On The Field Update

UCC Day 3

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I’m missing campfire right now, my very favorite part of camp, because I seem to have caught the bug that’s been going around here.  Tori and I were discussing that there must be different viruses in Poland because we get sick at some point every year.  Tomorrow the group goes to Gdańsk, but the Porter family will stay behind – getting well, catching up on laundry, spending some time with each other (we hardly see each other at all when camps are in session), and starting to pack up.

Here is the picture video from today.

UCC Day 2

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I got to teach today about Noah – the events surrounding him and the Great Flood, but focusing on how Noah points us to Jesus as our Rescuer.  I had a great time sharing with the kids.  I gave them each a gift of a little rubber bath duck dressed up like an animal or even Noah himself.  They were to serve as reminders that Jesus will rescue them from their sins.  Our memory verse was John 10:9 “I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.”

Here’s today’s picture video (apologies for the duplicate pictures and a couple things out of order!)

We’re Still Here! 

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My apologies for the very long stretch between posts. My computer will not turn on. At all. This is a major problem. Especially since it isn’t actually mine.  I wonder if Jill Wiram or Phil Harrison will see this post. 😬😳😣 But beyond that, my lesson for the upcoming camp is on it.  It might sound silly, but will you take a moment to pray for my computer? I need it constantly for the next camp, as I also use it to do the daily picture video.  There are other computers I can borrow, but having my own would be best.

Over the days since I last wrote, we have finished our time with the Holocaust Survivors,  “flipped the camp”, said goodbye to the first short-term team, and began preparations for the Ukrainian Children’s camp starting Saturday. If you can only pray for one thing, forget about my computer and pray over the kids who are soon to make their way here, many of whom are refugees.  If you can pray for two things, pray for the next short-term team currently on their way.  (If you can pray for more, please include my computer. 😉)

Here are some pictures from the last few days!

Iwona

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I enjoyed a little time with my friend, Iwona, and her sweet littlest, Basia. Love this lady. She is beautiful inside and out and is such a good, hard-working Mom. ❤️

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Young At Heart

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Yesterday was our big Olympic Games with the Survivors.  They are SOOO cute kicking soccer balls and tossing eggs.  They smile and laugh, but when it comes to the score things get very serious!  I was in charge of music, so we began with the Olympic theme, complete with torch-bearing and a parade of teams.  We later found out one of them actually carried the real Olympic torch in the 1980 games!  The events were accompanied by the Rocky, Eye of the Tiger and other sports themes.  Fun times.

 

 

   

Today is cool and rainy, so we did crafts this morning.  The Savannah team put together some great activities and they seemed to really enjoy them.  Some of them are real artists, producing masterpieces worthy of a much better canvas than the paper plates we gave them!

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All of this is just good time to connect and get to know each other.  We pray that through these interactions, these people who have known so much hate will feel nothing but joy and love.

 

Come Alive

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I love watching as a new team of short-term workers comes together.  The first team we get to work with this year is made up of people from Georgia, Missouri, and Wisconsin.  Some of them we’ve partnered with before and some we are getting to know, but God never fails to bring together a unique mixture of gifts and personalities to fulfill His mission.

This morning we worshiped together at the Christian Church in Ostróda, divided up tasks for tomorrow’s work day, spent some time resting and relaxing, celebrated birthdays and then met for a time of prayer and worship to prepare our hearts for the week ahead.

 

George Bajenski was able to join us and he gave a nice devotion for us including some history of the camp, the Jewish people, and Poland.  Before leading us in singing Come Alive (Lauren Daigle), Deb read a writing from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and current president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.  He relates the Jewish people following the Holocaust to Ezekiel standing before the valley of dry bones.  I thought it was worth sharing, as are the lyrics of the song – one I love but sang from a different perspective tonight.   This will be my prayer as we spend this next week with the Holocaust Survivors.

 

“Come Alive (Dry Bones)”
Lauren Daigle

Through the eyes of men it seems
There’s so much we have lost
As we look down the road
Where all the prodigals have walked
One by one
The enemy has whispered lies
And led them off as slavesBut we know that you are God
Yours is the victory
We know there is more to come
That we may not yet see
So with the faith you’ve given us
We’ll step into the valley unafraid, yeah

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive

God of endless mercy
God of unrelenting love
Rescue every daughter
Bring us back the wayward son
And By your spirit breathe upon them
Show the world that you alone can save
You alone can save

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones come alive

So breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe, oh breath of God
Breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe

Breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe, oh breath of God
Breathe, oh breath of God, now breathe

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes
Let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones come alive, yeah
We call out to dry bones, come alive

Oh come alive

Dishes & Pinecones

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Yesterday was a work and errand day. Between camps, there is no kitchen staff, so April & Kyle have the added responsibility (on top of all their other tasks) of feeding themselves and any volunteer workers that are around (like us).  And cleaning everything.  And getting the grounds ready to host the first full camp.  Wojtek, the camp’s maintenance guy, has a long list of stuff to buy, fix, replace, etc.  Oksana & Andrzej are swamped with paperwork and phone calls.  The first short-term team arrives today, so there are rooms to prepare and a bigger crowd to feed tonight.  So yesterday we all rolled up our sleeves and tackled the list of things that needed to be done.  I helped prepare breakfast for everyone, Ben did the dishes, we all grabbed rakes to clean up pinecones so they wouldn’t get caught in the mower, and the kids pulled weeds from around the chapel.  Then there was grocery and supply shopping that took us in different directions. Today I’ll start working on the supply room that needs some serious sorting and organizing, and set up the prayer room.

Many people are disillusioned about mission work.  I’ve seen it in the interns and short-term workers we’ve met over the years and, it has been part of several conversations with friends at home.  There is a glorified perception that it is going to be entirely sharing Jesus all the time.  But that isn’t the reality.  In education training, we learn about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – that children can’t learn if their physical, mental and emotional needs are unmet.  The same is true in ministry.  If the camp is falling apart, dirty and broken, the people won’t be able to come and receive the Message we came to bring.

Jesus tried to teach us this.  “…he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”   John 13:4-5.

We want to teach God’s love, but first, we must live it out.  We want to bear witness, but it often begins with picking up a toilet brush and mop.  We came to serve, not to be served.  To give, not to take.  Jesus calls us to follow his example.  To humbly serve whatever the task, and to remember that He who sends us is greater than those who bring the message.  (vs. 16).

So we pick up pinecones for hours in the dust and sun, scrub backwash from glasses and cobwebs from the rafters.  If that isn’t spiritual enough for you, the work time is a perfect opportunity to pray for the coming groups of workers and participants.  But make no mistake, it’s all a part of the mission.

Prayer Requests:

  • For the family of Beata Kołak, a young ministry partner who passed away last week
  • For the team from Compassion Christian Church ( Savannah, GA) traveling and arriving today
  • For Kazik Barczuk, one of the directors of the Holocaust Survivors Camp, whose mother just passed away
  • For the Holocaust Survivors arriving at Ostróda Camp Monday
  • For my friend Iwona who was hit by a car crossing the street the other day.  She is ok, but badly bruised and banged-up.  She is a working mom with two small children.