Six months ago a lot of us didn’t think we would be spending the second half of May in the center of Europe. Three months ago we knew we would be coming to Poland but we didn’t know what exactly we would be doing. One week ago we knew we would be coming and what we would be doing but, like any new place, we could not possibly prepare for what it would be like to experience the culture and people of this country.
At this point we have survived the 24 hours of travel to get here with minimum jet lag, all of our luggage, and our friendships still intact. So please praise our Father for that!! We have only been here two days and all ready the sights we have seen have been ones that will last a lifetime.
Yesterday we spent the day touring Auschwitz and Birkenau. It touched each of us in a different way, just like it does for each individual who passes through its mournful gates. There are no words that can embody what is seen and heard or felt in such a place. Walking on the grounds, I was surprised to find that the buildings are visibly appealing. The spring has brought forth fresh grass and wild flowers. The air was filled with thousands of fluffy white seeds that were floating down from the nearby trees like snow. The general atmosphere was somberly peaceful. I realized that people don’t come to this place as another tourist destination. Instead, it is a place for the world to mourn, a place for people to try to register what has happened, a place to learn from and never forget. The barbed wire fence still stands, tall and daunting, in the same place. There are still rooms filled with thousands upon thousands of shoes, suitcases, hairbrushes, clothes, pots, and any other personal belonging you can imagine. There is still a room filled floor to ceiling with hair that once belonged to a living, breathing person. The wall were they shot people is still there. The cells where they starved people to death is still there. The gallows where they hug people as a spectacle is still there. It is all still there but the nameless faces who walked through its gates will never be returned to us. Their story is preserved there to honor them and honor them we shall.
That evening we met up at the church to share a night of Bunco with some of the church members. It was weird to transition from such a melancholy atmosphere to one of fun and games, but it was so wonderful to get to know some of the church members and interact more with the missionaries we will be working with this coming week. We also humbly brought to the table some of our gourmet nacho canned cheese to contribute to the culturally diverse dinner of ‘tex mex’ nachos. It was so entertaining to watch some of the kids look at the nachos as if they were the most exotic food they had ever laid eyes on and then slowly take little nibbles at the chips. I chuckled as one of the little boys, named Wojtek (pronounced Voy-tex), came up to his mom and told her how spicy it was.
This morning we woke up and met with another American mission team and went back to the church for the Sunday service. The other team is a baseball team from Oklahoma and is here to do a sports ministry. Their leader was given the opportunity preach the sermon while the three women from our team, Mrs. Peggy, Caroline, and myself would teach in the children’s Sunday school. At the begging of the service the children went up to the front of the church and were blessed and prayed over. It reminded me a lot of Paster Don teaching our children on the stairs each Sunday. We loved to teach and worship side by side with people who speak a completely different language but were using their voices to glorify the same God.
Later we went and explored Wawel Castle where the Polish kings use to live. We spent a few hours there. It was incredibly beautiful, exhibiting some of the best Polish artistry.
This evening we went had a meeting with the missionaries at the Dowdys home about what we will be doing this week. Tomorrow will be our longest and most exhausting day. We will be attending a university English class to help the students practice their conversational English. We are hoping that by having this opportunity to interact with students we will be able to begin a relationship with a few of them that will last through the week and then hopefully will continue after we return to the States. Please pray for our team and everyone involved with the program here to be filled with energy from the Holy Spirit and to have good meaningful conversations. Please pray that we are able to make connections between the church here and the students. Your prayers and support is fueling us here and we thank you or, as you say it in Polish, Dziekuje!
- BURMA/MYANMAR 2016
- MALAYSIA 2016
- THAILAND 2016
- UKRAINE 2016
- UGANDA 2016
- JEMEZ 2016
- CHOIR TOUR 2016
- ROMANIA 2016
- DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 2017
- SOUTH AFRICA 2016
- GERMANY 2016
- POLAND 2017