This article was originally published in the October 2016 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Twelve years ago, the city of Gniezno, Poland wanted ITMI’s Bread of Life and the Gniezno Church to open a soup kitchen and transition home for men.
But, instead of helping Bread of Life and the church pay for it, they required those helping to find all of the funding for the renovations of the old building they were planning to use.
After the renovations were complete, and program in full swing, the city told the Gniezno church that they were no longer able to use the Bible in any of the programs-shortly after closing Kawiary (the name of the building) down.
The city that asked for help from a Christian organization would no longer allow that same organization and partner church to hold Bible Studies in that location.
Fast forward to present day…
Not long ago, the same city, Gniezno, that approached Bread of Life all those years ago, came back and said, "Please, help us."
They recognized Bread of Life's proven track record through the New Life Center and its other Christian counseling and programs, offering true help and restoration to the needy and successfully integrating them into society.
These successes have paved the way for more to be helped!
This time, while partnering with the city, Bread of Life now has the freedom to do what they've been doing all along, Bible Studies and physical help to reach the forgotten and needy of Gniezno!
The outreach, called, "Day of New Chances," is already open in Gniezno!
Bible study has always been a key component of Bread of Life's provision for people, prioritizing both their spiritual and physical needs together.
ITMI's Richard Nungesser, co-founder of Bread of Life was in the States not long ago with Marcin Lukaszuk, the Director of the New Life Center. ITMI Monthly caught up with both of them.
Here’s what’s new in the Nungessers’ many facets of ministry straight from Richard himself. (You can find our interview with Marcin here.)
ITMI's Richard Nungesser, co-founder of Bread of Life and pastor of Poznan International Church
ITMI Monthly: What is Bread of Life all about?
Richard: With Bread of Life, we have three goals. We “Rescue the Forgotten,” we help people go from "Ordinary to Extraordinary" and we "Expand the Reach" so we can rescue more people in new locations.
Piotr's story is a great example of how all three can fit together. Piotr was rescued through the New Life Center. After graduation from the NLC, Piotr and his pastor planted seven churches in northern Poland.
Exemplifying how rescuing the once-forgotten Piotr, who went on to become an extraordinary man of God and expand the reach of the Gospel throughout Poland.
Piotr with Bread of Life's Marcin, Director of the New Life Center.
A second great example is another New Life Center alumni, Tomek. Tomek distributed 1,000 fliers to the poorest of the poor in Gniezno so they could hear about our Day of New Chances.
He volunteers at the New Life Center on weekends and brings the guys to church in Gniezno.
He is being extraordinary.
ITMI Monthly: Can you give those of us trying to keep up with Bread of Life's growth an overview of the organization?
Richard: Yes! In Poland, [ITMI's] Janusz Fredyk, who used to be the Director of the New Life Center, is now the Bread of Life Director in Poland. That's when Marcin [Janusz's son-in-law] took over as the New Life Center Director.
Marcin (left), Janusz (middle) and Richard, (right).
Bread of Life's transitional home for men in Poland is gaining recognition for its un-matched success rate.
Tomek Jezyk is the Director in Kalisz, where they do David's Club (a karate program for street kids), the Christmas at the Square Event and a daily counseling ministry.
David's Club in Kalisz, Poland is a karate program for street kids.
Piotr and Hannah Buczkowski head up our Vision Division, or Bartimaez Project, traveling and serving not only in Poland but Northern Africa and Moldova, bringing sight to the blind.
Charles Dibbie founded Bread of Life, Ivory Coast, and Christopher, a local pastor, and Daniel, from his church, are two other volunteers doing the day-to-day ministry in the Ivory Coast. They build small businesses, help single mothers get higher education, and support a local school to keep children off of the streets.
Bread of Life's Charles Dibbie, founder of Bread of Life, Ivory Coast.
ITMI Monthly: What stories and news can you share from around Bread of Life?
Richard: Last Christmas we held the 4th Christmas at the Square Event. We were able to buy a Macbook with a special voice recognition program for a blind university student, so he is able to get his education.
On top of this young man, over $30,000 zloty ($7900USD) was raised to help 5 local children pay for life-saving medicine and physical therapy.
Brooke Nungesser and other volunteers man a booth at the Christmas at the Square event.
Tomek is already gearing up for this year.
He's got a big name Christian music artist lined up. We're hoping to raise $50,000 zloty.
The event really brings the community together. Tomek hosted a thank you for event volunteers. After I spoke, they handed me a stack of 120 certificates for people and organizations that were involved!
A donor just helped us get a mobile auto-refractometer for our Bartimaeus Project. You rest it on the patient’s head and it examines the eyes at a much quicker speed, enabling Doctors Piotr and Hania to see and serve more than 100 orphans at a time through Project Bartimaeus.
The mobile auto-refractometer means Bartimaeus clinics can serve more people!
