by Summer Kelley
Fifteen to twenty youth sat cross-legged on the floor of a Polish home on a Friday night. Most leaned back on whatever was behind them. A wall, a furnace, a futon.
They gathered to pray, worship, learn God's story and fellowship.
ITMI's Daniel Machlowski and Dr. Piotr Zaremba were both there, too. Piotr Zaremba is ITMI's European Director, overseeing all of ITMI's Europe partners. He's also the pastor of K5N church and a Bible Translator.
Daniel is a Phoenix Seminary Master of Divinity who has been ministering in Poland since early 2013. He spent his first two years there working with Gospel Joy Evangelism and Discipleship under ITMI's Andrew Gorski. Earlier this year Daniel moved into a pastoral role in the K5N Church.
Daniel shared his story of coming to faith and beginning a personal relationship with Jesus. Then he let them know he is available to serve them in any way he could. He invited them to participate in his English class, and two young ladies ended up joining the class.
ITMI's Piotr Zaremba at K5N Youth gathering.
Piotr and Daniel were there for support, but they weren't doing the leading for this group.
In fact, because they'd done their jobs well - equipping God's people for their role alongside Him in His mission - others were raised up to lead and disciple these 15 members of Poland's future.
Damien, Anna are leading this ministry, and John is leading them in worship.
Damien and Anna
Daniel met Damien when he was a freshly saved baby believer in 2012. At first, they met at McDonalds to read the Bible and pray. As their relationship grew, Damien began serving with Daniel through Gospel Joy, then in the K5N College ministry and Daniel's small group.
In 2014, Damien married Anna. Daniel was the best man.
ITMI's Daniel Machlowski and Damien.
Daniel with his small group. (Damien is the last one sitting on the right.)
Damien and Anna on their wedding day.
When Daniel was in the States earlier this year, Damien led the small group in his absence. It was this hands-on experience that prepared Damien to launch and lead the new K5N youth ministry. Damien says that Daniel's investment of time and heart helped, too.
Daniel says, "Damien has a big heart and a gifting in pastoral care." Now he's equipped to use both of those gifts to build up the body of Christ.
Damien summarizes his story like this:
"I started meeting believers. I went to the college group, met Daniel, and together we studied the Bible. I also went to Word Zone which was to me especially important because there I felt like I was in a family and I could get to know the Bible and be understood.
I wrestled with many things including how I can share with my family that I believe in God. I was afraid of rejection. It took me 1 year to share with my family who almost threw me out of the home because of this but I knew I had to do this
[Daniel remembers meeting with and crying with Damien while praying through this heart issue for him.]
This was a hard time for me. Because I got near to God I made the decision to be baptized which I so longed for. This happened in January of 2014. We have an amazing church and friends. I am happy we can have hope in the Lord and give Him glory for all eternity!"
John was born into a protestant home and was saved as a teenager. In fact, his mother and grandfather are both part of K5N, so Daniel reached out to him and asked him if he'd like to meet. John said yes. Daniel has been discipling John for a couple of months, now.
Together, they are pursuing opportunities to share the Good News with two other people.
When John started college, he began sharing Jesus with people he met right away. One of these people was Martin. Martin met with Daniel, who bought pizza and shared the Gospel with him. They discussed the story of the Prodigal Son.
While he agreed with everything Daniel said, he still isn't sure he wants to join the ranks of the redeemed. Daniel says, "John continues to look for younger youth he can invest in in the same way I have invested in him."
As the youth ministry continues to meet, it shouldn't be long before John is discipling youth himself!
John leading the youth in worship.
Discipleship and Faithfulness
None of this happened overnight, though. These stories of salvations, growth and blossoming leaders have come through Daniel's faithful, repeated investments of time and heart. But after 2 years of labor, the stories of growing believers turning to leaders and serving just keep coming!
Now, the reach is really multiplying.
Not Just a Catch-Phrase
Multiplication is such a catch-phrase for Christians. Its the ideal way our message is supposed to be shared. We might get tired of hearing it. But I can't think of another word to capture your imagination, so imagine with me for a minute.
What kind of impact are Damien, Anna and John going to have as they invest in the youth? What potential do these youth hold?
One of them might be the next Daniel, leading their generation in sharing Jesus with many. One of them might be the next Piotr Zaremba, giving a whole country access to God's Word in their heart language. One of them might be the next Andrew, leading a ministry that creatively reaches people with the Good News by the droves. One of them might be the next Richard, equipping the next generation to love and serve the poor in Jesus name and providing a framework and network for them to do so!
Or, one of these youth might be the one to share Jesus with the next Daniel, Piotr, Andrew or Richard!
Multiplication is exciting. We're jazzed to be a part of this movement happening in Poland. And we're deeply thankful to those of you who have made it possible through years of faithful prayer and support!