It's been a whirlwind so far here in Poland! After a long flight from D.C to Munich (layover due to weather and really tight quarters---none of the guys got to sleep on the nearly 9 hour plane ride) and a 1.5 hour trip from Munich to Gdansk, we had some more downtime while we waited for one of the Polish pastors, Piot (Peter), to come pick us up. After a few hour trip, we finally arrived in Czersk--a village of about 10,000 where we are staying with Ludvick and Camille. They are a wonderful couple with a beautiful home. They have been nothing but hospitable--Camille is an EXCELLENT cook and has fed us some great, authentic Polish food (all from scratch!) while Ludvick has been our tour guide bussing us all over to nearby villages. Last night we went to a nearby forest to see a beautiful river and do some hiking. On the way home we stopped in the town square to watch a traditional children's Polish group dance and sing. Tonight he took us to a beautiful Scandinavian cemetery that has been used for nearly 6,000 years in a forest---I got to eat wild blueberries here! Then he and his wife took us to another nearby village where an international folk festival was going on. We watched groups from Poland, Bulgaria, and Macedonia dance and sing. He also bought us some Polish bread (I can't pronounce it or even begin to think how to spell it!) that was topped with cheese, onions, cabbage, and meat. They are very gracious people.
The entrance to the Scandinavian cemetery
Connor, me, and Nate enjoying our Polish food at the folk festival
On the bridge at one of the forests near Czersk
Today we also visited the Baptist church in Chojnice--this is the church that is hosting the English camp we're here to work at. The pastor there, Henrik, is fantastic man--he and his wife have 8 kids and 1 on the way! After our team meeting, Henrik took us into the town and gave us a tour--according to him, the part of the city we were in was nearly 1,000 years old. Of course, the buildings have been renovated since then--but the history of the town is phenomenal. The Polish people have really endured a lot---the Germans in both World Wars and the Russians during the Communist era. They have only been free from Communism since about 1989, so they're still a relatively "new" country. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful country. All of the people we have met so far have been hospitable and very kind.
The Chojnice Baptist Church
The camp starts tomorrow---I'm not sure how the internet connection will be, and I know our schedule is pretty crammed. I'll try to blog during the week, but if not--look for a new post next Monday or Tuesday. I've also posted a bunch of photos to Facebook---so feel free to check there to see more of this gorgeous country!
If you're a praying person, here are a few prayer requests I have:
-Energy--we are all getting really tired as our bodies struggle to adjust to timezone differences. It's currently 11:55 PM here, but 3:55 PM in the states.....we will be stretched this week. So please pray that we would have some sort of supernatural energy to make it through.
-That we would rely on the power of God--the pastor who is joining us from Washington led us in a short devotional today on 2 Corinthians 12:1-9 (Paul's weaknesses). We talked about how we all have weaknesses--these are especially evident in situations where we are unfamiliar with our surroundings. My weakness right now is a feeling of inadequacy--I don't feel cut out to speak to people about Christ, I don't feel confident in my teaching abilities (especially to a group of Polish speaking junior high students!), the language barrier is a bit overwhelming at times, and I am tired. But---we can use our weaknesses to recognize the power of God--Paul writes, "Three times I begged the Lord to take it [his weakness] away. Each time he said, 'My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me."
Thanks again for all of your support!!!