Sunday, June 28, 2009

Poland Update

It's Sunday afternoon, June 28th. I'm in Poland. This is my first chance to sit at a computer in 6 days. Wow! Has it really been 6 days? Time has gone by so fast!
I'm going to try and give a brief update...the internet connection may go...

Where do I start? This trip has been, well, surreal from the moment we got on the plane. I think the weight of what we were about to do hit me about 4 hours into our flight when I looked out the window and saw nothing but water and some icebergs and icecaps. There was no going back! The moment we landed it has been nonstop. We left on a Tuesday and arrived first thing Monday morning. The time difference is 9 hours ahead of the US. We hopped onto our bus and drove from the Frankfurt airport to Eisenach, Germany. It was so incredible. For being in a foreign county many things looked extremely familiar, like the midwest countryside, except that every village we passed had a church in it's center.
In Eisenach, we visited Wartburg castle (pronounced "vartburg") where Martin Luther was spirited away to by his friends to help him escape the Catholic church. There he translated the Bible from Latin to common German for his people. The tour of the castle was again, surreal. To see the place where such an important event took place in the life of the Protestant Reformation was soul-stirring. We also saw the Bach house- another fascinating sight. From Eisenach we traveled 5 hours to Legnica. We arrived late in the evening - in the rain. *note: it's been raining pretty much the whole time we've been here.*

Thursday morning we dove right in and started our English classes, only 2 people were there but it was a successful time. After lunch at a castle (we get to have lunch at the castle everyday!) we to the town square for singing and evangalism. So far my favorite part of this trip has been the singing. Rosie Faris (one of our group) put it aptly: "I get really happy when we're singing and people stop to watch and listen. I love that." We've draw quite a crowd a few times. There is one song people like to here more than others, Psalm 134 which we sing in a round. It's kind of become the signature song for our trip. Friday we did the same as Thursday (and some shopping as well) except our singing got rained out. We had a steady downpour for about 1/2 hour. The funny thing about the rain here is that it's not cold and it doesn't bother us that much. The only bad thing is that it's very humid and our clothes never feel completely dry. :-)
I forgot to mention; we have a worship meeting everynight. Friday night brought a young couple who live in Legnica and saw the advertisement and decided to come and see what we were about. It would appear that God is really working in these two people's hearts; she has a real thirst for truth. They both said they really enjoyed their time with us in meeting and came the next day to English class and then spent another 3 or 4 hours with us.

Saturday after morning English classes we took the train to Jawor, Poland (pronounced "Yavor") to see an all-wood Protestant church. That was another fascinating sight. I've never been in a building such as that before. I've only seen them in pictures. The church was competely built of wood and built and funded by Protestants. It was very moving to see a building erected so long ago by people who loved the Lord Jesus and who sought to honor him with their architecture. Most of the writing on the art that surrounded the gallery was in German. I could go on and on about this building but for brevity's sake, I won't. (Not that I've been really all that brief) I will say this, there was something about this building that made me want to weep for joy. Much of the building had taken place during a time when Mom and Dad both had ancestors in the German area where the church was built. I think my Great Grandmother would have been very happy to see this place.

Today we went to church in Legnica, Poland the city where we have been staying. It was held in a Lutheran church that was originally a Catholic cathedral. The rest of the group had already had a tour of the church earlier in the week but I had been teaching so hadn't seen the interior yet. This was another piece of living art. Our group did some singing before the worship service began. The accoustics were extrodinary. I can only imagine what it would have sounded like to have a real choir singing in there.
Right now, we're at Pastor Alec's house and I have 4 people waiting to use the computer behind me. I think I'd better wrap up.

Some highlights so far:
I-sharing with Rebekah on the bus on the way to Legnica - listening to Coldplay
Singing on the street
Shopping in the market and meeting people to invite them to classes
Riding a train for the first time.

More later.... Love to you all!

1 comment:

Leah V. said...

That's great, Rachel! It sounds like it's been a very blessed time so far. It's nice that you're able to do some sightseeing while you're over there, too. After all it's not like one gets to go to Poland every day. You're in my prayers!