TCK essay contest winner: God's faithful, even when we're friendless
September 2017

Autumn Irons was 15 she and her family moved to Poland. The Irons family partners with the Polish church, hosting Bible studies and prayer groups while Polish church members conduct the meetings so as to give them experience and encouragement in their ministries. The family also is involved in international outreach, including serving in an English-language service conducted within their Polish church. Autumn loves Poland’s beautiful scenery and lovely architecture, and her great friends. “Life in Poland is all about building personal, long-lasting, meaningful relationships with friends and family,” she says.

By Autumn Irons in Poland — After living in the beautiful country of Poland for three years, there are many unexpected situations that have arisen in my life, each ranging from mild problems to serious issues. One such serious issue, from which I learned a lot, happened about two years ago.

I was invited by some fellow missionary kids to go to a youth conference in a town I had not been to before. I alone was invited, as my sister was not old enough to be able to come to the retreat, and, as it was about an hour and a half away, I had some hesitations. The conference was to be entirely in Polish and, at the time, I did not understand much of the language. I did not really desire to go; mostly because I did not feel that I was good friends with the people who invited me. But I prayed about it and felt that the Lord was telling me to go.

Missionary kids in Poland

From start to finish, I felt miserable and alone. Unbeknownst to me, my friends had also invited someone else and when I met up with them to travel to the conference, I quickly learned that I’d be playing third wheel. Throughout that weekend, I felt restless and lonely and grew more and more impatient to return home. More than once, due to my rollercoaster of emotions, I was on the verge of tears, wondering why God had told me to come. The conference lasted three days, but it felt more like two weeks.

However, God’s light of love and peace and joy shined through the darkness the Enemy was trying to ensnare me in. I met some really friendly girls who did not mind speaking in English to me and who were really kind. I learned a little more about the Bible from one of the lessons taught in English. And, above all, I drew closer to the Lord. In the times when I felt that I was at rock bottom, I would pull out the Bible my mom had lent to me and I read comforting Scriptures, all about God’s constancy and providence and unfailing love.

I never expected that, in agreeing to go to the conference, God would use that time to teach me more about Himself. He became my Great Provider, my Sustainer, my Best Friend, my source of hope. In those moments when I felt like all my “friends” had left me, I sought and found peace in Psalm 121, where it reads, “The Lord will keep you from all harm — He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch your coming and going, both now and forever.”

I learned much about the Lord and myself during that conference. And I am still reminded of the valuable lessons He taught me when I look back. I know that the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me.

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Autumn Irons
Autumn Irons was 15 she and her family moved to Poland. The Irons family partners with the Polish church, hosting Bible studies and prayer groups.