Monday, February 21, 2011


So I am doing something I have never done before but should have...I am reading the New Testament. Not in order though. While at FPO/ in Virginia...we all read the book of Acts together. It was a great way for us to see how a NT church plant should work. We also read Romans and began 1 Corinthians. So I decided I would continue reading. (Although during Romans I decided I was not intelligent enough to read Paul's writings.) I have been reading...slowly, but I am doing it. I decided that I would finish with all of Paul's writings and then read the Gospels. Then James, 1 & 2 Peter, Jude, and finish with 1, 2, 3 John and finally Revelation. Now you know all that useful information on me!

So today I was finishing the book of Ephesians. I have read chapter 6 numerous times and parts of it so many more. The first verse I recall memorizing was Eph 6:1 "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." This book is made up of commands for children and parents, a message on the armor of God and also his (Paul's) closing statements to the Ephesians. I prayed as I opened that God would reveal something to me that was new...especially since I already knew everything in this chapter, Ha! Of course God being God answered my prayer. He put in a new verse just for me. Ok, well maybe it has always been there but I have just not noticed it until today. Verse 18 he asks them to make sure they are praying at all times on behalf of saints but also he asks them to pray for him. Verse 19 and 20 say,  "and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." (Ephesians 6:19-20 ESV) That really got my attention. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I am not a fan of small talk and especially with people I don't know. Often if I see someone I will try and hide so as not to have to talk. I know most of you find that odd. But I just feel awkward.

So here I am in Poland to be a missionary...and ambassador for Christ...and I am terrified of talking to people. I don't know how to get to know people and have them into my home and build relationships so that I can share my faith and the most precious gift I have been given. So I am asking you all as my prayer warriors to pray for me. Pray that I would have boldness to follow through on the task that God has charged me with. Pray that I would have divine encounters and would be able to build relationships with people and eventually have the opportunity to share what has changed my life.

Thank you amazing prayer warriors!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Former vs Present 2

So our biggest difference is of course the language. When we walk out the door our level of understanding plummets. We knew this going in. No big deal...well I mean it is a big deal but we were expecting it. What I didn't expect was the amount of energy learning a new language would take. Most of the time when we are needing something we will start with "do you speak English"? But we really want to be able to move away from that and begin to speak their language. And we are. Most of the time the other people speak either a little English or very well but will encourage us on our language learning.

We have had 3 full weeks of language now. And our understanding of what people are saying has increased when we use the questions and listen for the answers we have learned. Ha! Our teacher is phenomenal. He comes to our house 2-3 hours each day except Wednesdays when he takes us out in the city and makes us use our language. We have had to ask for directions and listen for and then follow their directions to try and find certain landmarks, restaurants, churches, etc. Most of the time people will stop and help us. Some try to answer us in English...which I always wonder how they know we speak English and not Italian or French or Spanish but they do. We tell them, "Po Polsku" which means "in Polish." Some of them look surprised but are willing to tell us slowly. We talk to young people and people our age and old people. The old ladies are so sweet to let us butcher their language and then direct us. I think I have really enjoyed this most because it makes the Polish people around me human. We hear the language constantly and can pick out words here and there. But the people don't smile at you or greet you when you pass or get on and off a tram. This has probably been the hardest adjustment. So I just expect the people to be cold and not helpful. But it is quite the opposite. They are willing to stop and listen to our questions and then give us details back. And they smile and are so sweet. Just in their way. So after 3 weeks of language here are some videos our teacher took on our iPod that you can watch and laugh at.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Former vs Present

I know you have heard about some of the differences of our life here in Krakow. I just wanted to update and give you a list of things that were common in our life in the states and how it parallels our life here in Poland.

Food/Cooking/Eating Out:
So in the states our pantry and refrigerator were full. There was so much food I got rid of when we were moving that it broke my heart. There was always plenty but yet I always needed to grocery shop or there was nothing to snack on. In Poland, we moved in with some things our Team Leader got for us...milk, bread, turkey, butter, you get the picture. And our teammates all pitched in a got us some of their favorite things to snack on or how to recreate things from the states like cream of chicken or mushroom soups. I had brought some seasoning stuff and peanut butter with us but we needed to shop. We have gotten that done pretty well. I LOVE to cook and cooking from scratch is such an art for me. I love to create. I am glad I do because you can't buy much prepackaged stuff here. There isn't prepackaged cookie dough or refrigerated biscuits. There isn't pancake mix or Bisquick. They don't even have shortening. Their butter for cooking is pretty much only unsalted. So having a quick meal for a busy night doesn't work too well. They do have hot dogs but we haven't bought them yet.
So I  have begun shopping for a week at a time. I make a list of recipes on Sundays and then we go shopping for just the ingredients we need for that week's meal. I also get lunch meat and stuff for school lunches and veggies and fruit. We supplement bread, milk and cereal as needed. This works well. Our pantry is only full at the beginning of the week. By the end we have eaten what is in there along with some leftover meals. It is perfect. The food here does not have preservatives in it which is great! However, it doesn't last nearly as long as it did in the states.

