Monday, July 17, 2017

Last Day in Poland from Emily

            Our day started off at 5:25 a.m. when we caught a bus, then a train, and another bus to Poznan. We arrived around 12 p.m. at The Puro hotel where we had lunch and debriefed with the other Josiah Venture teams.
            It was very interesting to hear about how God was working with all of the teams across Poland, and even getting to tell some stories of our own! Getting to debrief with everyone was very helpful as well as inspiring. Josiah Venture has done such a great job working with our team and thanking us! I can tell that they put their whole heart into everything that they do, and that they truly do care about us. The hotel that we are staying at is so much more than we could ever ask for, but Dawid (a leader from Josiah Venture) insisted that it was their way to bless us! I cannot even begin to express my gratitude towards all of the people that we have got to work with during this trip!
            After debriefing we had some free time to enjoy Poznan. We walked around the square and did some souvenir shopping! Once we finished shopping we ended the night with a fancy dinner. We got to enjoy it with all of the other Josiah Venture teams and leaders.

            As our trip comes to an end, I cannot help but think about how grateful I am to get to be a part of this experience. Today was a well-needed day of rest and reflecting on the past 15 days. I cannot believe how fast our trip has gone by! See you soon!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Last day in Skoczów from Kon

            “98% of my fridge is going to be different when I get home.” -Noah
            As you can tell the trip is coming to a close and we are finally starting to realize it. Today I told Emily that it’s the 16th and she could barely believe it and I could too. My birthday is in nine days, I didn’t think about that until today when I actually thought about the date. The days during the week at camp flew by so fast and I really didn’t realize it until today that camp is over and our trip is almost as well. This week was amazing and I’m going to miss Poland genuinely. The relationships that were made and grew this week were astounding. To see everyone in our team (American & Polish) start clicking was so awesome. I can’t describe it. Today we went to church and our band played the worship music. I know everyone says this, but hearing a song sung to God in two languages is one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced. It makes me truly feel comfortable and excited about my calling to become a worship leader. After church we debriefed the entire camp experience and talked about what we can fix for next year. Carl spilled water on his pants and I laughed really hard during this time. After we were done we packed and then went out to Cieszyn to sightsee, go into the Czech Republic, and get dinner. Saying our goodbyes tonight was a really hard thing to do; there were tears, laughter, laugh-tears, and lots of hugging. Telling these people that have become such a large part of my life bye and I don’t know when I’ll see you next was incredibly hard, but knowing that we have a God who will reconnect us when it is the right time is one of the most comforting feelings.

            I was pretty close to most of the leaders going on this trip before we left, but it’s now on a new level. Carl and Pete are some of the funniest people I’ve ever met (it’s not just dad jokes either). Deb always laughs at my jokes and makes me feel like a success. Paulette is incredibly wise and brings a new perspective to the way things are seen, she thinks of the smartest things that I would never think of. Kris is a great leader and gives great perspective when I have to make choices. Abby is so smart, always has a solution, and is a wonderful leader who really loves this place with all her heart. Lilli is always smiling and has one of the most positive attitudes. Emily is a great worship leader and has smart insight. Noah is super funny and I can tell him anything. A term we came up with for some of the people on this trip is that they are a “thruster” always pushing others to finish and do their best. I’ve been so blessed to come on this trip with a great team of such amazing and dedicated people.

            Last time I wrote the blog I talked about a camper named Daniel that I wanted prayer for, he was bored and worn out with religion. The day after I wrote the blog we did our nightly debrief and the leader of his cell group said that he prayed out loud with the group. Hearing that sent a shock throughout my body, so amazing. God works in amazing ways here and back home (praying that VBS was amazing and that the Detroit team is ready for their VBS starting tomorrow). Thank you for your prayers and continued support, someone mentioned at church today the commitment that it takes to leave for 15 days and do this. I never even thought about it really but thank you for letting us go to the families and friends back home. Tomorrow we leave for Poznan at 5:25 and will arrive at a decent time for a full Josiah Venture team debrief. Sad to leave but excited to be making our way back home. 

Love and miss everyone, see you soon!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Camp Day 8 from Abby

The last day of camp is always a surreal feeling- what just happened? It tends to be a whirlwind of a week that’s for sure.

The adults just finished a great dinner together at a local restaurant. I’m taking over blog duty for the day as the students are doing “homestays” this evening. In pairs, they get the opportunity to stay at the home of one of the youth group students. It is always a memorable part of the trip.

The leaders get a chance to rest and to decompress a bit from the day and week.

Our last day of camp was a great one! The polish students now had their chance to teach their American English teachers a thing or two. Their first session of the day which is usually spent learning English, was spent preparing Polish lessons to teach their teachers. The second session of the day was spent trying to get the Americans to make sounds with their mouths that we struggle with, to learn songs or to count. The polish students loved it! The Americans were humbled.

We topped off the day with a game of soccer- the Americans and some of the polish leaders playing against the campers. It was a well fought match and I think those who played enjoyed themselves.

