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/.

August Partners Update

August Happenings

Staff Updates

Matt and Deborah Gingerich (Guys Mills, PA) have agreed to serve in Poland for the 2017-2018 school year. Matt will take on the role that Shannon filled, providing leadership for the school and oversight for the finances of AIM. Matt’s three years of service as a volunteer teacher (2009-2012) give him valuable preparation for this work. Matt and Deborah plan to arrive in Poland on September 26.

From the Lehmans

Life is full of transitions and change. In fact, life on earth IS a transition. We feel deeply grateful for the support and flexibility of the team in Poland and the AIM board for their recognition of the significance of the call to come back to the States to provide a home and care for Jahna. It’s been nine years since she’s been in our home. We are all happy to be reunited but the energy and focus it takes to stay engaged and hopeful is beyond our capacity. We praise God for power and for His might which is helping us to take back the ground that’s been lost in those years. We are astounded that so many brothers and sisters have entered this story for Jahna’s sake and are stepping up without complaint, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Victory is ours. Hallelujah!

More details on the story will be coming in the next newsletter. Shannon’s are living in Chambersburg, Pa for the time being as they make their way forward through fostering and required visits with Jahna’s mother. Shannon will be travelling to Poland the last week of September to help prepare Matthew Gingerich to take over administrative responsibilities there.

An update from the staff at GTE

We are so proud of them for stepping up when Shannon’s had to leave so suddenly.
We’ve been really glad that all of us teachers have at least a year of experience. Registration and the first week of school were much easier because we all knew what to expect this year. Beginning a year with a completely new schedule and lots of new students can be a challenge, but it’s also fun to see many of the same students back again. We currently have a little over 100 students enrolled, but we’ve had quite a few new students show up to register during our first week of classes. It will take a few weeks for everyone to settle in as kids’ school schedules change and we try to make sure that everyone is in a suitable class for their level.

The month of August was spent building deeper relationships with students and church families. We also took a bike trip into the eastern forests of Poland. Then it was time to prepare for the new school year! Praise God for the new students and for those who have been coming for many years like Pani Halina. She’s over seventy years old and still rarely cancels a class. Here she is having pizza with Sharon and Wendy just because they’re friends!

Financial and Personnel Needs

Airfare for Matt and Deborah: $1,130

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/.

July Partners Update

Peter translating during a service

July Happenings

Important News

Because of recent changes in the status of a foster child who was part of Shannon and JoElla’s family for a few years, Shannon and JoElla and their children will be moving back to the United States on August 5. They will be settling in the Chambersburg, PA area for the near future. This sudden departure means that there is a gap in administrative personnel in Poland. The Board is working hard to develop a plan to provide leadership and support for the team. As that plan develops, we will share additional information in Partners.

Word from the Lehmans

Please pray for our family. These are sudden changes compressed into an extremely tight window of time. The focus cannot be on us though. It has got to be on Christ because the storm around me is overwhelming when I try to weigh it against my chance of survival. Jahna needs a family to be her anchor, a north star from which to orient herself after nine years of constant change and upheaval. We will answer that call boldly as we have witnessed the miracles that have even made it possible. We will not shrink back and I urge you, our supporters, to step forward at this time and to help AIM as this is requiring some resources and energy that we couldn’t calculate for. We cannot expect warfare to be different… it will be costly and will demand sacrifice from all of us. Thanks for partnering in this fight even with its unexpected twists and turns.

An Update from Lavern’s

We are having a good time in the U.S. We’ve been in Montezuma, Georgia with Lolita’s family, except for a week we spent in Virginia. We’re glad that we can help out around Grandpa and Grandma’s place—in the wood shop and in the chicken house. Hadassah and Annaliese are enjoying the youth group at the Word of Life church where we attend. We’re engaging in friendships and conversations that refresh and encourage our souls.

Lavern feeding chickens

Agape Church Update

Summer means people are travelling and taking vacations, but it also means we get to host some visitors as well. Polish people take their vacation seriously…they don’t come for the weekend, but rather for a week or two. One brother shared his story of redemption with us. God miraculously spared his life even after he jumped from seven stories in an attempt to kill himself. Peter (R) is translating here, and has also been organizing our meetings and leading out in church administration while Lavern’s family is on home assignment. He is doing a very good job and as he would say “keeping the vertical position.”

Peter translating during a service

Report from Lyndon’s service trip

Lyndon Beiler and his brother Lavelle spent in southwestern Poland helping with a church family camp. Lyndon said, “It was definitely a highlight of my year in Poland. It was exciting to see God at work in the lives of the campers, and it was an excellent opportunity to practice Polish with both the kids and adults. As far as contacts with good people in different parts of Poland, it was like hitting the jackpot, and it was really encouraging to feel the energy and excitement from the short term North American team.”
Lyndon and Lavelle helping with a church family camp

We are very thankful for the strong team of VS personnel we have here right now. Please keep supporting them and praying for them.

Financial and Personnel Needs

Airfare for Shannon’s family cost $3,031. We anticipated this expense sometime in 2018, not in July 2017. Funds are available to cover this cost, but this has the potential to create a cash flow issue in August.

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/.