Bread of Life distributes 15,000 pounds of food each and every month.
Six-thousand pounds are delivered by New Life Center participants to their surrounding community. This is shaping the men at the New Life Center to not be inwardly focused but outwardly focused. Realizing that it’s not just about them receiving help-but that God has created them to help others.
They are becoming extraordinary citizens.
New Life Center residents serve at the Christmas at the Square event. They are becoming extraordinary.
This is a prayer request: the building in Poznan where we've had our Holy Start (breakfast and Bible study) is being torn down. We've moved to a temporary location, but we need to find a permanent one.
We think God is working to provide a place where we can reach more people. You can pray that we will find the perfect new home.
ITMI Monthly: How is Tomek's family doing?
Richard: Well, Eliza’s Hepatitis C is quite aggressive. David, Tomek and Eliza’s 5-year-old son’s liver was just biopsied, and that will determine the level of attack.
Their treatment is going to cost around $10,000 a year.
Eliza, David and Estera's treatment will cost around $10000USD a year.
The day Esther was born was a hard day for them, but now Tomek feels more at peace. He works with kids suffering from cancer, so this opens up a whole new level of ministry.
Bread of Life has started raising funds to help cover their medical costs.
ITMI Monthly: What is happening with Poznan International Church?
Richard: Poznan International Church is an amazing, one-of-a-kind church. Although, due to its international congregation, it has a high turnover rate. Which means approximately 10-20 people leave every year.
But this also means that now we have 155 alumni in 23 different nations! Brooke was actually supposed to go with one alumni to Myanmar/Burma on a medical mission to expand the reach (watching a former PIC student become extraordinary), but she had to stay home because I needed knee surgery.
Another member from Belgium just decided to quit his job and raise support so that he can serve as Bread of Life's creative artist full-time, helping us tell the stories of the forgotten.
Bread of Life's new digital storyteller!
ITMI Monthly: You are working on reproducing Poznan International Church in other cities, right?
Richard: We were asked to come plant a new church in Bydgoszcz, Poland. We need to find a group of internationals we can start with, then we can either equip one of them, or maybe God would provide a pastor from another source.
We also launched Kalisz International Church in September 2015. Each time we have a youth meeting, we see about 20 of the neighborhood kids come to hear about Good News of Jesus.
These kids lead difficult lives. The church is sometimes the only light in this dark place.
ITMI Monthly: How has that gone and where is it headed?
Richard: We go to Kalisz for the weekend once a month. We hold a Saturday youth event with games, activities, crafts and Bible lessons. Then we lead an international service on Sunday morning.
Internationals from Poznan go, too, which exposes them to the mission field. We do need some additional manpower for this, but it has been great!
ITMI Monthly: How is your family doing? What's going on with them?
Richard: The kids are well. Adelyne is doing well in school - all in Polish. Polish history is really different, so that's challenging for her. Praise God that she finished her 4th grade year as the top girl student in her class.
She told her homeroom teacher that in 5th grade, she plans to be the top student in her class!
Max nearly wound back up in the hospital late this spring. His breathing was uneven and his lungs were not receiving oxygen.
We begged the doctor to let us keep him at home. She reluctantly relented, putting him on a huge medical regime, and we had to bring him in every 24 hours until she felt he was safe.
It was an extremely long five days before she felt there was enough improvement to see him every second day. He needs to return to his cardiologist and pulmonologist. But this June/July marks his 4th year of living beyond past hope!
Josephine is two and very two! She is our surprise delight that came to us in our 14th year of marriage---after miscarriage and after Max.
She is a gift.
Brooke has been enjoying her Ladies Fest conferences (biannual). Women of Protestant and Catholic faiths, Polish and International, come together to delve deep into the Word of God and hear how real and alive God is and His desires for each of their lives.
This fall will be her 4th Ladies Fest since our return to Poland 2 years ago.
The Nungesser Family
Brooke with some women from PIC.
ITMI Monthly: What does the rest of your year look like?
Richard: I'm participating in a Global Leadership Summit and Krakow Leadership Summit. And I'm hoping to get to Ivory Coast in the fall.
We will also really dig into planning for a Youth New Life Center this fall.
We'd like to reach youth before they need the services the New Life Center offers.
We've got lots of people interested in having a youth center with a gymnasium/multi-purpose room. Down the road, we'd like to open a Women's New Life Center, too.
Brooke will also be going into one of the villages near the New Life Center, hoping to start a new Bible Club for children there.
And of course regular Bread of Life activities and pastoring PIC and KIC. I’m so thankful for the team God has given us in Poland, Moldova, Ivory Coast, the USA and around the world.
And we - Brooke and I, Marcin, Tomek, and the rest of our Bread of Life team - are always so grateful and thankful for ITMI and its supporters that come alongside of us to help Rescue the Forgotten with the Word of God!
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.