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Showing posts from March, 2011

Kudos

I can't resist adding one more post, this one an unsolicited comment from Jonathan, our host intern in Poland:
Hey everyone, hope you all had good travels back home. I just want to say a couple things. First, I'm sorry I missed most of you on your way out and didn't get to say goodbyes. I had stayed upstairs to make sure everyone was awake and ready to go... didn't realize several taxis had already left. Wasn't my intention to miss you leaving.

Second, and more importantly, you guys rock! I want you to know it was a huge blessing to hang out with you for a week. It was easily one of the main highlights of my time here so far. You guys were like a breath of fresh air your entire time here, and I'm so thankful to have been a part of this with you. Blessings to you as you adjust to life back home, and as you share your experiences with those around you.

-Jonathan

A long trip home

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[caption id="attachment_150" align="aligncenter" width="199"] A Final Taste of Poland[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_149" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Interacting with UKSW students[/caption]

We made it home, safe and sound last night.  Our baggage, however, was not quite as fortunate.  Six of our bags ended up staying in Atlanta or traveling to Nashville, and we are hoping to be united with our "stuff" today.  "Virtual Mike" also made it home, looking just as refreshed as when he left.  Unfortunately, most of his views of Poland were from the inside of the baggage (sorry Mike!).

[caption id="attachment_146" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Damaris & Virtual Mike[/caption]

We will have much to share with friends and family in the coming days.  We have made some wonderful connections that will shape us and others for years to come.  We were priviliged to see the vision t…

Farewell to Poland

If all goes as planned, this will be our last update from Poland.  Today we traveled to UKSW where Dr. E. gave a presentation, and then we participated in a psychology class with Polish students who had created a presentation for us that involved lots of interaction between Polish and Malone students.  One of our team said this was her favorite part of the trip.  Two of our troupe missed out because they weren't feeling 100%, and opted to stay at the hotel with Betty Orr.  They were able to meet up with us later in the afternoon in Old Town, though one of them is still dragging a bit, but is okay.  Emilia, a native of Warsawa, gave us an incredibly informative tour through Old Town, which was completely rebuilt to look like the centuries old city after being totally destroyed in WW-II.  We gave everyone a few hours to explore on their own, and then met for our last meal.  We ate at a traditional Polish restaurant and had a wonderful gastronomic experience called "The Pig Trou…

Warsawa

Greetings from Warsawa (or "Warsaw" for the rest of you)!  We had a (mostly) pleasant trip by train from Sosnowiec to Warsaw in the morning.  The "mostly pleasant" is because one of our team members got sick on the trip.  When we got in, Betty Orr took her to our hotel, and they rejoined us later in the day. 

Most of the group went to the Warsaw Uprising museum in the early afternoon.  The museum recounts the experience of the people of Warsaw under Nazi occupation.  Towards the end of the war, the people were expecting to be liberated by the Russian army, and they rose up against the occupying German forces.  The uprising was brutally supressed, and by the end, 85% of the city was destroyed.  After the Uprising, the Russian army (which had sat across the Vistula River for three days) entered the city and declaired victory.

While everyone else was at the Uprising Museum, Dr. E. (who has been to the Uprising Museum before) went to the brand new Chopin museum.  Then we…

Malone 2011 Poland Team

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[caption id="attachment_136" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Malone 2011 Poland Service Learning Team"][/caption]
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[caption id="attachment_128" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Traveling by Tram"][/caption]
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[caption id="attachment_125" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Highway underpass"][/caption]

Życzenia urodzinowe, Dusty!

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[caption id="attachment_121" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Castle in Będzin"][/caption]

Hello to all who are following this blog. This submission is by Dusty. Today, I got the privilege of spending my 22nd birthday in Poland, which started with being woken up by Pastor Jarek waking me up with the Polish birthday song and a video camera. Apparently, he woke up all the other students in the same fashion, and we all agree that it takes a special person, someone we are all fond of, to get away with that. Were it anyone else, I may have thrown a pillow at him, but instead, I smiled and said, “Thanks.”

In the morning, we rode the tram to Będzin, where we separated into groups of two or three and went to classrooms to talk with high school students. Most of the students were shy, too embarrassed to try to speak in English to Americans. I tried to put them at ease by sharing how much worse my Polish was than their English. That seemed to he…

Service

Service comes in many different forms.  We often think of service as doing some kind of manual labor for the benefit of others, and such things are - often enough - acts of service.  Many service learning trips involve that kind of service because it is needed in the particular culture or locale where a team is serving - disaster relief in New Orleans, medical care in Hondurus, picking tea in China, providing food in Jamaica, and so forth.  We only have one project that focuses on phycial service here - cleaning up in and around the church and in the neighborhood around the church.  But service is much broader than manual labor.  Yesterday at Auschwitz was a different kind of service - hearing the voices of those who were murdered and oppressed so that the world will not forget.  Listening to the voices of those whose suffering was hidden and even celebrated is a difficult and even incarnational experience yesterday.  We also had some other non-physical - but very incarnational - ways…

A Difficult Day

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[caption id="attachment_105" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The Entrance to Auschwitz[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_106" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Electric Barbed Wire[/caption]

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again” Maya Angelou.

As we approached today, we knew what we were about to experience. However, we were not able to understand the effect it would have on us, not only as individuals, but also as a team. When we boarded the bus this morning to travel to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps, our bus was filled with anxious discussion.

For me (Karen), this was a day that I never thought I would see. As a teenager, I read many books about the holocaust and the horrors that had occurred.  But today, we walked on the ground, saw the places, and walked through the exits of buildings that many people never exited once they entered the oth…

Laughter is the best medicine

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[caption id="attachment_95" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Good food, much laughter, and good conversation[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_96" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Jonathan with axe, Dr. E. down for the count[/caption]

We didn't have any problems with the axe... it was the knife that did the damage.  Seriously.  Dusty cut two fingers with a knife in the kitchen, but Dr. E. put his first aid training to work.  He's fine (no worries Mr. & Mrs. Jenkins!).  We have only needed to use the first aid kit three times so far.  But we really are all okay.

