March 13, 2014: Poland – Day 7

Team Kenny; as told by Hannah Gilliland

Hello everyone! Today was amazing! We started off by heading to a different school in Elblag and it was great! The students there were so involved and they loved us. Since there were only two separate classes, we all stayed together instead of splitting up. The students were great and they even prepared their own presentations about Elblag. I had a lot of fun and they also served us sweets and tea. (Tea is my new favorite drink!) After going to the school, we walked down the street to the pizza place so that we could order pizza for the Texas Night. We ended up staying and eating lunch there. We had Schabowy (Pork Chops). Which was delicious! Sarah and I shared a bowl of Zurek and a plate of Pierogi. We are all very sad that we won’t get to have these wonderful dishes when we get home. 😦

After a long nap, we all set up for the party. It was so much fun! There were about 70 people there. We got to play Texas Snowball Fight, then we had a lasso competition. After those we shared a lesson about how only God’s grace saves. They seemed very interested. We also shared the gospel and Grayson prayed for those who wanted to except Jesus into their hearts. There were about 10! After that we taught them how to two-step. They really enjoyed it! We continued to dance and eat pizza. They loved the queso I made! Saying goodbye was very hard because we have become so close to them these past few days. 😦 But all is good because we got all of their Facebooks and Instagrams so that we could stay in touch.

Today was our last day with Pawel 😦 We will miss him so much and plan on coming back to visit him! The church even bought us gifts. The girls got mugs from Elblag and Grayson got a t-shirt since he was already planning on buying one. Thank you for all of the prayers because they have for sure worked! Can’t wait to be home but none of us want to leave!

Team Adrian part 1; as told by Camryn Crawford

Today we woke up with 5 hours of sleep in us, so it was really hard getting up, but we walked to the coffee shop and drank some coffee and tried new Polish food for breakfast. It was pretty good! We then got on the train and walked to the school. Once we got to our classes, mainly all the kids had this huge smile on their faces and got up and started hugging us and saying our names; I just felt so welcomed walking into the classroom. It was a really great feeling. Today our ice breaker was Never Have I Ever, which I found really interesting what some of the kids have never done, which Devin, Michaela and I might have a done many times. At lunch we ate some yummy pasta and of course soup. Then we had one last class and walked to the mall. I started to get this excruciating feeling in the bottom of my foot where I couldn’t even walk or barely stand up. I told Brett, and being the awesome person that he is,  he told me he would carry me. After about 5 minutes of walking he basically got winded and had to take a break. I didn’t think I was that heavy or maybe he is just really out of shape(; we then got on a tram and went shopping, we also had some delicious gelato. We hung out there for 2 hours and afterwards we walked to the church. Once “Texas night” started, we two stepped, which was definitely my favorite part of the night.  Andrea shared her testimony, and a couple of people accepted Christ!! Overall I had such a great day with the Polish students, building my relationship with them…And praying to God that he is going to help lead these kids to Christ.

Team Adrian part 2; as told by Andrea Fraser

Today waking up at 7:30 was like a blessing because we had been waking up at 6:10-6:30ish every morning. When we got to the train station the assistant principle was there to take us to a coffee shop and let’s just say that it was like that coffee was from heaven – haha. But once we got to the school we went straight to classes. In between classes everyone would come up to us and give us hugs and talk to us until the very last second because they would be late for their next class if they didn’t leave.  It was a cool thing where we had known each other for 3 days yet we feel like we have known each other for years.  While in the classes, the topic of religion would come up and they would ask us all different types of questions about it. After school some 3rd year students took us around Gdansk and showed us some thrift shops and then took us to a new mall that was about 15-30 minutes away from the church. When 5:00 came around there were around 100 kids at this church and it was crazy to say the least. We had all different types of Texas food and Polish food that the teenagers had brought for us to try, and we played sports for a good hour and then we taught them some dances for another hour, and that was insane! Everyone loved them and it was so much fun to be able to laugh at each others’ dance moves and be able to dance without having to be worried that you are going to be judged. Around 7:00, everyone came back inside to cool down for a bit and I was told I was going to give my testimony. While preparing to say my testimony, Angela did a quick prayer with me and it really prepared me for what I was about to do. When I had stepped down from the chair that I was standing on, I was then overloaded with hugs and I was told that one person even came to Christ because of it. When I finished my testimony, everyone had gone back to dancing except for the people who were talking to everyone in our group or with me. Overall it has been the best day on this trip so far!

