A New Year and the Familiarly Foreign

January 2023

From Heather: Familiarly foreign is the best way to sum up how I see life in Poland today. After celebrating our second Christmas and second New Year in Poland, I find myself reflecting on how my perspective changed over the course of 2022.

We were recently on a trip to Wisła with 6 other couples from our church. Wisła is a city in the southwestern Polish mountains, and we were all ready to spend lots of time skiing. Instead the last of the man-made snow was melting from the slopes as the temperature refused to drop below freezing. We settled on occupying ourselves mostly with walks and board games. 

As we did our best to pick up bits and pieces of the conversations swirling around us, I was grateful that while there’s still a lot I don’t understand, the language no longer feels foreign. 

When we sat down to breakfast, I knew to expect kiełbasa and the ingredients for open-faced sandwiches with hard boiled eggs, tomato slices, cheese, and lots of mayonnaise. While not the breakfast foods we’re used to, we’ve come to appreciate the meal.

With the ever-present cultural and language barrier, I can’t say we left this trip fast friends with anyone, but I can say I am grateful for these men and women who are after genuine, Christ-honoring relationships. They are honoring, encouraging and inclusive, even when they have to explain the rules to a board game to us in English for a third or fourth time.

Exploring Wisła in the first week of January

The most familiar foreignness is our ever-present struggle understand what life should look like for us here. We often reach the end of a week exhausted and overwhelmed while also feeling like we didn’t actually accomplish anything. We come across constant slow-downs and road blocks in our work and language study. We spend a week solving an unexpected banking problem or trying to figure out what’s needed for our next step in acquiring our residency permits. During our week in Wisła, we found it difficult to know if and when we should sit down and “work” for an hour or two, as if the relationships we’re developing and language exposure are only half-work. I know this to be a problem that never fully goes away and isn’t exclusive to us or even to missions. Still, the feeling of “why don’t I have this figured out yet?” creeps in regularly. 

We have to keep reminding ourselves of the same truths: God desires for us to grow to be more like Him and to be faithful even in the little things of life regardless of how much we feel like we’re accomplishing. 

It has also been encouraging to see the work God is doing through the people around us. We had the opportunity to go to the opening of a new church and ministry center in Szczecin a few weeks ago. This church has an amazing history and vision, and we’re so excited for how God will use it. 

Szczecin Baptist Church/Szczecin Christian Center

We’ve also been able to welcome Yana Osipenko, a new Converge global worker, to Poznań this month. Yana is an amazing woman and has already been such a joy to have here.

Picking up Yana and her dog Brewer from the airport in Frankfurt
Since our last update, we have completed three video projects:
The Refuge Ministry Center Transition
Tartu, Estonia

The Refuge’s leadership recently passed from the American missionary that started it to an Estonian woman that has been part of the ministry since the beginning. It was exciting to work with a ministry we had heard about for many years because of its connection to Chapelstreet. 

The Adkins’ Vision Trip (Estonia)
Tartu, Estonia

The Adkins Family is raising support to move to Tartu. They were on their vision trip when we last visited the team are currently at 43% of their funding. 

The Martinez’s Vision Trip
Szczecin, Poland

The Martinez family is raising support to move to Szczecin, and we got to sit down with them briefly at the end of their visit. They are currently at 70% of their funding. 

Please pray with us that these projects support these ministries well and that these videos are an encouragement and useful tool for these families.

As we look at the year ahead, we’re filled with anticipation for what God will be able to do through our ministry. We’re praying for trips to several countries in our Great Sea Initiative. The countries that were the birthplace of Christianity are now unreached. We’re excited to meet and reconnect with missionaries and local leaders who have been seeing some incredible growth and perseverance in their family of believers.

Please pray for our upcoming travel and for the videos we will be creating to serve these ministries.

February 7 – 19: Mediterranean country – Connection and filming with global worker and Biblical tour
March 6 – 20: Tirana, Albania and another Mediterranean country – Connection and filming with three missionary families and several local leaders
May unknown: Czech Republic – connection and filming with missionary family
June 27 – July 7: Durres, Albania – Gathering (conference for Converge Europe & Mediterranean global workers)
September 6 – 12: UK and Ireland – connection and filming with missionary family and several local leaders

Praise God with us
  • For the opportunities we’ve had to connect more with couples from our church
  • For three more complete projects to serve our missionaries
  • For the new workers coming to Poland and other parts of our region
Pray with us
  • For continued progress in our Polish
  • For our upcoming trips: safety and ease of travel, time with missionaries, and successful video shoots
  • For wisdom as we edit the remaining projects from Estonia and Poland

Heather and Peter

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