Thursday, August 11, 2011

Prayer Requests from Gdansk


Please continue to pray for the Church in Poland. Here are few specific prayer requests from Pastor Pavel.

-Growth in maturity and in numbers in the church.
-Good results in the homeschooling of our children - Zuzia and Janek
-Good results of evangelism with CREC Mission Team
-New people: Wojciech, Grazyna, Mariusz, Marcin, Debora, and Mateusz

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wojciech


The following
was written by John Unger and is a prayer request, praise, and epilogue to our trip.


As you recall, we had 10 people come to church on Sunday, who heard us at the concerts we did in Gdańsk.  One of these was a man named Wojciech (pronounced “Voy-check”).   Although he speaks no English, through Gary Farr, an Englishman who helps Pawel in his evangelism in Gdańsk, Vojciech shared some of his story with me. 

Wojciech is an amber craftsman, specializing in carving solid amber blocks into artistic sculptured works.  In his mid-forties, Wojciech has been a very troubled man, searching for God in various books and religions, and almost became baptized as a Mormon 11 years ago.  His wife died several years ago, and he has been raising his daughter alone since.   Four times he has unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide; his last attempt at hanging himself was foiled by a large amber carving he was working on.  Wojciech had attended three of our Gdańsk concerts, and was very moved by the message preached during Saturday afternoon’s concert.  On Sunday he came to church, took the Lord’s supper, and spent the whole day in fellowship with us. 

Early Monday morning, three taxis – and Pawel – ferried the RCC team to the Gdańsk airport, and we arrived a little before 6:00 AM.  After unloading all our luggage and gear, we said our farewells to Pawel, and proceeded to the ticketing counter to get our boarding passes.  Afterward, we headed to the security line and made it through with no issues.  Once that was done, the team decided to get something to eat and rest at our gate. 

After we ate together I went to do some final shopping at the duty-free store near the gate, where I bought a nice bottle of vodka.  Not long after, as I was sitting at the gate, I heard my name called over the loudspeaker system, to come to Security Control.  It was probably around 7:30.  Initially I was afraid that I was in trouble for the vodka I had bought, but as I got to the security checkpoint  there was Wojciech, standing with a security guard on the other side of the security scanners.   I was amazed to see him. (Pawel told me later that Wojciech had asked him when we were leaving; Pawel had told him, but didn’t think anything of his question, considering it to be only curiosity).

Wojciech waved at me, holding up a blue plastic bag, and beckoned to me to come to see him.  I was hesitant to go back through security at that point, so I just waved back at him.  He seemed to understand, and then handed the guard the bag he was holding.  The guard took the bag and passed it through the scanner, and I received it on the other side.  I looked inside the bag: it contained books, cards, and a pen, all souvenirs from Gdańsk.


I called, “Dzien kuje bardzo!”, waved at him again, and said, “Do widzenia!”  As he turned to go, he stopped and reached into the satchel he was holding, and took out a red velvet bag.  From it, he pulled out something brown, and gave it also to the guard.  The guard passed it through the scanner, and then handed it to me.  It was a bag of amber chips.  I was stunned:  this was something very precious to Wojciech that he was sharing with me, not only in appreciation for our team's friendship, but more so for the gospel which he had received.  I called to him and thanked him again in Polish and again waved good-bye, then walked back to our gate to share what had happened with the team, who were wondering what was going on. 
 
The team was as surprised and touched as I was.  It was and is very poignant to consider that Wojciech went out of his way to come to the airport early in the morning, to give these gifts and express his appreciation to us.  I am still in awe of God's work in Wojciech's life and ours, and am amazed at how He performs His wonders.  This event has become the highlight of the mission for me; to me, it's emblematic of our whole trip and the reason for it.  We came here to share Christ with the people of Poznań and Gdańsk, and by His Spirit He has granted us success.   Praise His Name!
John Unger

Friday, July 15, 2011

Leaving Poland

At 12am Monday morning a large group of us went out to pizza and beverages along the water. We discovered that the Polish word for signature is a good trigger for an Anna laughing fit, that Peter can keep a train of thought even between naps, that several unnamed persons no longer have the youth and stamina for an all-nighter, and that we were all going to miss each other more than we were willing to talk about.

We walked back through the quiet Old Town and returned to the hostel where some people stayed outside to smoke a pipe or talk, while others gave in to weariness, or played a variety of card games. Some of us dozed off  for a few hours, while the rest of us replaced sleep with a cold shower.

Peter and those on the Canadian team not going on to tour of the world left at 4:15. We tried to keep goodbyes hurried and quiet.

The RCC team left at 5:15. Joseph and Hannah amazed us with their preparation skills after their alarm failed and they woke up after the taxi arrived. They were ready with the rest of us...

The Alaska team left later in the day to spend the night at Frankfurt before getting home at about 10am Tuesday.

Miwaza took the train back to Poznan before starting her two days of travel. Thankfully she's home safe!

The Dukes, David, Elyse, Nathaniel, and Landon are still traveling in two different groups.

Pastor Pawel insisted on seeing each of us off. We will miss him and his family. God has used them to greatly bless us! Please pray for them in their continued work.

The RCC team met several members of the US Volleyball team at the Gdansk airport as they flew to Frankfurt on the same flight. It was very strange to be talking to Americans again. Only Rebekah had the bravery and presence of mind to ask for signatures, but we all enjoyed talking with them and watching tall men cram into a tiny airplane.

We were all packed into a bus for our first flight. We must have sat there for 15 minutes before we finally moved a few feet and got out. It was a joke. But we did make it on the flight.

Our layover in Germany was relaxed and enjoyable. We stopped at a nice restaurant for breakfast or lunch, people ordered as they felt called. Gustavo was an amazing waiter and brought us pitchers of water free of charge. Newly revived with coffee, chocolate, pancakes, bacon, salad, or what you will, we explored the Frankfurt airport for an hour or so before resigning ourselves to all the various lines and procedures.

We must have looked like a pathetic group on our Condor flight to Seattle. Some unnamed persons couldn't even stay awake through the take-off. We had an uneventful flight where most of us got some good sleep.

