A Journey Back… Again

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 10.09.43 PMAfter Ben’s trip to Poland in 2009, he occasionally mentioned that that he wanted to return as soon as we could do so together.  He “journeyed back”, this time with me (Rachel) and many of you followed this blog of our experiences ministering to the Holocaust survivors and encouraging Christians in Ostróda and other nearby cities.  When I’ve returned from short-term mission trips in the past I felt it had been a great time of service that I would always remember, but it felt complete.  When we returned last spring, however, it didn’t feel complete.  We had this sense that there was more involvement in this mission to come.  We began talking about not only returning, but taking the kids.  Crazy, right?  They’re too young, it would be too expensive, they won’t eat the food…. a hundred objections.  Yet that was the nagging desire of our hearts.  Anna remembers Ben going in 2009, “To tell people Jesus loves them.  People need to know that.”  Both children learned a little more about serving God through missions when they saw both of us go last year and we discussed with them the reasons and the stories of the people we met.  Yes, they are young, but we want them to experiencing ministry… starting now.  While at Ostróda Camp we kept thinking that there wasn’t any reason they couldn’t have come with us.  Andrzej and April’s kids would make them feel right at home.  But more than that, there is no reason they couldn’t be serving along side us… cleaning, working on the grounds, forming relationships with people and showing them God’s love in action.  So we began asking God if he wanted us to continue to serve the people of Poland.

As we prayed for God’s leading on this decision, wanting to make sure it was His plan and not our own, Ben received an invitation to serve on the board of directors for Polish Christian Ministries.  Shortly after, we received notice that he was given the vote of approval and officially begins fulfilling these responsibilities in the spring.  We feel this is God’s resounding “Yes!”, that this is indeed a way in which He wants us to serve Him.  We asked both Dave Hatfield (PCM Executive Director) and Andrzej Korytkowski (Ostróda Camp Director) how they felt about us involving the kids, and that too was received with approval.

As a family, we will work to prepare Ostróda Camp for the upcoming season – landscaping, fixing things, construction, cleaning, making cards for the visitors… whatever is needed.  (We may even get the opportunity to plan and build a prayer walk through the camp grounds!) The kids will be involved in every way they can be at their young ages. We hope to have the chance to be involved again with the Holocaust survivors, and may also be able to help with a week of children’s camp as well.  We’d like to reconnect with those we met in nearby Christian churches to encourage them and help support their ministries.

IMG_0466We invite you to join us in two ways.  First, we need your prayers.  If you are willing to commit to praying for our trip, the ministry there, and the hearts of those who will hear the message, please sign the Prayer Support page by posting a comment at the bottom.  We can’t tell you how important your prayers are.  Second, financial assistance is also needed to make this family mission trip possible.  It is very difficult for us to ask for dollars, but our personal budget cannot make it happen despite our willing hearts.  We do not yet have an estimated cost, but we know that it will exceed the $5000 we needed for last year’s trip.  If God places it on your heart and you are able to financially contribute, please visit the Financial Support page for more information about ways to donate.

Through this blog, we’ll share with you as we experience God’s amazng plan at work.

We are blessed to have you as part of our family.  
Thank you for supporting us.

Ready to be His Feet,

The Porter Family

Catching Up…

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So, it has been a while since I posted any sort of update on the ministries going on in Poland, and for that I do apologize.  We just received our monthly update from Dave and Sandy Hatfield and I realized that I’ve neglected to pass along a few months of news to those of you who are still praying with us.  So, here are some things Ben and I would like to ask you to pray about, along with the highlights (now written in past tense) of the Hatfield monthly update as the camp season continued at Ostróda Camp.

  • Pray for the Korytkowski’s (Andrzej and April, Camp Directors)
  • Pray for Matt and Laura, two Impact Europe interns who remain in Ostróda until Thanksgiving
  • Pray for Sandy & David as they transition to their new position with Polish Christian Ministries
  • Pray for Ben and I as we continue to seek God’s will concerning our future involvement in Poland.  Our hearts still feel that God has more for us to do, and we’ve recently learned of an exciting possibility.  Please pray for God’s plans to prevail and for us to obey in whatever capacity it may be.
 The End of The Summer at Ostróda Camp
(Hatfield Update)
What an exciting month it has been here in Poland and Ukraine.  All nine Impact Europe interns (along with Angelika, our Polish translator) traveled with David to Dubechno, Ukraine, for a camp with 92 children.  Everyone was fully engaged in the success of the camp as they led in crafts, told bedtime stories, led in worship, shared testimonies, and sang silly songs.  Each of us took on different roles in two “forest” games. One of the “forest” games was called “Pilgrim’s Progress.”  The children had to make choices along the way.  They received a positive mark if they made a good choice and a negative mark if they made a bad choice.  At the end, their marks were tallied.  If they made the choice to have Jesus cover their sins, then they were welcomed into heaven (no matter how many bad choices they had made at other stations along the way).  At the end of the week 23 children made first time decisions to have Jesus cover their sins for real.  That was exciting.
When nine of us returned to Poland we said goodbye to three of our interns.  The remaining six then traveled to Ostróda to lead in Makeover Projects I and II.  There were teams from Indiana, Illinois, California and Connecticut, the first week  Another team from Connecticut came  the second week.  Here are two links to see all the renovation that took place during those two weeks at Ostróda Camp:
While renovation was taking place there was also a significant outreach to the Ostróda community going on at the same time.  Over 100 different children came to Ostróda camp for a 3 hour “VBS” with Bible lessons, children’s worship songs, crafts, and large group games.  It was exciting to see the children open up from the first day until the last.  One girl, Kinga, came both weeks.  The transformation in her demeanor over the course of these two weeks was visibly recognizable.  One of the mothers who came every day the second week told us that her four children loved the day camp.  She said that they were singing the camp songs at home throughout the day.  She wants to bring her children next year.  Ostróda Camp is hoping to host a weekly meeting for children during the school year beginning in September.