Many years ago, Maja* was invited to a Baptist Church in her city, Kalisz, Poland. She did not accept the invitation...at least not right away.
Fast forward quite a few years. Jakub*, Maja’s son, met Jesus. Maja thought he’d joined a sect or cult. Nevertheless, it prompted her to accept the decades-old invitation.
She and her husband showed up at the quaint brown building with a red roof tucked inside a rough neighborhood of their historic city for a Sunday morning service.
The church happened to be Kalisz Baptist Church, the small body of believers that is pastored by none other than ITMI’s Polish partner, Tomek Jezyk.
Years ago, the Lord has laid it on Tomek’s heart to take responsibility for the church. When he first began this, the church had four members and a historic building in disrepair. The pastor had given up.
Being part of an evangelical denomination in Poland is a difficult and sometimes lonely road. But now, there are around 40 people participating and growing in the Lord.
Tomek’s full-time job is serving as the Director of Bread of Life, Kalisz, a branch of Bread of Life founded on Tomek’s passion to invite the overlooked, marginalized and needy in his city into a relationship with the Lord.
“This is our job: to spread God’s word to others through real action,” Tomek gently remarks, his voice deep with care.
He works tirelessly to reach out with God’s love to the hurting and share Jesus with them through Bread of Life and Kalisz Baptist Church.
He teaches at-risk children martial arts, and organizes camps where kids from Kalisz - often at-risk and neglected - can learn skills, be loved and meet Jesus.
Tomek's outreach to children of Kalisz, "Dawid's Club"
He organizes counseling services, clothing closets and other ways to meet needs and build relationships.
Every year in December, Tomek coordinates a massive city-wide event that raises funds to benefit sick children while declaring the Gospel through choir performances and other attractions.
He began renovations on the church’s basement so he and the believers of the church can offer meals to those in need in a warm, safe place, where they’ll have opportunities to help others see that the Lord wants a relationship with them.
Tomek, Eliza, David and Ester Jezyk
Back to Maja and her family.
Tomek recalls, “After their visit, God encouraged me to go talk with Jakub about Jesus.” So he did. Tomek visited them and shared the Gospel with the whole family.
He says, “We know that God’s Word is working all the time in the heart,” referring to the extended dormancy between when the seed was planted long ago and when it sprouted.
Three months later, Jakub and both his parents decided to declare their relationship with Jesus to the public by being baptized into the evangelical church.
Tomek baptizing Maja!
Tomek baptizing Maja's husband, Szymon*.
In Poland, this is a big, pivotal life decision. It opens you up to social ostracization and in many cases, estrangement from loved ones and friends.
Praise the Lord, in this case, Jakub won’t have to worry about that with his mom and dad.
The three of them are so happy to be following Jesus together!
*name changed for privacy
TOMEK IS VISITING THE US SOON!
You can help spread the Good News to the hurting in Poland by making a no-pressure introduction to someone you know. Have a few people over for dinner, set a lunch date with you and a friend, meet him for coffee or whatever fits your life!
Both you and Tomek will be blessed by the time spent in fellowship.
Tomek would love to share what God is doing in Poland with your small group or Sunday School class, as long as it would be a blessing to someone! (And what leader wouldn't be blessed by a week off from preparing to teach or lead?)