Poland – week 11 – Poznan

I have had a wonderful week in Poland as a guest of Piotr & Christina Zaremba.

Christina, Piotr & Dorothy Zaremba

Their story is remarkable. Growing up in communist Poland, evangelical Christianity was illegal, as was owning and selling Bibles. Piotr’s grandfather and father were Bible smugglers and used to transport Bibles through Poland to Russia and other communist countries. An old Volvo (which Piotr was having lovingly restored) had been in the family for 34 years and had been used for smuggling Bibles for much of its life. Piotr’s father also used to befriend Russian air force pilots and do a little black market business with them for boots and food… whilst doing this he persuaded some of them to take Russian Bibles back to Russia in their Mig Jet Fighters.

34 yr old Bible Smuggling Volvo being lovingly restored

Partly because of this and partly because of his theology professor at college who persuaded Piotr that the source languages were the best for Bible Study, Piotr devoted himself to learning Greek and Hebrew at University. There was no modern translation of the Bible into Polish, so Piotr decided that he would do one. He thought he’d get some help along the way, but none emerged, so for the past 16 years Piotr has translated the whole Bible himself from original languages into modern Polish.

Some of the NT & Psalms translations so far. Full Bible due out 1st July

However, for Piotr, it wasn’t just about translating the books of the Bible, but he was passionate about meeting Jesus through the Bible, and he had the heart of an evangelist and pastor. So, during these 16 years he did street evangelism and ministry in Poznan and planted 5 churches (one of which now has over 1000 members). The current church he regularly pastors started 10 years ago and is an international church which now has 300+ members. It meets in a theatre which they rent each week and it was wonderful to be part of for their Sunday worship.

Piotr is extremely disciplined, structured and ordered. But there is a ‘certain something’ (his words, aka Holy Spirit) a person finds in relationship with God, which really excites him, which is unpredictable and unstructured and it’s this which fires his work and ministry. He is constantly hungry for more of God, and somewhat dissatisfied with things as they are because he wants a greater awareness of God in his own life and for others. There is a bright twinkle in his eye. This made a deep impression on me. For most of us ministers we’d be more than happy to have a church of 300+ to pastor. For Piotr, who has planted 5 churches and single handedly translated the whole Bible, he is hungry for more of God.

It was a joy to share a little at their Sunday service and to meet some of the other ‘guests’ in the church that day.

Piotr interviewing Aaron & Daniel
Their church

Aaron is a young American missionary who is working with some of the thousands of refugees from Syria in Germany. He’d come to visit his friend, who worked at Piotr’s church, and he shared a little about his work during the service. They minister amongst the refugees (in a temporary village of 2000+ refugees). They are predominantly Muslims, so, as missionaries, their approach is to share the stories about Isa (Jesus). They have done this by teaching gospel stories and parables from the Bible and asking people to consider 2-3 questions in the light of each Bible story. This has resulted in many becoming Christians and then in turn they share their new found love for Jesus with others. The message of the gospel is now spreading throughout the refugees without western missionary input and purely by the witness of converts. There are hundreds turning to Jesus.

For me, it was a lovely week. Not so much bush ministry as in previous weeks, but a chance to reflect on what God has been teaching me through the people I’ve met on this remarkable sabbatical.

A field of Poppies & Cornflowers

11 thoughts on “Poland – week 11 – Poznan

  1. Great to hear what the Lord is doing through Piotr. I remember working in Poland (1974) when it was under USSR control, such a difficult environment then on many levels. Wonderful to hear what what is happening there now.

  2. Thanks once again, Steve. I remember your going to Poland last year and talking about this man who had 5 churches and was translating the Bible into Polish. You may not get a lot of comments but I know a lot of people do read your blog.

  3. Sounds like you have met some truly remarkable individuals during you time away Steve. Inspiring to read your blog. Thank you.

  4. Pleased to see you have been able to get a good look at Piotr in the context of his family. I think it was about 1975 that I first got to work with him, and did so frequently during the difficult days of Communism,sadly less often since the Berlin wall came down. When I consider people with a lifetime of achievements measured against the available resources he would probably top the list.

  5. Thank you again Steve. I’ve known about Peter for many years but there was a lot I didn’t know. You filled in a lot of gaps. Thanks again.

  6. Hi, Steve; I’ve just forwarded your latest to some friends of mine in Poznan who are from a Catholic background but are not church goers. Piotr sounds like quite a man; translating the whole Bible on his own! What an inspiration. Everyone’s looking forward now to your return. Best wishes.

  7. Once again Steve thank you for sharing yet another wonderful story.Amazing .God keepyoukeep you well and safe.

  8. Wow, thanks again for sharing another amazing story , of God working through His people in a great way, Gods word is so precious, and l ask God to help me to be more and more thankful for His word , and the fact l have a copy to read freely to read.
    God keep you in His care.
    Love in Jesus name , Sheila.

  9. I just love hearing about people who are unstoppable in the work of the Lord! It’s so encouraging! Particularly because people here in the US don’t care much for the Bible. To hear that someone is lovingly translating it brings tears! Our motto in SBS is study the Bible in your native language!

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