As told by Andrea Fraser: Today in Gdansk, team Adrian went to an elementary/middle school. It was a school that was right next to the train station so we didn’t need to leave until 9:45 from the train station. So when we left everyone at 8:10 at the park we all went to Costa Coffee and hung out there until it was time to go to the train station. Once we arrived in Gdansk we walked to the school and met one of the teachers who was in charge of getting this all started. We split up into 3 groups and rotated around 3 classes today and each one was different from the last. One was really outgoing and talked so much, then the next group was semi-quiet and talked a little bit, while the last group would barely talk and was really shy. Each group was unique and different from the one before it. Then we went to a restaurant that was really close to the school and we had Polish food. One of the kids from the school was actually eating there by himself so I invited him to eat with us so he wouldn’t be by himself. Then we headed to the mall and looked around and shopped for an hour until the kids from all the schools met up with us at the food court. Once we all gathered around we hung out at the tables and talked for an hour or so. Some of my friends from two years ago also came to hangout for a bit which was super cool and fun! Once we finished at the mall we went back to the church with about five 14 year olds from the middle school and we played soccer, frisbee, pulse, sofa, and chair roulette. We played games for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours non-stop. It was just a day filled with laughter and joy even when times were hard. I just praise the Lord that we were even given an opportunity to come back here!
As told by Claire McMahon: From involuntarily eating duck liver, to laughing until I cry, this week has been nothing less than an adventure. God has placed me in this incredible place and I could not be more grateful for the way my faith and friendships have grown. I have spent this week teaching Polish children English. This was often frustrating, for many of the kids could not understand us, causing me to become impatient and feel as if I wasn’t serving much of a purpose. However, I was reminded that we aren’t here to start a fire, so much as we’re here to light a spark. It was very humbling to be reminded that it’s not me who is capable of transforming people’s hearts, so much as it is God’s. Today we prepared a presentation comparing Texas and Poland to present in the elementary school. It was more of a preparatory day than anything. We ask for prayers that the students and teachers will be receptive to our work, sparking an interest in their desire to attend Sopot’s Baptist Church. This week has moved me in ways that I will carry with me forever, and I cannot wait to share them when I get back!
As told by Hannah Gilliland: Hey y’all my name is Hannah and I’m a junior. This is my second time coming on the Poland mission trip and it has been so much fun!! I have been working with team Adrian this week and we have been going into gimnaziums (elementary & middle schools) all week long. My classes today were mainly 13 to 16 year olds and they were all very talkative and strong in their English speaking. We’ve had a hard time getting people to open up because they don’t want to make any mistakes while speaking to us but today the groups were very active and always had good questions. At this school we actually had projectors for the first time so we could show them pictures and give them a more visual perspective of what it’s like in Texas instead of only telling them. After working on the schools for the first half of the day we headed to the Galeria Baltyka, their shopping mall. We asked all the kids we met throughout the week to come hangout with us while we shop so they could show us where all the good places were and just so we could really build deeper relationships with them. After walking and shopping around the mall for awhile we headed to Adrian’s to hang out and play games with all the kids. We played so many fun games and really bonded with them. It was so much fun just laughing and hanging out with these kids and loving on them! Something hilarious that happened was that as soon as we all got into our apartments you could tell that we are all so exhausted. We couldn’t stop laughing at things that weren’t even funny and then Rylie York peed her pants. Please be praying that our last day goes well tomorrow and that we can continue to show them God’s love and make an impact on all of these teenagers!!
As told by Gracie Bridges: Today was so so long but it was also so great. We spent a lot of time with the Polish kiddos and there was a lot of focus on relationships; I felt like we were talking with them rather than at them like we have been the past few days at schools. We started our day off by meeting every one at our assigned school, where we later on split into groups of 4 or 5 to go on a scavenger hunt of the city. I was in a group with Drew Newman, and two 13 year old girls, Ola and Monika. All of the other groups had adults in them, and I really didn’t worry about it until I realized that we were following around these girls that we had just met that are years younger than us and we are in a foreign country with a language barrier, I have no idea what I would do if something happened!! I have had to be the most flexible I ever have had to be on a mission trip here. It honestly has been a little bit of a struggle, but the week has been going pretty smoothly for how much has been thrown at us. Anyways, we walked around Gdansk for about 3 hours during the scavenger hunt and then went to eat lunch. After lunch, we headed back to the school where we eventually met up with a second group. This group took us to a panic room. A panic room is practically a small room that you are locked in with a ton of locked boxes and other random clues and things to get you out. My group was told that we had the hardest one and that only 1/5 of the people that try it actually end up finishing it. Then, on top of that, he came over and handcuffed my hands behind my back!!! Again, flexibility has had to play a huge role in everything this week, I didn’t expect to be locked in a dark room for an hour with my hands restrained and my bladder close to exploding. We didn’t end up getting everything done in time, but it really was a cool experience and it was fun to get to do that with our Polish friends. One of the boys we have been around a lot this week, Pshmack, was in my group and after we all finished and we were laughing and joking around I realized how hard it will be to leave these people and this place. We headed to the church after saying goodbye to our school friends, and there we simply played games with the youth group; more relationships. I think on mission trips a lot of us get caught up in having everyone come to Christ immediately and have a 180 spin on their life the night that they hear about Jesus, which is obviously fantastic, but I also think that is simply coming and building these relationships and setting these foundations is so much more important than we realize. This trip has been so incredible so far. The places I have been are unforgettable and the people I have met will forever be in my heart. It’s heartbreaking to think about how tomorrow is our last day, but I’m excited to see how Jesus plans on wrapping up our week.