As a young Christian of military service age Robert Solowski, with the help of his pastor, arranged to do civil service at Elim Christian Center (civil service may be chosen as an alternative to military service). Robert arrived at Elim early in September 1993. After completing his civil service he continued to take part in all the work and activities of Elim until going to Scotland in July 1997 for a year of service and training with a Christian charity, Bethany Christian Trust. Based in Edinburgh, Robert appreciated the friendship he found at Charlotte Chapel Baptist Church, not least through the International Fellowship. There was also time to explore the Scottish Highlands!
Aneta Parcej became a Christian as a teenager. Her parents live in Plakowice, not far from the palace. As early as 1993 Aneta started going to both church and youth group meetings at Elim. After secondary school Aneta continued her studies at a college in Lwowek Slaski. Her lectures were in the late afternoon so Aneta, wanting to serve her Lord in some way, began coming to Elim each morning to help with the work. Through this voluntary service a desire to serve the Lord as a missionary was born.
Robert began a special friendship with Aneta not long before he went to Scotland. This friendship continued by correspondence during Robert’s year abroad and, after his return, they became engaged while having a meal together in Kraków, in a Scottish-themed restaurant! Robert and Aneta married one year to the day later.
After their marriage the young couple went to the city where Robert’s family lived. Some nine months later they returned to Lwowek Slaski and Robert worked for the Post Office for a year. In the course of that year the Lord blessed them with a daughter, Julia; two and a half years later Eliza joined the family.
Towards the end of their first year in Lwowek Slaski, Robert attended a conference where God spoke to him, indicating that He would soon have something new for him and that he was not to be afraid to go forward in faith. Both Robert and Aneta were becoming restless and dissatisfied with their lives; they did not want to spend the rest of their days just earning money to live – they wanted to spend their lives for God. At work, an exam to become a permanent member of the Post Office staff was looming, but Robert was not sure that this was God’s will for him.
One evening he and Aneta knelt down and said to the Lord that they were willing to do whatever He wanted; they simply asked that He would show them what that was. The very next morning Aneta visited Giselle and, during their time together, shared that she and Robert were wondering what God wanted of them. Giselle’s response was to tell Aneta that she and Ken had been praying for them and asked that they, Robert and Aneta, pray about joining the staff of Elim to serve as caretakers at the newly purchased property, Bethel.
In spite of some opposition from family members, understandably unhappy to see Robert give up safe, permanent employment, and against the ‘better’ judgement of his concerned supervisor, Robert finished work with the Post Office at the end of 2000. He and Aneta took up God’s challenge of living by faith and caretaking at Bethel.
During their years so far at Bethel, Robert and Aneta have not only cared for that property but also been involved in practical work at Elim and in the spiritual work, both at Elim and at Bethel. Robert serves in the church as a deacon and leads a weekly home group. Aneta teaches in Sunday School and helps with the Po³kolonia/VBS; her creative gifts find an outlet in the production of one of the kings for the nativity sets. Both Robert and Aneta visit the members of their home group; their own home is open to anyone in need of a chat, a listening ear, a word of encouragement, spiritual counsel, prayer – and, of course, the inevitable ‘cuppa’!