So I’m finally able to relax a bit, nothing is planned for tonight and I’ve done enough thinking and processing about our trip that I can finally put most of it into words. In general I feel good about it, we spent significant time with people, creating new relationships, building up our existing ones, and ministering to our closest friends there. Overall this was the most exhausting trip for Alexis and I, due to the fact that on most days we got up at 6am and didn’t get to bed until around 10pm. We were getting up so early because we had about a 45 minute commute (via Bus and Tram) to the language school, which was from 9:30 to 2pm each day. While we were in school the rest of our team tried to meet up with people (not very successfully), prayed for the city and churches, and explored possible future neighborhoods for us.
Speaking of language school, now that we’ve taken nearly a week break, we know we need to get back to studying – and hopefully, God providing, taking private lessons from the director of the Polish school here in Portland. The course was very intensive and at times frustrating, however, I think we learned the concepts and with some review, and diligence on our part, God will help us get the fundamentals in our head.
Over the course of our first week we came up against some not so explainable health issues, on the first day Alexis got sick to her stomach on the tram to school, so much so she felt she was going to faint, instead she threw up. Unfortunately the only thing she had to throw up into was Emma’s blanket, the rest of our fellow tram passengers didn’t offer much help, either because they didn’t know how, or the language barrier froze them, or both. Eitherway I found myself a bit upset that no one offered any help – all I could do was pray, so that’s what I did. By the time we were at the school Alexis felt better – one of the most stressful moments of my life I think!
Then on Tuesday (I think) Charis got sick (our friend who came to help watch Emma while we were in school) and threw up all night long. After some prayer with her home-stay host she was able to sleep in, Aris and Brandon took over Emma duty that day at school and by the afternoon Charis joined us. By then we knew something wasn’t quite right, because there wasn’t really anyway to explain these mysterious sicknesses. The saga continues with me getting a very strange cramping in my stomach all day Thursday, Brandon getting a nasty head-cold also on Thursday, me having cramps again on Saturday, Aris with a migraine, and when Corey and Jenise joined us on Saturday, Corey got pretty sick around their second day as well. Through prayer and endurance we didn’t miss what God called us to do, learn the language and build relationships.
In spite of all the sickness thrown at us, and some communication mishaps, God confirmed over and over and through multiple people that the Polish people, our friends, and those that we hardly know, are encouraged, excited, and ready to have more people in Kraków to work in God’s kingdom. Our commitment to learn the language in advance of our move has spoken volumes to the Poles – and over and over we heard “the single biggest sign that God is calling you here is that he has opened the door for you to learn Polish and you are doing it” – many other missionaries in times past have not taken this important step. Not to compare ourselves, but to contrast the difference in preparation that we feel God is very specifically asking us to do.
Enough of me blabbering – Brandon has some great photos up on facebook, below are the public links (you don’t need Facebook to see them).