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/.

December Partners Update

singing carols before Christmas

December Happenings

Christmas in Poland

We held our traditional Christmas carol evening at church, inviting students, friends, and neighbors to sing kolędy, traditional Polish carols, on the Thursday before Christmas. It was not a large group of people, but we enjoyed singing together and chatting over cookies and hot chocolate afterwards.

The American team (Matt & Deborah Gingerich, Lyndon Beiler, Matt King, Sharon Spicher, and Wendy Yoder) spent Christmas Eve with Piotr & Jola Ławrynowicz and their family. They graciously opened their home to us, and we greatly enjoyed our time together reading the Christmas story, eating twelve different dishes at dinner, singing, and exchanging presents. Our Polish church family is a rich blessing and it is special to celebrate with them at times like this.

Christmas eve supper

Christmas eve supper with Piotr and Jola

Christmas Eve, or Wigilia, is a significant Polish holiday and a very religious event, although some people celebrate it only because they feel cultural pressure to do so. The Incarnation is the most important reason to celebrate; we hope and pray that more people in Poland will find true meaning in Christ.

Christmas Holiday

During the one-week Christmas vacation, the American team traveled to Prague for three days. We were glad for the chance to take a break from school and experience another European culture. We are grateful for a good fall term of school; please join us in praying for continued energy and good relationships with our students as we begin the spring semester.

Financial and Personnel Needs

  • We are ending the calendar year with adequate funds to be “in the black,” and we are grateful. However, as we enter the second half of the fiscal year (January-June) we sense a need 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 one single man and two single women to teach conversational English starting 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/.

November Partners Update

Daniel Faferko family singing at Agape on Sunday morning

November Happenings

Thanksgiving Small Talk

The day after Thanksgiving, we hosted our traditional Thanksgiving-themed Small Talk event for our students. Instead of focusing on the history of this American holiday, we wanted to emphasize gratitude. Each person present wrote what they were thankful for on a paper leaf and then pinned it to a “thankfulness tree.” We had prepared some traditional American food and enjoyed the evening of talking and getting to know our students better.

November 24 Small Talk event at GTE

November 24 Small Talk event at GTE

We’re thankful for our many interesting and enjoyable students. They come from all walks of life and have had many interesting life experiences. Our goal is to give our students professional English lessons that will build their language skills while showing them the love of Christ. In the process, they teach us. We learn how to be better listeners, get to know Polish culture and traditions, and, most of all, make friends. We are grateful to have good students and that so many of them have become friends.

November 24 Small Talk event at GTE

Agape enjoyed another visit from the Daniel Fąferko family from western Poland. It is always encouraging to have friends and fellow believers visit from other places. We enjoyed the music Daniel’s family shared with us in our Sunday morning service.

Daniel Faferko family singing at Agape on Sunday morning

Financial and Personnel Needs

  • In the last five months, expenses have exceeded income by nearly $10,000. Our reserves are nearly depleted.
  • We need one single man and two single women to teach conversational English starting 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/.

Summer 2017 Newsletter

Shannon Lehman explains their family’s unexpected return to the States to care for a foster daughter, and Piotr Lawrynowicz provides his perspective on the challenges the Agape congregation has faced in the last six months. Read More

October Partners Update

October Happenings

Encouragement from Visitors

Phil and Linda Beiler and their two youngest children, Abigail and Zachary, spent two weeks in Mińsk at the beginning of October. At the end of a six-week time in Europe, they came to Poland to encourage the church and provide some teaching and mentoring while Lavern’s are in the States. Phil preached at both of the Sunday morning services they attended and they contributed to other church events such as prayer meeting. They spent time with church families and the American team members. Matt and Deborah traveled with them to visit the Marek Widzyk family one day as well. The church enjoyed the energy and encouragement they brought.

Daniel Fąferko and Szymon Matusiak, two Polish pastors from other parts of the country, are also contributing to church life while Lavern’s are gone. They come periodically to Mińsk to preach and spend time with the church. We enjoy the chance to fellowship with other believers in Poland.

Language Training

Matt and Deborah Gingerich have finished their three-week intensive language classes in Warsaw, Deborah at a beginner level and Matt at an intermediate level. The classes were very helpful, but the Gingerich’s are glad to have more time to spend in Mińsk now. Deborah writes: “To learn a language requires becoming like a little child—you must be okay with making mistakes, not taking others’ corrections too personally, and be brave enough to speak even with a limited vocabulary.”

All-Saints Day Prayer

November 1 is All-Saints Day, a very important holiday in Poland. Many people celebrate by gathering with family for the day, then spending the evening visiting the graves of deceased family members. Although there are potentially good outcomes of this day, we are also reminded that, for so many Poles, people lack assurance of salvation. Pray with us that the light and freedom of Christ would continue to change lives in Poland.

Financial and Personnel Needs

Financial support and housing for members of the AIM team cost nearly $5,800 per month.

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/.

September Partners Update

September Happenings

Transitions and Fresh Vision

Matt and Deborah Gingerich arrived in Mińsk on September 26. They spent their first week in Poland settling in and getting acquainted with school schedules and procedures. They are staying at Lavern’s house for now, but are searching for an apartment. They hope to find a place to live within the next week. They will take intensive Polish language classes for the next three weeks. Matt writes, “We have greatly enjoyed our time with the team and the church family so far, and we look forward to the next year. It is encouraging to see what God is doing in Poland; we are privileged to join the work here.”

Shannon Lehman returned to Poland over the time of Matt and Deborah’s arrival to guide the transition of responsibility and help them get established. He reflects on his visit:

“Arriving in Warsaw I was chased down and surrounded by the ‘Fearsome Foursome’ [the four teachers]. Their joy and energy was on full display and gave me such joy and relief. I was so far away from my family and yet with them I really felt like I was returning home. I saw that they were in good spirits and had taken care of each task and of each other. I know the church group was extremely small during that time and while they felt the loss of momentum they still gave their energy and it helped. The church cannot thank them enough for this.

I can report that God is moving and stirring the hearts at Agape with fresh vision. I believe that their courage and dedication to a thriving and growing church in Minsk Mazowiecki is visible and that this vision is absolutely possible. The group is small, but still mighty.”

Special Thanks

A special thank you to the parents and friends of our VS staff. They are top notch—dependable in adverse and unexpected circumstances. The best is certainly yet to come!

Challenges facing the mission in Poland

We are looking for ways to give our mission and church exposure in the town of Minsk Mazowiecki. Since Catholics have no categories for a church that meets in a regular-looking venue, they remain relatively ignorant of the beliefs, practices, and ministries of AIM. They usually know about our school, but rarely that we are, more importantly, a church. We are planning to set up some displays and information in the town market at the end of October. Please do pray for this event. We want to be obvious and available, but not pushy. Our prayer is that Jesus would be proclaimed and honored by our words and actions that day.

We need wisdom to work toward inspiring and supporting leadership development at Agape.

Financial and Personnel Needs

  • $945 for Shannon’s travel to Poland during the time of transition
  • Financial support and housing for members of the AIM team, costing nearly $5,800 per month

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/.