Customs and baggage claim went quickly in Seattle, but the team ended up waiting for another unnamed person to get her bags completely emptied while they searched for any Polish dirt she might be smuggling... They broke her lollipop. Mrs. Unger and Susannah surprised us with their presence along with Mr. Dahlin. How wonderful to see family and friends again! Thank you Mr. Dahlin for being the only person awake in the van and for seeing us all safely to our various destinations. It was a long drive and we couldn't have done it!

God blessed us all with safe travel and a good conclusion to an amazing adventure.

This trip to Poland is over, but our mission isn't. God gave us two weeks as a team in a foreign country to encourage and be encouraged. We can learn so much from the Polish saints perseverance and apologetic presentation of the Gospel. We are still on a mission, it looks a little different for each of us, but there's no room for slacking. Let us go out, invigorated, and tireless into the battle on our own front lines.

Please pray with us-

-In great thanksgiving for God's abundant blessings on us in our two weeks in Poland.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 13 - Sunday in Gdansk

Sunday might seem like a long time ago, but it was too good of a day to miss.

We all attempted to dress up with whatever we could find that was still semi-clean and unwrinkled. The walk to church was through Gdansk and along the water and the weather was glorious. After the whole team waited for Pastor Vanderveen to acquire his necessary coffee, we left the river and went through more streets in Gdansk to an old building, currently being used as a school.

The Church used a beautiful 14th century chapel room with amazing acoustics. We got there a little early and were able to meet some of the members we had not seen earlier in the trip. Fifteen people attended for the first time, ten of which were Gdansk residents. Everyone was willing to talk, and we had some amazing conversations.

One man, Violtek, had been seriously struggling for many years, but had attended several of our concerts and talked through an interpreter to Mr. Unger and others. He had been convicted after Mr. Unger's short sermon at a concert and attended the church very willingly. He had some deep conversations with Mr. Unger and Pastor Pawel and we are so excited about how God seems to be working in his life. Please keep him in your prayers!

One Catholic woman attended as well and was willing to talk and exchange contact information. Another lady, Grazyna, attended who had lived in Gdansk all her life. She was very open and eager to have conversation in any common language we could manage.

Pastor Pawel was able to talk to most of the visitors directly. We hope we can stay in contact with many of them and that God would do wonderful things in their lives. We were so blessed by our conversations and they're eagerness.

We sang several songs before the service as well as several through out in response to Polish songs. Pastor Vanderveen preached on John and the Eucharist while Jola translated. We took communion together and were able to sing the Doxology in both Polish and English simultaneously. It was a beautiful example of our time in Poland and the fellowship God has given us with the Polish saints. Even those of us that do not have a single word in common, can work together as we run in the same Race and are changed by the same Love. That Doxology is something we will not forget.

After the service, we sang for the last time as a chorale. Some of us got a bit emotional...God has truly blessed us by bringing us together and giving us the joy of singing!

After some good conversations we moved outside in the sun where we had a delicious lunch of all sorts of wonderful things! We will miss Polish food and Polish hospitality. Thank you to the ladies of the church who gave us a scrumptious feast.

Pastor Pawel and a few members of his band, performed a couple of amazing songs for us after lunch. I hope they are going to do a CD. :-) Joseph and Benjamin tried a few guitar songs and Mr. Unger and Rebekah sang. This is what this sort of music is for!

Racha tried to create a long string of plastic bags we could tie between the two basketball hoops for volleyball, but we were a little short. The worker that was staying at the school came up with a long strip of tape that saved the day. We played some very primitive, but entertaining games of volleyball, had more fellowship, and a generally amazing, relaxing Sunday afternoon.

We walked back to the hostel in various groups to change, loaf, played Frisbee, or card games. Peter and Miwaza interviewed people for the documentary they are planning and we exchanged our favorite incidents (some of which involved head cracking or throwing people in the ocean). God has truly been directing and teaching us on this adventure.

We met at the catering place where we had a wonderful last dinner together. Pastor Pawel gave each of the team members a letter and gift from the Gdansk church. We tried to hold ourselves together between goodbyes and acknowledgements. So many people have worked so hard and with such patience to make these past two weeks a good, organized and (hopefully) fruitful experience.

Pastor Vanderveen and Mr. Unger's labor, leadership, and encouragement have greatly affected us all. Pastor Bubu, Pastor Andrzej, Pastor Pawel, and all the other striving saints in Poland have blessed us with their perseverance, openness, and unapologetic dedication to the spread of the Gospel. What an example they have been in the front lines of battle. We will miss them and keep them in our prayers.

There are too many people to mention who have made this trip possibly with their time, money, and prayers. We are so blessed.

Pastor Pawel returned to the hostel with us where we all sat around and talked or returned to walk along the waterfront.

Some of us started to gear up for an all-nighter before flying out early the next morning... Whether this was a good idea is still to be determined, but we had fun. We could not imagine sleeping our last hours together in Gdansk.

Please pray with us-


-That Violtek, Grazyna, and all the others who heard or talked with us would be convicted and willing to talk with Pastor Pawel and be eager to attend church.

-That the Gdansk church would be encouraged and stand strong. They are doing great work.

-That all those who made our two weeks in Poland such a wonderful, learning time would be blessed and reinvigorated in their tasks.

-That blessing and encouragement would be showered on Pastor Pawel, Jola, and their children for their hard work and dedication. We are so blessed to have been able to spend a week in Gdansk with them.

-In praise and thanksgiving for our time in Gdansk and in Poland. God is good!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 12 - Last Working Day

Today started too early for some of us... We woke up all too Elyse, Nathaniel, and Landon-less. We hope they have an amazing time bashing around the Europe. We miss them here!

We held devotions and started our goodbyes to Pastor Bubu before crawling down to Old Town to hand out more fliers, do any last shopping or sightseeing, and have another lunch at Subway. After four lunches there, they must have decided to give us some variety. The new advertising method was break dancing and stunts outside the restaurant. It made us miss Andy and his mad skills.

Pastor Bubu left around 1pm. What an encouragement, example, and inspiration he has been to us. He has poured many hours into this trip and years into the work for Christ in Poland. We cannot thank him enough for his patience, wisdom, and unique humor on this trip!

