God's desire for a personal relationship with His people is not a widely spread message in Poland. It's even more rare for a foster child being raised in a group foster home to hear or see that God wants to know them.
That they are valued, regardless of how the adults in their lives may have treated them.
That they matter to Someone. Someone with more clout than those in their lives who may or may not have valued them rightly. Someone who sees their tears and cries with them. Someone who suffered in order to make right all the wrongs of the world, including those done to them.
Enduring broken families, hurting and hopeless caregivers and dark pasts leaves so many disconnected to life, unable to function, and far from the God who loves and values them.
They so desperately need to know what's true. They need someone to first reach them by investing time and interest, then to tell them, repeatedly, that God loves them and seeks a personal relationship with them.
Jim's ministry focuses on children in Poland, but there are several arenas in which he serves.
Kids Living in a Local Group Home
Jim taking foster children out for ice cream.
Jim volunteers at a local dom dziecka, the Polish word for government-run group foster home. But he is much more than a volunteer. He's showing those whom many have forgotten that they matter. They are loved.
And they just eat it up.
While he is there, Jim does whatever the kids need. Help with homework. Build relationships. Ice cream outings.
At first, many initially respond by hating the love they are shown. But true Christian love forces itself through the cracks of their hardened exteriors. Then, as promised, “love never fails” - and eventually these children become capable of receiving and showing love. (1 Cor. 13:4)
Jim's relationship with the home has grown over the years, and some of the relationships with the kids he's invested in have grown into something truly familial. Two young men were allowed to spend Christmas break in Jim's home. Another spent whole summers with Jim.
Jim met Daniel through his weekly visits to the home. Their relationship grew and grew, until eventually, Daniel became part of Jim's family and vice versa. Daniel is now married with kids, Julian and Nadia. Jim enjoys his role as "honorary Granddad" to them.
He spends regular time with them, investing in their development and his relationship with them.
Jim with Daniel at the group home.
Supporting Children's Ministries in Poznan
Jim also uses his skills as a teacher and English speaker to minister to children in Poznan, Poland. He participates in summer camps for kids each summer, building relationships and teaching English. Some of these grow the church and others are for outreach purposes.
He has a relationship with King David Christian School, Poznan's only private school, where he has trained teachers and worked as a substitute teacher.
- Share Jesus with children and youth who lack hope.
- Be a catalyst for the flourishing of Poland's foster children.
- Prayer support for Jim and his team as he faces the challenges and demands of ministry.
- Continued personal financial support allowing Jim to bless those around him.
- Short-term missionaries to volunteer at the summer camps.
Szymon (name changed for privacy) stared at his doctor. What he’d just heard was something he simply couldn’t accept. “I’m only 15 years old,” he thought, “how can I possibly have cancer?”
A Government Employee, Several Teachers and a Park Attendant Notice a Marked Difference in Just a Month!
“We all can see Kamil’s better behavior and you also take credit for it,” was the incoming text received by ITMI’s Jim La Rose. The text message was from the Director of the group home, or Dom Dziecka, for children in care of the Polish state near Jim’s home. Jim has visited the home at least once a week for years now, helping with homework, building relationships and investing in the young, marginalized lives of the residents there.
Twelve-year-old Kamil (name changed for his protection) wore an expression that was odd for a boy leaving the hospital. His face should have been happy. He was going home after having tubes put in his ears. The tubes would have relieved much of the intense inner ear pain the boy had experienced. He should be smiling. But Kamil’s face was more sad than anything else.
The first days of summer camp 2017 were rough. It was early August. Instead of the normal anticipation and excitement that should have shrouded the beginning of the week, a cloud of negativity hung over the camp like smog.
Over my ten-plus years in Poland, I have participated in a number of children’s camps, and the Lord has granted me the privilege of praying a salvation prayer with 15-20 kids. The first two boys who ever asked me to pray this prayer with them were in my Bible class at a camp in the summer of 2003. One of these two was a 10-year-old boy named Krzyś. Unfortunately, we have very little chance for follow-up on the kids at camp, so I’ve often wondered what effect the salvation prayers have had on the kids’ lives after camp. As is typical in Poland, Krzyś and I had no opportunity for further contact after our summer camp ended.
Winter has definitely overtaken Poland, but I honestly love it. The temperature typically hovers in the teens and low twenties (Fahrenheit), though this past week we have been in the single digits during the day and below zero at night. With a continual covering of snow and ice, it is just beautiful. (Thankfully, though, my […]
Hello Everyone, A big thank-you to all who have been praying in regards to my hope of hosting a 14-year-old dom dziecka boy (Miłosz) and 10-year-old Maciek (from Warsaw) over the Christmas break. The first answer to prayer came when I got word that Maciek’s step-grandma agreed to let Maciek come visit me. He will […]
Hello Everyone, I have a prayer request for those who have time/opportunity to join me in praying about this. I’ll give the gist of the prayer request first, and then I’ll add extra information for those who would like a few more details. General Prayer Request: I am applying to the Polish courts asking for […]
Jim LaRose Banner A few years ago I teamed with a woman from our Polish church who translated for me when I taught Sunday school. This woman, named Maja, also translated for me at the Child Evangelism Fellowship camp a couple summers ago. This was the camp where I first met little eight-year-old Maciek. As […]
King David School As many of you already know, the city of Poznan (metro population of 635,000) has only one small private Christian elementary school: King David School.
When I was an elementary school teacher, the first grade teachers in our building had an annual tradition of celebrating the 100th day of school with their students. Although I never practiced this tradition as a teacher, I now have reason to observe it for a different reason…. as a new grandpa. Tuesday, April 3, […]
Previously, I shared the story about meeting an over-active and very relationally needy little eight-year-old boy (Maciek) at last summer’s Child Evangelism Fellowship camp here in Poland. Over the past year, the Lord provided the opportunity to maintain regular contact with Maciek (now 9 years old). For most of the year, I was able to […]
During the first two weeks of August I participated in a kids camp sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) Poland. My main role was to run the English language program for the 7-9 and 10-11 year old groups. This was done with the help of an on-site translator (the same person who helps me with […]
Dom Dziecka Playground Improvement Mission Team pours cement for a playground for Dom Dziecka 2During the first 10 days of, a short-term mission team from the KansasCity, Missouri, area came to work on Phase 3 of the dom dziecka playground project. Mark White, the man who adopted Daniel’s younger brother and sister three years ago, […]
ITMI Missionary Jim LaRose brings us his April 2009 report concerning his work at the orphanage in Poland. Transition Back to Poland It is taking longer than expected to get settled and back into a regular ministry routine, primarily due to a variety of difficulties in trying to find a new place to live. My […]