God’s at Work in Poland!

I would like to share just a little bit about the mission trip to Poland that I and several members of our family participated in this past month. Many of you joined in sending us on this trip when you participated in our fundraising sale early in the year. You helped us raise over $4000 for the trip! Thank you for your part in this mission effort!

Eleven people from our church, plus folks from Alaska, British Columbia, Florida, New York, and Japan all joined forces in Poznan, practiced singing together for several hours, and then took to the streets to reach the Polish people for Christ!

Here we are practicing in a Christian school after a couple tram rides and a hike through the woods to get here.

Joseph, our second-born son, directed our choir, and did a fantastic job of making us sound a lot better than we would have without his coaching. One morning, during our devotions together, he read the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20.

An Edomite army was on the verge of attacking the people of Judah. Proclaiming a fast among the people, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord’s help and prayed,

“Lord, God of our fathers, are you not  God in heaven? You  rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you . . . We do not know what to do, but  our eyes are on you.”

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jehaziel, who told the people not to be afraid, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.”

Jehoshaphat devised a “battle plan” unlike any other. He appointed singers to go before the army, with one job — to praise God for His steadfast love! The people of Judah never raised a hand to fight! The Lord set an ambush against their enemies and defeated them!

Joseph, as he read this account to us, reminded us that music is a weapon that God has given us. When we sing, when we worship God and give thanks to Him through song, He flexes His mighty arm and exercises His holy will.

We went into Poland with songbooks and thankful hearts, eager to serve Him. The rest was up to God, and I believe He blessed our efforts!

 

Our job was to gather in public places, sing His praises (in a language that most Polish people didn’t even understand!), and distribute invitations to concerts that we would be singing later during the week. In those concerts, the Gospel would be preached (and translated into Polish).

Our first efforts were met with rain — rain that God in His sovereign plan had allowed at that time. When it rained, we took cover or explored the town. When it quit raining, we sang.

This was a concert we performed under a cover in a beautiful park — while it rained. We didn’t have a big crowd, but the people that God wanted to be there were there, and stayed to hear God’s Word preached — while they huddled under umbrellas.

 

We sang in this plaza until it rained too hard to keep singing. While we sang, Bogumil (Bubu), the Polish pastor, and several others passed out invitations to our formal concerts.

 

Here we are, gathered on the cobblestones of a shopping district, once more singing God’s praises before He again chose to send rain. We went back to our hostel pretty soaked after this round!

This day was amazing! We arrived at the Old Town square of Poznan just minutes before a major tourist attraction occurred. People were crowded in front of the town hall to watch the goats come out of its clock tower to butt each other twelve times at noon. We hustled onto the steps of the building, sang the one song we knew in Latin, acknowledged the applause of tourists who just assumed we were part of the event, and scrambled into the crowd to distribute our invitations! Only God could have timed things so perfectly!

This concert was performed in a beautiful little brick church with amazing acoustics! Quite a few people came, listened to the music, and heard the Word of God preached. And we had a blast!

Our first Sunday in Poland was spent worshipping with the believers from several small Polish churches. We met in the loft of a barn at a horse and pig farm, and shared sweet fellowship around the Word, stumbled through the Polish words of familiar hymns, sang for the Polish believers, and stuffed ourselves with the amazing feast they had prepared for our day of rest.

The next day we boarded a train and traveled six hours north to the beautiful city of Gdansk on the edge of the Baltic Sea. We fell in love with the city and its waterfront and Old Town filled with beautiful churches, ornate and colorful houses, artists, and outdoor restaurants.

Pawel, the pastor of the Gdansk church, set up a literature table in the town square, and we sang for 10 or 15 minutes every hour or so, drawing people’s attention, and then passing out invitations to our concerts. Pawel boldly preached to the groups that gathered.

We held two concerts in the courtyard of a restaurant, and the rest were in the Town Square. At the first restaurant concert, I really enjoyed talking to a couple mothers who were venturing into homeschooling with their children. They are the pioneers of homeschooling in Poland, much like those who first started homeschooling in the states in the 1980’s.

