Poland 2016: Day 8 and 9

10391627_720431034275_6108364358395092588_nAs told by Roxy Odiorne: Our last day was a whirlwind of laughter, friends, and tears. We started out by riding the train from Sopot to where the school was at 9:30 in the morning. After we arrived at the school, we split into our small teams and went to the classrooms. We had 3 sessions-one with top level primary students, and two with second year gimnazium (like middle school) students. We played icebreakers with them and then got into small groups to discuss Easter, pop culture, and Texas/America. The kids were pretty talkative, and we got into some big topics in the gimnazium classes. They asked really good questions and were interested in what we had to say. You could really feel relationships being built and the intelligence of the kids was obvious. In between the sessions, the students and us would go into a classroom for refreshments, music, and hanging out. It was so much fun to talk and hang out with the kids, and we all made friends. For lunch, we took a quick trip to Old Town for some amazing Polish food, a bit of souvenir shopping, and a last chance to admire the beauty there. (It is really one of the most gorgeous places in Poland.)  Then, it was time to go back to Adrian’s church for Texas Night. We had about 75 kids show up, and we played American football and other sports, taught them Texas dances, and ate some traditional Texas foods. They also showed us some of their Polish dances, which was really fun. The coolest part of the night, though, was when Isabella Babin and Hannah Gilliland shared their testimonies, and Michaela Newman sang. People were crying during the testimonies, and worshipping during the songs. I think we touched a lot of people and God was definitely present! When the night was over, we had a lot of tearful goodbyes as we parted with our Polish friends. It was so sad! God did some incredible things throughout the week, and I am so blessed to have gotten to go and play a part in God’s plan for Poland. Polska, you are  forever in our hearts!!!

IMG_1716As told by Jenna Drummond: Our last day of Poland was so fun and very bittersweet! We woke up and met Adrian at the train station to go to a middle school and talk to classes again. That day, we talked about what we do for Easter and it was really fun and interesting to see what they like to do for their Easter traditions (they decorate eggs just like us!)  It was really great building the start of strong relationships with them and the joy they gave me was such a blessing! Also after all of our classes, we invited them to the church for Texas night, and it was sooooo fun!!! We did line dances and ate queso, and Isabella and Hannah told their testimonies and one of my friends (named Francesco) loved hearing the testimonies and he said it really touched his heart and he loved the openess of it. It was absolutely soooo hard to leave those sweet kids, and I probably gained about 100 insta and snapchat followers to keep in touch!!:-) When we left, and I kept giving hugs after hugs and I could really feel just how big and great God’s joyous love is and it was an experience I’ll never ever forget!! I definitely want to make it a goal to try and come back, it was just so incredible and I am so thankful that I got to go!

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As told by Tara Drummond: Today was the definition of bittersweet. This morning, my team and I went to our school and what we did there was so fun and precious! Emily and I were partners and we spoke to three different classes and every time the bell rang for them to switch classes, I was yearning for more time with them! They were all so talkative and they loved asking us questions and getting us to try to pronounce Polish words and it was just a sweet time! In between two of the classes, the oldest grade took us into the gym and performed and taught us a traditional Polish dance. AND IT WAS SO FUN. Afterwards, my team taught them some two-step and they really enjoyed that! Then, we had lunch in the cafeteria and it just blows my mind that they have such good, homemade lunches at school when we don’t have that at my school. It was just really awesome to experience!  Afterwards the Vice Principal, Kasha, took us into the computer room with some of the students. We handed out awards for the city scavenger hunt we had the day before, and they gave us some super cute souvenirs from Gdansk.  We then said goodbye to the students (which made me tear up), hung out at the hall for a little bit, and then headed over to the Second Baptist Church for Texas Night. Texas Night was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. There were about 70 students that came and a lot were from my school which made me so happy!! We two stepped, line danced, play football, ate queso and chili, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Being around those people and just showing God’s love to them is something I’m never going to forget! Oh my goodness saying goodbye to all the friends I made and the church staff made me cry!! On the way to the airport hotel, I just soaked in everything around me and just thanked God for this amazing trip! Poland 2016 is a trip I’m never going to forget!!

