Saturday, August 26, 2006

10 Years – Time Does Fly!

From Seattle/Kirkland USA to Nowy Targ/Zakopane POLAND
Tomorrow, Sunday 27 August 2006 marks 10 years of living and serving the Lord full time in Poland. Who would have thought?

When we, Carol, CJ (Carol’s cat), Me, Jesse (my cat), left Seattle with our 4 bags packed to the maximum limit (75 pounds each), who would have thought that our 2-3 years maximum 5 would quickly become 10.

During that time there has been many seasons. Each of which is a chapter all in itself. Of course just like any in any life those chapters have their joys, tears, hopes and fears. But through it all Jesus was/is/ and always will be the Rock and Firm Foundation.

Let me just recap for you some of those seasons:

The 1st chapter started with the basics, finding a place to live. Some of you might remember that this was no easy task. It was truly an adventure! The 4 of us living with all our “worldly” belongings in one room the size of a normal bedroom for 5 weeks. The whole time CJ & Jesse were wondering what happened to their “little condo in the woods”. At the same time we were looking for English teaching jobs so that we could secure a long term visa.
God is so faithful as we had the privilege of working for a woman who helped get established and has proven to be an easy boss to work for with the changing schedules and needs of the ministry.

The 1st chapter of ministry was a time of supporting and encouraging the local Penacostal Church. There were English lessons that were an outreach to the community, video nights with discussions for young people, together with fellowship times that were fun and encouraging. We also had wonderful times of fun and fellowship with the women on retreats and “Girl’s Nights Out”.

Chapter 2 was a season of encouraging various churches outside of Nowy Targ through workshops, fellowship, and times of friendship. This was a time of lots of local travel and challenges of what God would want to share with each fellowship. It was during that time that a group of young people from Jaworzno (2 hours away) were really desiring to move forward with Jesus. We met every 2 weeks to go through the Experiencing God Bible Study. It was a challenging time for us all and a real commitment for them.

Chapter 3 teaching at the English Teacher’s College in Zakopane overlap a bit with 1 and 2 but was a significant time of personal challenge and growth for me. These 5 years in the middle of this decade gave me a unique opportunity to challenge young people to find God’s best for their lives. To proclaim the truth of God’s good future that He has planned for them even if the world around is deprive and unfair.

Chapter 4: planting a church in Zakopane. The church is now 3 years old. There is a core group of growing believers. Everyday it is exciting to see how they are gaining hope and confidence in their individual walk with Jesus. The most exciting statistic for me is not how many we see every Sunday but how many have come tasted how sweet the Lord is. They have been encouraged, blessed, prayed for and they have been set free to choose.

Who knows what all the Lord has done in and through the time I have been here? Who knows what is ahead? How much longer will I be here? There is only One person who can answer all these questions: JESUS

Chapter 5: Housing? Well, I purchased the condo that Carol & shared together. Now, the remodel is almost finished. Visa? I have a permanent visa that is valid until January 2015. Pets? Both Jesse & CJ have gone on to cat heaven with special honors for missionary service. Now, Pepsi the Polish Princess rules the kingdom.

Work? Soon I will start work for the American International School in Krakow as a school counselor consultant one day a week. This will give me more time and flexibility for the ministry & at the same time a new, fresh group of people to be in contact with. Will it be financially better? I will be employed as a consultant so what the means in Zloty and grosze only the Master knows.

Ministry? The church will continue in Zakopane. It will be a season to empower the core group to cease the opportunities God has put before them. This will include helping the young men to establish a Hotspot cafĂ© and culture center. It will be a time for helping the older women to reach their peer group for Jesus. For me personally it will be a time to reach out to people in my age group primarily my female neighbors and the mothers of some of the young people I have been ministering to. I also sense that it will be critical that there are more opportunities for the young people to meet their Christian friends from abroad. I’m not sure how the Lord will do that but you are invited to be a part of the solution.

Jesus is so faithful! I am so grateful for the privilege of serving here 20 years and being the person God has chosen to live among the people now for 10 years. I pray that I can be a good reflection of Him daily.

My prayer for the day comes from Philippians chapter 2:

Lord, let me be one who does everything with praise and thanksgiving so that I may become a blameless and pure child of Yours without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which I will shine like a star in the universe as I hold out Your Word of Life.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thank You

I just wanted to thank all of you who have been praying for me during this remodel. It has truly been a challenge far beyond anything I could have anticipated. Tomorrow they will check the gas connection. I continue to work on some of the details each day...Attaching molding, cutting the molding for around the new doors, putting in door jams. Little by little the apartment is being put back together.

Along with the lose ends comes the final bills. Like many of you, I have been curious about what all of this would cost. Pre-work bids aren't really done here so it has been quite the stretch of faith. Praise God that labor costs are usually lower than in the US or Western Europe.

So, How much has it cost?
Building supplies: $750
Heat conversion: $4450
Materials for redoing the Bath: $1900
Paint: $670
Doors: $370
miss Labor: $1400
Total Cost to date: $9540

Some of you may be wondering where this missionary "found" that kind of money. The Lord has blessed me with a few stocks that I had been saving for retirement. If you would like to help replenish my retirement fund the donation info is on this page.

The Lord has been so faithful through your prayers and giving. I have been able to meet all my financial obligations in a timely manner, even during the summer months when I have no money for teaching. This has a particular challenge to really trust the Lord during this time of huge financial expenses.

I am always amazed that the church in Zakopane is able to pay the rent every month, as well. We have been in the space in Zakopane over 2 years now. Our little space costs a reasonable (for the area) $270 a month including utilities. The Lord faithfully blesses this handful of retires & students to maintain this facility. How? Only Jesus can explain how the fish and loaves can feed 5000.

Thanks to your faithfulness and prayers.