Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Our First Month in Poland. . .Part One

It looks a little Norwegian. 
Enjoying a sermon on the beach?
Some of the young people at Ecclesia.
 Here is a summary of our first month in Poland. . . better late than never!
    We arrived in Poland refreshed after our wonderful stay with our Norwegian friends.  After landing, we collected our mountain of luggage and hauled it outside to await our greeting party.  Jurek arrived first in his van and managed to pack all our luggage in the back in less than five minutes!  Three other vehicles also came carrying the Stebnecki family, Goscia (Jurek's wife) and two of their friends.  After orgainizing seating arrangements, our caravan set off to enjoy dinner at an "American" restaurant.  The food was worth the hour and a half wait.  With full bellies, our caravan then continued to our new home in Bojano, Poland.  Our cabin is like a fairy tale home-- very cozy.

After a few days of getting acclimated to our new surroundings and accommodations, we were provided with the opportunity to share our testimony and music at Ecclesia, church in Gdynia, with Wieshek translating.  After lunch and an excursion to a Baltic Sea beach in Gdynia, we attended the opening party of a homeschool friendly Montessori school.  We were blessed to meet a fellow American (and Texan) who now lives and ministers in Poland with his family at a bible college in Gdansk.

   After sharing at Ecclesia, the young people invited us to return the following week and help out with an outreach to the local community. We picked up trash, went door to door offering to clean the area rugs in neighboring flats (apartments), sang, fellowshipped, were able to encourage some of the kids who attended, and participated in a kind of VBS for the children.

A game they played with the children.

It was really encouraging to witness the zeal of the young people who organized the entire event, whose hearts for the Lord were truly evidenced by their attitudes and actions. Many of the young people here speak some English, so it was not difficult to communicate, fortunately for us!

Picking up trash near the church.
Due to the size of our large family we had been traveling by several vehicles, which was somewhat challenging since we are staying about 20-30 minutes out of town in the small village of Bojano.
We prayed about this need, and the Lord provided a huge blessing; a 2004 Mercedes Sprinter van.   It's pretty bare bones with no frills (manual transmission and no AC,) but it’s in great mechanical condition, gets excellent fuel mileage, and holds all of us with our luggage.  We are so thankful!

This bridge originally had turrets like these but was bombed in WWII

On Sunday, August 30th, we were invited to share at a church about an hour drive from Bojano in the historic town of Tczew (Tchev.)  Many of the buildings in the town square are hundreds of years old-including a Catholic church built by the Teutonic Knights in the year 1216.  The architecture is lovely here, but the people are truly the treasure. 
     We were blessed to share at two meetings that day (at around 200 members, the church is one of the largest protestant assemblies in Poland. Because they have a small building, they have two meeting times in order to accommodate all of the believers.  Praise the Lord!)  There are two families in this church that currently homeschool (one of them is the pastor, Januscz (Yanush) with two children, whom we have been praying with about street ministry and other evangelistic opportunities) and the other is a young family with three children.
The fire pit!
     After two music sharing times, meeting, and lunch in Tczew with new friends, Peter and Jarek and their families, we then drove to a musical gathering near our home in Bojano.  We again shared our testimony and a couple of songs.  It was an enjoyable evening with songs being shared by individual families as well as a time of group singing and worship.  We enjoyed meeting the host, Caesar, and his family, and we all gathered around a campfire roasting-not hot dogs mind you-but real Polish kielbasa sausages! It was an extremely busy, but rewarding Sunday. 

 In between the church meetings and sharing times, we tried to maintain some of our typical daily lives.  Much to the children's disappointment, we began school work (and of course, continued to do chores like washing dishes, cleaning house, and doing laundry.) 
Fried snails are. . .okay. . .
We also took time to enjoy this beautiful country.  We swam in the Baltic Sea and walked the lovely beaches, spent some time admiring God's beautiful rolling hills and dark forests, enjoyed learning about the rich culture and history of Poland, and have greatly appreciated the delicious foods prepared here.  We have very much enjoyed the fellowship and the slower pace of life.  Emphasis is on relationship building and taking time to encourage one another, much different from the harried lifestlye of many of us Americans.  It is a nice change of pace.
Posing in Sopot.


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