25 th June 2017

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Among the children who went to the campground back in 1991 were two boys whose big aim in life was to get a bike! They had heard on the local grapevine that Ken had bikes to give away. In spite of his mother’s concern at him going to people she did not know, Lidia’s son continued to go to the campground in the hope of receiving his heart’s desire. Unfortunately, each time he was too late! But one day he did bring home something – an invitation for the family to come to the campground for a Christmas celebration.

Her introduction to Ken and Giselle did much to allay Lidia’s fears. Some weeks after this, when the Herweynen family went to Germany for a month, Ken asked Danuta (a friend and neighbor of Lidia) to help at the campground, cleaning and generally keeping the area tidy; Danuta agreed and asked her friend to come with her for company. Later that year Lidia began helping regularly at the campground.

When Ken began a weekly Bible study these two friends, and Danuta’s husband, came along. Although attending the Bible studies Lidia did not really understand everything that she was hearing. This led to Giselle one day explaining the gospel to Lidia – and to Lidia welcoming Jesus into her life as Savior and Lord.

After the purchase of the palace, Lidia came regularly to Elim Christian Center. There was no shortage of cleaning jobs as the work of renovation got under way!

In the summer of 2001, Lidia was asked by Krystyna if she would be willing to live at Elim for three months to care for Anna, Krystyna’s mother, while Krystyna herself went to Australia to visit her younger daughter. Lidia gladly agreed to her friend’s request. Little did she know what lay ahead! While Lidia was looking after Anna at Elim, Ma³gosia just ‘happened’ to ask her if she had ever thought of serving as a member of Elim’s staff. She had not! But a seed was sown, a thought planted in her mind… At the ‘Welcome Home’ party for Krystyna, Ken quite openly asked Lidia to pray about whether or not God’s next step for her was service at Elim. Lidia went home and prayed.

Her older son, Krystian (one of the original bike seekers!), was living away from home, but Lidia asked her younger son, Arek, how he felt about the possibility of living at Elim. At first Arek was opposed to the idea. Rather than get upset, his mother turned to prayer and left the matter with the Lord. When next the subject was broached Arek had had a change of heart. He and his mother moved to Elim and Lidia cheerfully took up her responsibilities as a member of staff there.

Her job had been cleaning, but now she was asked to consider taking over the kitchen from Krystyna. Somewhat nervous and reluctant in the face of such a challenge she again turned to prayer. Then, at first with Krystyna’s help, she began to do the cooking. Now Lidia assumes full responsibility for obiad each weekday, cooking for approximately one hundred people: Elim staff and families, the school children, those who come in to work daily and then take meals home – plus the many visitors! Her days are extra busy when, as sometimes happens, a camp in the palace (as distinct from the Camp Section) requires a cook; with help from others, it is Lidia who comes to the rescue on such occasions.

When asked to join the Elim staff God encouraged Lidia from His Word. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1) was just the reassurance that she needed at that point in her life. Later, in 2003, Lidia was to know the truth of that verse in another way. This was when she and Arek received a lovely surprise. Krystian was in America at a Bible college and invited his mother and brother to visit him there. How they did so is a story of one miracle after another as the Lord provided ‘impossible’ visas and the fares for them to spend time with Krystian in the States. In keeping with Psalm 23:1 neither Lidia nor her sons lacked anything during a very special time together.

Cooking is not Lidia’s only service. She also teaches in the Sunday School as well as helping at the Po³kolonia/VBS and with other children’s activities. Lidia delights to be at Elim, serving the Lord, ready to do anything asked of her because what she does she does for Him – with joy.

From the book “Dying buildings, Livings stones” by SHIRLEY E. JEANS and MARY E. CAMPBELL