Aug-Sept Partners Update
The Team’s Summer Highlights
One of the highlights of my summer was a trip to visit the Polish seaside with some friends. Our friend Natalia organized the trip and invited a diverse group of people from different parts of Poland. Lyndon, Alyssa, and I were so blessed by this time spent with other believers, and were challenged and encouraged by their testimonies and passion for the Lord.
One of our goals for this trip was to camp on the beach. The only potential problem was that tents weren’t allowed for camping on the wild beach. Rain in the forecast didn’t slow us down, and we all packed our belongings in our backpacks, simply taking sleeping bags and sleeping mats for the night. We had a great day at the beach, with minimal rain until the evening came. When the rain began, we searched for shelter at a beach-side snack shack. There were large umbrellas, and we gathered underneath, enjoying being together but unsure of what to do for the night. One of the guys had the idea to ask the owner of the snack shack if it would be possible for us to take shelter there for the night. He looked surprised at the request, but he agreed to let us stay there, not wanting any money in return for the favor. The evening was spent huddled under a shelter there, and we had a beautiful time of singing and praying, thanking God for His provision for us.
The next morning our friends had the idea that we should give the owner and two workers some gifts and notes of appreciation for letting us stay there. I was so challenged to see this group of young people so enthusiastic about writing personal notes, and talking together about how to share the Gospel with these people, sharing ideas of Scriptures to include, etc. After quite a lengthy preparation process, our whole group of thirteen people went and presented the gifts and notes, and the young man who was leading out shared a heartfelt word of gratitude with the worker. It was amazing to see her countenance change as he shared with her, and in that moment, I sensed something profound was happening. As we walked away, I felt God reminding me that He works through simple obedience in the small moments. I’m grateful to our Polish friends for exemplifying what it means to live lives that are committed to honoring the Father, and being intentional with sharing their faith with people they meet.
Evangelistic Concert in Warsaw
On August 22nd, Deborah, Kristin, and I had the privilege of participating in a small outdoor concert in Warsaw. The event was hosted by a local congregation from the Church of Free Christians where some of our friends attend. Our trio sang several songs in English and in Polish. A number of other groups and individuals shared a few songs as well. The event was held in the churchyard, and quite a few people listened from their apartment balconies or stopped to listen as they walked by on the sidewalk. It was a blessing to be able to serve the Lord in this way, and it was encouraging to spend this time with friends and to make new connections with other believers.
In August we began looking forward to the start of the ‘20-’21 school year. As for most people these days, the new school year brought us unusual circumstances. First, we had a very small team for school preparation in August. Alex and Alyssa had finished their two year terms, leaving only Kristin and Lyndon here as our full-time teachers. Our two new teachers had not arrived because of stringent travel restrictions during the pandemic. In addition, Jaden and Jewel had returned from the US but were in a 14-day quarantine that ended on September 3.
Secondly, we wanted to take seriously the new expectations and requirements for dealing with COVID-19. We installed sanitation stations, bought clear visors (masks are crippling in a conversational English school), and developed social distancing procedures,to name a few things. Hats off to Kristin, Lyndon, and Matt for bearing the brunt of this planning process. Registration opened on August 27 and the new school year started on September 7. Despite the extra planning and additional work, we’re thrilled to finally be in the same room with students again, after teaching online from March to June. We are grateful for each day with our students, as this school year looks more uncertain than usual.
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