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Showing posts from May, 2013

Schiphol

Good flight from Warsaw to Amsterdam - through US security check and at gate awaiting flight to Atlanta.

Finishing well

Today was a day to kick back and prepare for leaving.  Don gave us some directions about using the buses, metro, and trams, helped to steer us to desired directions, and told us when and where to meet this afternoon.  We went in different directions in groups, and all ended up at our rendezvous point.  We ate at a Polish Chinese restaurant before heading back to our hotel to pack, debrief, and share communion together.  Now for a few hours sleep, and then it's off to the airport at 4:00 a.m.  Looking forward to seeing our loved ones in about 36 hours!

From Krakow to Warsaw

We arrived in Warsaw shortly after midnight.  We spent most of the day shopping and touring the sights in Krakow, including Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral.  We left Krakow at about 6:00 p.m. and drove to Warsaw.  We stopped for an amazing dinner of Polish cuisine (including smalec - bread with lard - it's much better than it sounds!).  We'll be up early for a free day in Warsaw before heading home on Thursday.  Sleep well!

Chocolate and Rain in Krakow

Today didn’t go exactly as planned, but flexibility is part of the plan.  Our original plan was to have a free day in Krakow after visiting the Schindler Museum, but when we got to the museum shortly after opening time, we discovered that we would have to purchase tickets that were timed for entry over two hours later.  So, we hoped a tram back to the center of town, bid goodbye to Betty, who had to take a train back to Białystok, and went  to the center of Krakow for an hour.  This gave us a little time to shop and to scope out the area for a more extended visit tomorrow.  Then we hopped a tram back to the Schindler Museum (after a bit of uncertainty about which tram number and which stop we needed to find) while a bit of a thunderstorm rolled through the city, followed by occassional periods of light rain off and on throughout the day.

The Schindler Museum commemorates the occupation of Krakow by the Nazis and the work of Oskar Schinder to protect Jews.  Schindler, raised with the an…

On the Road Again...

(Posted by Rachel) – Shocker of shockers! Today the team was actually able to sleep in (sleep? what is that luxury?).  After a restful night and relaxed traditional Polish breakfast – of sandwiches and sausage – our team packed our bags and hit the road. We attended church in Sosnowiec, a church pastored by Daniel.  Don Orr delivered the message in English, and used a translator to re-convey the message in Polish (though Don’s Polish is excellent).  Once again, we experienced something incredible – a unity in Christ that goes beyond the bounds of language and culture.  Though we are so different, the God that we praise is the same.  How great is Yahweh!

After church we bid Daniel and his sweet family goodbye after sharing an incredible Polish buffet.  We then drove from Sosnowiec to Krakow, and attended another service at Graceland Language School, where a young man from Ukraine (who speaks 5 languages!) led a nice discussion about dealing with temptation, based on the life of Joseph. …

Sprains, Trains, and Helicopters

Everyone is safe and well.  Sometimes, it’s better to start with the conclusion before giving the details, and this is one of those days.  It was also a day that reminded me of Proverbs 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”  Our Saturday in southern Poland started off with beautiful weather, meeting up with a group of young adults who had been invited by Daniel’s church to go hiking.  Daniel couldn’t join us because his wife was in labor – and we found out later that he and Gosia now have a healthy baby boy, Jeremiah Adam.  Our Polish hosts had planned a day that was a bit more elaborate than we had envisioned, including rock climbing, a competitive race between two castles, and roasting kielbasa in a bonfire.

