After decades working in corporate America, husband and wife, Joseph and Ewa Sederstrom, did what most hope to do at the end of their careers—they retired. Both had worked at Hewlett Packard/Agilent Technologies in Colorado Springs, when they made the decision to trade in their corporate hats and lean into the next season. The Sederstroms were comfortable, and as they settled in to life in the slower lane, they were unaware of changes ahead of them.
Both Joseph and Ewa were born again and had been walking with the Lord for more than ten years when they retired. The couple loved God and faithfully attended church services and small groups, but there was unrest in their spirits. The unrest was magnified as they entered retirement. "We had been Christians for approximately 13 years, and we knew that there should be more to our lives. We were not seeing much difference between non-believers' lives and most believers around us," said Joseph.
The couple recognized that they weren't experiencing any excitement in their Christian walk. Looking back, Joseph said what they saw was, "Mostly legalism and just waiting to go home." But, in 2007, their ho-hum Christian walk was energized when Ewa found Andrew's Gospel Truth program on television. She was working out on her treadmill when she heard Andrew teaching about the authority of the believer and that was the jolt she needed. "We had found the 'extra' that we knew was available to every believer. God wanted more for us, and we wanted more of what God wanted for us," said Ewa.
In March of 2007, the Sederstroms were watching the Gospel Truth when God interrupted their retirement through the voice of Andrew's TV announcer as he promoted Charis Bible College's Campus Days, an event during which prospective students visit CBC and attend actual classes to get a taste of what the school has to offer. On a whim, they decided to hop in the car and make the 20 minute drive into town to explore CBC. "We got there at about 10 a.m., in time for the third period class, and at Noon we were talking about attending CBC in the fall," said Joseph.
Their spirits had been persuaded to attend Charis, but later the same afternoon, the Sederstroms began to doubt the idea of actually going through with enrollment. Joseph remembers saying, "How stupid—us going to Bible college? What a dumb idea!" Still unsure, the couple went to the evening session. Again, they came away excited to go to CBC, and planned to attend the final Campus Days session the following morning. The next day however, Joseph's doubt had returned for the second time. Fortunately, Joseph and Ewa had agreed to meet friends at the morning session, so they pressed ahead with their plans. "Again, after the teaching, we were pumped! Then I remembered Andrew saying, 'The devil always overplays his hand.' And, I knew that our negativism and doubt was from the enemy," said Joseph.
The Sederstroms went on to graduate with the class of 2009. During their time at CBC, Joseph and Ewa received the Lord's direction to plant a CBC extension school in Poland. The two have special ties to the nation and received the call with gladness. Joseph's fondness for Poland was instilled in him by his Polish grandmother who immigrated to the USA before WWI, and his mother kept the traditions and connection to his Polish heritage alive in their home. Although Ewa has lived in the U.S. since 1975, her ties to Poland are deep; she was born and raised in Łódż, (pronounced: woodge) Poland. Through the years the Sederstroms have stayed connected with family and friends and visited Poland many times.
The couple attended CBC's optional third year as apprentices, spending their time developing plans for their ministry in Poland and preparing for the relocation. They moved to Łódż in September of 2010 to establish their new residence and organizational status. Their ministry, Sozo Life Ministries and the new school, CBC-Poland are now recognized under the law in Poland as a legitimate religious organizations, and the Sederstroms are free to minister legally.
Since their arrival, the Sederstroms have also been building relationships with pastors and churches throughout Poland. Joseph and Ewa have introduced the Discipleship Evangelism materials in a small-group setting in their home and in a larger class setting at their church. Several pastors from other local churches are using the Polish-translated DE materials as well.
"This is a country that is traditionally Roman Catholic. Protestants are a small percentage of the population, probably less than 1%, but we are not here to convert people. We are here to open a Bible college and teach the Word of God to anyone with ears to hear. Period," said Joseph.
When asked to compare retired life before God's interruption to their current adventure, the Sederstroms had this to say, "There is no comparison. Every day is exciting. We wake up anticipating what the Lord will show us and do that day. Every day begins with Kawa i Słowo (pronounced kah-vah ee swoh-vo, "coffee and the Word") for around two hours. Then, whatever we have to do. It is never boring and always amazing [to see] who the Lord has put in our place to continue what we need to do to get the school started in September 2012."