Palowice, PolandMarian and Hania Pawlas
Marian Pawlas pastors the Palowice Free Christian Church in the small rural village (population 1,260) of Palowice in Southern Poland.
Marian is a native of this village. Hardships include very high unemployment (30% in Palowice), low wages (average income $500 per month for a family), and alcoholism and its effects. Poland’s population is approximately 40 million people, of which 94% are Roman Catholic with less than 1% evangelical believers. Outside the Catholic churches, the majority of churches in Poland are small – about 30 people.
Because believers are often shunned by even their own families, they often feel a sense of isolation. Therefore visits by fellow believers are very much appreciated.
Marian’s heart is for the lost of Poland and his vision is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ not only in his village and surrounding towns, but throughout his nation. The Palowice church desires to be a central launching point for training and other missions projects in Poland.
As a church, we have partnered with Marian for over ten years, sending construction teams, individuals and teams to help run his annual “American English & Sports Camps” that are one of his primary outreaches to the youth in the area.
Construction teams helped Marian add on to his small church. It is important for them to have sufficient space because the church is met with great opposition from the catholic church and they are often not allowed to rent space for events because they are considered a “dangerous sect”. In recent years, construction teams helped build a large pavilion, a stage and safe stairway from the church to the soccer field and expanded restroom facilities. In June 2014, a team from THBC went to assist with repairs to the roof and interior of the sanctuary.
Recently, as Marian looked back over his life and his ministry, one word came to mind: “Grace”. Marian credits God’s grace for all that is happening in his life, the life of his family, and the people around him. Marian started 27 years ago with a small village church of 25 people, that now, by God’s grace, has grown to one of the largest evangelical churches in Poland – 280 people plus a church plant! The sanctuary that men from THBC built several years ago is already too small – and the solution is another church plant on the horizon.
When people ask Marian the secret behind his growing, healthy church, he responds that the answer is simple – encourage people to walk with Christ. The church leadership has tried to lead by example, and the young people are beginning to live it out themselves. Hallelujah!
In addition to the June construction team, THBC sent a team of 14 in July to run an expanded week of “American English & Sports Camp”. The emphasis on this second (for them) week of camp will be on discipleship as we encourage those young people who have professed faith in Christ to live it out as they return to their homes, schools and jobs.
Marion serves alongside his wife, Hania, and his four children. You may contact Marian at [email protected] or contact Pam Kitchen or any member of the Missions Board.