September Partners Update

GTE student interaction

September Happenings

GTE Update and Students

September in Mińsk Mazowiecki means students returning to school, cooler weather, and leaves beginning to change colors. Gateway To English began English lessons on September 10 with a strong number of students. Currently, we have around forty children, thirty adults, and twenty teenagers attending in groups and around 80 students of all ages coming individually or in two-person groups. We are grateful for a lively start to the school year; we have a full school and a busy schedule that brings lots of color and activity to our lives.

grilling at a student's home

Hadassah Hershberger describes a new teaching experience she began in September: “Recently I began teaching daily in 3 preschools and a daycare in Minsk. It’s been a challenging and satisfying experience so far. I teach three different age groups: 4- to 5-year olds, 3-year olds, and toddlers who sometimes have to spit out pacifiers before identifying blocks as red, yellow, or blue. I love the energy and excitement preschoolers have when learning completely new words and concepts. It’s taking much planning and creativity to keep them entertained and focused for 30-minute sessions but it’s fun to come back the next day and see them knowing songs and words from the previous lesson. Teaching English to tiny humans definitely takes more energy and planning than adults or teens but I’m excited about spending this year with them and hopefully showing them love and care. The most difficult children I have usually come from dysfunctional homes and I pray I’ll be able to reach out and, at least in small ways, bring a sense of love and security through our times together.”

Agape church cookout

Financial Needs

The expenses of language lessons for new volunteers and team members, along with the other expenses of the summer, leave us with basically no funds on hand at the end of September. We need nearly $4,000 to pay our bills due by October 10.

The Board is working with Jaden and Jewel to raise $30,000 for their financial support this year. If you would like to contribute to that need, please contact us at homeoffice@aimpoland.org.

Give to AIM

Donors may indicate preferences for where their gifts are used (such as staff support, Gateway to English, or Seed of Truth) and AIM will honor preferences where possible. AIM reserves the right to assign all contributions where needed. If you would like additional information about how funds are used or if you wish to pledge ongoing support, please contact Matthew Mast at homeoffice@aimpoland.org or 814-789-4394.

To make a donation using credit or debit card, please visit our contact page.

July Partners Update

singing songs during day camp

July Happenings

Day Camp

Imagine a room of over seventy children ages five through 12, along with about twenty-five adults, all loudly singing praise songs. A major event of the summer was working together with the Baptist church in Minsk to organize what we call day camp, essentially vacation Bible school, for area children. The American team and youth from Agape taught English, organized games, and led groups of children, while the Baptist church had craft and the Bible lesson.
donkey rides during day camp
Sharon teaching English during day camp

Some of the highlights from the five days of day camp were these:

  • Working together with the Baptists. They have a vision for evangelism and outreach for our town, so it is encouraging to work with them in ministry. When we work together, our resources and energy go further!
  • The picnic on Thursday afternoon, when parents and grandparents attended with their children. The children enjoyed the games, face painting, and donkey rides (pictured), while adults enjoyed talking together.
  • The joy and love the camp leaders showed the children who attended. The spirit in which we relate to the children is as important as what they are taught.

Face painting during day camp

Hope Singers Tour

Over forty people traveled from the US, Australia, and Canada to form The Hope Singers 2018 choir. AIM has been organizing this choir every two years since 2004. After spending three days rehearsing, the choir left on a five-day tour to Southern Poland. The choir will also spend five days touring Northern Poland, as well as recording a CD. The choir will give around half of their concerts in evangelical churches, several in cultural centers, and one in a Catholic church. You can follow the choir on Facebook and read their daily updates. Please join us in prayer that we would be able to bless and encourage those we meet on tour.

Staff Transitions

Summer is also a time of staff transition. Kristin Herrin arrived in Poland on July 20 to begin her two-year term of service with AIM. Alex Yoder and Alyssa Zimmerman are arriving on August 4. We are grateful for their willingness to serve in Poland. Please keep them in prayer as they adjust to Polish culture, including attending a three-week intensive Polish language course.

