad and I got out of the car and ran up the road to the house. As we approached, someone came out the front door and quickly ushered us inside. Standing in the living room was Lech Walesa, the unemployed electrician who led the Solidarity Movement in Poland to fight the Communist stranglehold on the country. Lech smiled warmly, gave Dad a hug and kiss, and then rustled my hair as he showed us to the couch.
Lech was supposed to be holed up in his flat in downtown Gdansk, but he had somehow been smuggled out to the countryside and wanted to meet with Dad. With both Dad and Lech being close personal friends of Pope John Paul II, they shared a unique bond. They quickly huddled together and spoke in hushed tones while an older woman served us hot tea along with Pierogi’s (think Polish dumplings) and Golabki’s (cabbage rolls).
To the day Dad died, he never told me what was discussed between them on that day. I have reason to believe that the Pope knew of that clandestine meeting. Perhaps he initiated it or even blessed it. Jesus said in Mark 9:23, “‘If you can believe, all things are possible to them that believe’”. Those three men, Dad, Lech, and Pope John Paul II, believed that God could tear down a Marxist stronghold and, as a result, God empowered them to dramatically change the future of our world.