As I sit in my favorite corner of the Lillpop’s couch, stomach full of kiełbasa, and think about our second term English Camp my heart is full, but also heavy (not just from the sausage). Yesterday I said goodbye to dear new friends, but I am excited to be reunited with the rest of the intern team tomorrow. This post may get lengthy, but please do me the favor and read about how God has been moving!
After finishing our first term of English Camp in Zelów, I was nervous that I would compare our next camp to the wonderful experience I had just completed. I didn’t know anyone in Janikowo (pronounced yawn-ee-ko-vo), the destination of our next camp, and I felt as though first term went so well that everything would be downhill from there. I prayed that God would prepare me for new relationships, new responsibilities, and new rest pathways. Well, friends, our God is ever faithful (as if I should be surprised)! But we are not always given what we need in “convenient” ways.
The day before we were to leave for Janikowo I started having intense stomach pains. I was very worried that it was my pancreas (throwback to 2006 when I had pancreatitis and almost died it’s cool whatever), but I just hoped it would go away after a bit. The pain got worse as the day went on, so I told Kelly, our missionary leader who was away for the week, just to be safe. Being the amazing, wonderful, caring woman that she is, Kelly did the smart thing and wanted to be safe rather than sorry. This resulted in another JV missionary picking me up at 2:30 am and taking me to the Wrocław emergency room.
ER experiences are always scary, especially when you don’t speak the native language and you’re worried your insides are going to explode. So as we waited in the hospital not only was I in pain, but my mind was also racing with fear and “what ifs.” I also hate putting people through inconveniences, so I felt bad that Daniel had to put his busy life on pause to take care of me. Daniel, the missionary-superhero-guardian angel, was such a blessing and reminded me that this is what being a missionary is all about, regardless of where you are in the world. He was merely acting as my brother in Christ and serving me.
After 2 IV drips and an ultrasound, the doctor concluded that my pancreas was fine, praise God, and that the pain was intestinal and blah blah blah medical jargon. But the important part is I’m fine. God really used this hiccup in my plans to teach me that humility is huge and that I shouldn’t be ashamed to ask others for help when I’m helpless. I not only need to put my pride aside in my relationship with God, but also with those around me. Another added bonus was watching a very bloody drunk man get dragged out of the hospital by security. Yet another added bonus was watching said drunk man have rocks thrown at him by said security guards as we left the hospital.
Whew. Haven’t even started talking about camp yet. Stick with me, folks.
All that aside, Jesica, JT and I finally made it to Janikowo where we met the American team and the Poles we would be serving with. Holy macaroni, these people are prime. The American team was made up of 7 students and one staff leader from Colorado Christian University, all on fire for Jesus and ready to serve. Our Polish leadership team was also creme de la creme. I have never met such servant-hearted people, my friends. I was instantly at ease when we had our first meeting and I was so pumped to serve with them and get to know them!
Prior to the start of camp, there were about 20 people registered for Janikowo EC. Sadly, 13 of those students dropped out due to untrue rumors circulating the town about the affiliated church. (This is currently a huge problem in Poland. Evangelicals are often seen as something they are not. Please pray for this to change!) We were prepared to only have 7 students at camp, and dangit we were going to love them with the love of Jesus! However, on our first day I believe we had about 13 students come for camp! On our biggest day we had 18 students! This would be the first of many signs of God’s hand at camp! So many exclamation points!
As our days went on, we built strong relationships with the students. It was amazing to see how they opened up after only one or two days. Our three teams (interns, CCU, and Poles) meshed seamlessly into one powerhouse team, and it was seriously so much fun to work with everyone. Each day was filled so richly with the Holy Spirit that I was moved to tears at least once a day (literally, not exaggerating) and could not stop praising my Father for the work he is allowing me to be part of. Logistically, camp was flawless, our students were engaged and participating, and 6 campers made decisions for Christ. God is good!
One particularly important blessing at camp was a new friendship. Ewelina is one of the Polish leaders and member of the local church. She rocked the administrative side of camp and made sure every t was crossed and every i was dotted and every other strange Polish letter had its strange Polish markings on it (you try and learn Polish, I dare you). I would occasionally made a bad joke to Ewelina (I know, totally uncharacteristic of me), and slowly we began to have very meaningful conversations. I have been feeling deprived of intellectually stimulating, yet spiritual discussions, and God provided through Ewelina. We not only discussed cultural differences, but we talked about our own faith, shared how God is working in us, and challenged one another constructively. Friends, I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with this precious woman. She was and is a reminder to me that God sees my needs and fulfills them at just the right time. Ewelina is an encouragement to me to pursue Jesus in every activity, every conversation, every second of my life. Seeing her passion for the youth of Janikowo is utterly moving, and I hope to grow into the kind of woman she is. She also occasionally laughed at my jokes, which is a blessing of its own.
So today, as I rest in Wrocław, do endless laundry, and prepare for our next camp, my heart is heavy, yet rejoicing. It is heavy because I hate that I cannot confidently state when I will see my dear Ewelina again, along with other brothers and sisters that I have met while in Poland. Yet I am rejoicing because I am in awe of how the body of Christ is united all over the world. If I do not get the blessed opportunity to see Ewelina again on this earth, I know that I will get to stand next to her in heaven and praise our Savior together. While I hope and pray that we can share more time together on Earth, I anxiously await that day in Paradise.
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
If you’d be so kind, please pray for healing on our intern team, safe travels, and effective ministry at our last English Camp of the summer.
Thank you so much for reading. I truly appreciate it.
Be good, stay in school.