First off, I would like to say thanks to those who prayed that I would make better connections because I was definitely connecting with lots of people! Our very successful Texas Night on Thursday was our last work day and also our last full day with Pawel. After waking up at 6:30 AM to finish up packing, chores, and getting ready, we had breakfast with Pawel at McDonalds (fun fact about Poland: McDonalds is WAY better in Poland than in America!). After breakfast, we said a sad goodbye to Pawel, and went our separate ways. Since Pawel couldn’t spend the day with us, our friend, Z, joined us and we went to a castle! The castle was beautiful, and full of gorgeous paintings, stained glass windows, and architecture. My favorite part of the castle was the private chapel! It had a very tall ceiling, old pews, a gorgeous stained glass window, and a breath-taking statue of Jesus on the cross. I think that was cool to me because God is so powerful and makes such a huge impact, and he brings unity to everyone, including people from completely different centuries! We were at the castle for a couple of hours, and then we made our way to Gdansk to meet up with Kenny for shopping!! We didn’t have much time to shop, so we were in a hurry. Even in the hustle and bustle of the city, I couldn’t help but look around and take in the magnificent city! The buildings were tall and beautiful, and a lot of them were untouched from WW2! My favorite part of the city was the Amber Road! It was one long strip of beautiful, and expensive, amber trinkets. We grabbed a coffee, and left the city to meet up with the rest of the group at a youth night! As I walked up to the building, I saw my brother hanging out with a bunch of young Polish teens, and getting to run up to him and give him a big hug was definitely the highlight of my day! At the youth night, Devin and Michaela lead worship. Getting to see how my brother impacted so many people’s lives made me very emotional, and when looking around, everyone was sobbing, and really just completely worshipping God with all of their hearts. It was absolutely incredible, and I cannot put into words just how proud I was of my friends! Josh Covey gave his great testimony, and a tear-jerking speech, and then we ate and danced! I had a total blast while dancing, and I got to know a few girls at the youth night. By the end of the night, everyone was crying and saying their last goodbyes until next time. I was very excited to see how God moved in these teens’ lives! Our last event of the night was pizza at a sports restaurant. We watched the game, caught up on our weeks, and just enjoyed each other! My biggest prayer request that I have is that these teens go through with their decision to accept Christ. When you are at big events like this, it’s easy to get caught in the moment, but the big prayer is that they stick with God, and hold themselves accountable when life becomes normal, and tempting once again. I also pray that they would be fearless in their walk with Christ. Pray that they will talk to their friends about their faith, and not be afraid to share with others God’s grace that saves. Thanks so much to my sponsors and prayer warriors! I am so thankful for you, and thank you for being the helping hand that gave me the opportunity to come on this trip.
Team Josh; as told by Alyssa Melikian
Today was the last day in Poland and it was crazy! We got up in the morning and took a train from Olsztyn to Gdansk to go sight-seeing and meet up with the other groups. Gdansk is such a beautiful place filled amazing architecture and parks. After sight-seeing we went to the mall to meet up with the other groups and grab lunch before going to the church. At first it was very overwhelming to meet so many new faces that I would only see for that night, but I instantly grew close to every single one of them that I met. They just had so much room in there heart for us and it showed me the importance of loving everyone you meet even if you see them for one day. Getting to play games with them was so much fun! After games we went inside and worshipped with them. You could just feel God in that room with all of us. Through all the tears, smiles and mixed emotions I haven’t felt God’s arms wrapped around me so tight in a long time. That moment was when I truly understood God’s plan for me and I smiled because I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I went. God is definitely calling me to go back and continue the missions that us high school students started this week. I have never been so proud to call the youth group my family and to call God my father. Thank you everyone who has prayed, donated and kept up with our trip. You will never know how much all of it means to each one of us students.
Team Chuck; as told by Jamie Downs
Today was so much fun. We took a train to Gdansk and toured around and bought souvenirs. We met up with the other groups at the mall around 2:00 pm. I was so happy to see my friends. After we shopped for a bit and ate some lunch, we walked to the church a couple blocks away. Kids immediately started showing up and hanging out with us. Josh Covey shared his testimony and we sang some worship songs. Some girls next to me were crying at the end of the last song. I walked up to them and asked them why they were crying. They told me they didn’t know. I think that the Holy Spirit was moving inside of them. After we ate dinner with them the best thing ever happened. We took the speakers outside and danced to the Cupid shuffle and some Skrillex songs. It was so much fun dancing with these kids. Saying goodbye to these kids was the hardest thing I have ever done. I had only been with these kids for about two hours and I had already formed huge relationships with them. They were crying and I was crying and I told them I would come back to see them again soon. I will never forget this trip and I will definitely never forget these kids. I love Poland so much and I cannot wait to come back!!
Team Adrian; as told by Josh Covey
Today was one of the greatest days of my life! At school we built upon our relationships even more and we hung out with Kuba, Michael, Kacper, Ania, and a few others at the mall. We went to church for the third and final youth night and we had another great group of over 100 Polish teenagers. After playing Ultimate Frisbee and hanging out the first hour, we went inside and sang three awesome worship songs led by Michaela and Devin. The first song was fun and the last one was a great song about God’s unconditional love (He Won’t Relent). The Holy Spirit was truly moving. After the third song I went up and shared my testimony. The Gospel was revealed and God really spoke to their hearts. The Polish teenagers then showed us a video of so many great pictures and memories of the week. Kids were extremely emotional as the Spirit moved and it took us an hour to say goodbye to everyone. Sebastian, one of my newest friends, was really touched and I told Him about what Jesus could do for him and that if he wants to follow Jesus, he shouldn’t hesitate to make that decision. With the help of a translator he said he wanted Jesus so I brought him over to Adrian and Adrian fully went over the Gospel and they agreed to keep in touch. Sebastian wanted to continue going to 2nd Baptist. I must also follow up on him and help him continuously grow in his new relationship with Christ. Praise God that I will see him in Heaven!!!!! After we left, we went to eat and Kacper met up with us. We spent one more moment with him and we told him again how much Jesus loves him and how we would be praying for him. He was so happy by our friendship. It meant so much to him and to me. Angela and James, Ken and Janet, and Adrian were so great to us and we will be praying so hard that their (along with the Polish teenagers that already go to 2nd Baptist) ministry is blessed and continues to grow; we will also be praying so hard that those kids that we met will continue worshiping there together and God would use Adrian and that church in awesome ways!!!!