We reconvened to sing at the table, took a short break, and then marched down to St. Mary's Church. We received permission to sing a few songs, and attracted a good sized audience during our four or five Psalms and hymns.
The acoustics were unbelievable. Singing in there was an awe-inspiring experience. Not only to sing in a church begun in the 1300s, but to be proclaiming truth right in the middle of a historic battle ground between Roman Catholics and Protestants. God's plans are strange and perfect....to give us an opportunity to sing there was truly amazing.

Re-energized, we left to prepare for our final concert together in Poland. A few of us caught had time to see some other churches and fly through a wonderful art museum, before meeting for another outside concert on the main street in Old Town. We got very good attendance, and tried to give our best efforts even in the squelching heat. Mr. Unger preached while Mrs. Bartosik translated, and people seemed to receive it well. A group of people came that had heard us in St. Mary's, as well as others we'd had conversations with and people we did not know at all.

Afterwards, we cooled off, got slightly sentimental, relaxed, visited churches, and updated our facebook statuses while waiting for our dinner reservation at a very fancy Turkish restaurant. The food was amazing...and we had plenty of time for good conversations and fellowship.

We continue to have interesting encounters with bold insects...including bee stings, swarming, and bug swallowing (particularly during concerts). Tonight we discovered a hedgehog named Trevor and caught a floating lantern near our hostel. If Dr. Horvath's predictions come true, we will all wake up in reptile form after  capturing this foreign object.

We all need a goodnight's sleep and are looking forward to worship and fellowship with the saints in Gdansk tomorrow.

Please pray with us-


-That our singing would have planted seeds that God would cause to grow.

-That we would have health and energy to finish well in Poland.

-That Elyse, Nathaniel, and Landon would be having safe travels.

-That preparations for departure and travel plans would go safely and smoothly.

-That we would have a blessed Lord's Day and be an encouragement to the church in Gdansk tomorrow.

-In thanksgiving for another wonderful day and good concert. We have been so blessed to be here!

Day 11 - Gdansk

Friday was a wonderful, crammed day for us.

We rolled out of bed to split up between Gdansk and the beach. 


Some of the team continued to hand out fliers while Pastor Pawel stayed at the table handing out literature and talking with people. 



Those on the beach excursion left on the train with Pastor Bubu to the pier, and were welcomed by gorgeous sand and water. Soon after the walk on the pier, they began a frisbee game, which involved much tripping, diving, and general sandy chaos. Certain male persons found it necessary to make sure that other certain persons got thoroughly wet in the Baltic Sea. It only took five guys to throw Joe into the water... 


The beachers brought home sea water and a baggy of sand to have a ceremonial toe dousing...we all want to say we had our feet in the Baltic Sea.


We met for another lunch at Subway where we are becoming increasingly more efficient, and then returned to the table to sing. Between several rounds of short bouts of singing, we buzzed around the old town, had conversations, and/or relaxed and panted. 


Our first concert was on the main old town street at 4pm. There was a good turnout and despite the erratic showers and several people coming and going, it was our best concert attendance yet. People were hanging out of windows and coming out of restaurants to listen and clap. 


Dr. Horvath preached, sandwiched between two sections of Psalms and hymns. We were able to have several good conversations after the concert before rushing to dinner, changing, and arriving at  La Fontaine for our second concert of the day.


We got a lot of rain the 9pm concert, but it forced us to cram under the canopy which changed the acoustics and made us sound pretty good...seriously, even with tired voices. The audience was sparse, but we were able to talk to all the attendance and were very encouraged by people's interest and response. 


We waited around at the tram stop, piled inside, went to the hostel, and then split up. Many of us went back out along the waterfront to celebrate Elyse's birthday with a second dinner of pizza, drinks, and conversation. By the time we made our way back, some of us were ready to fall in bed, while the rest sat out on the steps of the hostel and talked into the light hours of the morning.


Elyse, Nathaniel, and Landon all left early Saturday, so we had to have a last bash with them. They are missed!


Please pray with us-


-In thanks for the blessing of reaching people through singing on the street, in the two concerts, and conversations. God has been very good. 


We are earnestly praying that He uses us to plant seeds that will bear fruit, and that we could be an encouragement to the Polish saints here!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day Ten - Malbork Castle

Today we pilled out in chaos to catch a tram and then a train to visit Malbork Castle. Malbork is the largest castle in Europe and the biggest brick castle in the world.

Our trip there involved a lot of "hurry up and wait", but we finally connected with our competent tour-guide who led us in a whirlwind through the massive main structures. We could have spent weeks, but we got to see enough to have an amazing time. The major highlight was being able to sing The Nicene Creed in the oldest hall of the castle...that has simply awe-inspiring acoustics.

By the end of the tour many of us were faint with hunger, even those who had already resorted to ice cream earlier in the day. We had several options, but the tough spirited decided to laugh in the face of starvation and charge up the several hundred steps to the castle's highest tower. It was worth it all. The view was amazing. The trees are so dark and beautiful here. Sadly, our photographers keep missing out on these stair challenging adventures...

We charged over to McDonalds to meet the rest of the group, only the rest of the group had providentially changed their plans. There was one McDonalds employee who knew any English and the whole place was mobbed with children who spoke another language yet. It took us over a half-hour to get about eight people's worth of food...and even then, three of us ended up sharing a Happy Meal. Thankfully there was an appeasing bird toy that has proved to hold hours of fun-filled entertainment.

Through much stress we all made it to the train platform in plenty of time. Most of us took advantage of a relatively still and quiet hour to doze and drool contentedly. Elise, who seems to have long lasting caffeine effects, continued to cause entertaining trouble..

Tonight we are having a spaghetti extravaganza at the hostel organized and executed by leading female members. Right now the kitchen is very much alive with wild voices...I thought today was our day of rest from singing. apparently we can't help it. Peter and Miwaza are focusing their artistic genius on a photo shoot with Benjamin and Rebekah. The rest of us that still posess any energy are playing Frisbee outside the hostel.

Tomorrow it is back to work. We may be able to take a quick morning trip to dip our toes in the Baltic Sea. We have two concerts and street evangelism scheduled. It's going to be a big, awesome day!

Please pray with us-


-For energy and lively voices for our work here.

-Good attendance and conversations at concerts and on the street.

-Blessings and encouragement on Pastor Pawel, his family, and his work here.

