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!
After 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.
We 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