Tamara was born on July 7th, 1963 in Polczyn Zdroj. She was the daughter of Anthony and Krystyna Banasiak. She went to elementary school, and then high school in Świdwin, where she lived with her parents. In 1982 she started studying at the Warsaw University of Technology, at the Physics and Math department. She achieved her Master’s degree in 1988. Tamara then started working at a private IT firm, where she worked for a year. In 1989 she started working at Campus Crusade for Christ International full time, where she served the Lord till her death on November 4th, 2017.
Her first assignment was serving with college students in Krakow. That’s where we met and became friends, and later got married in 1993. A year later we moved to Albania, a country that Tamara dearly loved. We returned to Poland in 1995 and got assigned to work with student in Gdansk. That’s where Pawel, and later Marta were born. In 1997 we moved to Warsaw, which Tamara really liked, and it’s where we live to this day. In those years we were involved in several different ministries, such as: the Jesus Film Project, Executive Ministries, CrossRoads, and Global Church Movements. Last few years Tamara focused on latest favorite, text reviewing and editing. In 2011 Tamara enrolled in a graduate course at the University of Warsaw about text editing. She finished in 2013, and since then she was involved only with text review. In 2015 she got interested with a marriage counseling course titled The Art of Marriage. She decided to work on the Polish version of the course and… became the leader of the project. She really enjoyed working on the course. She finished that project in early 2016 and we invited two young couples to participate in the counseling course, which we went through together. Most of the time before her death, she spent working on a new staff training materials.
Tamara had an incredible personality. One of her strengths was the ability to improve things around her. She often said: “What if we would change this a little bit..” She was delicate and sensitive, she never raised her voice.
She could always understand what people wanted to say. She made friends at a slow pace, but for life. She loved to read, solve puzzles, take walks, the seaside and big cities. She appreciated people’s work, the architecture, museums, etc. Her favorite street in Warsaw was Nowy Świat, with its subtle curves and old-fashioned lamps. She was very frugal, and receptive of people’s needs. She would look for notices in newspapers about people in need, and send them care packages for years. They will surely miss Tamara’s help…
We will all miss Tamara and await meeting her on the other side. Maranatha! LORD COME!
We 21st century Christians rarely connect our homes with a place of service. Most of the time when we talk about church service we connect it with a building called a church. But when we take a closer look at the New Testament we discover that homes were the usual places for service.
On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was sent on the disciples, Peter preached the gospel, about 3,000 people came to faith, and it is written that “they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”. Right from the beginning of the church, homes became the places of service.
But it all started much earlier. Jesus used homes (his own and many others) to minister to people. There are a few examples in Matt. 8:14-16, 9:9-13, 13:36, Luke 19:5 John 3:1-6, 12:1-9. It is written in many places that Jesus was teaching in synagogues. But don’t miss the fact that when He sent out the 12 apostles or the other 72 disciples He gave them very strict orders where to go and minister. In both Matt. 10 and Luke 10 Jesus told his disciples to find a home and stay there. The strategy Jesus taught His disciples was, to minister from a home.
When we read Acts we see how the Church was expanding through the Roman Empire. But we also see how the first Christians were using their homes for ministry. When Cornelius got an order from God to invite Peter, he invited him to his home where he gathered a pretty big crowd. When Peter was arrested by Herod, the church was praying for him in the house of John Mark’s mother. In Acts 16:11-15 we read about the beginning of the church in Philippi.
It all started when a woman named Lidia invited the apostle Paul and his friends to stay at her home. At the end of Acts we read about Paul’s ministry in Rome. Where? “They came to him at his lodging in large numbers.” “And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” (Acts 28:23,30,31)
One of the key qualities of a bishop/overseer is based in the home. “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Tim 3:4-5) Ask yourself, how should we know how a man managed his home if we spend no time there?
We can start with our own families and then move outward to others: relatives, friends, neighbors, etc. Do you get the picture? Our homes could be great places for service and ministry.
My family consists of me, my wife and our three children. They are all grown up. The oldest is Paul. He is 22. Then Martha 20 and Agatha is 18. Right from the beginning we did many things with them at home to teach them about God. We read the bible together, we discussed it, we prayed together, we taught them different lessons from the bible, we worshiped God together, we opened our home for others to share the gospel with them, and we did much more. Today, all of our children walk with God and are His followers. I know it is by His grace but we helped a bit. We tried to model a good Christian life on an everyday basis. They saw us in different situations. Home is a great avenue for ministry starting with our own families and then extending to others.
Why is it necessary to write about the home? I am writing this not because I do not like church buildings. I am writing this because many Christians today have made the home an asylum, a castle where they retreat. I challenge you to place your own home on the altar. Is your home, your castle, available for the King’s service? It may be for prayer, bible study, worship, evangelism, or some other type of service. It is natural, it is biblical and it is very fruitful. In His hands, our homes can change the world!