Marcin Grabinski is from Poland, the southern portion of the European county to be more specific.
“I am from a town called Bedzin,” said Grabinski, adding it is about 80 kilometers west of Krakow.
There Grabinski has joined the technology movement that has grown dramatically throughout much of the continent, and in his role Grabinski does a lot of traveling. While much of that travel is throughout Europe and Pacific Asia, Grabinski also makes trips to the United States, especially to the company’s headquarters in Detroit.
Grabinski recently made one of those company trips to Michigan, and while he was in the states he opted to make some time to visit an old friend – Nate Belkstrom.
“Twelve years ago Nate came to Poland,” said Grabinski, adding while he was in Poland Grabinski served as his driver and translator.
During subsequent visits, Belkstrom would stay at Grabinski’s apartment.
Later Belkstrom, who was doing missionary work in Poland, went in a different direction as he started serving in Romania, and, as a result, the two of them lost contact. However, Belkstrom reached out to Grabinski and invited him to come and see him in Romania, which rekindled their friendship and resulted in Grabinski’s decision to visit Redwood Falls.
“Everything is so big here,” said Grabinski.
While the population is much smaller in Redwood Falls, the area is much more spread out than where he lives in Poland.
“In Poland everything is packed together,” he said. “Redwood Falls is so different from where I live. There are big houses and big spaces, and when you walk into a coffee shop everybody seems to know everybody or at least they recognize their faces. That would not happen in Poland.”
The people, added Grabinski, have been very friendly and welcoming of him.
Grabinski said he learned to speak English in school, adding it was an area of focus for students, and he is glad for that education. In his business, as he travels throughout the world, the one way people communicate is through English.
During his growing up years, Grabinski also learned something that has become a very important part of his life – his Christian faith. Like most in Poland, Grabinski grew up in the Catholic church.
“Poland is traditionally Catholic,” said Grabinski, adding, however, there are a number of Protestant denominations in the country, as well.
In his teenage years, his parents opted to leave the Catholic church and began attending a Pentecostal church. Grabinski admitted at first he was not okay with that.
“I was 17 years old when we switched,” said Grabinski. “At first I was in opposition to it.”
After all, explained Grabinski, if you left the Catholic church in Poland you were considered like a traitor.
As Grabinski continued to study his Bible, he began to better understand what it meant to be a Christian, and now is proud to call himself born again.
Grabinski is not one to speak against the Catholic church, as he believes there are many who are devout in their faith. However, because of its connection to politics, many are Catholic in name only.
The Protestant church has grown in Poland over the years, but it is still a small percentage of the overall population, and he is part of a small church family. While in Redwood Falls, Grabinski attended the Living Word Church where Belkstrom is the pastor, and he said, like in his story, the people who attend that church are there by their own choice.
He considers himself a first-generation born again Christian in Poland, adding that is something very few would claim.
In his church, Grabinski offers his help in a variety of ways, such as when he was able to work with Belkstrom, but he also has helped to coordinate donations for poorer people in their community and to guide trips for the congregation where they can focus on their faith.
Grabinski said the technology boom in nations like Poland has been great, as it serves both the people and the companies well. After all, people are getting a stable income and are doing well economically. Yet, the companies, because they are in these nations, are able to reduce their overall costs.
Grabinski is very optimistic for his nation and for the church there, adding he believes both have the potential for growth. He is excited to know that he can be a part of it.
“The quality of life has improved,” said Grabinski, adding even the landscape that was once so gray is now full of color offering hope.
Grabinski enjoyed his time in Redwood Falls and is looking forward to visiting again.