So… I’m sure some of you have started wondering if we still exist, are still going to Poland, and are still fundraising. The answer to all of those questions is YES! It has been a little crazy in the Porter family – mainly concerning some issues with Ben’s back. Those issues aren’t resolved, but we don’t think they are going to keep us from serving in Poland again this summer. So we’ve finally settled on dates (June 1 – July 1) and are watching airfare prices (which are not looking too great at the moment).
Here’s the 2018 service plan:
- We will serve in Poland June 1 – July 1
- We will travel to and encourage Christian churches in Poland, planted and/or supported by Polish Christian Ministries, as time and opportunity allow.
- We will do everything we can to help with upkeep and projects at Ostróda Camp, including yard work, cleaning, preparation of cabins, fixing stuff, tech help, prayer room, and encouraging and supporting our friends who do full-time ministry at the camp year-round.
- We will spend time growing relationships and serving the Holocaust Survivors who will travel from Israel. Although some of these are Messianic Jews, many of them do not know Jesus Christ as the Messiah. We will participate in worship and teaching sessions, plan and lead activities/crafts with them, and travel to different sites with them in partnership with a mission team from Georgia.
- We will serve during the Ukrainian Children’s Camp alongside a team from Rhode Island – teaching, baptizing and disciplining children and teens. This year’s camp will include refugee children from the war in Ukraine. Our involvement will include crafts, teaching and getting to know the kids in small groups.
- We will plan and lead in a number of capacities during a week of Polish Youth Camp. We don’t know much about the plans for this yet other than that there is no US church mission team, so we will likely have plenty to do!
- We will connect with friends met in the past who have suffered infant loss, as well as looking for other opportunities to minister through Embracing Grace.
- We will pray for unexpected opportunities to serve and minister – asking God to provide them, open our eyes to them, and give us what we need to act on them.
Will you please, as we are, cover all of these aspects of ministry in prayer before we even board a plane?
We do still have a financial need to be able to do this. Currently, we have saved, raised and received enough to cover a little more than our airfare. But we need approximately another $3300 (as of the time of this posting and depending on the price we end up getting for airfare) to cover ground transportation, lodging and meals. The money we would normally be spending on food, gas, etc. at home during the month of June, will certainly go towards this, as well as all other funds we can personally set aside, but we still won’t close that gap without the generous support of people like you. We ask that you prayerfully consider being a “sender”. Everyone knows I struggle so much with the asking. But we can’t do this without you, and I know what a blessing it can be to play the Sender role in fulfilling the Great Commission. In fact, we will pray for you to be blessed for your generosity! See our financial support page for a current graph of our fundraising and for information about giving.
Also, this is the bare minimum cost of spending the month on the mission field. There is so much more we’d like to do. Our mission organization, PCM, is raising funds to cover costs for all of these camps, including scholarships to give as many kids as possible a life-changing experience at church camp. So any funds we can raise beyond our initial need will go towards these important goals. There will also be expenses for craft and activity supplies that are not included in our fundraising goal.
Ok. So this has turned into a really long post. Hugs to those of you who are still reading! Watch for updates on fundraising events as soon as I figure those out!
Love & Gratitude
Ben, Rachel, Anna & Ethan
We are excited to announce that our 2014 mission trip is now fully funded! Thanks to the generosity of friends, family, church members and even some complete strangers, we will be able to give a month of our summer to serving in Poland. If you are one of the over 80 people who helped to make this possible, we hope you understand that your gift gives…
Holocaust Survivors a listening ear and gospel message.
New and struggling Christian Churches guidance and encouragement.
Ukrainian children ten days of Bible teaching and testimony.
Needed volunteers for the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope.
Good old fashioned labor for upkeep and preparation of Ostroda camp.
Support and encouragement to the Korytkowski family.
Support and Biblical comfort for parents who have lost a child.
And any other awesome stuff God wants to do.
Thank you… thank you… thank you.
- The day I gave my life to God
- The day I watched my future husband give his life to God
- The day I married him
- The day our first daughter was born
- The day we our second daughter was born and we placed her in the arms of Jesus
- The day our son was born
- and today
– the day our firstborn stood in front of our church to proclaimed her faith, and I watched her Daddy baptize her. She came down stairs earlier in the week an announced that she was ready. We talked and prayed, and my heart couldn’t be more full. Tears of joy. Lots of them. I’ve been praying for this since she was born, and I’ll never stop praying that she will remain faithful to the decision she made this week.
And God’s blessings on this day didn’t end there.
After church we hosted a fundraiser dinner for our trip to Poland. I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to the dozens of people that contributed food, helped set up and clean up, but also to the 80+ people who attended and gave so generously. We shared some slides of trips to Poland and talked about the work God is doing that we are so blessed to be part of. In the end we raised $2806! Just $194 short of the amount we still needed for our airfare, and that gap should be filled when I collect money from bracelet orders this week! What a huge blessing that we can purchase our plan tickets! I just confirmed that the price hasn’t started going up yet. Poland… here we come!
We still have $2500 needed for ground transportation, lodging and ministry expenses. Rumor has it that a couple of RCC Sunday School classes decided to support us this morning, which should help move us toward that goal. We’ll need to cover this amount by early May, so your financial support is still needed and appreciated. We’ll make big announcements when we reach the final goal, but you can also follow our progress on our FINANCIAL SUPPORT page.
