This is the story of Anna Maria Kaminski, one of Birmingham City Mission’s Missionaries. In her own words, she shares the testimony of her life and how she came to faith in Jesus Christ.
I was brought up in Poland in the Catholic church, but my family was dysfunctional. My parents fought daily and neglected me. They weren’t ready for me. Everything felt unstable and dangerous.
When I was just 5 years old my mom and I left, fleeing a communist country to democratic Germany to join my grandparents there. Overnight we went from standing in the queue for a little bit of meat to having food in abundance. Everything was different. I was different. I was a stranger in a new place. It wasn’t clear to me whether we were staying for good or just on holiday. I didn’t know that, actually, I had said goodbye to my father for the last time.
My mom was eager to find a better life through a man with money and left me alone in the day and the night. My grandma was my rock. She would give me pennies so I could go out to the phone box and call her when I was frightened and things got difficult. It made my mom angry if I was caught phoning from home. Physical punishment and emotional violence were my daily companions.
My mom married and we moved to a different town. A new time of loneliness began, with me avoiding my step-father who took out his anger on me, especially when my mom was not there. Out of helplessness I rebelled. I felt worthless and searched for purpose in my life, but there was none.
When I was 18 I challenged my step-father and he attacked me. I left home to live with my grandparents and never went back. I had a boyfriend at the time and thought that we could have a future together. But he was only interested in friends, partying and drinking. Just like my father.
I felt more alone than ever, and would talk with God. Why haven’t you been there for me? How can you allow so much evil and sadness? There’s no forgiveness for me. Eventually, I told him that I was giving up on him.
My mum left to live with her third husband in America and I tried hard to start a new life in another town. But I felt abandoned by her and by God. I was full of sadness, bitterness and confusion. I failed to find love in relationships. I was broken.
I searched the internet for love, truth, something that could heal me, and found a New Age practitioner. I went on courses and read many books on alternative therapies, but my life didn’t improve. I thought I was on the right path but the further I went the more I saw it was a deception.
I started my own physiotherapy business in Switzerland where I earned a lot of money, but I wasn’t happy. I felt unable to live the life that others lived. The thought of my own family was strong but the fear of it was stronger.
My boyfriend at that time took his life after I left him and I was convinced it was my fault. I stopped trying to have relationships. I isolated myself and spent thousands on cards, stones, crystals, lifeless trinkets that had no power to help. Regularly I would lose interest in anything and lie in bed for days until I needed to work again for a while.
One sunny day I actually felt a wave of motivation and went out to distribute some of my company cards around local businesses. I met a young, vibrant-looking woman.
She seemed to have something I was looking for. We chatted and I talked about my desire to go to Brazil where I had heard there was a healer, and she said: ‘I know a healer’. And she told me that Jesus had died for me.
This was something utterly new for me. I told her about my past and thought she would surely understand that God couldn’t care and didn’t die for me. But she talked about his unfailing love and I thought, ‘What do I have to lose? Haven’t I tried everything else?’ In my heart I said, ‘God, if you are real, show me who you are’, and in that moment I was overwhelmed by his presence. And I realised he had always been there, even whilst I had been searching elsewhere in empty, worthless things. I cried and asked God for forgiveness. I prayed with my friend and felt brand new.
I went to church and read the Bible. I threw away everything from the past and put my trust totally in him. Two years later I sold everything, cancelled my job, packed my car full of stuff and left my old life behind. I set out to see where God would lead me, and what he had for me to do.
Since that time, 3 years ago, so many good things have happened. God brought me to work with Birmingham City Mission. I have a purpose, to tell the world that God loves them and died for them too, that this is for everyone. It has not always been easy, but there has been healing and I can truly say that God has given me a family in Christ.
Looking back I know that God never left me, even when I left him. He was always there with me, his precious child. I am so very thankful for each little step he took with me. I can see his footprints everywhere.
Anna Maria’s testimony and BCM Care Centre Manager, Steve Bagnall’s, have been printed as booklets to help us all share the good news of Jesus Christ. If you can use these resources, visit BCM’s Kingstanding Shop or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 766 6603. The booklets cost 10p each (+P&P) and can be viewed here: