Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pure Joy International

Last week I had to opportunity to spend a few days in Prague at a retreat for missionary women mainly from Europe but a few were also from Africa and Lebanon. A group of 15 women from 4 different states in America...Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and South Carolina...came to lead yhe conference. They led us in times of worship, teaching, encouragement, fellowship and just a lot of fun.

The first night Vickie, the main leader, told us that one of 3 things (or all 3) things would happen by the end of our time together. 1)We would be affirmed in what we were doing. 2)We would be challenged in our walk with The Lord. 3)We would be convicted of something we need to deal with. I can honestly say that I felt all 3 clearly.

First, I think just being with other women who are all doing this odd life too is an encouragement. We are able to hear what's happening in our cities and countries. We are able to stop and pray for one another immediately. We can cry together and laugh together. There was definitely a feeling of affirmation from that. On the last day at lunch, we were given a group picture and a stack of envelopes with cards in them. I thought they would be from random people who had been praying for me/us during this time. However I was so pleasantly surprised to open them and read they were from some of my closest and dear even from my sister. It was so sweet to read their words and be affirmed in what we are doing.

Second, I was challenged to live my life daily trusting God. I really struggle in this area. I do not like to not know what is going to happen or how it will happen. This year is the year I have dreaded since we signed up to come to Poland. Moving to a new city and knowing no one and having to start everything from scratch. It was a stressful year. However, about 2-3 months ago, I realized that God had provided everything we needed. A great house, friends in our neighborhood for our kids as well as us. He gave us a language teacher and the girls great schools and teachers. Our church is amazing and He continues to open doors for us to serve.

Before one of our sessions, I found my seat and sat down. I looked across the table at one of the leader's name tag. Her name was Faith. I thought, wow! faith. That is what God is really teaching me. Faith. Then she got up and spoke. And what did she speak on? Faith. Her name. Most of the sessions were just like that. Something I was thinking about and praying for. The God would speak through the speaker straight to my heart. It was wonderful to be challenged like this. I'm praying that each day when I'm tempted to freak out, I will look back and remember this time.

Third, conviction. I think this word may have gotten to me most of all. I am so prideful and hate to admit when I'm wrong. I don't often stop and apologize to God and ask for forgiveness. But we spent an evening doing this. I really needed to deal with this issue. Daily I fail and daily I need grace and forgiveness. I'm going to spend more time confessing sin in prayer instead f asking for things.

God also allowed so many of my friends from the field to be there. I didn't feel like I had enough time to spend with everyone like I would like to have. But I did have some with each of them. I'm so thankful for that. I also got to meet new friends. It was a special time. I'm so thankful to anyone who prayed for me. God answered your prayers.

Here are a few pics mainly of my new friends and one of my sweet friend Medea.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pam Came to Poland

In April of 2005, our lives were changed. Ella was almost 2. We were living at the Texas Baptist Children's Home as houseparents to crazy teenage girls. ;) This month, we received our first placement that had not already lived in the house when we moved in. Her name was Pamela Parker. At the time she was almost 14 and up for adoption. James and I had talked about if we were ever able, we would love to be able to adopt her. Fast forward a couple years to when we left TBCH in 2007. We prayed about having Pam come and live with us and discussed it with her. Initially we both felt we needed to wait a little while. So a year later, Pam came to live with us for her senior year. When we left to come to Poland, Pam was in college but it was still difficult to leave her behind. We honestly did not think we would be able to see her again until we returned to the States in 2014.

However, my grandparents contacted us last spring to see if we would be interested in her coming to visit and she could use their frequent flyer miles. Sure enough it all worked out and Pam came to stay with us for 10 days. It was her first time out of the country like this. We had a great time. During her time here, we also got our new home, so we were moving some and unpacking. But we also did some fun things. We took her to Gdańsk to walk in Old Town. We went to Hel and spent a cool afternoon on the beach. We went to Malbork Castle, the largest brick building in Europe and largest castle in the world. It was once ruled by the Teutonic Knights and built during the 1300s and finished in the early 1400s. Crazy right?!? And we of course visited the charming town of Sopot. But most of all, we got to spend time with our daughter and sister! The time went fast but was a lot of fun.

It was a bit too cold for Pam.

Train to Gdańsk

Pam in Old Town Gdansk 

Watching this guy make candy was fun!

Obviously the tour guide was fascinating. 

 The tour guide told us many brides get their pics made here. Since Pam won't be around for her bridal portraits, we decided to get them while we were here.

 Using the ancient toilet. There is cabbage behind it because that was used as toilet paper. Apparently it was soothing. Who knew?!?

This was the only original door...I think I remembered that correctly. 

Model of the Malbork Castle. Shows the size. It was huge!!

And this was just too funny to us. I don't think of nuns as sightseers but here they are having their picture made. 

  We had a wonderful time with and will miss her. Less than 2 years and we will be able to hug her again!


I was determined that while we were in Greece, we HAD to see things around Athens. There is so much amazing history there. So our last day we spent on a hop on/hop off bus. We saw the Acropolis and Parthenon. We saw Mars Hill where the apostle Paul preached to the people of Greece about their alter for the unknown god. We saw Olympic Stadium where the original olympics were held...which was even cooler because that night was the opening ceremonies in London for the 2012 Olympics. Some of these things were over 2000 years old. The Parthenon, for instance, was built between 448-439BC. AMAZING!!! And we walked all over it!! I know, I know...we are such nerds but this stuff is so cool!!!

We took an open air hop on/hop off bus around Athens.

Of course having great friends made the day that much more fun!

This was such an amazing sight of the Acropolis and Parthenon. 

It was SOOOO hot!!!

View of Mars Hill from the Acropolis.

Climbing on Mars Hill...this is where Paul preached against the unknown god.

Olympic Stadium

View of the Acropolis at night from the roof of our hotel.   
These were amazing sights. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have visited these ancient places. It is something I will always remember. :)