 

Here the leader of the group from our church preaches at a concert while Bubu translates for him.

I think one of the highlights of the trip for all of us was the unexpected opportunity to sing in the huge St. Mary’s Cathedral in Old Town Gdansk. Begun in 1379 by Catholics, this brick church became the biggest Evangelical Lutheran church in the world from 1577 until 1945, when it was transferred back to the Catholic diocese. It can hold 25,000 people! It was an amazing place to sing! The Nicene Creed echoed all through the building, long after we stopped singing.

We were so thankful to see some fruit from our efforts when fifteen people (4 from Holland and the rest from Gdansk) visited the tiny Gdansk congregation for the first time on the following Sunday! God has graciously used our labors to plant seeds in many hearts, and you can join us in praying that those seeds will bear fruit.

What a rich day of worship we shared. Here’s our daughter Bethany’s description of part of the day:

“…We took communion together and were able to sing the Doxology in both Polish and English simultaneously. It was a beautiful example of our time in Poland and the fellowship God has given us with the Polish saints. Even those of us that do not have a single word in common, can work together as we run in the same Race and are changed by the same Love. That Doxology is something we will not forget. After the service, we sang for the last time as a chorale. Some of us got a bit emotional…God has truly blessed us by bringing us together and giving us the joy of singing!” 

 

After the church service, we shared a delicious meal, a makeshift volleyball game, and some informal music together — in Polish and English. And then we had to say goodbye. It was our last day in Poland. The next morning we all went our separate ways — with new friendships, a greater appreciation for the work the Polish pastors are doing, a deeper trust in our mighty and loving God, a greater respect for the power of music, a renewed commitment to pray for and support the Polish believers, and a humble thankfulness for the opportunity we were given to minister in this way.


This is most of our team along with many of the believers and visitors in the Gdansk church.

 

This is a picture of our family members that went to Poland — Rebekah (our soon-to-be daughter-in-law), Benjamin, me, Bethany, Hannah and Joseph. Thank you to those of you who prayed for us and helped support our work! Please continue to pray. And thanks for taking the time to read this post. (It was a long one, huh?)

 

Photos courtesy Evangelos.

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4 Comments

  1. Hello Pam

    I am reading your blog with great joy as you give out so many wonderful parenting ideas and also ideas how to live a good life as a Christian.

    I am living in Germany with my family and I was raised in a catholic household. So reading about your Poland journey I have one big questions that I would like to ask: Living near Poland during the last 40 years I know that Poland is one of the most Catholic coundtries that I know about. There are so many Christians! In fact the revolution that freed the country from communism 20 years ago startet in the catholic churches!

    So my question is: Why are you doing missionary trips to Poland? Are you trying to convince catholic christians to leave their church and join yours? Is that what Jesus wanted? Or are there really that many people non believing after that long and dark period of communism?

    Maybe I am too sceptical but I would love to be able to keep on following your blog!

    Greetings from Germany
    Katja

  2. Every country, no matter how Christian it may appear or claim to be, still has people who need Christ. We went to Poland, trusting God to work in the hearts of those people in need, using us in whatever way He chose.

    And in the process, we were deeply blessed to fellowship with other believers in another country. Stepping outside our own little world always reminds us that God is a BIG God, who gave His Son Jesus, as Savior for all who put their trust in Him — wherever they live and whatever language they speak. Our goal was to make that gospel message available to any heart that God had prepared.

  3. Hello Pam

    Thank you very much for your answer. Maybe because of my education I am quite sceptical towards all missionary. But the way you explain it, it makes so much sense! Maybe I should get more information about it all, so I can really understand.

    By the way, if you ever translate the book Polished Cornerstones, please let me know – I would so much love to work through such a great book with my little daughter, but there is nothing like that available on the German market (maybe I get it in English as soon as she learnes the language).

    Greetings from Germany
    Katja

  4. I am really loving the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A few of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?