This article was originally published in the March 2002 edition of ITMI Monthly. It was re-printed in the October 2016 edition as part of a "From the Archives" series commemorating ITMI's 35th Anniversary.
To commemorate your 35-year ministry as partners with us, we’re publishing stories from our ITMI Monthly newsletter archives. We’re praying with each article, you’ll be reminded of all God has done and moved to give Him glory and praise.
A most heartwarming story of personal initiative comes from ITMI missionaries Richard and Brooke Nungesser based in Poznan - Poland's second largest city.
Their primary work is evangelizing by teaching English as a second language. But they didn't stop there.
God burdened their hearts for the homeless they encountered sheltering from the bitter winter cold in the downtown railway station. Unable to speak with them in Polish, this dedicated couple decided there was a universal language all men could understand: love.
ITMI's Brooke and Richard Nungesser with ITMI Director, Steve Evers, 2001.
Fired by this concept Richard went to the train station armed with a thermos of hot tea, three cups, a small bag of trail mix and two granola bars. He realized this wouldn't go very far among some 70 homeless people there.
Outside he saw a man digging through the trash, pulling out a discarded cup from McDonald's and drinking the last few drops. Richard gave him a cup of hot tea, a granola bar and a tract explaining the way of salvation.
Two others came over and his supplies were exhausted, but a vision was born.
With 20/20 spiritual vision Richard and Brooke can see beyond the tattered, disheveled, drunken and drugged lives of those miserable homeless wretches. They can see individuals for whom Christ died and longs to redeem.
They can see changed lives. They can visualize born-again citizens living a productive and transformed life.
Their vision has proven to be contagious. Marek and Gosia, two young Polish Christians from Piotr Zaremba's church, soon joined them in a biweekly outreach appropriately called "Bread of Life."
Before long they were serving up to 75 people at the train station. Every one received a Gospel tract. There was an amazing silence in the waiting room at the station while people read the plan of salvation from the Word of God.
This work began in November 2001, shortly after Nungesser's arrived in Poland. Now about a dozen young Christians are involved regularly in this outreach of love.
This month the vision expands to breakfast twice a week along with Bible study. Richard says, "Breakfast should not only be a good start, but a God start!”
Hot tea is still a staple at Bread of Life's Holy Start breakfast and Bible study for the homeless.
The Nungesser Family, 2016
The Nungessers went to Poland to teach English as a second language, using the Bible as a textbook. They are not only teachers, but also reachers - out-reachers, setting an example for others to follow. And the vision continues to expand.
The next step is “From Heart to Home," a service that include ministering to the elderly, ailing and to new mothers within the Church. Their five-year goal is to have a Bread of Life shelter that puts “God at the center.”
ITMI's Polish director, Piotr Zaremba endorses the vision. Several from his church are involved in serving and some have given financially. Already they are seeing some of those reached in this way coming to worship on Sundays. Your prayers will make a huge difference.
Footnote: Richard and Brooke do not have a car and must carry all the supplies on the tram or bus. ITMI would like to help them purchase a reliable preowned vehicle. If you share that vision, please designate your tax deductible gift to Nungesser transport, and thanks for helping to share the Bread of Life.
About the Author
In 1981, after 30 years of ministry in Europe, Bill Bathman founded In Touch Mission International in Tempe, AZ with the help of his wife Harriett. Under their leadership, ITMI established a reputation for integrity and effective ministry overseas. Beginning in England as an evangelist, Bill was later called during the Communist years to minister to Christians behind the Iron Curtain. Bill and Harriett did so from a mission base in Salzburg, Austria which provided convenient entry into the mission field of Eastern Europe. In 1981, the Bathmans further expanded their ministry to include restricted access areas in Africa by founding In Touch Mission International (ITMI) in Tempe, Arizona.