Monday, July 2, 2018

Packing up and heading home

Hey all back home!

Just wanted to let you know that we are all in our rooms and packing up to be in the lobby of the hotel tomorrow morning at 4am to head to the airport!

We spent part of our day traveling by train to our current location, Wrocław, followed by some food, sightseeing around the city, debriefing a few things about our camp, last minute souvenir shopping and saying our last goodbyes to the daylight hours of this beautiful country.

I'll let the team tell you about their tear-filled goodbyes, their changed hearts, and their experiences. Please ask them. If they give you a one word answer- push them to tell you more. There is so much that each person on this team has to share! Don't let them get away with just telling you that the trip was "good." We would call that an American answer- and I guarantee that they have so much more in their hearts and brains than that one word.

If they are your family member- be gracious to them- they may need a few days to adjust before the stories will come- but they will.

Love to you all. We can't thank you enough for your support and your presence on this trip through prayer.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Recap and Sunday by Will Just

As Weronika finished her faith story I saw Michał and the rest of the worship team walk up to the front. Realizing that I hadn't stood up yet, I jumped out of my seat. As I jumped I felt a blunt pain in my head. Seeing the window that I hit and hearing surprised gasps from the Poles and the Americans;  I smiled and motioned that I was OK. I walked up and put my bass on, and got ready to play. I felt something wet on my neck and reached up, touched, and saw red. I showed the crowd and muttered something akin to "Umm, Umm." Domi and Maciek pulled me out and ran me to a chair. Getting a first aid kid and paper towels they worked together stopping the bleeding. After stopping it, I was ushered into the side room, and the debate started. What to do, what to do. As Domi texted her friend, I dealt with the reality of a sudden lack of hair. Domi's friend answered, " if his father's bald, let it heal by itself, if not take him to the hospital." Didn't go to the hospital. Sitting on a chair, with a large piece of paper underneath Abby came with a scissors. Snip, Snip, Snip. Watching my hair fall to the I sighed and thought about for the next couple months my head will be colder than I would like. Eventually we got steri-strips on the wound and gauzed it up and I read until we went to McDonalds, where a Big Mac awaited me.

Last night we had overnights at some of the youth group's houses; Guys at Michał's and Maciek's. Girls at Gaba's. I woke up to rather than snoring, a parakeet squawking about. Having breakfast and taking a quick shower at the place we soon got ready to leave. We then went to church in which we took communion and listened to the sermon. Walking back to the hotel, we decided to go for some lody (Polish Ice Cream). For me I got the Tiramisu flavor and then walked to the church a had lunch. Thus started the goodbyes. After which we started packing and getting ready for the dinner we would soon have. Then we walked around in Cieszyn and saw the oldest building in Poland and stood in Poland and the Czech Republic at the same time. We ate at a fancy restaurant, acted like dumb Americans, and had a good time. I wanted the beef cheeks but had to settle for a pork with mushroom sauce; still very delicious. Then, after paying, we walked out and started home. The car trip home was one of the more sobering experiences I've had in my short life. We didn't want to talk about leaving, or saying goodbye. But we eventually got to the hotel and tears were shed. It was the definition of a minnesotan goodbye, most of us crying, and having Abby say "Nine O'clock", we all knew what that meant. Eventually Nine was reached, hugs were given, again, more tears, and hopeful "Ill see you again". Tomorrow we leave for Wrocław and will soon start our journey home, it is sad but it is what it is.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Last Day of English Camp straight from Kyle

It is challenging to believe that English Camp is already over. It was only one week ago that we were welcoming our campers. Here's all about our last day.

The day began for me by taking a walk to the town square with Joel to pick out some cherries from a sidewalk fruit and vegetable stand for Patti and Randi. At camp, English Class became Polish Class, and we all became the students learning from those we had taught throughout the week. Lilli and I were treated by our students to various types of Polish soda and candy, and we learned the states and capitals of Poland. Sam and Jannah even got to share a Polish song they learned from their students with everyone.

The highly anticipated America vs Poland soccer game was full of excitement, intensity, and even comedy. It began with the singing of both the American and Polish national anthems. Ben showed us that his camp dancing feet can also maneuver around the field as well as they do on the dance floor. In my opinion, Emily gets the MVP award for her newfound soccer skills, bravery, and for sharing the ball with everyone. I expect we will all be ready to play in the next World Cup games; we will simply have to extend our stay here in Poland to practice. I will follow up with Abby and let her know the change of plan.

Note: We are not actually staying in Poland to practice for the next World Cup. We have to return to America to get a change of clothes first.

