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 slightly disorganized and messy.  By the time that we left it was painted, had a new bed and desk, and Timothy had the biggest smile on his face.  Along with all of that, we had one of the best meals of the trip so far! It consisted of chicken cutlets, homemade yellow potatoes (sort of lightly smashed), 3 different salads, and juice and tea.

One of the highlights of the day was getting to hang out with Daniel, Gosia, and their children, Timothy, Martina, and Julia.  At one point, they were writing polish words in pen on our arms, teaching us Polish words and phrases, and reciting Polish tongue twisters.

Several of us (Jasmine, Tom, Ezra, and Dr. E., mostly) took some time to throw a football and play soccer with the children, which was a great way to enjoy a break from all the work. Hope and Erin managed to smear mud all over each other – and we have the pictures to prove it.  Jack, Hannah, and Jasmine did most of the painting, and Dr. E., Tom, and Ezra put the new bunk bed together for Timothy’s room.  Rachel, Skylar, and Ashley pitched in wherever they were needed, whether cleaning windows, cleaning bathrooms, or working on any of the numerous projects.

All in all it was very rewarding to spend our day serving this family because they were so fun to interact with, humble, and dedicated to serving others and opening their homes to them.  A few random fun facts for the day: First off, Betty, Don’s wife, has joined our group once again, having taken the train from their home, and we are excited to finally get to spend some time with her.  Secondly, at supper time, Julia, who is 8 years old, needed to get out from behind the table at the end of the balcony, so we played “pass the child” and got her out safely, which she seemed to enjoy thoroughly.  The third and final fun fact of the night, Polish ketchup is delicious!!  It doesn’t taste anything like the ketchup we have in the U.S. – much less sweet, and perhaps a hint of chili.

Tomorrow we are going to Auschwitz in the morning.  We know that this will be a hard day emotionally, but one that we are all looking forward to.  I’m sure that we’ll have a lot to write about tomorrow – your prayers are appreciated as we attempt to process the cruelty of the largest death camp of World War II, where so many people were killed through extermination, forced labor and starvation, “experiments”, and so much more

~ Ashley & Skylar


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