-Health!

-Praise to God for a wonderful time here! We can't believe it is already Thursday.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prayer Requests

Catching up on blogging soon...

Please pray with us-


-For a good day of rest and preparation today.

-For Miwaza who sprained her ankle!

-For health and energy as more people come down with colds and lose their voices. Especially for David who is sick and missing out on the castle today.

-Praise for a good concert last night and energy and audience for Friday and Saturday concerts.

Day Nine




Today started off well with Pastor Vanderveen's worldly possessions being creatively locked in his private chambers. Because of our keyless state, we held devotions in the hallway where we resorted to jumping jacks to keep the very sensitive, energy-conserving lights alerted to our presence.

We trudged out onto the sidewalk and down to the dock, where we climbed onto a pirate ship of sorts with highly advanced steering and propelling qualities. We enjoyed the trip to Westerplatt alternating between being "King of the World" on the prow and hulking under the wind and rain cover with comforting hot chocolate, tea, and coffee. Hot weather seems to be an every other day occurrence for us. Sadly, the more unfortunate individuals of our party weren't able to finish their beverage in time before disembarkation...

We wandered over Westerplatte's bunkers, towers, plaques, and memorials. I believe getting the story of the men there gave us a better feeling for the entire spirit of Poland. Between history lessons and exploration we busied ourselves with rose-hip wars and fruitless searching for necessarily facilities.

We all waited for the ship lined along the dock, dangling our toes, and snacking on Julia and Tanaya's trail-mix. The ride back was glorious. We wanted to commander the vessel to take it the open sea where all the delicious wind was, but we had to be contented with several of our team being able to take turns at the ship's wheel. The shipmaster was indulgent in our Polish Pirate imitations. We were able to talk to the ship's tour-guide about our presence in Poland and had a good conversation.  

When we got back we sang in the Old Town and handed out fliers before returning to the cringing Subway for lunch. In-between two more rounds of singing and handing out invitations we had two mad dashes to the mall, a laundry extravaganza, and other church, shop, and riverside sightseeing..We made the trek back to the catering place for dinner and then the hostel to fancy up for the evening's concert.

Our concert was at 8pm in the main street of Old Town. We had a competent sound system and God very graciously only teased us with a few sprinkles. Pastor Vanderveen proclaimed the Gospel between two sections of songs. Our voices sounded a bit tired, but we are working better together. We had several people who sat through the entire concert and many people stop for several minutes and take literature. The concert was very encouraging. We pray it bears fruit!

By the time we clambered back up the stairs to our hostel, most of us were pretty beat. Several rounds of Poker and Dutch Blitz brought us back to life in time to be very noisy before crawling into our neglected beds.

God gave us a magnificent day!

Note: I do have some pictures of awesome things I've been taking, but I'm currently running into techniquel difficulties... Keep checking Facebook and Evangelos!

Day Eight

We crawled out of our new, comfortable accommodations Tuesday morning to meet for devotions in the adjoining building. After praying together we had a mad scramble for last minute changes and headed out together to Gdansk Old Town. We met Pastor Pawel, Mariusz, and Ewa and began to sing and hand out concert invitations.

Between half-hour bouts of singing, we made a trip to St. Mary's Church where the ambitious climbed the 400 terrifying stairs to the tower roof. It was well worth the sweat and tears...except for Joe who sat in the dark below the final staircase. The view was amazing from all sides and gave us a big picture of Gdansk.

St. Mary's is currently under renovation and strewn with beautiful artwork from other churches and cathedrals. Some glorious sites included the Pieta of Gdansk, an astronomical clock, a panel of the Ten Commandments, an awe-inspiring pipe organ, and Memling's 13th century Last Judgement. So many old, beautiful pieces of art still waiting for restoration.

We mobbed Subway for lunch and then made the short walk back to where Pastor Pawel had remained to pass out information. We sang again and then Pastor Pawel talked while painting on a sketch board. He attracted a good-sized crowd, many of which stayed the entire talk and into the next round of singing.

At 4pm, we rushed to dinner at a catering restaurant and then returned to the hostel to change into concert clothes. Between walking and trams we made it to La Fontaine for our first concert in Gdansk. There was a respectable audience and Mr. Unger presented the Gospel with Pastor Bubu translating. After the concert we were able to have some very good conversations with several German ladies, a Roman Catholic couple, and several others. La Fontaine had also put out some wonderful refreshments and everyone was revitalized with coffee and sugar.

We made the trek home where we continued in our tradition of whacking our heads on signs, concrete, trees, or whatever else comes to hand. Some of us retreated to our boudoirs to nurse our sunburns or fall unconscious in exhaustion, while others went back out on the town to create a general ruckus and have an amazing time.

We continue to be awed by the fickleness of the weather and the impressive size of Gdansk's bees.

We are so thankful for a glorious day of sun and good conversations.

Please pray with us-


-That we would continue to have good weather.

-That God would bless our conversations.

-That we would have energy to do all things well!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day Seven - Arrival in Gdansk

We gave a fond farewell to beautiful Poznan this morning and hauled our excessive luggage to the tram, where we crammed with stuicases, bags, laptops, purses and unfortunate Poles for two stops before the doors opened and we stumbled out into the street.

After overcoming the challenge of multiple underground staircases, we resorted to a mass breakfast at KFC, which unbeknownst to us, does not serve breakfast foods.

The battle plan for gaining seatage on the full train failed miserably, as girls lacked speed and volience to claim cabins. We all stood about awkwardly in the hallways until we could find passangers gracious enough to share their space. Some found refuge in the baggage area where they ammused themselves with card games, Mad Libs, and breaking rubber bands.

At the Inowroclaw stop, Landon discovered the hostel keys in his pocket. Fail. But apparently he wasn't the only one...

We passed the time by crushing and consuming danishes, snacking on cocoa puffs, playing poker, mafia, and whist. Pastor Vanderveen showed his skills in "Down by the Banks of the Hankity-Panky" and triumphed over a whole cabin of girls.

We arrived at our new, deluxe hostel around 7pm after a arduous walk towing all our worldly possessions. Pastor Pawel and Bubu lead us to Gdansk Old Town, which is beautiful and buzzing with people and music.