Financial and Personnel Needs

In August, we will need $9,750 in general donations to support the team and the ongoing activities in Poland. In June, we received $5,025 in general donations. We have some reserve for August, but we anticipate a shortfall of several thousand dollars by the end of the month.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the new team members arriving in Poland and finding their place
  • Pray for the Hope Singers choir tour
  • Pray for planning and preparation for the next school year

Give to AIM

Donors may indicate preferences for where their gifts are used (such as staff support, Gateway to English, or Seed of Truth) and AIM will honor preferences where possible. AIM reserves the right to assign all contributions where needed. If you would like additional information about how funds are used or if you wish to pledge ongoing support, please contact Matthew Mast at homeoffice@aimpoland.org or 814-789-4394.

To make a donation using credit or debit card, please visit our contact page.

Spring 2018 Newsletter

Matt and Deborah Gingerich introduce themselves and tell how they are connecting to Poland and working with their fellow teachers at Gateway to English. Also, Lavern reflects on his family’s time in the U.S. on a home assignment to recharge emotionally and spiritually. Read More

May Partners Update

Church Planters Institute

Lavern traveled to Ontario at the end of May to attend the Church Planters Institute organised by DestiNations International. He describes his experience as being “a real boost and it opened some connections and doors that I believe will be invaluable. I think the most practical thing I brought away was simply a renewed vision for building the Church, both through sharing the gospel with unbelievers and by discipling those in the church. There is no secret, or special talent needed.”

End of School Picnic

May 25 was the last day of school at Gateway To English. Around seventy students came for our traditional end of year picnic. We often hold the picnic at Lavern and Lolita’s house, but this year we had it at school, which turned out quite well. Besides grilling sausage, we had a photo booth, a place to make s’mores (a new food concept for Poles), and activities for the children. It was enjoyable to make connections with some of our students’ family members. We are grateful for a good year of school and for all of the students who attended GTE this year. Pictured is Sharon with one of the students.
Sharon Eicher with a GTE student

Anabaptist Presentation at Local Catholic Church

Matt and Deborah were invited to give a presentation about Anabaptism at a local Catholic school. They enjoyed their time speaking to high school students and their teachers. While our goal is not to promote being Mennonite as the only way to God, we are grateful for this chance to talk about who we are and what we’re doing in Poland. These kinds of opportunities open up discussions about faith and give a chance to build relationships.

Financial and Personnel Needs

Now that English teaching has stopped for the summer, income in Poland has slowed to nearly nothing. In June, we will need $10,000 in general donations to support the team and the ongoing activities in Poland.

Give to AIM

Donors may indicate preferences for where their gifts are used (such as staff support, Gateway to English, or Seed of Truth) and AIM will honor preferences where possible. AIM reserves the right to assign all contributions where needed. If you would like additional information about how funds are used or if you wish to pledge ongoing support, please contact Matthew Mast at homeoffice@aimpoland.org or 814-789-4394.

To make a donation using credit or debit card, please visit our contact page.

April Partners Update

Shannon and Joella Lehman family

Final Decree: An Adoption Update from Shannon Lehman

“And now on this 17th of April, 2018… Jahna Ranae Stansfield shall have all the rights of a child and heir of Shannon and JoElla Lehman… and shall hereafter assume the name of Jahna Renae Lehman.”

And with a satisfied smile and and a few scratches of a completely illegible signature, Judge Edward Guido signed into law a one page document of court jargon; its effect: immediate, permanent, and wildly miraculous.

And in some way that illegible scrawl of signature represents well our path over the past nine years and specifically the last two. Slow difficult decisions then sudden changes in direction, sometimes bold, and other times thin, uniform and mundane. So today we get share the affirming evidence that those twisting turns and abrupt corrections were directed by an all knowing and all seeing God. None of us could possibly have traced the path through this maze and for certain could not have believed the outcome to be possible. And yet this is faith. Faith is hoping for what is either beyond or FAR beyond the horizon. Our beginnings, our endings to terms, contracts, resolutions, and will to commit effort…they are all absorbed and become but a speck in a God who rolls them all up into His eternal nature and plan. In this way we are already living eternally.

