March 10, 2014: Poland – Day 4

Team Josh; as told by Alyssa Melkian

Hey Guys! Today was amazing to say the least. This morning we went on a three hour prayer walk around Otszlyn and bordering towns. Im going to be honest, after two hours I thought I was going to pass out and at the moment, that sounded like a better idea than walking for another hour. In the end the three hours was worth it, because we went through a forest and came across the most breathtaking lake that was half frozen which only added to its beauty. While standing on the bridge over the lake I had a total God moment. I was looking at the lake and I had a moment where I just felt God standing by me reassuring me that he will always be there for me through everything and it was exactly what  I needed. This evening we went to a park to play football with some Polish football players and it was a blast!! For those of y’all who know me, you know my athletic ability is non-existent so really I just ran around the field like an idiot.  I had a blast doing it so I still count it as a successful game. Today was a day that made me very grateful for the opportunity to be in Poland to tell people of the love of Jesus Christ!

Team Kenny; as told by Sarah Ward

Hey guys! Today, we got up and ate breakfast at 9 and left to see the first concentration camp in Poland. For me, it was a really emotional experience. Standing in the place where many people have died was heart breaking and surreal. After leaving the concentration camp, we drove to a parking lot, and hiked to the Baltic Sea where we walked around, and looked at some boats! By then, it was lunch time. For lunch, we went to this restaurant called Strzecha. They served pasta, pizza, and different polish dishes! I had Gyro, lamb meat, with dill boiled potatoes, and a traditional soup called Zurich. After a little down time at the church, we came to a beautiful orphanage out in the country, and played with the children. We played soccer, danced, had a Bible lesson, and just played around. Now we are back at the church for dinner, showers, and bed time. Please keep me in your prayers because I am having a really tough time connecting with people, and I find myself being really shy. Tomorrow we will be going to school and teaching them about America and our culture! We will also be going ice skating with some of the children at the orphanage and possibly taking them to a movie! Wish us luck!
Team Adrian; as told by Michaela Newman
Czezcz!
Today was a day of firsts.  We spent the day at a secondary school in the heart of Gdańsk. Although it is considered a “middle school,” the students’ ages range from 13-17 – and WOW are they cool. It is a testimony to the age in which we live to have the same music taste as your peers – halfway across the world. (Coldplay was mentioned, and much fan-girling ensued.)
We ate lunch with the students, which was DELICIOUS. Soup with a sort of apple dumpling as the main dish. It was the best food we’ve had so far, and I will never view cafeteria food the same. The students speak English impressively well, which makes for some cultural enlightenment and lots of laughs (when they speak English, they speak in beautiful British accents. VERY cool). They are elated to see us and I love every one of them.After school, we took a train to old town Gdańsk and did some sightseeing. We visited a renovated cathedral, which has alternated between Lutheran and Catholic, depending on who was occupying Poland at the time. Poland’s culture is as rich as its history and their language. Also, I sent my first postcard ever today.I forgot how much I missed this continent.

The main prerogative of this week is to draw students to 2nd Baptist Gdańsk. Although Poland is mostly Catholic, many don’t attend church and even resent it. We hope to create relationships that will ultimately lead to their hearing of the Gospel in a nurturing atmosphere. We are planting seeds this week.

Prayers welcome 🙂

 

Team Chuck; as told by Alison Plueckhahn

Today was SO MUCH FUN! We woke up, and went downstairs to eat a traditional Polish breakfast, which was surprisingly very tasty. After getting dressed and ready for the day, we met Chuck outside of the hotel and he took us to go pick up Mark, a principal at one of the schools we will be working at later on this week. Mark is friends with the English teacher at the school we were working at today, and he wanted to come along and see how the day went.

The school was about an hour away from our hotel in a very rural, low-income part of the area. As soon as we pulled up to the school, Mr. Lukasz Ruminski was outside ready to greet us and take us inside. We dropped our bags off in one of the rooms, then Mr. Ruminski and another teacher served us and the other missionaries with us some delicious cakes, coffee, and tea.

After our short break, we went into the English classroom where the students were all waiting for us. We gave them a quick explanation of American football and how each of us played some sort of role in Friday night football. Jo’Vonta talked about being a varsity player; Jamie about being an athletic trainer; Garrett about being in the marching band; and I told about being a former cheerleader and sports photographer. They had been shy at first, but as soon as we started telling them about our football, they opened up very quickly and began asking us questions. One of their favorite things was looking at Jo’Vonta’s letterman jacket, and one boy was so excited to get to try it on. After talking for a while, we helped them complete some English worksheets about our holidays and states. They asked us many questions and seemed to genuinely enjoy speaking with us. Jamie and I passed out small University of Texas pendant flags and some fruit snacks (which they don’t have in Poland) which they LOVED! Many of them asked us to sign our names on the back of their flags so they could find us on Facebook and become our friends. We then took a quick tour around the school, and some of the younger, elementary-age students sang Happy Birthday to us because they knew all the words in English. Mr. Ruminski said we did a wonderful job with the kids, and he asked if we could find some way to return this week so we could spend more time with them and perhaps play some basketball with them.

After taking a group picture and a few other pictures with the kids who really connected with us, we hopped back in the car and went to a local restaurant that served Polish food. For most of us, today was the first time we ate a full Polish meal besides the basic breakfast we had eaten earlier today. We began with a beet soup with noodles, which everyone thought was delicious, followed by some pork with gravy, dumplings, and beets. We then drove to the English school where Chuck teaches at.

The first classroom we visited were mainly 7 year olds, and they were precious! Many of them just wanted to talk about soccer and video games like Call of Duty and Minecraft, but they asked us several personal questions as well about what our life was like in America, as well as our hobbies and interests.

After that, we all met with 2 more classes; the first was a group of 11 and 12 year olds; the second were older students, most of who were around 16 and 17 years old. Jamie and I were asked by one of the English instructors to return to another one of her classes with students of around 15 and 16 years old to speak with them as well.

Once all the lessons were over for the day, we went to eat some delicious pizza and came back to our hotel to have share time and reflect over the events of the day. We all recognize the importance of building relationships with the people we meet here, not only with the kids, but also the teachers and principals. These relationships will make the people there more comfortable with communicating with people who are not Catholic about their religion and beliefs, and will set the stage for the missionaries who live here to be able to continue to witness to these people about Jesus!

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