We had a much needed dinner at Sphinx where certain supposedly mature persons indulged in a mild food fight. We tried to obtain ice cream, but by the end of dinner the stands were smuggling it away under lock and key. We resorted to standing about panting for internet until we finally made our way back to the hostel and obtained the web password. Miwaza exercised her genius and restored this fickle laptop to worldwide relations. We cannot be thankful enough for her awesomeness on this trip!

We're going to miss Poznan and all the people there, but we're excited about Gdansk and working with Pastor Pawel here.

Please pray with us-


-That God would bless our work here.

-In praise for a beautiful, clean, spacious hostel with acceptable internet.

-Energy and health for all of us.

Day Six

Sunday morning we all filed into a comfortable bus for the 20 kl. trip to a quiet farm where we met for worship. We met in the loft of a clean barn with the Poznan Church and other Polish brothers.

Most of the service was spoken in Polish. We joined in worship with their music and Polish hymns accompanied by recorders, voilins, and drums. We were able to sing A Mighty Fortress and the Nicene Creed in both languages. Pastor Phelps preached a sermon on the implications of the Resurrection translated by Pastor Bubu. At the end of the service our choir sang five songs for the congregation.

We enjoyed fellowship with the Polish saints while busy hands prepared lunch. A awed hush fell over the room as a band of strong men brought in three suculent, roast lambs. We decended upon them in ravinous droves. What followed was a joyfull feast and introductions. At one table we were communicating in Japanese, Russian, Polish, and English! What a blessing it is to fellowship with believers who share one common purpose.

Some of us we able to walk the grounds of an impressive mansion. Pastor Bubu took us on a nature walk over the sprawling grounds to see the oldest oak trees in Poland. On the trek back, Sam's head collided with a dead tree and we met an electric, blue beatle named Turtle. Sadly, we had to say good-bye to Ewa, Sarah, David, Philip, Kasia, and Pastor Andrzej. What a blessing they have been. We miss them already.

On the bus, certain persons tried to inhibate our slumber by singing musicals.

We gave one last farewell to Poznan Old Town, before experiencing Pastor Bubu's supurb barbeque skills. We ate, drank, and were merry.

After a day of comparitive relaxation, Otto lead some of the more insane members to an unsuspecting park, where we engaged in frisbee warfare. The Alaskan girls owned the field...while most of us ran around wildly. We came back with no permanent losses, although Russia sported a black eye for her valiant efforts.

We feel so blessed to have spent a week in Poznan. We are excited about the conversations we've had, and how God has seen fit to use our time here. In our last night, Benjamin and Rebekah were accosted by American Mormons who are here spreading a false gospel. How strange to witness to fellow Americans in a foreign land. Rebekah's wisdom and confidence rattled the young woman. Who knows what seeds God is planting.

Special thanks to Rachel M. who is helping get these posts up and sharing her humor and intellect.


Please pray with us-

-In praise for Elise's safe arrival.

-In praise for our time in Poznan.

-For encouragement and blessing for the saints who we leave in the trenches of the ongoing battle for reformation. They are truely an example of determination and strength.

-For safe travel to Gdansk by train.

-That God would bless our work in Gdansk.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day Five

Today started too early with a confused Polish man bursting into the girls' hostel. Apparently his room was full and he was trying to find a place to stay...

Needless to say all the girls were wide awake and ready long before the boys crawled into our practice room. We kept practicing for only 20 minutes so we'd have at least a dull croak left for the concert this evening and then were set loose for some free time until we regrouped at 2pm.

Upon release we migrated en masse to Starbucks. Certain technologically literate persons sat about enjoying conversation and free internet, while the rest of us split up to shop, explore, and eat at Pizza Hut...again.

Some of us cruised the mall at various times and places where Nathaniel reportedly ran into a glass door. Good times.

Some of us caught an amazing organ concert at the "pink church" otherwise known as the massive, gorgeous church near the town square. Some of us privileged persons saw a beautiful 1400's Franciscan Church that had been rebuilt several times, but retained all its glory. The pipe organ alone was magnificent.

Besides some unfortunate stragglers, most of us reconvened at the hostel at 2pm and set out on a long trek past a million wedding dress shops and other assorted stores and buildings. We arrived at the park still clutching our umbrellas and shivering. The stage for our concert performance had some very interesting acoustics going on, which made for an interesting experience. God saw fit to keep the rain and wind constant, but we did have several people stop by. Mrs. Jarmulak and co. kept our spirits up by leading our varied audience in claps of encouragement.

By the time we'd finished the concert, the wind had become even more aggressive. Those of us delusional enough not to pack coats were suffering again.

We all hurried to the massive historic Poznan Cathedral and managed about 7 minutes between a wedding and evening mass. It was well worth it. I hope Peter and Miwaza got some good pictures. I can't begin to describe it...at least when I'm this tired.

We had some time before dinner reservations so we dispersed, and some of us shivering, blue people finally gave in and went warmth hunting. C&A was the closest shop at hand and we left with warm jackets and alarms beeping. It was probably Sam trying to smuggle his coat...or maybe it was his rad hat. Too much coolness.

We returned to the "Dumpling Place" we had mobbed on Wednesday, only this time with some extra-good beverages Aaron wished to add to the gathering. We left in groups, fat and happy.

Unfortunately some of us girls curently sit in misery while we wait for our wondering room keys. They're out on the town.

Meanwhile, the boys abandoned Benjamin, who was oblivious to his plight while he wandered about holding Rebekah's hand. His door poundings could not be heard over the men's rumbling conversation, and he could only regain entrance by throwing vittles at the third-story window. Finally, a half of banana reached the feet of one of our fearless leaders, who promptly responded with, "What in the world?!!?!??"

God has given us another blessed day. It wasn't really our plan, but He apparently had a better one.

Please pray with us-


-That we would have good fellowship with the Polish saints, and that we could be an encouragement to them tomorrow.

-That we would have a good day of rest and that peoples' voices would recover from vocal boot camp.

-That Elise V. would come in safely tomorrow.

-That we would have good weather! Gdansk is supposed to be even more unpredictable, and we really need some dry days.

-That we would continue to have the energy and spirit to continue with our goals and have good fellowship with each other. We are so blessed to be here together.