The Closing Program came too quickly. We watched one last camp picture slideshow, did one last camp dance, and played one last camp game. The Pink Team won the Camp Color Team Competition after a grueling game of balloon battle. In second place was the Purple Team, followed by the Grey Team in third place, and succeeded by the Green Team.

The last day of camp can always be a sad one because we have to say goodbye to those we have known and come to love in less than a week. However, the relationships, the experiences, and the messages from the Bible that we all heard and shared are ones that will stick with each of us in some way or another.

I am thankful for the church in Skoczow and the commitment of the Polish youth leaders to the local youth. God continues to move in this community, and I believe we are living witnesses to this.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. We'll be home soon!


Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday at Camp as told by Ben Golden

Today started fairly normally.  Kyle and I went to the bakery, pharmacy, and farmers market in the morning for a pastry, medicine for Joel and some massive raspberries respectively.  Our morning congregation was lead by Sam and I think we all benefited from the renewal of our courage thanks to Sam’s thoughts on some Psalms.  English classes focused on Washington D.C. and included currency with some debating. This was our last day teaching English as tomorrow our students will teach us Polish.  We played rugby and capture the flag outside today which both were very competitive.  After some good conversations with the students before the evening program, we were asked three good questions by Abby in the sermon about our lives and who we are in relation to the Kingdom.  
Someone also received an unexpected hair cut on our team.
We had a medical theme for theme night tonight with everyone walking around in scrubs with facemasks. After camp, the Polish and American teams went to Cieszyn to eat at a really nice McDonalds which brought us to the end of the Day.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thursday at Camp as told from the one and only Randi Norman

Hello, all! Randi here. I am currently sitting on my bed in the hotel room as I write this. It is almost 11 P.M., and we have had a full and wonderful day.  Most of our time here in Poland has been rainy and cool and today was no exception. Our day started with Jannah leading devotions. She was prompted to share about the Lord’s  blessings and steadfastness even in the midst of our struggles and stumbles. After our devotion and prayer time, we ventured out on our 0.6 mile walk to the school (exact milage courtesy of Kyle…don’t ask me how many meters that is…I have never been good with numbers or the metric system!). I love our walks. It is nice to have a little quiet walking time in preparation for and/or reflection of the day. I also enjoy it as it is a time to bond as a team. 

Today’s Camp Schedule:
-Welcome and an “Ice Breaker” game
-Slideshow of previous day’s pictures and events
-Lilli gives the scores for our “Color” team competitions (I teased Abby before we left that my team was going to beat hers…let’s just say I have been greatly humbled).
-Camp Dance (Joel loves it!)
-English Lessons
-English Lessons
Kyle led a bridge building competition. One camper, Daniel, loved it. It was seriously the highlight of his week, which was very encouraging to many people on our team. 
-Team Competition
The Polish youth group led the color teams through various Indiana Jones activities. It was so fun! 
-Evening Program
The Labyrinth is a series of stations that are set up to encourage students to reflect on Abby’s messages and questions on where each student individually stands with Jesus. “Was Jesus Lord, a lunatic, or a liar?” was the question she posed tonight. She then shared the Truth that she knows, that we as believers know, and what it means to follow Him and be in a relationship with Him. The Labyrinth is definitely a highly anticipated and prayed over event for both our team and the Polish team. The Lord is definitely stirring hearts; at our debrief meeting tonight, two specific campers were brought up, as they talked to two separate members of the Polish youth group team. The Holy Spirit is moving. Doors are being opened.

Tomorrow is our last normal day of camp. Saturday the campers teach us Polish, and we are for sure playing a game of soccer…we don’t stand a chance! Thank you so much for your prayers so far. Please continue to be in prayer for us and with us.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Field Trip Day

I am a firm believer that the gospel is best presented when lived out in our lives through relationships. Up to this point of camp, our focus has been big time on building the relationships with the campers in order to point them to Jesus.

 We continued growing in those relationships throughout our day today.  

Day 4, today, is what we call affectionately call “field trip day” here at camp. Somewhere in the middle of the week we take one day off of our normally scheduled camp day and do something off site of where camp normally takes place. Today, due to the weather, we were subject to plan B of our day would look like. We rode a bus with the campers to a trampoline park in a nearby city- followed by lunch at the mall along with a movie. Due to the movie being dubbed in Polish, us Americans decided to pass and had a chance to hang out at the mall. Between walks to and from the bus, bus rides, sitting at lunch, and walking in the mall, our goal for the day was to have conversations with the campers that might not happen in all the craziness of a camp day. We prayed that we would have courage to go deeper with them; to begin asking deeper questions about faith and their lives.

