Church History
Adjusting to a New World
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Adjusting to a New World

In the post-war era, as government restrictions increased, members of the branch in Zełwągi were forced to adapt. In 1947, new laws required that all public meetings be conducted in Polish. The largely German-speaking Zełwągi Branch was forced to discontinue meetings until 1950 while they learned Polish. Amidst these difficulties, members continued to share the gospel and care for the few remaining members scattered throughout the country.

In 1954, Marta Porożyńska, a member living in the small village of Dębnica Kaszubska—more than 400 km (250 miles) west of Zełwągi—had not had any contact with Church members in nine years. She prayed daily for someone from the Church to find her. One day, two missionaries in the East German Mission knocked on the door of Marta’s sister in Mittweida, Germany. The missionaries were given the address of the Porożyński family, which they forwarded to the members of the Zełwągi Branch.

A few weeks later, two members of the Zełwągi Branch used their vacation time from work and traveled to Dębnica Kaszubska. When they arrived at the Porożynskis’ door, Marta met them with tears of joy. “I have been waiting for you for nine, long years,” she declared.

The brethren stayed with the Porożyński family for five days, during which time they administered the sacrament and held daily prayer meetings. When the brethren returned to Zełwągi, Marta Porożynska joined them and was welcomed by the branch members. After returning home, Porożyńska started a Sunday School in Dębnica Kaszubska. A short time later, 13 members of Porożyńska’s Sunday School traveled 13 hours by train to be baptized near Zełwągi.

Late in 1957, German Saints still living in Zełwągi were given permission to immigrate to Germany. As they left, the size of the branch declined sharply. Erich Konietz, president of the branch, remained. “I have decided to stay in Poland for the Gospel’s sake,” he wrote to Church leaders in Germany. “We have more Polish investigators who want to be baptized. If I leave all of our efforts will have been in vain.” Konietz’s willingness to remain allowed the branch to survive and support new converts of the Church in Poland.