As told by Allee Nix: Today was our first full day in Poland!!!! We started off the day late because we were locked inside of our apartment! In Poland, most of the doors have a lock that you must use a key to open and close from both the inside and outside. Our key would not unlock the side door we had been using to enter/exit, so we had to find a key to open the front door. Once we got outside, the gate to the street would not open, so Gracie (Bridges) took one for the team and climbed over the gate and opened it for us. After the 15 minutes spent getting a mere 20 feet from our apartment, we were finally on our way with the other groups! Our team (Chastity and Joel’s family) had a plan change for the week, and we are now serving in Gydania helping the missionary Matek. We attended his church this morning and there were there with about 100 other members. It was very interesting because we sang a few songs, listened to a lady’s testimony, took communion, sang some more songs, listened to a sermon that was given in Ukrainian and translated to Polish (and then translated to English for our group), then sang again! In between every event we would stand and pray, and it was a prayer open to the group so anyone was welcome to join in and pray. Before we left, the church invited us to the front and the pastor prayed for our safety and evangelistic efforts this week. After that Matek and some boys who are in his youth group walked us around the port in Gydania and then to eat. The boys paired up with us and helped explain the menu, what was in the dishes, and then ordered for us. Once we finished eating at the Polish cafe, we visited the “youth building” where Matek leads his youth group on Wednesday nights. It was a tiny apartment with one room that could hold about 20 people (think living room) and a kitchen that could hold one person (think coat closet). We will be leading night services there on Wednesday and Thursday, and hosting a “Texas Night” on Friday, and we hope to fill it with 60+ people! After seeing everywhere else we will be this week, we made our way back to Gdansk and met up with the rest of the groups. From there we walked down the longest wooden pier in Europe and then split up for a quick dinner before heading back to our apartments. Our whole team is excited to be serving in this area, and we really enjoyed meeting the boys today, and are looking forward to meeting more kids our age tomorrow. Please continue to pray we will make connections with them while we are visiting the schools and that they will be encouraged/intrigued to visit our youth nights, so we can introduce them to our Savior.
As told by Brooklyn Crites: Today was our first full day in Gdansk, Poland. We got split into our groups and made our way to the different churches. My group went to Second Baptist Church. They started out with worship which was very cool because they offered it in Polish and English, so everyone got to sing and worship all at the same time, which proved to show that even two completely different cultures, languages, or even being halfway around the world from each other cannot stop people from worshiping and loving God together. Next we went on to the Sermon where Brett shared a personal sermon of his own which was then translated into Polish. Once the Sermon was over the whole church gathered for coffee, tea, baked goods, and other snacks that the members brought and that the church provided. During this team we got to meet and interact with the members of the church. Later we spent time with just the youth ministry; learning each other’s names, playing games with each other, talking about our home lives, and eating lunch together. After church we went to the grocery store (which is even smaller than an American Walgreens or CVS) which was quite an adventure considering all foods and labels were in Polish, different brands from our own, priced and weighed differently, and we were unable to read the ingredients. (I also dropped and broke about a dozen eggs and I still have no idea what the Polish lady yelled at me). Finally we all reunited and ate dinner and shared some quite humorous stories from our different experiences today. God has truly offered us a new world to explore and contribute to.
As told by Ruth Whorton: We started this morning going to church with Konrad right across the street from where we are staying. At church they sang some songs in Polish that we knew in English and we were able to sing along in English which was a cool start to the day being able to see people from across the world worshiping the same God. We were introduced to the people in the church and then I got up and gave a short presentation about evangelism in America. It was awesome to be able to share with them about the events and service projects we do to show and share the love of God. One cool thing that happened after church was a lady came up to me, speaking in Polish, about what I had shared. Our translator came over and started translating for me, and this Polish lady was just expressing her joy for all we do to share the gospel. I had mentioned that I run a Bible study in my high school and she was saying how encouraged she was by this because in Poland that is not heard of.
After church we met to get a more detailed plan for our week and to come up with a survey to ask people in town about Easter. We came up with questions about their culture, traditions, and foods that they like to have at Easter and then went into deeper questions asking them why they celebrated Easter and what Easter meant to them. My group and I were at the pier, which was quite chilly, talking to anyone who would stop for our survey. We learned many traditions that occur in Poland. We learned that people take baskets of food to priests to have it blessed and that there is a holiday called “wet Monday” where guys throw water on girls for good luck. The Easter Holiday in Poland is very much set in the traditions that have been set by generations in the past. For most people the religious part is simply tradition as well. At the end of the survey we were able to share why we celebrated Easter, sharing about the death and resurrection of Christ in hopes to get people thinking about what we said.
After the surveys we ate a late lunch at this pancake place, but in Poland a pancake is like an American crape. I had an apple cinnamon pancake with whipped cream that was delicious. We met up with team Adrian to take a group picture and then headed back to plan in detail for our first day in the schools tomorrow. Please pray for the people we talked to today with our surveys that they would see the deeper meaning behind the Easter holiday and pray that as we go into the schools that things would run smoothly and we would be able to spread information about Sopot Baptist church to the people in town.