Days 15-17: Hard to Remember for Sure!
We have felt the pressure of having no wifi for the past 4 days while here in Poland. Although that is overall not a bad thing, it does put things in perspective of how much we are dependent on it. I don't miss not having to answer my phone with calls or texts, or the need to update facebook or answer emails, but it is isolating when you cannot have communication with your family that you normally have. I will admit that it has been nice not having those modern conveniences of the internet, but sure makes me miss my family more and more! Since we have gotten to Poland on Friday all has gone well. I have been overwhelmed with the players and parents who have welcomed us with open arms! They are so appreciative of us coming here and for most of the children it is the only camp they have ever attended! Many of these children are very poor with a lot of siblings at home, so while they are here they are eating like kings! The food is indeed better than most restaurants and we are filling up three times a day.
Below you will find what has gone on each day since we have been here and I realize that is overload so don't feel like you must read, but in case you do, you will find some really neat stories of victories and joys! God has truly blessed us and so thankful we have had the opportunity to come back to Poland this year!
Day 15 - Arrived Safely in Poland!
We are here in Poland safe and sound after getting an early morning flight from Zagreb to Warsaw. We had a short window of 35 minutes in Vienna to make our connection and we made it by the skin of our teeth. When we landed we all said it was highly unlikely that our luggage would have made it and actually lifted it up to God while we walked to the baggage claim area. We needed to collect each of our 4 bags and 3 extra bags of baseball equipment for Coach Robert here in Poland! As we stood there, much to our surprise and ashamed to admit it, there came all 7 bags! Now getting them into the small rental car we got was another story, but we managed it! Bags everywhere but enough room for Joe to see out of the mirrors. We headed to old town Warsaw to get something to eat and to look around the old town! The food was terrific and the weather a fantastic 15 degrees Celsius as we sat out on the patio to enjoy the time and scenery. About the time we finished and headed back out to walk around a strong wind and front blew through and we were all not dressed for the sudden change and headed to the car. We drove the 2 hours to Oswaka to Coach Robert village and after a great dinner with him and a short visit with his family we headed to our home in Poland, the elementary school out in the country near the forest. The weather is quite cool and Coach Robert had our rooms all set up and ready to go for us! It is a blessing to be here and look forward to serving alongside Robert Cissell, CBass and Super Joe and Coach Robert as a part of our HiS PRINT team!
Sis got up and drove us to the airport early as she has done for all the others who have gone home through out the week. She is such a trooper and organized to the nines! She has really kept us moving forward and on time! Please keep her and the rest of the team that is back in Sisak in your prayers. They will go work with the Blind Association, will be working with the children in the library and revisiting the people in the handicap center.
Day 16 – First Day of Camp in Poland
After a chilly night rest and a wonderful quiet morning of devotions and sharing, the children started to arrive a little before 10:00. They were very happy to see us and the parents were as well. We had 26 come and we started the day out with camp in the morning and afternoon! They were very good and very attentive. They listened while we explained the drills and while CBass and Robert gave their testimonies after each session of camp. We have 9 girls in the camp so next year we must plan to have a softball coach come with us to teach them as well. They are part of the t-ball team for now but really want to go into softball. The evening session we did more fun games than drills and they really had a great time! After dinner at 6:30 I took the time to get some much needed shut eye! Took a good 5 minute nap before we invited the players down to the gym for a play we prepared after dinner. It was impromptu and went over really well in helping explain God’s relationship with us through His son Jesus. The play was set around Albert Pujol’s house with his son and his son’s friend! The friend broke Albert’s MVP trophy and when Albert found out about it he was mad and decided to punish the friend and called the police! As he was about to punish the friend and the police came, his son took the responsibility for his friend's action and gave mercy to him by taking the punishment and arrest. As the police were taking the son away Albert said, "Stop! No trophy is more important than my relationship with my son. I am dropping all charges. I declare this man is innocent!" The police left and the father restored his relationship with his son and even embraced his friend into an embrace of grace!
Coach Robert did translation in his own words when we froze at certain times during the play! When we finished he came up and told us that this explained the relationship God has with his son and with us through His son. He thanked us and so did the players with several rounds of applause! We may have to take this on the road with us to more countries God opens the door to! It was a blessed time and we were ready for a good nights rest!
Day 17 (Sunday) - Wonderful day of Devotions, Worship, Camp and Parent Involvement
Day 17 (Sunday) - Wonderful day of Devotions, Worship, Camp and Parent Involvement
After a great evening of prayers and a good nights rest we woke up to a beautiful morning of sunshine and cool air. We had our devotions again out behind the school. I got there early to pray and meditate, and just before 7:30 I put on a song and closed my eyes to worship Him. When the song finished I opened my eyes and found not only our team gathered around but also Coach Robert, the Poland coach, and also Justa the young girl counselor who had been last at the camp last year as well.
Coach Robert asked if it would be okay if they could join us and whether Justa could share with us her story about what happened after last year's camp with her bracelet! During the school year she had a meeting with her instructor of Physical Education. During that talk she noticed Justa had a bracelet on that said Our steps HiS PRINT with the scripture 1 John 3:16 on it. The instructor asked her about it and asked where she got it. Justa explained her meeting us last year at the baseball camp and that we had given the bracelets out and had shared our faith in Christ. She had worn that bracelet since that day at last year's camp. The instructor asked her if she knew what the scripture said and meant. At that moment the instructor took a Bible from her desk drawer and had her read the scripture personally! She shared with us how those two two experiences had changed her life and got her thinking faith in Jesus was not just a religion and Sunday event!
At the Catholic Church we sang "I Surrender All"! I immediately recognized the tune and was brought to tears humming along! I had an amazing feeling here at this church - one that I had never felt before. The cross was empty and there was a beautiful painting beside it of Jesus walking toward us with open arms of love! Although I could not understand the service there was a wonderful feeling of Jesus's presence and the smiles and receptiveness were warming to my heart!
After church we came back to the school and Coach Robert, CBass and Robert took the players and taught them home run derby for the Baseball Olympics on Tuesday while Joe and I had a chance to sit and visit and debrief for awhile on all that has happened from Sisak to Split to Poland! We came down toward the end of the game and afterward Coach Robert gathered them together to pray! We were blessed to witness and hear that! He has grown so much in his walk with Jesus and his willingness to share his faith publicly. This is a far cry from the first year when I was here and asked the team to pray with me on the field and Coach Robert told me that many people would say that I am crazy for praying on a field and not in a church! Praise God for these positive steps toward understanding that intake relationship with Him! Blessed to be a part of this ministry!