We go to our little shop at the end of our street to get meat. We have met a nice lady who speaks NO English..and well our Polish isn't we have fun. But she is so sweet. We figure if we keep going back to her that will build up our relationship and our language. Ordering lunch meat has become comical. We try to order half a kilo of turkey...which is about a pound...sometimes we get that and sometimes we get enough for one sandwich. Ha!

We buy fresh bread from our shop or a bakery by our tram stop. Mmm!!! There is no whole wheat bread that we have found which is a bummer but who can complain when you get to buy it your regular routine! Ella and Macie love going to pick out our bread for dinner. We also buy milk in glass jars. There is something fun about drinking milk from a glass container. It is yummy!!! But it isn't always in the stores. So when we see it we buy 2-4 bottles at a time. LOL

We still are not sure about what some of the names of foods are. For instance: I have been looking for corn meal. I know they have it. My friends make cornbread. I couldn't find it with the flour...i was hoping I would just see a picture that would make me think it was cornmeal. One of our team wives told me the name of it. I finally found it at our "Sam's-like" store. But of course I had to buy 10 packages of them. Well it turns out she told me the name of corn flour not cornmeal. Haha! So now I have 10 packages of cornflour. It does have a recipe for corn tortillas on it. 

Eating out has been interesting as well. Some places have menus in English or at least descriptions in English. A lot do not and we have to guess. Some of the waiters or people speak English and some do not. So sometimes we don't get what we thought we were ordering. But most of the food we have had has been yummy! We have learned we like peirogi and white beat soup. There are also these circular bread things they sell on the street. They are about 1.40zloty...which is about 50cents in the states. Yummy! The downfall are the drinks. Unless you go to Ikea, KFC or Subway you don't get refills. And the cups you get are small. I am fine with that but James not so much! Haha! And they think Coca Cola Light (Diet Coke) = Coke Zero. Haha! James doesn't think they are the same. 

Ok, I will not bore you any more with food stuff. I will post later about other differences. Love you all!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

First Night Out

After ice skating I met Kirstin downtown to hang out at a local cafe with some ESL students she works with. There were 4 that showed up. They were absolutely delightful! There English varied from beginner to decent. But it gave me hope for my Polish. I understood what they meant most of the time and I am hoping that people will know what I mean eventually when I am using Polish.

We talked about all kinds of things like instead of birthdays when they become adults they celebrate their name day. Everyone has a day in the year that is the same as theirs. So on that day they celebrate like they would a birthday. I thought that was fun! We also talk about animal sounds. Animals make different sounds in Poland than in America. They think it is funny that a from says 'ribbit ribbit' and a rooster says 'cock-a-doodle-do!' I hope to continue this relationship further. It was a great night!

Tears and Ice Skating

So we took the girls to an outside skating rink yesterday. My kids are fearful of new things that might be scary. Inevitably they will scream and cry and then end up loving whatever it roller coasters or swimming or roller skating. Of course this was the way today ended up. We were going with friends who have kids the same age as ours and another girl of one of our M's here who is about 12. They have been ice skating for about a year. I told my girls that if Arin and Kaleb can do it so can they. We took the tram to the rink, rented our skates and paid for an hour of skating, got our skates on and went to the ice. Ella just about refused to get on the ice. I forced her to. Macie got on with "Aunt Kirstin," whom she would rather have skated with than Mom or Dad. But here we went. Ella only wanted to hold on to the side. I took Macie and helped her skate...remember that I haven't skated in years but as a kid I loved ice skating. Within about 20 min. both girls were skating by themselves. Ella was pretty fast; Macie not as much but they were having a blast! The first time they fell I was worried that would be it. But nope they would laugh and get back up again. It was great! Of course we had to have hot chocolate after and watch the Zamboni man clean the ice. We will definitely be heading back!!!

 Ella falling on the ice. Abbe was so sweet to skate with her.
 Macie and I before she enjoyed it and took off on her own.