So the lines have come “full circle” and Jahna is back “home.” We have not reached the end of the journey but this is a place where we can pause to offer up specific praise for what God has done and we invite you to rejoice and delight with us.

Please do pray for us:

  • That God would lead us to preparation for and pursuing His next purposes for our family
  • We would continue to bond with and give ourselves to our children
  • That we could find a good AND affordable school for our children
  • That Jahna’s adoption story would impact those who participated with the Kingdom Good News!

Student Activities

In these images, students enjoy “Small Talk,” an evening of games and conversation with staff, and a game of four-square.
games and conversation with the GTE staff

Four-square game with GTE staff

Financial and Personnel Needs

During the next two months we hope to continue building reserves for the summer months when income from teaching English stops. We need $10,000 per month in general donations to make this possible.

Give to AIM

Donors may indicate preferences for where their gifts are used (such as staff support, Gateway to English, or Seed of Truth) and AIM will honor preferences where possible. AIM reserves the right to assign all contributions where needed. If you would like additional information about how funds are used or if you wish to pledge ongoing support, please contact Matthew Mast at homeoffice@aimpoland.org or 814-789-4394.

To make a donation using credit or debit card, please visit our contact page.

March Partners Update

Agape congregation at an early Easter service

March Happenings

Alleluia, Christ is risen! We are rejoicing in the reality of a risen Savior, who gives us hope and purpose. The Agape congregation gathered for Easter celebrations on Sunday morning at the Hershberger house for an early service of singing and testimonies, then enjoyed a meal together.

Visitors

Manu and Ria Ciocan visited in March
At the beginning of March, Manu and Ria Ciocan spent nearly a week in Mińsk. Ria previously spent four years with AIM as a volunteer.

Matt King and Lyndon Beiler had visitors from their home church of Weavertown for five days. Matt’s brother Nicky and friends Ivan Glick and Gideon Stoltzfus were in Poland for five days over Easter vacation.

Sharon and Wendy hosted Sharon's cousin and visitors from Belarus
Sharon and Wendy hosted Sharon’s cousin from the States, along with three visitors from Belarus. It was encouraging to connect with other believers and hear their stories of God’s work in Belarus.

Financial and Personnel Needs

During the next three months we hope to continue building reserves for the summer months when income from teaching English stops. We need $10,000 per month in general donations to make this possible.

Give to AIM

Donors may indicate preferences for where their gifts are used (such as staff support, Gateway to English, or Seed of Truth) and AIM will honor preferences where possible. AIM reserves the right to assign all contributions where needed. If you would like additional information about how funds are used or if you wish to pledge ongoing support, please contact Matthew Mast at homeoffice@aimpoland.org or 814-789-4394.

To make a donation using credit or debit card, please visit our contact page.

February Partners Update

February Happenings

A Visit from Melvin and Shannon Lehman

Melvin and Shannon Lehman spent the first full week of February in Mińsk. The energy and vision they gave the team on this visit was very encouraging. They stayed busy with team meetings, teaching a few English lessons, reconnecting with old friends, and helping renovate a bedroom in Lavern’s house. Shannon comments, “My heart is still very stirred and invested in the work in Poland and I offer my love and support and prayers for all of you who live and love the people in Poland faithfully every day.” We’re thankful to their wives for letting them spend a week with us here in Mińsk. We are grateful for the vision and commitment Melvin and Shannon have given over the years, and that they continue to give us energy here!

Melvin and Shannon stayed with Tadeusz Dymowski, a long-time friend. Shannon writes, “He always enjoys hosting me when I come and always talks about my parents when I’m there so I think we all received pleasure from his hospitality. We had supper with him one evening and Dad had some time with him in the mornings. He’s a man I continue to really pray for. Seems to have some understanding of the scriptures and yet doesn’t feel that call to forsake and turn and follow Jesus with all his heart. He’s also getting up there in years but has been a student, friend, and ‘uncle’ to various AIM staff for more than 10 years.” Please pray with us for our numerous friends like Tadeusz who know about Jesus but haven’t made the commitment to follow him.

