How it all started
It is not the easiest of tasks to summarize what we as a ministry have done in the course of almost 40 years of ministry. Despite the challenge, we would like to higlight a few of the areas that we think stands out, as we look back at the early years of PTPI history.
The very first project
We had assumed responsibility from ECL (the previous organization Ulla & Oliver worked for, prior to founding this organisation) to provide insulin and gluten-free flour to children in Poland. In a more practical context, this meant 2,000 bottles of insulin and between 2.5–3 tonnes of gluten-free flour per year.
What initiated the work with gluten-free flour and insulin was an emergency call we received from Poland. It came from Michael’s mother Danuta. Michael was two years old and was gluten intolerant. His illness was so severe that he risked dying. The salvation for him was that we came with gluten-free flour. A few years later we received a thank you from Michael:
“Dear Oliver. I don’t know if you remember me. I was two years old when you first came to us. I was very ill then. You brought us gluten-free flour to use for bread and cooking. For four years I have been cared for and kept on diet. Thanks to you and your friends, I have had bread to eat during this time. Today I am eight years old and healthy. Now I am like all other people. I will never forget my gratitude to you Oliver and your friends.”
In the continued text you can read about what became important parts of PTPIs work during the early years and that we continued doing for many years. Some of these branches are still active today.
Offset Printing Presses
One of the main braches PTPI had during the early years, was to send whole offset printing shops to the Easter Europe. The equipment was used by churches and evangelical organisations to print and distribute christian books and litterature. Also sunday school material and other educational booklets. Over the years, we have all together sent about 10 printing shops to differnt countries. One went as far as to India, helping a Bible School in Bangalore to produce their own teaching material.
The printing shops became also a bread provider for the people that worked there. For many years these enterprises could support many families with a steady income. One of these printing shops still exsists in Oradea Romania.
Picture: A printing shop in Perm in former Soviet Union. (top) A picture from the printing shop in Oradea, Romania
The Letter Ministry
This is how the Gospel was spread during the time of Communism. For many years, especially in the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s. When the countries behind the Iron Curtain were still “closed” and the evangelical church was subject to persecution, the Gospel could still be spread through what PTPI called the Letter Ministry.
From Scandinavia, small portions of the Gospels were sent to people in Eastern Europe. A list of names, derivered from phone directories that had been smuggled out of the countries. A list of names was given to those who made up the “army” of letter missionaries here in Scandinavia. The letters were then, according to the list of names, sent out all over Eastern Europe by these letter missionaries.
Much thanks to this method, many for us unknown people could be reached with Gospel. The envelops these people received were all different in style, with a unique hand writing and therefore difficult for the authorities to track or even suspect. God’s word will always find its way to the hearts of the people!
Smuggling of Bibles and Litterature
During the time of Communism, PTPI had an extensive operation smuggling Bibles and litterature of spiritual nature in to the countries behind the Iron Curtain. We used elaborate methods making sure that the Gospel reached the persecuted Church behind the Iron Curtain. During the late 70′, and the whole period, up till the fall Iron Curtain, we “distributed” Bibles in large quatities.
During the late 1980 we had a project aimed for Russia that was called “Sign your own Bible for Russia”. Through this project we distributed, with the help of our partners, many hundreds of thousands of Bibles. The goal was set to reach one million Bibles to Russia.
Picture: A Bible distribution point, some where behind the Iron Curtain.
Since the very start PTPI has arranged conferences for pastors and their wives. During the period the countries were “closed” these conferences were kept “underground” – done in secrecy.
We are grateful to God for His protection and the guidance of the Holy Spirit during these years. Although the countries were officially closed for the Gospel, it has not prevented us from spreading the Word of God to our faithful friends in the East.
It is true that the Gospel does not carry shackles, but lives in the heart of men. Therefor, no borders set by man, can be a hindrace for the Gospel to be spread. This is true and valid also today.
The picture: From a Pastors Conference helad a few years ago.
One of the main focuses during the early years, was to help the persicuted Church to build their own House of Worship. Since the start 1984, we have, by the grace of God, been able to help many Churches to build their church Building. All together, we have been involved in serveral project in the western part of Romania, but also in places like Blaj and Petru Groza, now called Stej.
Pictures: At an outdoor service held during the winter, because to the congregation had their Church destroyed by the authorities.
A project worth mentioning is the Church in Blaj. On the picture to the right. Oliver Lindberg, founder of PTPI, is preaching in front of a stack of bricks. This is in the middle of the winter and it is freezing cold. The service lasted for three hours. The Church had, for the second time, their Church bulldozed by the authorities. We helped them to rebuild the Church. The Church still stands today and is a testimony to God’s faithfulness.
Aid & Relief Work
With the help of the pastors serving the local churches in Poland and Romania, who knew the need among the people better, we we able to bring aid to the suffering population.
Items such as clothes, medicin, medical equipment, hospital beds and many other sought after products, that was impossible to find, due to govermental restrictions where brought to Poland. During the 80s and 90s we sent all together about 350-400 of these 16-wheelers with aid to both Poland and Romania.
Picture: One of the trucks that we were able to use for the transports.
Support to National Pastors
One of the branches of PTPIs work has been to support national Pastors and other spiritual leaders in the countries we have worked. Many of them could not be supported by the members of the church, due to low salaries and low pensions. In order for them to have an income, many pastors took secular jobs.
By supporting a pastor with whole of part of his montly need, they were able to intensify the pastoral work, not having to look for work outside of the Church.
Picture: a group of polish pastors PTPI have supported durng the years. The majority of them are now retired.