By 11:00 we pulled into the parking lot of the national park, staring straight at the ruins of an old stone castle.  We packed up our gear and headed to the campsite a kilometer away, wending our way around the castle ruins, with alpine fo…

Będzin

Dr. E. here – I feel bad that I’m doing most of the blog updates as I know you would like to hear from others, but by the time we get back to the hotel most of the students are ready to crash.  Today was a very long, very good day.  After breakfast at our hotel, we traveled about 20 minutes to the town of Będzin,  Several months ago, I had contacted a Polish friend from past trips named Asia (“Ah-sha”) to let her know we would be in her part of Poland.  She arranged to have an English language fair for her high school students, and also invited middle school students.  This was a really big deal.  There was a large bulletin board filled with pictures and information about Malone University, and we found out that Asia has been having her students surf Malone’s website to find out things about the school that interested them.  We were welcomed in the auditorium by the principal of the high school, and engaged in an exchange of gifts.  Dr. Harris and I later met with Asia and the princip…

Auschwitz

Most of us spent the morning at Auschwitz and Birkenau.  (While the rest of the group went to Auschwitz, Dr. E., Don, and Betty met with the grandparents of a young woman who is in a doctoral program with Dr. E’s oldest daughter.  All of their children and grandchildren live in the U.S., and Dr. E. was able to bring some gifts to them from their son’s family.  They live in Oświęcim, the Polish town in which the Auschwitz camp is located.)  Auschwitz was originally a Polish army barracks, which was taken over by the Nazi occupiers.  After they expanded the camp, it held about 10,000 prisoners, and was the site of the Nazi experiments to use cyanide to -kill large numbers of people.  It is estimated that about 60,000 people were killed there in its gas chambers, starvation cells, firing squads, and from starvation / slave labor.  When the Nazis decided to make Auschwitz the site of the “final solution of the Jewish problem”, they added a larger camp in Birkenau, five kilometers away, wh…

Sosnowiec

Hello all!! It has been a wonderful day here in the great country of Poland!!!!  We had an early morning, starting at about 7:00 a.m. to eat breakfast, after which we made our way to the city of Sosnowiec, Poland.  We traveled to the house of a family that Dr. E and Don have known for years.  Our service project for the day was to do a partial home renovation to help them with last minute preparations before their new baby comes.  Daniel and Gosia (Go-sha) have three children, and the fourth is due within a week.  The different jobs that we did included cleaning, building furniture, painting rooms, refinishing doors, and gardening.  Daniel is the pastor of a small church in Sosnowiec, and it was wonderful to minister to people who spend most of their lives caring for others.

Our biggest project of the day was remodeling Timothy’s room.  He is the oldest child, and as soon as the baby is big enough, the two boys will share a room.  When we got there the room was bright green and slightl…

Wieliczka & Graceland (No, not the one with Elvis...)

Today we went through the Wieliczka Salt mine which has been continuously mined since the 13th century.  It is full of statuary, cathedrals, and wall carvings that were made by ordinary miners over the past 700 years.  Our tour took over two hours, walking through four kilometers of tunnels and caverns to a depth of 335 meters below ground.  We had soup for lunch in a restaurant at the end of the tour in an underground cavern, and then took a mining elevator to the surface, with nine people in an elevator that was about three feet by seven feet in almost complete darkness for about 90 seconds – if you’ve got claustrophobia – oh well!

Afterwards, we drove to a Polish grocery store (think Sam’s Club on steroids).  We then went to Graceland, a ministry that uses English language classes to share the gospel.  We worked with a group of high school students, and then with adults.  We also had some time to process what we’ve been learning so far.

We got back to the hotel rather late, and need …

Twelve hours on the road

Today was a long day on the road.  We spent about an hour going through a Russian market in Białystok before hitting the road.  What we thought would be an eight our drive turned into a twelve hour trip due to numerous detours onto back roads, but it allowed us to drop by Zakosciele, where Dr. E. led a conference for pastors on a previous Malone SLT, and the site of a 12th century church.  We spent a bit of time there looking at the church, and hiking around the Christian conference center.  Then we hit the road again, finally arriving in Krakow around 10:00 p.m.  Our hotel had lost our reservation, but we were able to book rooms nearby.  So, from a very tired group, we bid you good night.  ~ Dr. E.

Four hours of church services and a lot of food...