Tomorrow we will get the chance once again to worship alongside our polish friends at their church. We invited the campers to join us for the service so we are excited to see who comes! We will then spend the afternoon talking about how camp went and celebrating the friendships that we have with the polish half of our team- the youth group here in Skoczow.

Please continue to be in prayer for us in the next few days. Pray that when the campers from camp remember us Americans, that they would what they saw and learned about Jesus this week. We ask also for prayer for our last moments with our friends here, that goodbyes would be full of sweet moments, and for travel as we leave this place to head back to you.

I can’t tell you enough how much I truly love this place and how much the people here mean to me. I’m so grateful for yet another chance to have been here and served alongside my friends- and with this team from Timberwood that God orchestrated so perfectly for all that happened this week.

I hope to write more for you all to hear when we get back, but this is all for now.

Love to you and thank you so much for being a part of this with us!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Day 7 of Camp from Noah Borleis

Dzien dobry. Today was the last day that we had to teach English. But we still have one more day of camp. Tomorrow we get to learn Polish from the campers. Today I led wiffle ball for a sports workshop. The polish people loved it. They didn’t understand it completely, but they still had a good time. We played extreme tic-tac-toe. The campers and the American team really enjoyed it. The rest of the day was the same as any other. Except for the theme night. The theme for the night was black and white. We all dressed up in all black, all white, or a combination of the two. We played music charades and we made our own instruments. It was a really good time. Then the American team and the polish youth group went to a Mcdonalds in a city near Skoczów. I ate way to much, but had a great time.

Till next time,

Noah Borleis

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Camp Day 6 from Paulette Sievert

Dear Friends and Family at Timberwood,

It is July 13, 2017. Day eleven on the “Poland Express”, where each day begins before yours in the United States and is filled to capacity at every turn. This is Paulette Sievert writing tonight.

I know that every day only holds twenty-four hours, yet when you are here, it feels like there must be at least seventy-two. It is like when the little boy who brought the fishes and loaves lunch to Jesus when a crowd needed to get fed, and he made it enough to feed the masses. Somehow, Jesus makes MORE out of what we give Him as a team. And when I say “team” you need to know that it includes the Polish team that works along side of us in every aspect of making this time for the twelve to twenty year old’s unique, memorable, inspirational and definitely filled with fun.

Here are some snapshots (We have a photography theme going for the English portion of our camp so this is fitting) of our Thursday.

            Morning devotions with our English speaking friends happens right afterstrong coffee, eggs,     
            sausage, sliced tomatoes, curdy cheese, bread and some
            added tasty condiments of Nutella and peanut butter. Today the focus was
            Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in   your heart that 
            God raised him from the dead, you will be saved:”

            Backpacks filled with what you will need for the entire day and evening.
            Walk to school, fill water bottles, greet students, put lessons together.

            English classes: Today we played Bingo with vocabulary from previous lessons. Words like 
            focus, zoom, composition and the like. The students
            can’t get enough of Bingo. They love it! One guy had never played.

            Part of the joy of teaching English, is that there is such fun in discovering
            your student’s personalities and in watching them act out things, write
            a perspective about a project, and become relaxed in sharing a photo they    have taken as a 
            group. Some of these photos are perfect examples of what
            the English camp is designed to do. I hope you get to see some of them
            later on.

            Then we have lunch brought in, play card games, sports games. Today was    Squat Ball. You 
            should see Noah fly across the court and back in his sporty  
            Bandana! There are all sorts of icebreakers (Abby made it to the finals in
            blowing a decent bubble for her team.) Plus, we always do the Camp Dance
            , Feelin It, by Toby Mac and we are all getting pretty good at making the         moves ROCK!

            A Scavenger Hunt around Skoczów that included giving video footage of
            bouquet that we had made away to someone and conducting an interview,
            were all just one aspect of this crazy day and we haven’t even gotten
            to the evening program where I get to run around and create more
            excitement about the scores each of teams are building.

            The best part of our day was yet to come. Here we get to be intentional
            in sharing God’s word with a personal testimony by Pati M. on how
            Jesus helped her to overcome drug use in her life. She is preparing to
            be a doctor and I saw her earlier that evening rebandaging one of the
            Polish team’s fingers he split open earlier this week when he was
            trying to repair a microphone.

            The worship music led by Kris, Kon and Emily all help us to hear God
            better and after Abby shared the gospel, the students were invited to
            go to different stations called the Labyrinth for personal reflection on what sin does to our     
            hearts and how the power of Christ’s sacrifice gives us forgiveness.
            The students responded in different ways- but we know that the gospel was preached and that  
            God will continue to use that in their lives. He is at work here!
            After a day at camp,  we had a meal back at the church and a review of the   day session, we 
            reflected as a team on how amazing God’s good news is forall of us.

Well, the bells on the church are ringing and the dog that usually barks at night must have fallen asleep. (The best roommate in the world who will make you laugh until your gut splits, Deb, is asleep.) I think Pete is waiting for the computer to send
Photos for tomorrow’s activities and so I need to say “Good Night.”

Thanks for all of your prayers.  We have needed every single one.