We can’t begin to express our gratitude. If you had any part in this … from prayer, to helping out, purchasing a bracelet or a donation of any amount – we thank you. You are growing the Kingdom of God.
We have had a terrible time with our attempts to travel to the specific PCM-supporting churches are our prayer list (see In The Footsteps of Paul). Weather, illness and other commitments have been serious roadblocks. But today we had the very great privilege of representing Polish Christian Ministries for Auburn Christian Church’s Faith Promise Sunday. It was a lovely day meeting great people – the warm and welcoming congregation as well as the passionate representatives from several other ministries. Ben was able to talk with a couple of his professors from his days at Lincoln Christian University (back when it was LCC), including Rick Champ who joined us for lunch and is doing great things with Ignite Church Planting in Chicagoland. We loved sharing about the work of PCM and our experiences in Poland, and we hope we can do it again soon with another church seeking to live out the Great Commission.
It’s time to get serious about fundraising. We have just passed the target date we had set to purchase our airfare and we aren’t even close to having the ability to do that. The price hasn’t started climbing yet, but it no doubt will soon, and we may need to purchase insurance on our tickets due to the situation in Ukraine. Will you please pray that God will stir in the hearts of those who are able to support us financially? Or maybe God is stirring in your heart? For details about our needs or information about donating, please visit our financial support page.
So… we received an e-mail from Dave this week giving us his estimate of our expenses for this mission trip, which includes getting us where we need to be, lodging, and the cost of the actual things we’ll be doing while we’re there (projects, places we’ll go with the campers, etc.) It isn’t too far off from what I had estimated myself, but it was more. My previous estimate was already pretty overwhelming, so I found myself feeling a little discouraged that morning. I just really hate the fund-raising aspect. I hate asking people for money, I hate the feeling that I get that some people think we’re trying to get them to pay for some sort of family vacation, I hate everything about it. I know I should view it as giving people an opportunity to contribute to world missions when they are not able to travel themselves, but that’s not really how it feels.
So, I sent a text to two of my prayer friends just asking them to pray that God will provide, and that I will not allow myself to doubt or question that. I know in my mind and believe that He will (because this is His plan), but today I’m feeling weak. Here’s the cool part… are you ready for it? Later the same day, I get a call from Ben who has just found out that his stipend for coaching baseball hasn’t been added to his paychecks yet, meaning there will be a lump sum addition to his next check. Now, I’m thinking that this news could have come weeks ago or at the end of the year. But it didn’t. It came today, when I read the update on our expenses and was feeling a little overwhelmed at the task of saving/raising that much money. It came today, when I humbled myself enough to admit that I was struggling and asked my friends to pray. I know there are some who would say that is just a coincidence, but I find that a little far-fetched.
There’s still a long way to go, but my faith is feeling stronger. Thanks for praying, friends. Thank you, God, for showing me how much you have this under control, even though you shouldn’t have to prove yourself to me. I’m hearing the “Oh you of little faith” message loud and clear.
This last week has included some further discussions about our upcoming trip to Poland and some action steps towards preparing for the journey. It also brings some specific things that we’d like to ask you to be praying about.
First, we exchanged some e-mails with David Hatfield about the possible dates and our concerns about some of the travel details – specifically navigating Warsaw and getting to Ostróda with the children! From these communications, we’d like to ask you to pray that God will give us direction about how he wants to use us for His plan while we are there. There are some opportunities to serve that would require a longer stay than we originally planned. On one hand, we have the children with us and the time off work – why not stay longer? On the other hand, it is a long time away from home and other summer activities. Please just pray that God will help us to hear his voice and follow his leading. Another component is that one way we could serve might mean being away from Camp Ostróda for the last few days of the Holocaust Survivors camp, but would allow us to become familiar with some other aspects of the ministry and churches in Poland. Since Ben is now on the board of Polish Christian Ministries, we are feeling pulled toward this even though the Holocaust camp was our original draw to this ministry.
The second thing we need your prayers for is our fund raising. Taking a family of four across the ocean is unbelievably expensive. Sadly, the airlines do not discount for flights that lead to expansion of the Kingdom of God. I think they should, but they don’t listen to me. We have been saving and have calculated what we can save between now and our trip. Everything is based on estimates, but we think that we can cover all the trip expenses (ground transportation, food, lodging, administrative costs, passports, etc.) except for the air fare…. but this expense will be significant. We are very grateful for the financial supports we’ve received so far, but we are a long way from meeting our need. We know that money matters are small obstacles to God and He has always faithfully provided, but it is hard not to worry about this aspect. Please pray that we will cast this anxiety on Him and that he will speak to the hearts of those who are able to help.
Finally, we ask that you pray for wisdom as we prepare our children for this trip. We want them to understand why we are doing this and what their role is. We also know that they need to have a little understanding of the history of this country, but we need to give them only what they can handle at their young age. Please ask God to give us the words to help them know what they need to know, but protect them from that which is too heavy for them to carry.
Thank you for caring enough to read this post and for your prayers as we begin making bigger strides toward spreading God’s Word to the people of Poland. Thank you to Michael Frame at CVS for taking Anna and Ethan’s passport photos. Next step… applications to the post office!