Today was another busy day. I felt like Ben and I both accomplished lots of important tasks….
- I met with Andrzej to go over our drafts for the public service announcement recording.
- The whole family attended the morning session with the Holocaust group (no translation, though… I have no idea what it was about)
- Andrzej and I went to the studio and then to the city hall to record a TV spot… yes, that’s TV… for the Embracing Grace event. I guess radio is Friday. I’m pretty sure I was terrible, but God promises to work good through all circumstances for those who love Him, right?
- Ben mowed the volleyball area and wrestled with the uncooperative weedeater.
- I sent image files to the ladies that are coordinating the Embracing Grace event so they could work on the publications.
- Ben went to the computer store with Andrzej for an adapter for our computer and stuff to fix the WiFi
- I wrote the introduction to my talk.
- Ben fixed the basement WiFi.
- I test Skyped with Ronna to make sure everything was good-to-go for Anna’s live feed from the mission field for VBS (it was great… so excited about this!)
- Ben fixed the upstairs WiFi.
- We welcomed the interpreters from Ukraine, two of whom were with us last year, and introduced them to the kids.
- I made a bracelet and gave three away (more on that in a moment).
- Ben had a good talk with Max, the leader of this group from Israel, who says that he is glad we are here with the group. This is good to know.
- We attended the evening session and got the first dose of Jewish dance! Check out the video clips below. Sadly, I messed something up and only got 1 of the 100 circles Ethan was running to the music. His participation from the back of the room drew quite a bit of attention from the Israeli’s. Fortunately, he was not aware of this!
I mentioned Erika yesterday. I got a chance to talk to her today. She did not remember me, but it turned out to be perfect that she didn’t. I told her that I met her last year, and she had told me about her eyes. I asked how her eyes were doing. She told me about the pain and that they aren’t really any better, but she may have a new doctor she can visit when she returns to Israel. She said, “You remember about this?” I said yes, and that I had been praying for her for the last year. She was very grateful (and a bit shocked, I think). I told her I also remembered that she liked pink and that I had a gift for her. She gasped as I pulled a pink and grey bracelet from my pocket and said “I do love pink, and it is beautiful!” She went on and on for several minutes as I put it on her and adjusted the size a bit. She said she will always pray for me now. Awesome moment. It is so amazing how God makes them happen.
Tomorrow we will travel with the guests to the concentration camp at Stutthof. This is the same trip we made with them last year, but hopefully I will hold it together a little better this time! The kids are staying with April at the camp (thanks, April!) We feel this more than they should be exposed to at their age. I’m not sure if an interpreter is going with us or not, so conversation may be very limited, but we want to be with them as they walk down this road of horrible memories.
Wow. So much to tell you about today.
The sweet April Korytkowski made scrambled eggs for breakfast and spaghetti for lunch in the absence of the kitchen staff, so Anna and Ethan have eaten decently today in case you’ve been worried about their nutritional well-being!
Shortly after breakfast Andrzej and I went to meet with a couple of ladies from his church to plan the “seminar” where I will speak to women who have lost babies (as well as to their families, and friends) – sharing the thoughts I’ve published through my Embracing Grace blog. These ladies have experience doing PR work and went to work after hearing me give a brief description of what I will talk about. A couple of hours later, the entire event had shaped up to be much bigger than I had imagined! It will be held at the public meeting room at the Ostróda city hall, they are putting together fliers to send to all the churches, and an announcement via the town’s LCD Bulletin Board. Tomorrow morning, Andrzej is taking me to the “studio” for the recording of a public service announcement. I started worrying that maybe they had the idea that I’m some sort of famous speaker back in “The States”. They did ask how they should introduce me – counselor? author? I basically just said that I’m just a ordinary person and my only qualification is that I’ve been there. Please be in prayer for this event. As much as I’ve written about this topic and talked about it, I’m a bit nervous! It seems, however, that this may very well be part of the plan God has had for me being here and I am eager to be obedient. Please pray that God will bring the right people to the event who need to hear His message and that I will deliver it in a way that accomplishes His purpose.
The remainder of the day was spent making final preparations for the Holocaust Survivors. This involved hanging the Shalom banner over the cross. If you were following this blog last year, you may remember my post about this. If not, I encourage you to read Shalom, where I explained my own coming to understanding of why this is done for this group of visitors. Anna, Lydia, April and I prepare beds and checked on the rooms to make sure all was right. Ben did some mowing and continued to work on the camp’s WiFi (There is currently only one location where you can get online, but it will remain that way for the time being. This group of visitors probably doesn’t care too much!)
Finally…. around 6:30, the Holocaust Survivors arrived by charter bus from Warsaw, where they spent the day shopping and site-seeing after traveling from Israel. Just when we were finally getting comfortable with a few Polish words… let’s add Russian to the mix! My “I’m so sorry, but I don’t speak Russian” lead to a few nods and uncomfortable departures, but also a few people speaking broken English to me, so I’ve already identified some with whom I can communicate with on my own. The rest will have to wait for the arrival of the interpreters (four young adults from the Ukraine), who should be here tomorrow I think. We warned Anna and Ethan that they would get fussed over, and they absolutely did. Last year, I received polite nods as they arrived. This year, with both kids (and Lydia) by my side, I was surrounded by sweet little old ladies wooo-ing and ahhhh-ing over their hair. Touching them, hugging them, patting them on the back, and one even kissed Ethan (much to his displeasure!) I recognized several faces as returnees from last year, including my friend Erika. I’m not sure she remembers me, but I hope to talk to her tomorrow.
After dinner we had our first session with them, in which Ben and I were introduced. Ben explained who were are, where we are from and that we are there simply because we have a love for Poland, for Israel and for God and are there to serve them.
I hope that becomes evident in our actions this week.