Poland Report - When God says, "Go!"
By Monica Tudor
Sometimes we can see immediate results of our actions, and sometimes it takes a while. It is like that with an English Bible Camp mission trip in Poland that I helped with. The night I returned from the two-week trip I was asked what my most favorite part was. The whole experience was still too new, and I could not give a good answer. It has taken these weeks to process, so here goes.
It is all about relationships: our relationship with God, with our mission teammates, with our prayer and financial supporters; our relationships with our team in Poland: Pastor Kotas in Poznan, Pastor Froelich in Slupsk, and the congregational members who took time from their lives to translate and volunteer at the English Bible Camps. And with “our” kids, the ones who attended camp even though they were on summer vacation from school.
English Bible Camps are held in a number of cities in Poland each summer at the request of the local Lutheran churches in Poland. They ask congregations in the United States to send over teams to teach the camps. St. John’s Lutheran Church has sent several teams over the past six years and this year, sent two teams to Poland.
The St. John’s teams met once a week for several months to design and prepare the curriculum. We got to know each other as we shared ideas and gathered materials. Some of us had been on mission trips before, some had not ever crossed an ocean. Never-the-less, when God says, “Go!,” you go!
After lots of time in airplanes and airports, both teams arrived at Gdansk. We met with our trainer, Monika Terbak, and learned more about Poland’s history and culture. From Gdansk we went to our assignments, the cities of Slupsk and Poznan.
English Bible Camp ran for a week. It was similar to an American Vacation Bible School, in that we had an opening gathering where the concept for the day is introduced via skits, we sang, then the children separated out to Bible class, followed by English class, then a lunch break, crafts and game time.
Each day we tried to share God’s love for all his children, our need for a savior, and Jesus, who is our savior. Lessons included reading in English and Polish, speaking in English, playing and singing. We show our love for the kids by spending time with them, chatting and playing.
Did it work? I would say, “Yes!” How do I know? Well, at the end of camp, when we were saying good-byes, the children and their parents came and hugged us. Parents said their kids loved the camp, and we were asked to return next year.
When we had our very first training session as short-term missionaries, we were told that we are like farmers. Before a crop can be brought to market, the field must be cleared, plowed, sown, irrigated, weeded, fertilized, thinned, and then it can be harvested.
When we go out to the world, we don’t know what our part in the process might be. We may be the seed planters or we may be preparing the field. We step out in faith and trust in God to do the rest.