Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. – John 15:13
In July 1941, a prisoner successfully escaped what at that time may have been the most terrible place on Earth – the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Frustrated by this occurrence, and wanting to discourage the remaining prisoners from repeating this feat, Commandant Karl Fritzsch randomly selected 10 prisoners to be forcibly starved to death in retribution. Upon learning that he had been chosen, a 39 year old prisoner cried out in agony, as he knew that his wife and children were about to be orphaned. It was at that time that one of the others, Maximilian Kolbe, stepped out of line and approached the Commandant.
He risked being shot on the spot, but Fritzsch noted that instead of the Star of David, this prisoner’s uniform bore a red “P,” identifying him as a Polish political prisoner. Rudely, the Commandant stated “Was will dieses polnische Schwein?” (What does this Polish pig want?) and called for an interpreter. However, no interpreter was necessary as Kolbe, a highly educated priest, replied in perfect German “Ich will sterben für ihn.” (I want to die for him).
I want to die for him.
Everyone was silent for some time, until finally Fritszch spoke up and asked him why. Kolbe replied that the man had a family and that he wanted to take his place. “Gut!” (good) said Fritzsch, and allowed the substitution. Over the course of two weeks Kolbe calmed and comforted his fellow prisoners, leading them in singing hymns and praising God as they suffered through their final days. On August 14th he finally passed away, the last of the 10 to do so.
Franciszek Gajowniczek, the man whose life Kolbe saved, lived to the age of 93.
Christ hasn’t called everyone to die for others, but we have all been called to live for others. James chapter 1 tells us that true religion takes care of “orphans and widows in their need.” Indeed, Christ spent a large portion of His time on Earth in service to others. As Christians, we should be eager to do the same.
Director of Communications
More Than a Ring
Some time ago, Jonathan, one of our Alumni, was playing with his daughter, Sofia, who saw his PAYH class ring and put it on. He couldn’t help but snap a pic of her power pose! When asked about this, Jonathan stated “The class ring serves as a reminder of what the Lord has done in my life. In the Scriptures, there are numerous verses pointing to the past so that we may remember what the Lord has done for His people.”
It was a beautiful (but hot) day at The River Club in North Augusta, where we held our 27th annual Paul Anderson Golf Classic. The course was in immaculate shape and the friends and partners who played with us helped raise over $74,000 to help transform the lives of young men who need a second chance. PAYH alumnus Nathan Perkins and his team took first place, while Jonathan, the alum whose daughter is pictured in the previous story, took both the long drive and putting contest prizes. Click here for a video recap of the day.
Riding for the Nazarene
Our COO, Col. Ken Vaughn, took some time off from his duties at PAYH to engage in his own personal ministry – Riding for the Nazarene. Over the course of his 3,558 mile route, he visited 17 states and numerous historical locations, including Paul Anderson Memorial Parkin Toccoa, GA (where he is pictured with Paul and Glenda’s daughter, Paula Anderson Schaefer), raising funds and awareness for Voice of the Martyrs, which helps sustain and support the millions of Christians across the globe who have suffered persecution for their faith. Learn more about his story, his journey, and his mission at his blog, ridingforthenazarene.com.