Expectation versus Reality

April 2022

From Heather – 

What an odd start of the year it’s been. You know those expectation versus reality memes you see all over? I think that’s how the past few months have felt here. 

We expected to complete 3-4 projects about exciting ministries in Poland and Czech and spend time encourage a culture of storytelling and gratitude. In reality, those things keep getting pushed to make way for more pressing needs. 

We expected to begin feeling more settled here and working at full capacity. In reality, our work to-do list has limited our time for language study and friendships, and various medical issues have kept my energy consistently low. 

We expected to make a nice Easter meal here. In reality, we wandered many times through our local corner store searching for premade foods and snacks after realizing the grocery stores closed at 1:00 PM on Saturday for the long weekend. We ended up joining the Valentine family who had made this mistake their first year here and were better prepared. 

On February 24th, Fat Thursday, we expected to spend the day trying new Polish sweets. In reality, we were met with the news of the attacks on Ukraine as we went over to Steve and Jenny’s house for our first pączki (polish donuts). Our conversation was filled with sorrow and uncertainty as Steve told us of the invasion in Ukraine. He’d heard about it before the media had even reached him when he received a call from our workers in Moldova who could hear explosions from across the border. 

We met with the other leaders in our region to talk about how we could respond, raise money, and keep people updated on the crisis as it unfolded. Feeling already behind on our other projects and the urgency of the need around us, I began waking up early to plan and write, working all day and still be talking to Peter about things we needed to do as we lay down to sleep for the night.

I invited a friend over to my house the following Friday. This woman is also communications professional, sister in Christ, and real-talking woman. As we talked, there was nothing we could or needed to say to each other to soothe our sorrow for our Ukrainian neighbors and the brokenness of the world around us, but she saw my exhaustion and told me directly, “Heather, you can’t keep working like this. It’s not good.”

It wasn’t until we prayed together as she was preparing to leave that I felt the weight of expectation begin to lift. If my husband was telling me to slow down, my coworkers were encouraging me to rest, and my Polish friend was reminding me to take a break, I could no longer argue. 

I can’t say I suddenly don’t feel the weight of responsibility or have supernaturally prioritized my work so that everything gets done exactly as it needs to, but I can say that week began a new pattern for me that I pray continues. A pattern of resting in the chaos, of allowing expectations to go unmet, of letting work be unfinished before taking a break, of intentionally placing projects in God’s hands. 

Since then, we have seen God continuing to work through us:
  • We’re getting ready to launch communications for our regional fund
  • We were able to travel to Albania for a few days to plan for a conference that will be held there next year – the many hours of planning were so helpful, but mostly, I’m grateful for time spent with our fellow regional leaders
  • Peter has been able to highlight some of the ways local churches here are serving refugees
  • Over $500,000 has been given to and then out from the Ukraine Relief Fund, and many churches have been blessed by it
  • We’re continuing our Polish studies
  • We just went on our first church retreat where we got to know several more young men and women at our church, and where Peter and his teammate won the spike ball tournament 
  • We’re currently working on 3 different video projects that should all be done before June

We also spent our fifth wedding anniversary in the Frankfurt airport, laughing with Jenny.  

Then after a busy few weeks, we celebrated Peter’s birthday at Taco Jesus, the best Mexican restaurant in Poznań. 

We’re coming to the US!

We’ll be in the US this summer for most of June and July. We’ll be in Denver for a few weeks for Converge’s Reach Conference and other Converge meetings, then we’ll be bouncing around quite a bit.

If you’re in Northern Illinois, Western New York, or Southeast Texas and you want to meet up, let us know!

Praise God with us
  • For a great few days with global workers and leaders in our region while we were in Albania
  • For many fun moments as we celebrated our first birthdays and anniversary in Poland
  • For a recent, good visit from Dennis and Amanda (International Leader and TCK Specialist of EuroMed)
  • For friends who are willing (and very able) to speak English with us as we continue to struggle through our language studies
  • For the successful publication of our first video in February
Pray with us
  • For our home assignment – we’ve got a lot of travel plans and church visits to plan out
  • For the renovation of our office – we’re praying we can get lights, floors, and paint done before we’re we get back from the US
  • For the projects we need to complete – that God would guide us as we shoot, write, and edit
  • For our physical and spiritual health as we begin another transition – our first home assignment and then back to Poland into a new apartment

Thank you for joining us in prayer. 

Heather and Peter

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