Preparing for Poland

This weekend was our first weekend back in Ogallala in five weeks, so when we got home we felt frazzled--there was unpacking to be done, our basement had water in it, the checkbook needed balancing, the yard work needed to be done. But when I sat down to check my email I had a new message in my inbox about our Poland trip. Rather than feeling excited, I groaned and dropped my head into my hands--the last thing I wanted to do was prep work for our trip. There were other, more immediate needs to be addressed.

But---whether we are ready or not, we leave in 22 days. There is a lot to do: purchase gifts for our bible study groups and translators, prepare a few lessons for our English classes, complete a few bible studies, write our testimonies, pack. We also have to get our classrooms ready before we leave as we will return only two days before school starts! It's a lot to wrap my brain around and it's easy to sit and complain about it.

So to combat negativity and overwhelming feelings, I am trying to spend a little time each day researching Poland to help get me excited for July 29th. Nate and I came across the video above on Hulu this weekend--it's a short, 30 minute video about Poland, specifically Krackow, Auschwitz, and Warsaw. We aren't going to be in any of these cities, but the video did give us a good taste of Polish culture.

While we're in Poland we'll be teaching English at a family camp that a local Evangelical church puts on. But more importanlty, we'll be sharing about Jesus with the campers. Most Poles know who Jesus is from their Catholic background (Poland is predominately Catholica). But I've been told that having a personal relationship with God (a core concept in Evangelical Christianity) is something that is more unfamiliar to them. So, throughout our time in Poland we'll be talking with the campers about a relational faith. I'm excited to have these conversations--to share about what God has done in my life.

But after seeing this video, I am even more excited to learn from the Polish people about how to strengthen my faith--how to become more devoted, more dedicated. The video shows and talks about hundreds of churches and how important these are to Polish culture. This makes me think of my own grandparents who attend Catholic church a few times a week--and I can't ever remember a time where they missed church. They pray regularly, are active in the church, and are regular attenders. They truly are devoted to their religion. Unfortunately, I can't always say that I have the same devotion to my faith. Many Evangelical Christians rag on Catholicism and are quick to point out "wrong theology." But there is something we can learn from Catholics--how to be devoted to a cause. Their dedication is truly respectable.

So--if you're a praying person and have some free time on your hands, here are a few things you could pray for:
1. A sense of peace--that our minds would be eased and that we wouldn't let the stress of preparing to leave the country get to us.
2. Open hearts so we can learn from the Polish people about how to strengthen our own faith.

Thanks for your support! I'll try to post more updates as the trip grows closer.

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