Youth Meetings

Recently we started biweekly youth meetings, open for any youth interested. So far, those at the meeting have been the youth from Agape and also from other churches. It’s usually about 15 people. The main component of the meeting is Bible study, and we also have other activities such as board games, singing, or watching movies (recently we watched The Case for Christ). We’ll be studying the book of Colossians. We’ve had some good discussions and have heard much appreciation from youth who haven’t had access to any such meetings before. We appreciate your prayers for these meetings.

Ready for Spring!

As it is for teachers and school students everywhere, February can stretch out into a seemingly never-ending month. We’ve been grateful for a lot of sunny weather this winter, which helps give us hope for spring. We feel energized by the increasingly warmer weather and the longer days.

Financial and Personnel Needs

  • During the next four months we hope to build reserves for the summer months when income from teaching English stops. We need $10,000 per month in general donations to make this possible.

Give to AIM

Donors may indicate preferences for where their gifts are used (such as staff support, Gateway to English, or Seed of Truth) and AIM will honor preferences where possible. AIM reserves the right to assign all contributions where needed. If you would like additional information about how funds are used or if you wish to pledge ongoing support, please contact Matthew Mast at homeoffice@aimpoland.org or 814-789-4394.

To make a donation using credit or debit card, please visit our contact page.

January Partners Update

Matt and Deborah with the volunteers in Portugal

January Happenings

Lavern’s Return

Lavern and Lolita and their family returned to Poland on January 7. Lavern writes, “We arrived back in Poland 2 weeks ago. In some ways it seems like we never left Poland and the time in the U.S. was just a dream. But we are definitely rejuvenated and have fresh energy and vision from our time there. Thanks to all of you who helped make our time there so beneficial. It’s been an adjustment saying farewell to the people we grew close to in the U.S., but we are thankful for all we received. Since returning, we’ve been busy unpacking and getting our house re-stocked and re-organized. Lolita’s grandmother died on January 10 and she was able to watch the funeral via live video. Our brothers and sisters here in Poland have welcomed us back warmly and we are happy to be with them again.”

Seed of Truth

We sent out a 7-question survey to readers of the Seed of Truth magazine. Over 100 people responded, nearly all with appreciation, as well as a few suggestions for improvement. It is obvious that this magazine is meeting a real need in the lives of believers throughout Poland. Thank God that we can continue to distribute this magazine here.

Winter Break

The two-week winter school holiday fell in January this year. Matt and Deborah and the volunteers were able to take advantage of cheap tickets and travel to Lisbon, Portugal. In stark contrast to the wintry weather of Poland, Lisbon was warm and colorful. They returned to Poland refreshed and re-energized.

At the end of winter break, the Gateway to English team paid a two-day visit to an English school in Krakow. This school, Graceland, is run by two Canadian ladies with the vision of spreading the gospel through teaching English. This trip has become an annual tradition and the team always looks forward to getting teaching inspiration and fellowshipping with the team there. The GTE team assisted in teaching group lessons and led the singing at Graceland’s Friday evening Bible study. We begin the spring semester with added refreshment and encouragement.

Spicher Family Loss

After a battle with cancer, Sharon Spicher’s father passed away suddenly on January 2. She flew back to Pennsylvania to be with her family as soon as she could. Please keep Sharon and her family in your prayers.

Financial and Personnel Needs

  • During the next five months we hope to build reserves for the summer months when income from teaching English stops. We need $10,000 per month in general donations to make this possible.
  • We need another male and another female teacher to begin in August 2018. For more information, contact Matt Gingerich at administrator@aimpoland.org.

Give to AIM

Donors may indicate preferences for where their gifts are used (such as staff support, Gateway to English, or Seed of Truth) and AIM will honor preferences where possible. AIM reserves the right to assign all contributions where needed. If you would like additional information about how funds are used or if you wish to pledge ongoing support, please contact Matthew Mast at homeoffice@aimpoland.org or 814-789-4394.

To make a donation using credit or debit card, please visit our contact page.

Our prayer and praise requests are updated at www.aimpoland.org/pray/.