Day Four

The rain continues to be our devoted companion. Pray for good weather!

Thankfully, yesterday was only perpetuity wet, not pouring. After being stuffed into the kitchen/living room with a shoehorn to practice, we flooded downtown to sing in the town square and other areas in the busy parts of Poznan. We took advantage of the crowd around the clock and clicking goats at noon and got an encouraging audience.

Several of us have completely lost our singing voice, so we stayed busy destroying the Polish language and handing out concert invitations. Poor Agata would be horrified. She tried to teach us! Normally our phrase attempts would be met with encouraging smiles or blank confusion, but people were very kind. Sarah V. wins for her enthusiasm and distribution skills, even when no one has any idea what she is saying.

We mobbed KFC near our old friend, Pizza Hut, for lunch. The line was ridiculous, but the workers were troopers and we ended with hot food and happy tummies.

After lunch we split up to distribute fliers and do what we desired until we reconvened at the hostel at 5:30. Many of us visited awesome shops and learned how to communicate without any common language. That was an experience. Tragically Anna didn't find anything for Pastor Bubu in the dress shops...
I was able to visit Starbucks in its waking hours! Yay! The Alaska team put us to shame with their enthusiasm and devotion to flier distribution, even during break time.

We headed over to an old German Lutheran, now Methodist Church behind the Old Brewery Shopping Mall for our first concert. The acoustics were amazing, and reminded us of the challenge of singing on the street. It was a pleasure to sing in such an amazing building. Rebekah was empowered by the safe arrival of her beloved, and the soprano section sounded amazing.

We performed for nearly and hour and Pastor Vanderveen gave an excellent presentation of the Gospel from Genesis translated by Pastor Bubu. Nearly 30 people attended and God blessed us with some good conversations and connections. We were able to meet some more of our Polish CREC brethren, and went out to a late dinner with yummy garlic dip and copious amounts of Shoarma.

After dinner we did laundry and talked about death. In a good way.

God was very gracious to us on Friday.

Please pray with us-


-That we would have good weather! Today we have outside concert and as I write this there's steady rain. If it doesn't clear up...we're going to have a problem.

-That we would get good attendance at the concert tonight and everyone would sing and speak well.

-People would keep a good hold on their voices or discover for those of us still being afflicted by a cool.

-That Elise V. would have safe travel.

-Thanksgiving for our good concert yesterday, the safe arrival of Benjamin, and the blessing to be here!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day Three

Today we poured out of the hostel nearer 8:30 with the company of the newly arrived Alaska team and Aaron and Brenda.

We have became more familiar with the trams and their jolting ways...so much so that Tanaya decided to attempt a run away. Thankfully she was apprehended. Since then we've all been screaming "bad train" or "good train" which adds to our image as crazy tourists.

We took a direct route to the Christian school for practice and our unshaven, barefoot choir director tried to grind us into shape between breaks for water and general weariness. The tiny chairs, bright colors, and semi-disturbing dolls and other toys helped return us to a youthful mood and I believe we genuinely sounded good. It was encouraging to hear us all together.

We mobbed a few more trams and arrived at one of the large malls to have lunch at a Polish McDonalds. The menu looked better than ours, but the hamburgers smelled like an old goat. They tasted good....so they tell me. We had a few minutes to break up and explore the shops and we got some better first-hand experience on how many Polish people actually know English. Apparently for one shop keeper 79 zl makes $350. We found something a bit cheaper...

Right as we returned to a more central section of downtown we were greeted by thunder and gigantic rain drops. We were finally ready to do what we came for, but we didn't want the songbooks to get drenched.

We ended up going out in groups handing out fliers and checking back in 15 minute increments to hear the next plan as the weather changed. Handing out fliers on the street was an interesting experience and sometimes a blow to your self-esteem. Anna outshine most of us with her charm and precise technique. Sam wins something for handing one to a man climbing into his Ferrari.

The rain faded long enough for us to jump around to three different places to perform together while Pastor Bubu, David, Sarah, and Pastor Phelps talked to people and handed out concert fliers.

Despite the occasional wetness, several people stopped and looked interested. One man tried to cross a language barrier by kissing Rebekah's hand in gratitude. That was a bit creepy... Most of the people are always very kind and polite, even if they are not interested. Others started to ask questions most of us can't understand as soon as they found out we weren't trying to sell them something.

By the time we were walking to dinner again it was pouring. We had quite the experience at the Czech restaurant. We'd made a reservation and they'd very graciously set one long gorgeous table outside under cover, but that must have been before all the rain and wind....

What most of us are probably going to remember is being cold, some of the warm drinks, and being cold. Eventually half us were able to move inside, but despite all the coldness, delays, and Joe's cheerful attitude, we had a good time. The waitress and waiter did a fabulous job, even with our poor communication, shuffling about, and general blue and shaking aspect.

Some of the other Polish CREC members met us for dinner. It is truly wonderful to have fellowship with other believers from another section of the world. We desire Christ as our identity, and it shows blazingly when we see our brothers like this!

We all walked back to the hostel in a long, tired string...but all thoroughly drenched.

It is exciting to have started on the work we came here to do. Even though it's startling to go from scorching hot to freezing cold, we're still very happy to be here. :-)

Please pray with us-


-That we would have weather condusive for singing on the street tomorrow.

-That we would be able to hand out hundreds of fliers to people willing to read them.

-That those with health struggles or jetlag would wake up refreshed and well!

-That Benjamin would arrive safely from Seattle tomorrow.

-In praise and thanksgiving to God that we are here! And that we can attempt to serve Him in this way! We are so blessed.

See Evangelos for awesome pictures and videos!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day Two

 
Despite utter exhaustion, we failed to adjust to the new time change our first day. No surprise.. We were buzzing about with dark eye circles and retarded jokes at 6am. By 9:30 we made our way to the town square...sadly without Peter who was being lazy. Actually, very sick. Pray that he continues to feel better and nobody else falls under the shadow of the plague.

We spent some time exploring, consuming gelato, walking on awesome cobble stones, and imbibing in vasts amounts of water. The weather is gorgeous, but hot and a few off us have turned a slightly startling rosey color.