Hello everyone!  Today was a great day of worship, conversation and food.  We spent the morning in worship at Belsk Podlaski, where we had built tables and chairs yesterday.  Dr. Harris and Dr. E. delivered the sermons (yes, two half hour sermons in a two hour service is their norm at this church), and the girls sang two songs and Ezra and Tom gave their testimonies.  The congregation was very responsive to the testimonies and thanked the guys for sharing.  After the church service, we had coffee, tea, and dessert cakes, while the ladies of the church made us a great meal – followed by more cake.  During the meal, we took more time to share testimonies, which included the members of the church.  Before heading back to Don’s home, we visited an elderly woman who had asked us to pray for the sale of her home – and she had drinks and dessert waiting for us.  She was very hospitable and was grateful for the prayer.  On the way back to Don’s, most of us slept thanks to the full stomachs. A…

11 Maj, 2013 – Bielsk Podlaski

Today we traveled from Białystok to a church in Belsk Podlaski - about 90 minutes south of Białystok - where we assembled 8 Ikea tables and 32 Ikea chairs that were purchased for the church with some of the funds that we raised for our trip.  The tables and chairs will be used for a fellowship hall that was built in an attic space above the church.  After we got done, we were treated to coffee, tea, and fresh punchki, a traditional Polish doughnut, usually filled with a small amount of jam and covered with melted sugar, powdered sugar, or chocolate.  We then arranged the tables and covered them with hundreds of articles of clothing that had been collected by the medical university students to give to those in need.  Afterwards, several families came by and went through the clothing, taking what they could use.  On a dare, Dr. E. tried to slip on a pair of four inch stilettos – let’s just say that his feet and legs were not meant for walking in high heels.

When we were done at the churc…

Białystok

Greetings from Białystok.  For those of you who don't have your Poland geography down pat, Białystok is about three hours north-northeast of Warsaw near the border with Belarus.  We had a lot of opportunities to meet with other people today, first with a group of young and middle aged adults who meet with Don and Betty at an open air cafe twice per month to practice English, then again in the evening for pizza at Don and Betty's home with a group of students from Sweeden who are studying medicine in English at the medical university in Białystok to become medical doctors.  Don and Betty have a wonderful outreach to such a diverse group of people.  It's probably fair to say that we have all fallen in love with Polish food, Polish architecture, and the people we have met, both Polish and non-Polish.  It has been fun to see how alike we are with people who superficially seem so different from us.  We are all doing well and send our love to friends and family back home.

Warsaw, Thursday 9 May

We have had a great second day in Warsaw. Today we spent about six hours at Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego (UKSW), where Professor Entwistle and Professor Harris presented lectures to Polish students. After the lectures, we joined a class with the Polish students that we met yesterday and participated in interactive exercises designed by the students to help us better understand nonverbal communication skills. After a quick lunch, we explored the Polish culture through an elaborate Polish pottery shop. We had dinner at a kebob restaurant where we all tried new foods.  Having enjoyed a beautiful day with sunny skies, we returned to our hotel to debrief and to pray.  We are looking forward to traveling to the home town of Don and Betty Orr tomorrow morning.

Warsaw on Wednesday Night

A wonderful day in Warsaw, hanging out with a group UKSW students in Old Town, going through Łazienki Królewskie w Warszawie, the water palace and park of Poland's last king.  Dr. Harris and the students went through the Warsaw Uprising Museum. Several students wished they had more time. They were facinated with what they learned about what happened to Poland during the second world war. For the  first day after a long trip with jet-lag still present, everyone had a great day.

Warsaw in the morning

Good morning from Warsaw!  It is a beautiful day here in Poland.  We arrived safely last night, traveled to our hostel, and crashed.  The sun comes up about 4:00 a.m. here, so despite getting in late, a few of us are up with the birds chirping, and we assume everyone else will join us for breakfast a bit later.  From Don's room on the 10th floor of the hostel, we can see a scrap metal yard, a horserace track, and lots of apartments.  Today will be a day to catch our breath, do a bit of sightseeing, and meet up with some students from UKSW in town later this afternoon.  But for now, please know that we are safe and well.

Akron Canton Airport

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May the journey begin... :)

















We made it safely to Detroit!