Update from Katie

Hello Friends!

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. I can hardly put into words all of the amazing things that have happened this week. Our team has been growing together in ways that I could have never imagined. It's hard to believe that a few short months ago we didn't even know each other and now we act and feel as though we are a family.

Today was a day of ministry and I couldn't be more excited about how it played out. Half of the team was outside while half of the team was inside. The outside group started out by wandering around the block  and picking up a bunch of garbage. Then we moved on to clearing out the shrubbery around the church. The inside crew cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and made the church look lovely. The day was full of good conversation and a lot of laughing. I'm convinced we have the funniest group of students from Malone. I was told that I had to include in this that a good bit of the laughing came from Dusty's impersonation of Luke Taylo…

Update from Damaris

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We are getting ready to enjoy another Polish breakfast after having a wonderful day yesterday. We woke early to load up and head to Dąbrowa Górnicza for church yesterday. The service was wonderful, and even though we could not understand any of what was being said (save for Dr. E’s translated sermon), I think I can speak for all when I say that we all enjoyed the worship very much. Songs like “Blessed Assurance” and “Indescribable” made the service familiar, despite the language barrier. I was privileged to spend six hours sitting around the dinner table of a church member with four other from our team yesterday, and must say that I enjoyed so much not knowing or caring what time it was all day! (Also, a far cry from all the walking the day before!) Today after breakfast we plan on doing some deep cleaning of the church and then spending the day offering to clean and do chores for others around the area. It should be a great day!

-Damaris



(Picture) The team last evening before our debri…

Local approval

We just thought that we would pass on a note of welcome from our local host:  "Jesteście bardzo fajną grupą! Miło Was gościć w naszym Kościele." - Jarek Ściwiarski

Sunday in Dąbrowa Górnicza

The team is about to begin its daily “debriefing,” so I will just share a few thoughts about the day before we gather  in the church hall at the church where we are staying in Dąbrowa Górnicza. After breakfast, we began our day at 7:45 a.m. when we left the charming Globtroter Guesthouse and loaded up the van with Don and Betty Orr and “intern” Jonathan (a university student from Canada) for the hour and a half trip to Dąbrowa.   Dąbrowa Górnicza is an industrial city situated to the east of Krakow.  Upon our arrival, we were warmly greeted by Pastor Jarek Ściwiarski and the entire family of Społeczność Chrześcijańska w Dąbrowie Górniczej.
With the help of Asha, a church member who translated for him, Dr. Entwistle gave a timely message during service.  Damaris and Sam offered special music with Kim as the accompanist.  One parishioner characterized their singing as “angelic.”  After service, we broke up into small groups and traveled to the homes of five church families where we enjoy…

Jagelonian University

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[caption id="attachment_74" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Jagelonian University[/caption]

Last Day in Krakow

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[caption id="attachment_69" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Wawel Cathedral[/caption]

Wawel Cathedral, located on the grounds of Wawel Castle (the castle of the Kings of Poland since 14th century, and the cite of their rule since the 10th century) was the cite of one of our many experiences today.  In front of the cathedral, pictured above, you can see the ruins of a Roman settlement dating many centuries before the kings established their reign in Krakow.  This was definitely a learning day: learning about Polish civil and religious history: highlighting the castle of the kings, the main cathedral, the Jewis quarter (and their forced relocation under one of Polands kings and the extermination of the vast majority of its Jewish inhabitance during WW-II).  It was sobering to realize that - of 68,000 Jewish residents, only a few thousand survived the war, and only 500 remain in the city today.  As we toured the outside of several closed synagogues, we could…

The 15th Man

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Brussels 10 minutes later

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Brussells

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Krashing in Kracow

We arrived safely in Krakow at about 2:30 this afternoon.  We were surprised to find that the Krakow airport is actually quite small - smaller, in fact, than the Akron Canton Airport.  We walked down stairs to the tarmac, road a bus to the terminal, collected our luggage, and headed for passport control.  No one was there, so we entered Poland without anyone looking at our passports!  We then saw a man named Pavel holding a sign, "Malone University."  He said, "You are fourteen?"  So the 14 of us followed him to a Mercedes taxi bus and trusted that he knew what he was doing, and twenty minutes later were checking into our hotel and meeting Betty Orr and Jonathan Watland, our local hosts.  We ate a wonderful dinner and then split into groups to explore the city.  I'll attach a few photos before Krashing in Krakow.  (I'm going on 45 hours with only about 15 minutes of sleep, so the bed is calling.)  We are all safe and soon to be asleep!

Greetings from... Atlanta!

Thanks to my purchase of a $2.14 cup of coffee at Sojourner's Cafe next to our gate, I have Internet access.  Our flight from CAK was uneventful, and our three "newbie" fliers survived.  I have bribery-quality video footage of Amber anticipating her first take off.  For those of you who don't know, the 14 of us who are physically on this trip have added a "virtual" member to our team.  Mike Leburg, an old college friend of mine, was added to our facebook group by a fortuitous accident (I hit the wrong key on the computer!), and we're keeping Mike with us in spirit, as he and many others pray for us.  So far, our spirits are good, no one has been lost, and the skies are clear.  Hopefully I'll be able to give a quick update from Brussells if I can get an Internet connection.  Best, Dr. E., Dr. W., Connie, Karen, Carrie, Brooke, Katie, Kim, Dusty, Amber, Damaris, Sam, Adrienne, Kristin, and "Virtual Mike"