We reconvened at an outside restaurant to drink water and other more exciting, refreshing beverages. We heard the Town Hall clock and saw the fanfare of noon in Poznan. Unfortunately only a few of us were ambitious enough to quit panting in the shade and see the goats methodically bonk heads above the clock face.

We crammed ourselves into a couple trams and found a new mall with a new Pizza Hut to devour a lunch in air conditioned bliss. It was then Bubu's pleasure to take us on a long walk through a very different sort of Poznan with a creek, abdandoned railroad tracks, and lots and lots of grass and prickles. We emerged from our exploratory ramblings in front of a Christian school where some of us practiced music while others coughed and/or dozed off (including a few of our fearless leaders).

Encouraged by our singing sucess and weary from our escapade through uncharted territory, we returned to the hostel to find Peter alive and three of our four missing suitcases. Nathaniel and his suitcase remain estranged.

Please pray with us-

- That Peter and those struggling with jetlag, colds, and damaged knees would continue to feel better.

-That Nathaniel and his suitcase would be reunited.

-That the Alaskan team would make it to the hostel safely and recover from their wearisome journey,

-That our practice and choir debute would go well tomorrow.

-That God would open doors for conversation and witness to Polish people.

We all feel immensly blessed to be here!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prayer Requests

Please pray for the Alaska team as they are going to come in exhausted after a 5 hour delay.

Pray for health! We have several people feeling under the weather.

Today we plan on practicing, recuperating, and getting familiar with Poznan. We are all feeling very blessed to be here.

Miwaza's been posting some amazing pictures on Evangelos.  

We're here!





Even with a seven minute window in Frankfurt, we all made it!

Please continue to pray for the Alaska team which is mid-route. And pray that we will all recover from jetlag and that our suitcases will catch up with us! We greatly appreciate your prayers.

Monday, June 27, 2011

RCC team on the way!


RCC team leaving Vancouver, WA for the Seattle airport.

On our way!


Photo courtesy of Peter Mahar

Some of our team members are already in Poland or in route. Please continue to pray for safe travel. The RCC team will be leaving from Seattle this evening. Please pray for a safe trip to the airport, plenty of time, and smooth sailing through security.


Please pray for uneventful flights, some good sleep, and blessed time as all the different groups meet up on Tuesday.

Visit Evangelos to see and read about Peter and Miwaza's trip in.

Thank you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gdansk Hostel



You can see the Gdansk Hostel here.

The Poznan and Gdansk hostel both have free wi-fi of some nature, but in Gdansk we will not have an easily accessible laundry facility.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Poznan Hostel



We will be staying in this Poznan Hostel for the first week of our trip.

This hostel does have internet access and linens. We do not have additional information on our Gdansk hostel yet, so it might be wise to bring one of your own towels.
Beds are provided with a fitted sheet and a duvet. Since it will be warm, you might consider just bringing a light sheet...in all that extra room in your suitcase. ;-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't forget your Passport!



If you haven't already, try making a copy of your passport, ID, debit card, or any other vital information. Leave it some where safe where someone you know can find it, just in case something happens to the originals.

If you're planning on bringing your debit or credit card, make sure you tell your bank where you're going to be...otherwise they might try to protect your account by stopping someone out of the country from withdrawing all your money. ;-)

Remember all the correct information and keep it on you, not your check bag. ;-) You can forget almost anything and we can fix it, but don't forget your passport.

Dress Code

Hopefully you've already been thinking about packing, but here is our general dress code-

Bubu said that for street ministry we can "dress like Mark Driscoll", meaning clean casual (jeans, polo shirt, tennis shoes, sandals, etc.).  For the evening concerts he wants us to dress more formally, so guys in shirts and ties, and girls in dresses or nice slacks & blouse.  For church on Sunday, we should wear what we would normally wear to RCC, or better.

Polish people dress up to to go out. No PJ bottoms. ;-)

The current weather forecast is also in the 80s, so bring something comfortable for hot weather.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thinking about Packing



The RCC team will be taking Condor Airlines, which allow the following free baggage-

1) You may take one carry-on item weighing up to 6 kg/13 lbs and 21.6x15.7x7.8 inches or smaller.

2) In addition to your carry-on item you may take one personal item (a laptop, purse, camera, etc).

3) You are allowed one free checked bag weighing up to 50 lbs and 62.2 inches (length+width+height).

See more details here. 

Any additional baggage or weight will get charged extra fees. A second checked bag will be at least $50 both ways (payed at airport) and will have the same weight and size requirements.

See more details here.

See rules for checked baggage here.
Please read the regulations for your carry-ons as well.

If you're coming to Poland with us and using a flight other than Condor, be sure to check their requirements so we all get through the airports smoothly!

Remember that you'll have to remove your shoes, jackets, belts, and any other baggy clothes or metal on you. Girls, don't wear bobby pins or metal hair clips. All laptops and electronics will have to come out of their bags/cases to go through security. Try to only carry what is light and simple to reassemble. :-)

You may be taken aside and patted down, questioned, or swabbed for explosives, so be prepared to take it in stride. These people are doing their job and we want to be able to move through quickly. Don't get nervous. It's just routine. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Week Away


In less than a week we all climb into various airplanes and make our way to Poland.


Please pray with us that we would be ready and meet all our various deadlines. Pray for good health and clear minds packing, finishing up projects, and getting ready to leave our homes for two weeks!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Carrying Joy into the World

We're currently trying to add O Panie, Ty Nam Dajesz to our repertoire. Polish is even more difficult to sing than speak...we need lots of practice. 

O Panie, Ty Nam Dajesz
is a well-known Polish hymn often song in mass or other regular, religious occasions. The last verse is translated-


You have marked out the path for us, that leads us to You
Therefore we are walking, carrying joy into places in the world where there is none.
You are the faithful God, for all eternity


And that's exactly what we want to do. Carry joy with us into Poland.


Here's a fairly traditional recording...





O Panie, Ty Nam Dajesz


1.O, Panie, Ty nam dajesz Ciało Swe i Krew. /2x
Do Ciebie więc idziemy wciąż, radosną nucąc pieśń:


Refrain: Ty jesteś Bogiem wiernym na wieczny czas. /2x


2.Przez dar Twojego Chleba, dobry Boże nasz, 
Rodzinę bratnią czynisz z nas, miłować uczysz nas.

