From Heather –
On September 14th, we brought 10 suitcases and 2 backpacks to the airport. By the grace of God, every suitcase made it to the small Poznań airport, and when we walked out the doors, our Poland teammates greeted us with smiles, signs, and hugs.
Nine days in Poland
Steve and Jenny have been the most incredible blessing to us as we have prepared for our move, and now in our first few weeks in our new home. They have been so welcoming, flexible, and gracious as we’ve fumbled through adjusting to the time zone, learning the public transportation, getting phones and food, and anything we could possibly think of. They have four kids, active ministries, other teammates, and social lives, and yet they have served us so sacrificially and wonderfully in our first few weeks.
Andrew and Miranda have been in Poland for a few months now. They’re still settling into their new home, just beginning language school, and navigating parenting in a new place and culture. Even so, they have also welcomed us, helped us, and encouraged us during our first week.
We originally decided to move to Poland not because we were passionate about serving there but because we knew practically that it made the most sense for our work. It is centrally located, relatively affordable, strong team, etc. After we made that decision, we began learning about Poland, praying for the Polish people, asking questions about the Christian community there. Over time, I began to fall in love with Poland. When we arrived, I felt like I was finally meeting the place I loved and the people I cared for.
On our first Sunday, we got to meet in person Pastor Łukasz (pronounced Woo-kah-sh). He is the pastor over Kaściół na Skala (Church on the Rock), the church we will be a part of. Pastor Łukasz asked us, “What has been the most shocking thing [in our first week in Poland]?” Nothing has been shocking, but we have experienced some expected challenges. We are both eager to learn how to check out of a store without needing to ask if the cashier speaks English. Besides, this question is most often answered with a “no” and then a shrug from both sides while I dumbly hold out my card to pay.
When I developed a cold a few days before we left for Estonia, there was no Mucinex or Nyquil to help me quickly recover. When we went to pick up our public transit cards, a miscommunication with the service desk led to me paying for a 30 day pass instead of the desired pay-as-you-go card. All of these are expected mistakes and lessons, but these are the small changes to our everyday life that could, over time, cause frustration. Please be praying for humility and patience as we encounter each new thing.
Ten days in Estonia
If you’re anything like me, Estonia probably hasn’t come to your mind often. Maybe you can’t point to it on a map. Maybe you haven’t heard of it at all. But let me tell you, God loves Estonia. God’s love for Estonia reaches deep into people’s hearts, it stretches across oceans and it transforms lives. On our visit, I experienced the depth of God’s love for people in a way I had never before.
We’ll be working on several video stories from the trip, so I won’t write them all out here. I am so excited for you to reflect on God’s love, patience, and grace in the way we have through these stories.
Between the four long-form interviews, countless b-roll shoots, a dozen snapshot interviews, and many church visits, we kept very busy on this trip. We’d head back to our hotel in the evening with sore feet and full SD cards to spend several hours transferring files, setting up gear for the next day, and preparing interview questions.
Having been our first trip, and so soon after our move, we were not at all able to prepare in the way we will for future trips, but our global workers were so gracious in letting us pull them away from all the trip activities to capture pieces of their stories. We’re looking forward to taking a look at what went well and what needs work for our next ministry visits.
Back home in Poland
We are happy to be back here and learning more about life here. We’ve been able to get more settled in our home. We went to the store with a list of needed items (like light bulbs, batteries, and storage baskets), and we left with every single item on our list! We were even able to get a washing machine this week.
Even so, coming back home to a foreign culture is a challenge. When we need to rest and reset, we’re still in a place where ordering a cup of coffee can just seem like one too many embarrassing interactions. I’m not saying this because we are feeling frustrated or discouraged, but because we want you to know of the ups and downs that are part daily life for us right now.
Tomorrow, we are headed to Berlin to spend a few days there with Dennis (our boss) and his wife Amanda. We were with them in Estonia, but this will be a chance to spend some time with them without a camera always in hand.
When we’re back, we’ll be taking a few day trips with Dennis and Amanda and our teammates to other parts of Poland. We’ll be visited Szczecin (pronounced Sh-che-chin),where Converge has an ongoing relationship with Pastor Robert. This is the city our future teammates Lemuel and Brittany will work. We’ll also be visiting the small city of Gniezno.
Praise God with us
- We and our equipment made it safely to Poland and then to Estonia and back
- Our teammates have been so welcoming, patient, and helpful as we’re adjusting to life here
- We have felt surprisingly comfortable here, and every day we feel like we’re becoming more acquainted with the city
- We had a wonderful and busy trip to Estonia, and got to spend time with the workers there
Pray with us
- For the little challenges and changes that pop up, for patience with ourselves and resolve to meet each one head on
- For the months of writing and editing the videos from our Estonia trip
- For the documentation we are in the process of completing and submitting so we can apply for our temporary residency cards
- For us to find the right program and pace for language study. We intend to get a tutor, and do language intensives as our schedule allows.
- For rest in the chaos
- That God continues to impress on us His love for the Polish people, and that we can represent that love to others, even while we do not know the language
Thank you for your prayers.
Peter & Heather