On The Field Update
My apologies for not posting yesterday. It amazes me how many are actually reading these and are disappointed when I miss a day. Thank you. It’s encouraging.
I didn’t get to participate much in yesterday’s church service. The local congregation came to Ostroda Camp and joined the 60-something guests that were already here for a service in the chapel. This put the little building at more than capacity, so the moms and kids were outside the chapel in the yard. So I couldn’t hear or see much (not that I would have understood it anyway!) I did get to sing along with a couple of hymns I recognized, adding my English words to the beautiful Polish. I love that.
After the main service, the crowd moved to the lake where we witnessed and celebrated 8 baptisms. I saw one of the ladies before the service and knew she was one who would be baptized that day by the long white gown she was wearing. Another good sign was her abounding joy! She could hardly contain herself and was going arounds saying good morning to everyone, including me, with hugs and smiles. After the baptisms, we had a cookout complete with kielbasa (yum) and some great desserts (yum, yum). I tried, but didn’t do so well with the spicy cabbage stuff.
The “Holiday With The Bible” guests left yesterday. This was a group of retirees from Poland, sponsored by Impact Europe. We didn’t get to be involved with this group since we arrived after their camp was underway and Ben was gone the rest of it, but this is the group that Ben participated in on his first trip to Poland in 2009. We now have a couple of days to prepare the camp for the Holocaust survivors who will arrive Tuesday evening. So today is laundry, cleaning, grounds keeping and bed-making!
It took about four more hours, but I finally finished raking the amphitheater (I bet Andrzej is wishing he had put a faster raker on that task… wait.. no, there really isn’t anyone else – he was stuck with me). I was pretty whipped by the end of that job, so I spent the evening with the children having a movie night at the Korytkowski house. It was nice to sit on a couch and watch a screen for while… the little things we take for granted everyday!
I had a lovely conversation today with a man named Kostick. He spoke to me in Polish while I was working, and I gave him what has become my standard “I’m very sorry, but I don’t speak Polish.” Most people don’t understand all those words, but it serves the purpose all the same. Usually, the person just smiles and awkwardly walks away because neither of us know what to say next. But Kostick switched to English and said, “You don’t speak Polish? Why not? You’re in Poland.” I agreed with him and apologized again for the fact that I have not learned their language. We chatted for a while and I found out that he spent 5 years in the U.S. attending college – first in Maryland and then at…. wait for it…. Lincoln Christian College! He said that many people have asked why he returned to Poland after living in the U.S. for so long. He said that he didn’t go there to live or to have a better job, he went there to study so he could come back and preach to his people. He explained that there was only one Christian college in Poland at the time and in the U.S. there are many. He came to learn and then returned to preach in many churches for the last 50 years.
I gave the kids a challenge yesterday that I wanted them to just watch for ways they can serve and do it without being told. They could just take on a task that they knew needed to be done (like picking up sticks or helping me with leaves) or they could ask someone they saw working if they could help them. Having talked about this last night, I didn’t ask them to do anything at all today. I just watched. They failed the test. They had a great day playing hard with their new friends. I’m not surprised or even disappointed in them… they’re kids. But it was a good point of discussion for us tonight. We talked about how we just want to learn to have servant hearts, helping others because we want to – out of love for God and for them. We talked about how it feels right to do this, and we know it pleases God and shows them His love. Out of the blue, as this conversation was ending, Ethan says “I don’t really know how to pray.” So we talked about that. This is the great thing about spending this time on the mission field together. It just opens doors for great teachable moments that I pray with all my heart will make a permanent imprint on the hearts of our children.
Tomorrow the local Christian church is holding their services here at Ostróda Camp to allow for several baptisms in the lake. Anna has been talking about feeling like she might be ready soon to be baptized, so this will no doubt lead to more great conversations.
Ben and David visited two churches today and have one more tomorrow before they make the trip back to Ostróda. I’m eager to hear all about these visits to churches. Here is one of the pictures he posted today from these journeys. I’m guessing this is pea soup. I’m also guessing Ben’s bowl looked exactly like this at the end of the meal!