Thursday, April 28, 2011

God's Will? Maybe

No matter where we are in ministry, it seems that God always places underprivileged kids/teens in our lives. Moving to Poland, I thought we had shut the door on youth ministry. Well a few weeks ago in church we listened to a lady named Kasia share a little of her testimony about her life as a child in "the system" and how she has a heart for kids in the same situations. We visited with her a little after church that day. The first week of April she asked us to come and help with a day for the kids. We were excited to go and took our kids with them. She asked me to come up with a game to play. I had no idea what ages the kids would be but I thought charades would be fun. When I got there the kids were between 9 and 14 years old. They helped me write names of animals in Polish and then had a blast acting them out. There was much laughter. Kasia was centering the day around Easter. We did a craft that was basically making a stainglass window out of a paper picture and tissue paper behind it. Then they watched parts of the movie The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and discussed how it was similar to the Easter story. After that it was PIZZA time. Kasia made homemade pizza and it was yummy!

James and I discussed how God places at-risk kids in our lives so often and how we love it! Today was such a great time. Again, we wish we spoke the language better but we were able to find out how old they were, names, and if they had brother or sisters.  Two of the girls, Ola (11) and Paulinka (14) are sisters. I heard part of their story. They live with their mom but she isn't very stable. Kasia said she sees the girls around the city streets or at the mall alone. But when they come to these sorts of activities the mom is quite controlling of their time. From looking at these adorable girls you would never guess they were living the life they are. Kasia said they were "in the system" but I am not sure what exactly that means.

 I like this ministry also because I can bring Ella and Macie with us. They have always been a part of any ministry we have done. I think it is important for them to grow up involved in serving. They had a great time! I just am ready to learn Polish so I can really communicate! Here are a few more pics.

Please pray for these kids and our relationship with them! Thanks!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I knew when we came here that WWII had been fought all over Poland and in surrounding countries. What I didn't realize or think about the number of Jews and Jewish things that would be around. I think I have mentioned before that our church is in the middle of a historic Jewish Ghetto. We are just a few miles from Oscar Schindler's textile factory and where many of the scenes from the movie Schindler's List were shot and actually took place in real life. A few weeks ago it was the anniversary of the liquidation of the Jews from the Ghetto to the concentration camp. In memory, many many Jews and other people walked the long walk from where they lined up for roll call, past what is left of the Ghetto wall and down to the area where the concentration Płaszów (Pwa-shoov) camp was located. Our family along with our pastor and another colleague family walked with them. It was quite solemn. Here are a few pics from that day.
The beginning of the march.

This man was reading something in Hebrew.
Flowers at the wall.

Another part of the Ghetto wall that remains.

Amon Göth's house...the commandant
From this balcony he would shoot and kill prisoners in Płaszów.
Looking from the house over the concentration camp.
This is an area where people were tortured and killed.

Memorial representing the hearts being ripped out of the Jews.

Fresh Fruit

Something I really have enjoyed about living here is all the fresh markets and fresh fruits and veggies. As part of our language, our teacher has taken us to a few open markets. On one of the days he had us take pictures of the fruits so we could practice their names later. As I was looking back at the pictures I saw how pretty the food was. Poland is not concerned about selling on good looking produce. It comes in all shapes and sizes...and some that in the States I would have definitely picked over, but here it is just fine.  Here are some pics and names in Polish

Marchew (mar-hev)



Potatoes - ziemniak; Onion - Cebula; Cabbage - Kapusta; 

Banan i pomarańcze (banana and oranges)

Kiwi (pronounced kee-vee)

This is the front of the market...not sure why I didn't face the market to take a picture.

Haircuts without Aunt Boo

The girls and I could use hair cuts...but where do we go? For the past 6 years my sister has cut my hair and both Ella and Macie's. How do I go to a new hair salon with people I don't know in a country I can barely communicate in and trust them with my hair? Well I haven't trusted anyone with my hair just yet but I let Ella and Macie be my guinea pigs. We had a girl day while James went to Auschwitz. We started the morning with the Justin Bieber English. It was interesting to watch his story. I have to say I did enjoy it. We then had friends meeting us for lunch. In the meantime we had enough time to get their hair cut.
   I found a place that sold my sister's favorite hair products - Kerastase in case you were wondering - and their prices were great...I assume since I really have never paid for a hair cut for them. It was about $12 for the hair cut and shampoo and blow dry. When they came back to sit in the chairs from getting their hair washed Macie's stylist pulled out an electric you would use to shave a man's head. I thought to myself, "Oh my, what have I told her I wanted done to my baby's hair?" I looked over and Ella's stylist had the same thing. Now I was curious. Well sure enough they both used the razor to cut the girls' hair. And it turned out quite cute. I was impressed. Another fun thing they had was disposable towels and drapes. Reusable towels kind of gross me in bathrooms and stuff. We are all drying our hands on the same towels as who knows how many other people. But this was kind of cool. Maybe I will get brave and go back to have my hair cut there soon.