3.To Twoje miłowanie dało wolność nam,
Chwalimy Święte Imię Boga, jak uczyłeś nas.


4.Tyś nam wyznaczył drogę wiodącą na twój szlak,
Idziemy więc, by radość nieść tam, gdzie jej światu brak. 



A live video of a more unusual rendition in a Dominican Church...





Pronunciation


1. O Pawnyeh, Tih nawm dahyesh Chaw-woh sveh ee Krev (x2)
Doh Chiyeb-yeh vy-ehnts id-szhyemmih v-chahnsgszh rahdon-snahng
newts-ahnst pyesh-nih


Refrain: Tih yestesh Bogeum veernim, naw vyech-nih chaws



2. Pszhezz darr Tvoh-yehgoh Khlebah, dohbrih Bo-szheh nash (x2)
Rohd-szheeneh brawt-neeaw chih-nish znaws, meewoh-vawts ew-chih-szh nahs



Refrain: Tih yestesh Bogeum veernim, naw vyech-nih chaws


3. Toh Tvoh-yeh mihwoh-vawnyeh dah-woh volnosh-ch nawm (x2)
Ch-vahleemih sh-vee-enteh eemyeh Bohg-ah, yawk ew-chihwesh naws


Refrain: Tih yestesh Bogeum veernim, naw vyech-nih chaws


4. Tish nawm vizz-nah-chiw droh-geh vyoh-dawnt-sah nah Tvooyi szhlawk (x2)
Id-szhyemih vyents, bih rah-dohsh-ch, nyesh-ch tawm, g-dszh-yeh yay shv-yah-too brawk


Refrain: Tih yestesh Bogeum veernim, naw vyech-nih chaws


Translation


1. O Lord, You are giving us Your body and Your blood
To You we are turning, with a song of joy


Refrain: You are the faithful God, for all eternity


2. By the giving of Your bread, O our good God,
You make us a family of brethren, and are teaching us how to love


Refrain: You are the faithful God, for all eternity


3. This loving of Yours has given us freedom
We are praising the holy name of God, just as You have taught us


Refrain: You are the faithful God, for all eternity


4. You have marked out the path for us, that leads us to You
Therefore we are walking, carrying joy into places in the world where there is none.


Refrain: You are the faithful God, for all eternity

Friday, June 10, 2011

Current Itinerary Plans



Tuesday (arrive in Poznan early evening)
           
Wednesday (June 29)
                        Breakfast              7:30
                        Devotions/Welcome (Bubu) 8:15
                        Choir Practice       9:00-11:00
                        Lunch                    12:00
                        Choir Practice        2:00-4:00
                        Dinner                    5:00
                        Recover from Jet lag

Thursday (June 30)
                        Breakfast                     7:30
                        Devotions (Elise)         8:15
                        Choir Practice             9:00-11:00
                        Lunch                         12:00
                        Street Evangelism        1:30-4:00
                        Dinner                         5 (fast food dinner)
                        Concert                       7 (John)

Friday (July 1)
                        Breakfast                     7:30
                        Devotions (Sam)         8:15
                        Choir Practice             9:00-11:00
                        Lunch                          12:00
                        Street Evangelism        1:30-4:00
                        Dinner                         5:00 (fast food dinner)
                        Concert 7-8                 (Garry)

Saturday (July 2)
                        Breakfast                     7:30
                        Devotions (Joseph)      8:15
                        Choir Practice              9:00-11:00
                        Lunch                          12:00
                        Open Air Concert       4:00 (Zoltan)
                        Dinner                         @ Bubu’s castle
                       
 Sunday (July 3)
                        Breakfast                     8:00
                        Worship (Jack Preaching)
                        Fellowship with Poznan Church

Monday (July 4)
                        Breakfast                     7:30
                         Devotions (John)        8:15
                        Train to Gdnask          11:18 am

Tuesday (July 5)
                        Breakfast                     7:30
                        Devotions (Nathaniel) 8:15   
                        Street Evangelism        9-12
                        Lunch                          12:00
                        Street Evangelism        1:30-4:00
                        Concert                       6:00  (Gary Duke)
                        Dinner

 Wednesday (July 6)
                        Breakfast                    7:30
                        Devotions (Benjamin) 8:00
                        Street Evangelism or Old Town Gdansk 9:00-12:00
                        Lunch                         12:00
                        Street Evangelism        1:30-4:00
                        Dinner                         5:00
                        Concert                       8:00 (Zoltan)

Thursday (July 7)
                        Breakfast                     7:30
                        Devotions (Zoltan)     8:15
                        Sightseeing in Gdansk (Malbork) 9:00-

 Friday (July 8)
                        Breakfast                     7:30
                        Devotions (Garry)      8:15
                        Street Evangelism or sights  9:00-12:00
                        Lunch                          12:00
                        Street Evangelism        1:30-3:00
                        Choir Concert              5:00-6:00 (Zoltan; Old Town)
                        Dinner                         6:30-7:00
                        Choir Concert               9 (John)

 Saturday (July 9)
                        Breakfast                     7:30
                        Devotions (Gary D.)  8:15
                        Street Evangelism        9:00-12:00
                        Lunch                          12:00
                        Street Evangelism        1:30-4
                        Concert                       4 (Jack)
                        Dinner                        
           
Sunday (July 10)
                        Breakfast                     8:00
                        Worship (Garry preaching) 10:00
                        Lunch                          12
                        Fellowship with church
                        Dinner                         5
                        Choir Concert             7-8 (Garry)

Monday (July 11)
                        Breakfast
                        Fly out at various times

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Prayer Request

Please pray with us for one of our team members, Teresa Unger.

Mrs. Unger has been having severe complications after a sinus surgery that has led to more surgeries and nights in the hospital.

Please pray that Mrs. Unger would get plenty of rest and have a complete, quick recovery.

Pray that Mrs. Unger would be able come to Poland as planned. However, if it turns out to be a serious health risk with travel, please pray that the decision would be wise and that a someone else would be able to be blessed with the plane ticket...and that Mrs. Unger would continue to heal quickly!

Continue to pray for encouragement and good spirits for both Mrs. Unger and her family.

Thank you.