In the early 1970's, Al Akimoff, a young YWAMer, traveled to Poland and came into contact with a group of students preparing to become pastors of evangelical churches. It was on this occasion that he realized the urgent need for young people in the oppressive situation of communist Eastern Europe to receive discipleship training. Shortly after, one of those young men, Anatol Matiaszuk, was able to obtain a visa to travel to Denmark and participate in the School of Evangelism there. Soon thereafter, he became the director of the evangelical church's work with young people and, due to the personal changes in his own life through the contact w/YWAM, he opened the possibility for the mission to work among the evangelical youth of the nation. Many teams traveled to Poland to take part in these outreaches.
In the mid-70's, YWAM Slavic Ministries team which Al had founded felt God was directing them to give this work to another organization not knowing what God had in store. Not long thereafter, we came into contact with a dynamic evangelical renewal movement, Oasis, in the Polish Catholic Church. Through the invitation of the founder, Father Blachnicki, we found ourselves involved in lay leadership training and extensive discipleship in a movement which affected hundreds of thousands. This work was especially valuable during the years of Solidarity's fight for recognition of human rights and dignity in the 1980's. Scores of YWAM teams from throughout Western Europe were involved in these efforts. In addition, leadership conferences and conferences on worship, seminars for intellectuals were held.
In 1989, John Hess, who had help to co-ordinate the work with Oasis, together with his wife, Helen and Steve and Lori Wallett, moved to Krakow. After completing language studies, they established the first permanent work of YWAM in the then-communist world, all of this during the time of the collapse of communism in Central Europe. They also helped to organize the first visit of the YWAM ship, Anastasis in Gdynia. The following year, a discipleship training school ran with over 20 students from about 8 nations and outreach to the Ukraine and Russia. The YWAM team in 1992 organized a missions festival in which over 500 youth from Poland and many other nations heard of God's heart for world missions and went out on the streets of Gdynia to share the Gospel.
By this time, the YWAM PL team had grown to almost 20 persons. Several more DTS's were run over the next five years, often incorporating into its outreach teams young people who wanted to participate practically in world missions outreach. Another important milestone in the work was a King's Kids Congress in Łódz in 1993 which introduced the work of YWAM King's kids to Poland and which saw approximately 400 participants. Also, in 1993, YWAM PL helped to organize a conference out of which the March for Jesus movement in Poland took root and helped to cultivate of a vision for unity among Christians.
One of the participants in the King's Kids conference was a young man, Greg Skrobarczyk, who would return to his hometown in Ruda Slaska and begin a unique work among children of a poor section of the city. Often, hundreds of children and young people would attend their meetings and the team often had personal time afterward with the parents of those who participated in the meetings. In 2014, King's Kids Poland organized an outreach involving families and singles to Sicily which was marked by God's presence in their outreach. Then, in 2015, a family conference was organized in Ostróda which ended with the entire group taking part in a creative outreach in the city. Two other camps followed in 2016 and 2017. YWAM PL's rebirth is very much tied to King's Kids with family emphasis.
YWAM PL Today