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As told by Mollie Mulvey: This past week has been one of the most emotionally, mentally, and physically tolling times in my life, and yet I would not trade a second of it for anything. Every high and low, every time I snapped or was snapped at, every time I cried or witnessed someone else crying, every time I laughed so hard that my stomach began to ache, or every time I risked food poisoning and thankfully survived, I saw God working in my life and in the lives of those around me.  One of the nights at the church in Gdynia I asked a girl that I had met to tell us some phrases in Polish that don’t translate very well; she replied by explaining that when people say “No, no, no” they really mean “Yes.” At first this seemed like merely an amusing, useless fact that I could someday retell to someone who probably would not laugh, however, as it was hidden away in my memory, it resonated in my heart. You see, I have realized throughout this week that sometimes when you say “No,” to God, He replies with “Yes,” and when we think that God is saying “no,” He is really insisting on a different “Yes.”  On the first real day of the trip, Sunday the 12th, Brett informed my group that we would not actually be in the team that we had originally been assigned, but instead, we would be separated and going to a smaller town called Gdynia a little ways outside of Gdansk. I’m not going to lie to you, at first this made me frustrated. You see, I am an extrovert in nearly every sense of the word, I am also very much so a planner, so at first, being told that my plans had been changed last minute in a foreign country that I had never been to before, and being under the impression that smaller town meant less kids to interact with, caused a lot of anxiety. But just as I began to say “No,” just as I began to ask God “why”, and question His plan, did God reply with a resounding “Yes”.  On Monday we started our mission work at a middle school in Gdynia. Many of us were extremely nervous because we didn’t have everything prepared that we might have hoped and we had no idea what to expect. God, however, knew exactly what was going to happen that day. Sarah, Chastity, and I all walked into a classroom full of Polish 16 year-olds and God provided more than we could’ve expected. The kids were so curious and responsive and interested in what we had to say. At first they seemed a little nervous but after a bit of warming up, nearly all of them were brave enough to speak out in what they felt was English not up to our standards. This however was a lie that the enemy whispered into their ears, just as he whispered the doubts and worries into mine. To see them overcome the fear of embarrassment, led me to overcome my own, and in that, God proved that what I thought was a “no” to many prayers, was exactly the opposite.  God continued to provide and prove me wrong throughout the rest of the week as even the most difficult classes still proved to be exactly what was needed. On the last day, the principal of the school called us into her office along with a few of the students that our team had created strong bonds with. In the time that we sat in this little room, surrounded by so many people that we had been blessed to have met throughout the week, and the gift baskets of goodies and books that they had given us, I realized that perhaps God was not only saying “Yes” to us, but that he was saying “Yes” to those that we touched by the Holy Spirit through us. And as I looked around at each of their smiling faces, filled with so much genuineness and love, I realized that God not only said “Yes” but he was asking us why we ever doubted him.  All week we had also been inviting our classes to the Collide nights at the church after school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night, and each night it grew and grew in numbers. Friday night was “Texas Night” and we probably had around twenty to thirty kids there, which according to our missionary, was way more than had ever come before. We danced and sang and honestly, it was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had, but all great things must come to an end I suppose.  As the night grew on, one by one our friends that we had made throughout our time there began to file out, and each goodbye was just as hard as the one before. When it was time for the group of girls that I had made the strongest bonds with to say goodbye, I could not even cry because I was in shock that I was leaving them. I was in shock of how little I knew about them, and yet how much I loved them. I was in shock about how short of a time I had known them, and yet how many tears were shed as we said “Do widzenia.” But doesn’t that just show you how much you can love someone when you love them like Jesus does. John 15:12 tells us “Love each other as I have loved you” and man, did I feel loved as I took a step back and realized all of the things he had blessed me with this week. I have a family, friends, a church, a polish church, and a polish school where I can all confidently say that I am loved and have been loved at.

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