After the trip, it was fun to sit in a room with our polish teammates to talk about conversations that were had as well as to be able to pray by name for campers- both those who have not yet come to place their faith in Jesus Christ, as well as those who need encouragement in their daily walk.

Overall, it was another day of deepening relationships- showing God’s love through our actions and smiles as well as asking questions that show we care- Questions that were all across the map but questions that showed love and listening ears. 

Tomorrow, students will have a chance to hear about the victory that happened on the cross. All of our evening talks and our intentional relationships have been building up to tomorrow night. 

After the evening talk, each camper will have a chance to go through a series of stations where they can reflect individually on their lives and where God fits into that. At the end of those stations, they will be given the opportunity to say yes to giving their lives to Jesus. 

Our prayer is that no one, not a single one of us, walks away from this camp unchanged. We pray that people come to know Jesus for the first time, we pray that campers who do know Jesus are strengthened and encouraged in their faith, and we pray that we would not be the same people leaving this trip that we were when we came. 

Would you pray with us? 

On a side note- sickness has been running wild through our team. The enemy has been trying to knock us down but know that he is not succeeding! Everyone on the team was able to be at the field trip day today! Please pray that this continues to be the trend rather than what has been happening thus far. 

Thank you all! Sending our love from Poland


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Half Way Through Camp- as told by Lilli Jorgens

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17

Much like our other mornings, we started the day off by meeting as a team to go over a devotional, which was led by Randi. She read a portion of scripture from James 3, which included the verse featured above this paragraph. As a team, we discussed the importance of seeking godly wisdom rather than the wisdom of this world. Usually when someone gains even the slightest bit of worldly wisdom, they often develop a mindset of thinking they know all of it; they think they know everything. However, this passage in James talks about how wisdom should be accompanied by meekness or humility. That verse---verse 13--- seems quite counter cultural; wisdom typically turns into boasting, even if that isn’t our initial intention. But with possessing godly wisdom, the more of His wisdom you have, the more you realize how little you know in comparison. The more you realize He is God and we are not. He is omniscient or all-knowing and we are not and that is okay- good even. 

After our time together as a team, we walked to the school and shortly thereafter, we started our fourth day of English camp. It seems surreal that day four of English camp has came and went. In many ways it seems like we have already experienced a full week of camp with all the activities that occur within a nine to ten hour day. Yet at the same time, it is unbelievable knowing that there are only three days of camp remaining (excluding our field trip day tomorrow) and my heart longs for even more time with the Polish youth after Saturday. English camp has been wonderful this year! Even though it is a smaller group of campers compared to other years, this allows our American and Polish team to intentionally connect with the campers. It has been such a blessing for me personally to catch up with many of the campers and youth group leaders I met last year. To see their spiritual growth and see how God has changed them over the course of one year is an incredible experience. And I know the campers this year are learning and growing too. 

Like I briefly mentioned earlier, today was our fourth day of English camp. The English classes went well and each of our classes had a very fun, interactive time during today’s lesson on weather and film in Los Angeles, California. We played many different games throughout the day such as huggy bear, UNO, Tenzi, and squat ball, which is a variant of dodge ball. However, I think one of the best parts of the day occurred during our camp workshop time (and I think many of the campers would agree with me). There was a team from Fusion, which is a music group that is a part of Josiah Venture. Their team came to our camp today and taught us three different songs. Most of the campers as well as the leaders on the American and Polish team participated in this activity. For each song we learned choreography as well as different vocal parts. It was a blast for all of us to learn something new together and I loved how Fusion’s ministry focuses on teaching and learning new things for God’s glory. By the end, we were singing, dancing, and smiling to “Open the Clouds”, “No Roots”, and “Pod Wiatar.” Try to guess which song is Polish. I think many of the campers laughed as the Americans tried to follow along with the lyrics. 

I could write so much more about the Fusion workshop, English camp as a whole, and all we as a team have experienced within our week here in Poland. However, I will conclude by saying that God is so clearly at work in Poland. He is opening many of the campers hearts during their discussions. He is equipping the Polish youth group leaders that He has called to serve and lead this English camp. The youth here that know Jesus and have a relationship with Him are authentic and passionate and in awe of who God is. And God has been teaching me through them to fall more in love with Him each day. God has been teaching me to never lose the wonder I have toward/about Him. Please continue to pray for our team and this trip. Please pray for Jannah and Ben who fell ill today; pray for God’s healing and rest. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give us boldness and power tomorrow on the field trip as we continue conversing with the campers. Pray that the Holy Spirit would intercede on our behalf and help us to have spiritual conversations with the Polish youth group. Pray that we would be men and women of God who stand firm in whose we are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your love, encouragement, support, and prayers. 

God Bless,
Lilli Jorgens