Team Josh; as told by Micah Downs

Thursday was one of the coolest days of the trip! We started out the day early and headed to a school in a small village. Once we arrived, everybody showed their presentations and had some talks with the students. We toured two of the schools in town and I was extremely impressed with the students’ English. We had a quick pizza lunch with the pastor of the church in Olstynek. He was a very kind, gentle man and I could see God’s love in his actions. After lunch, we headed out into the village and gave three kids some presents that the church had raised money for. The village we worked with was a particularly poor part of Poland and it was an awakening experience to see the children with so much joy. The group headed back to the church and we hung out with the youth group. I had a blast hanging out with the students and trying to make conversation with them. I realized quickly how amazing our group is with working with other students and making them feel loved and welcomed. It was a blessing to get to work with the Olstyn group and I know God planned it that way for a reason. Trusting God no matter what is definitely something I fully comprehended this week. In the little things and in the small things, he always has a plan. Even if we cannot see it at the moment. Growing in trust with God, with the leaders and fellow peers in my group was a huge part of my week. Poland will always have a special place in my heart!

Team Chuck; as told by Alison Plueckhahn

Today was the last day we would be spending in Nidzica at the different schools in the area. After eating breakfast, we left around 7:30 in the morning to go to Mark’s school in Lubawa. Mark is a friend of the missionaries we are working with, and he was so excited for us to finally come to his school to talk to the kids. We were so ecstatic to go there because we were going to be able to see our friends again that we met on Tuesday night at our pizza party, such as Martyna and Kamil.

We presented our PowerPoints to three different classes and were able to see all our other friends from earlier that week. In one of the classes, after I talked about our youth group and Collide, a girl asked me what kind of music we listened to at our church. I tried to explain it to her, but she still seemed a bit confused, so Angela, one of the missionaries, asked if she would like to just hear an example. She went on to YouTube and played Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear” with the words flashing on the screen so they could read it. We started softly singing along, and I saw everyone in the room focusing intently on the screen, reading the lyrics. It was so cool to be able to play that in the middle of the class, and to top it off, Chuck suggested I pass out the Polish translation of my testimony. The kids had been wanting our Facebook names so they could add us as friends, and my excuse for passing it out was because it had my very difficult name to spell typed at the top. I pray that someone in that room read my testimony and were maybe able to relate to it.

Mark showed us around the school for a while after that, including the ping pong tables in the middle of the school where you could always find someone playing a match, as well as the math competition they were holding at the school.

We said goodbye to him and then went to lunch where we ate crepes and waffles. Then the highlight of the day happened after that—we got to go back to the first school, which was our favorite! All week long, the kids we met there had been sending Facebook messages to Jamie and asking us to please come back to their school, so when Chuck told us that we would have time to return, we couldn’t stop talking about it!

When we pulled up to the school, we saw that all our friends were waiting outside for us, which made us all so unbelievable happy. We said hello, and Jo’Vonta pulled out the football we brought and told them that they would teach them all how to play! Then Julia, the girl I talked with a lot on the first day, invited Jamie and I to go to her house with her other friend Martyna. She lived just down the road and introduced us to her family when we got there. She had snacks set out for us and asked if we wanted to listen to Justin Bieber music when we were there. We talked for a while, then walked back to the school so we could watch the boys teach them football. You could tell the Polish kids were all having a blast and it was so enjoyable to watch. When they were done playing, we interviewed them about what they thought about the game, which made for some pretty funny footage! Then they played basketball, and we ended by getting in a big circle and throwing the football back and forth.

As their school day ended, they started having to leave so they could catch the bus to go home. We became so sad and wanted to take as many pictures as we could with our friends from there. Thank goodness the bus driver was willing to wait on them for a little bit, because we spent probably 15 minutes saying goodbye and taking pictures, including one where all of us were holding up the Texas Longhorns’ sign 🙂 As we walked back to the van to leave, we saw all the kids on the bus waving goodbye to us, which made it really hit me that we were leaving.

After going back to the hotel for an hour or so, we all went to Chuck’s house where they were holding a beginner’s English class. We spoke with the people there a lot, and they were all so nice. They were also all very curious about our youth group at church and wanted to know more about how they could improve upon the one there.

We then had share time and it was so wonderful to hear how God had been moving in each of our lives this week. I am so excited about all the work He is doing here, and I hope I will get the chance to continue to be a part of it!

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