Another very busy month has gone by, and after spending the entirety of it in Poznań, we’re starting to feel more at home here. Small groups, language school, and a very festive holiday season have begun!
Holidays in Poznań
Święty Marcin – Saint Martin’s Day
Polish Independence Day is on November 11th. In Poland, nationalism is often tied to a particular political party, so Independence Day isn’t universally celebrated. In our city, we side-step that and celebrate St. Martin Day, which happens to fall on the same day.
Saint Martin, born 316 AD, was a Roman soldier turned French bishop. He is remembered for cutting his cloak in two so he could share half with a beggar during a snowstorm. Centuries later, according to legend, a baker in Poznań had a dream about Saint Martin riding through Poznań on his horse when the horse lost a golden shoe. The baker woke up and, inspired by the generous saint, created a horseshoe-shaped pastry to share with the poor people in his city. The St Martin’s Day croissants (Rogale Świętomarcińskie) have an almond, poppy-seed filling. Many were consumed while we walked around the open air market with our teammates.
We celebrated Thanksgiving with the Valentine family and a few friends. Turkey was difficult to find, but we managed to get a couple little guys, and Jenny and I (Heather) made a full Thanksgiving meal for the group.
The Christmas market has opened, so we went out the other day to explore. We ended up finding this nativity carving there. Otherwise, we’re enjoying the time each morning to reflect on God’s grace to us – that He humbled Himself and came to earth to restore us to Him.
Reflection from Peter – Revisiting Estonia (every day)
While we were in Estonia, one of the visiting American pastors was asking about our work, and we explained some of the process of post-production, of writing and rewriting and cutting down a story until it fits nicely in a 5-minute time frame. I was also explaining that when we’re on-location, I don’t always get to experience the sites the way I would want to because I’m focused on capturing it.
He said, “So you get to meditate on this over and over for several months after your trip?”
That idea has stuck with me as we’ve begun editing the videos from Estonia. Whether intentionally or not, he skipped right over the mild complaint about having to experience everything in these new places through a camera lens to the realization that we get to sit with these stories and images for months at a time.
The editing process involves a lot of slow repetition and prayer to do well and does resemble meditation quite often. There are quotes and whole sections of videos that stay etched in my memory for years after a video is complete. As we edit and rewatch each draft, we hear again and again how God has weaved together lives from opposite sides of the world to show His love to a people who are far from Him. And we meticulously edit the visuals and music to focus those points so that future viewers can get just a glimpse of what we’ve witnessed of God’s love and faithfulness in the places we visit.
It is such a privilege to be able to tell these stories, and we pray that God speaks through them to both encourage and challenge his people to engage more deeply in whatever God is calling them to do next.
Language learning and church
We’ve been in language school for three weeks. We have peers from North and South America, Southern Europe, and Asia. It’s been fun to learn and laugh alongside these people. After going over the basics of spelling, numbers, introducing ourselves, and class terms, we’ve begun the challenge of conjugations – the nightmare of all immigrants to Poland.
This past Sunday, we made our way through the snow to our first members’ meeting at our church, KNS. We shared our testimonies with the help of an interpreter and were voted in as members. Every week, we feel more and more welcomed into this church community of young men and women.
- We will experience what was promised to be a “true Polish Christmas Eve” with some friends on December 17. We know to anticipate a lot of fish.
- Christmas – Valentines are hosting Christmas dinner at their house for the team
- Ladies trip to Wrocław (V-roats-wahv) next week- Jenny, Miranda, and Heather are going to spend the day together in this city that everyone has recommended to us as the first new place to visit
Praise God with us
- That after several drafts and reprints, and with many friends checking the documents, our residency paperwork has been sent in!
- For our new membership with KNS.
- For new and deepening relationships as small groups have started for both of us. Church is starting to feel more like church community should, even with the language barrier.
- Language school is going well and giving us opportunities to meet some new people
- That we can finally get many places we need to via tram without consulting a map every time.
- For our friends here who help us celebrate old and new holidays with lots of laughter and good food.
Pray with us
- For our temporary residency application to be accepted with no further complications
- For our small groups as we get know each other
- For our language learning. We know it will be slow, but we are still feeling very motivated
- For upcoming meetings with our fellow communications staff at Converge (back in Orlando) as we plan how to use the content we’re creating from Estonia and think through plans for next year.
- For finding the right rhythm. With residency paperwork out of the way (for now), we can finally begin to settle into a daily routine and focus more on our communications work. Pray that we are able to balance the work of learning language and culture and our communications work.
- For our teammates and friends who have experienced multiple quarantines over the last month. Pray that God continues to work and encourage them despite the isolation.
Grateful for you,
Peter and Heather