After overcoming obstacles of being economic refugees, converting to the gospel, and advocating for liberty, Dominik and Amanda Lyzwinski said they pressed onward into the future in their commitment to Christ.
Cradling her 6-month old son, Amanda Lyzwinski, from Brazil, a senior majoring in accounting, said with a beaming smile as she looked down at her baby, and cooed his name, “Niko” named after her husband, Dominik. “God was guiding us to be a family. Families have their own timetable, which is the biggest priority.”
Abram Himmer, a senior studying computer science from Washington who is friends with the family, shared, “I love their life story. Basically they both come from broken backgrounds and they married and came to Hawaii with the plan to make life whole and centered on Christ.”
Dominik’s religious revival
According to Dominik, trust in Poland’s government was low because he could not escape communism. Dominik said, “I am among the first generation who has been semi-free. Although communism was gone, people still remember someone’s father being dragged out because of anti-government talk.”
Dominik said he moved from his home in Poland to Basingstoke, England, as a refugee. While studying at Queen Mary University of London, his peers invited him to a Family Home Evening - the first involvement he had with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although Dominik lost his scholarship, he said he did not give up but instead remained resilient. “Fortunately, I learned to look at the eternal perspective. I saw they had the vision the Saints had.”
Over time Dominik continued to listen to the gospel message and explained, “My whole story changed when the Fischer family [a family in a local ward] noticed I was alone on Christmas. No one cared about me. I was so proud. I didn’t need anyone. I was able to see there was this kindness. They weren’t rich, but they had a desire to serve and they even gave me gifts for Christmas.” Incredulously Dominik, asked, “Why are you giving gifts to me? A stranger?”
He said Jean Fischer, the mother of the family responded, “This is what being Christian is. This is humanity.”
Coming from an environment surrounded by what Dominik described as the people being selfish, single, and having hatred, he described the surmounting depressive state he knew and of the people around him. “They don’t see a reason why they should help anyone if no one is helping them. The Church helped me to see there was more. I realized people care.”
Dominik referred to his conversion as “the push” when he met David Ogle, a Young Men’s president in England. Dominik said he was rebellious and refused Ogle’s first offer to attend his Seminary class. Instead, Dominik said he agreed to what he expected to be a quick run around a mountain.
As they jogged, Ogle shared his conversion story and then challenged Dominik to read The Book of Mormon. Dominik said he read The Book of Mormon that same night. “From then on, I believed....[Ogle] saw something in me I didn’t see. He said I had potential and I could be going places.”
When he returned to Poland, Dominik’s grandparents were not accepting of his conversion to the gospel. Faced with tremendous controversy with his family, Dominik said he could not become a member of the Church until he was 18.
Dominik said attended LDS Business College, and while he was there, he was involved with Young Americans for Liberty, an organization accepting of any nationality with the belief that all are Americans. He added, “Wherever you are from, the founders wanted you to come here and become an American [citizen].”
During this time, Amanda worked in Utah to help her mother financially and transferred to the LDS Business College. Both Dominik and Amanda met at a libertarian convention, Amanda gave insight into their meeting, “We were the only ones who didn’t agree with everybody.
“Afterward when everyone wanted to go out drinking, that wasn’t really my type of thing to do, so he invited me to go to a church activity with him. He thought that I wasn’t a member of the Church at the time, so he invited me.”
While dating Amanda, Dominik said he approached it as he did work on his mission getting straight to the point within 20 minutes. “I didn’t want to date somebody else’s wife,” he said.
Amanda replied, “My experiences in Young Women helped me recognize the fact that I have an eternal father who is eager and willing to help me find what is right and will let me know how I can fulfill my calling.”
The Lywinskis said they intentionally chose their wedding day on America’s birthday – the Fourth of July. They said they chose that day because they are patriotic. The couple was sealed in the Las Vegas Nevada Temple in January 2018.
Referring to his son, Dominik said, “I want Niko to be American. I am very patriotic of my country, Poland, but I understand World War II changed the nation.” Historians say nearly 6 million Polish people died because of the war, and Dominik said this altered the country.
Laie refuge foreshadow fulfilled
Amanda said Dominik felt he needed to come to BYUH as he served many Hawaiians on his mission in Tacoma, Washington. While working on his mission, Dominik said, “Now I look back and I see how my whole mission really prepared me to be here in Hawaii and help me understand Aloha.”
Himmer said he has know the Lyzwinskis for the past year and gotten close to them. Himmer said, “They are hardworking and dedicated to what they believe. Amanda is amazing at balancing the mom-life and school life, and Dom is crazy supportive of his wife’s decision to continue in school even though they just had a child.”
While reflecting on previous hardships, Amanda said, “God doesn’t tell us anything that He doesn’t want us to do or make a way for us to do. I truly 100 percent believe when we are doing everything God wants us to do, there is no risk. It may take time, it may take a lot of effort, but there’s no risk because it’s going to come to pass if you do what He tells you.”
Dominik has ambitions to work in the U.S military as a chaplain. From being on military bases prior to his mission, Dominik said he is familiar with the work.
Amanda added, “As religious leaders, chaplains help people go through things when they have depression or when they get married. He always says it would be as though he is going on another mission.”
Although Dominik said he would like to return to Poland for a visit, ideally, he would like to live in the United States or be sent by the American military back to Europe.