On Saturday 8th July a team of seven from Monyhull Church travelled 1250 miles to the city of Lublin in Poland. We didn’t go for the Pierogi (meat dumplings) or the Pickled Gherkins. We went there to help run a holiday-Bible camp at a special site in the village of Kunow. This was the latest in a series of exchanges that began in 1994. You can read about the history of this link in a previous blog post. This most recent visit began with a brief tour of Lublin on Saturday followed by our participation in the Sunday morning service.
On Sunday afternoon we travelled to Kunow and set up for the week. Each day began and ended with meetings in the main hall – with a sermon series on John’s gospel in the mornings and the Beatitudes in the evenings. These meetings were interspersed with introductions, testimonies and lots of singing!
There was a separate children’s track running in the mornings with songs and craft activities around the themes of the main talks. Outside of these meetings there was lots of free time to play football and volley ball, go swimming or boating on the local lakes, and enjoy getting to know each other. Despite the language barrier it was a great opportunity to serve our friends in Poland and we felt in many ways that we had received more than we had given.
Poland is dominated by Roman Catholicism (97% identify as RCs and 60% regularly attend Mass). While this opens up many opportunities to speak about the Christian faith, there is a very powerful loyalty and cultural identification with the Roman Catholic Church.
In Britain evangelical Christians are a minority treated with suspicion in a secular culture. In Poland the same is true in a very religious culture. As we face our own challenges, let us also pray for our friends in Poland, that the Lord will give them courage to shine as stars as they hold firmly to the Word of life (Phil 2:16).
This is my first blog for Monyhull and I hope I remember to write because it will give you some insight into the people and situations I work with. First of all I love being a missionary. In the midst of the difficulties and pain of seeing our teenagers reject the gospel and things not going the way I would like, the Lord keeps me going telling me ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men’ Colossians 3:23 it’s when we do all for Him and not necessarily just for those who we are trying to help that we can keep going when there seem to be no results.
So let me just share briefly share with you a little about a family that I have mentioned on facebook – three brothers, well 4 but the youngest is doing well and not been on the street or out of school. Kevin 17, Pierre 16, Gabriel 15. I know these boys and their mother reasonably well having accompanied them for 3 years. I am closest to Pierre – he and even his mother call me his second mother which is a real privilege for me. When I came back from the UK in April 2O16 I started to visit this family again and soon tried to help them in various ways, one of them being buying sweets for the father to sell on the bus so they could have an income. He went out that afternoon to sell what I had bought for him and didn’t come home…he disappeared involving himself in drugs again, living on the street and then ending up in prison. None of these boys is studying so in June their mother, along with them and I went to try and find places in a school for them to study. I asked for much prayer for this on facebook. We went from pillar to post and they are still not studying but hopefully soon. I haven’t given up yet and next week I am going to take them along with their mother to the school where hopefully they have a place.
Let’s just keep praying.
These boys have been on and off the streets for a number of years and have an addiction to certain drugs. Pierre and Gabriel can’t read. Their mother is sometimes unhelpful but other times really wants the boys to study and is willing to sort things out – there is often the attitude here of ‘what’s the point, nothing goes right’ and I can understand it. Life for those who are poor is very hard. But we keep going, keep persevering when it seems there are no results. We keep praying for them and when I go there, share something from God’s word and pray with them. Please keep praying for this family with me and watch on facebook for news.
Thank you for partnering with me in this work. I love these teenagers and love even more speaking of my wonderful Lord to them. He has changed my life and can still change theirs.