Polish ranks among the world’s most difficult languages to learn. Yet for Rosemond Chinwe Osuchukwu M.A. ’00 and her husband, Raymond Osuchukwu Adonai M.A. ’11, learning the language was not as hard as some of the challenges they face in providing an evangelical presence in this strongly Catholic country. Both originally from Nigeria, they serve side-by-side as pastors of Victory in Jesus Church in Lodz, Poland. Rose also coordinates the international students ministry of Christian Students Association-International Fellowship of Evangelical Students of Poland.
At Wheaton Rosemond Osuchukwu developed intercultural skills that would prove valuable in her transition from ministry in Nigeria to Poland. Eleven years after Rose received her master’s degree, Raymond completed his degree in biblical studies and participated as a graduate student representative in the inauguration of President Philip Ryken ’88.
Rose and Ray attended the Graduate School through the Billy Graham Center Scholarship Program, one of the Center’s 50 ministries that exist to accelerate evangelism worldwide. Since 1975, about 1,000 BGC Scholars have attended Wheaton College Graduate School, afterward returning to or beginning their ministries in 108 countries.
Before marrying Raymond, Rose served for 12 years with Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students, becoming the director of associates and the longest-tenured female on staff.
In Raymond, Rose found a partner with a consuming passion for evangelism. Raymond studied civil engineering at the Wroclaw University of Technology and served with ChSA-IFES of Poland for 10 years, coordinating the international students’ ministry across Poland. In 2005, he became a full-time pastor and church planter.
“He has a heart for lost souls and seeks them for God with zeal,” says Rose, who notes that no matter where he is—whether standing in a queue, or riding a train, bus, or taxi—he is talking with people about Jesus.
That zeal has led to direct attacks—spiritual as well as physical.
Seven years ago, Raymond and Rose were taking care of an errand. While Raymond stood waiting for Rose, he began sharing the gospel with three teenage Polish girls. As he spoke, three Polish men approached and demanded to know what he was saying.
Returning, Rose saw the men rip the “God Loves You” tracts from her husband’s hand and viciously punch Raymond in the face, leaving a wound. She stepped in front of him, afraid for his life. The assailants spat on her and began raining blows and racist slurs on the couple in full view of onlookers. A woman approached, but instead of intervening, she joined the assault, hitting Rose in the face and inciting the men further.
As Rose fell to the ground, screaming for help, security guards arrived to stop the assault. Two of the men were arrested.
The mayor of Lodz personally apologized to Raymond and Rose and took the arrested men to court. In court, the couple surprised the judge and prosecutor by expressing forgiveness and shaking the hands of the defendants. The stunned men apologized for their actions.
A year after the attack, Raymond and Rose met with the main aggressor. “He prayed with me to receive Jesus into his life, and afterward he hugged me and was almost weeping for joy,” says Raymond. “My attacker has become my brother in the Lord! What happened to Rose and me led to the salvation of this man. And many others, including the police and judges, experienced the fragrance of Christ’s love.”
Through such miraculous events, Raymond and Rose see God’s hand in their ministry to the Polish community as well as to international students. “We love Poland and the Polish people,” Raymond says. “I believe it is the Lord who sent us to serve him here in Poland and Europe at this time. And we are happy to be here. Our hearts hope to see God visit this country with a great movement of his Holy Spirit.”