Monday, January 28, 2008

Planting, Watering, and God Given Increase

Scott Dean is a missionary to Mongolia. Everytime I start to complain about the Polish language, I think about what missionaries in Mongolia face. A few days ago I came across a blog of his that hit me straight between the eyes. Please take the time to read his article on Ministering in Mongolia. I would like to know what you think.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Polish cuisine

Our apologies for not updating the blog in the last two weeks. We will now be updating it weekly again. While my mom was here visiting, Monika, our language teacher invited us all over for a traditional Polish meal. Then again maybe I wouldn’t call it so much a meal but more like a feast. She prepared 11 dishes in all--2 soups, 1 salad, 3 side dishes, 2 main dishes, 2 types of cookies, and one cake. Let me tell you, by the end of the meal, we were all stuffed to the limit. The first picture is taken after we had eaten our full. As you can see there were still tons left over. Monika tried to make a few different dishes from all the major Polish holidays. In the second picture is a Polish dish called gowomki. So far it is my favorite Polish dish. Translated literally gowomki means pigeon. Thankfully it isn’t made from pigeon. Gowomki consists of ground pork, rice, and a few different spices wrapped in a cabbage leaf and cooked in a tomato sauce.

The soup in the third picture is traditionally served at weddings. It has mushrooms, pork, sour pickles, and kielbasa in it. I have to admit I have never eaten so much soup until I moved to Poland, and I think I have only come across one that I didn’t like. The dish in the final picture is called Ryba po Grecku, which literally means Greek fish. This dish is always served on Christmas Eve. It is a tradition that all families must serve twelve dishes at supper on Christmas Eve. Some of the other dishes that Monika served us were stuffed eggs, which are a traditional Easter dish, noodle soup, and an amazing chocolate banana cake. I bet you are all hungry now, right? I guess you will just have to come visit us so you can try all the amazing food.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Blessed Correspondence (A message from the better half)

Well, Jason thinks it’s my turn to fill you in on life in Poland. It is amazing to think that we have been here for 8 months, time sure has flown by. I must admit missionary life in Poland has been completely different than I expected. I guess being a missionary kid; I expected my experience in Poland to be similar to that of Thailand. Little did I know that being a missionary mom is a whole lot different than being a missionary kid? I have a whole new sense of respect for my mom. She started out her missionary journey in a world without e-mail. Wow, how did she ever do it? I remember it use to take a whole month to get mail to and from the States, and that is if the person receiving the letter wrote right back. What are the chances of that? :0) She began her missionary journey when flying back and forth from one country to another wasn’t a normal occurrence. Praise the Lord for the ability to e-mail, and the reassurance that I am only an airplane ride away from my family.
Many people often ask, “What do you miss most about the United States?” To be quite honest, I really miss my friends and family back home. I miss not hearing from them on a regular basis. I miss not being able to run out for coffee with a friend and just talk about what is going on in my life. I miss the encouragement and hugs from the ladies at my home church. I can’t speak for other missionary wives, but I have a good idea that many of them feel the same way. Until we learn the language of the people God has called us to, it is hard to build meaningful friendships.
I am really looking forward to the day I can walk into our church here in Siedlce and have a heart to heart conversation with one of the ladies. We have so many wonderful ladies here in our church. Oh how I wish I could share my heart with them and have them do the same in return. I would have to say that patience is definitely the biggest lesson I am learning in Poland. Every day I must remind myself that I can’t learn the language in a day or even a month. I must continue to do my best everyday even if that is learning one new word each day.
Another question I have often heard is, “What can people back home do for their missionaries?” After being a missionary wife in Poland for 8 months I would say, keep in touch with your missionaries!!!! Go look on your missionary wall at the back of your church and see who your new missionaries are. Write to them, not just once, but keep in touch with them. It is hard for me to explain what an encouragement you can be through one email or even better with one real letter in the post office box.
Before I end my first little blog I thought I would share with you the best Christmas gift I got this year. My dad gave my mom a ticket to Poland. I get to spend two whole weeks with my mom. There is nothing better for a new missionary family then to have friends and family visit from home.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The New Year

This was our first New Year's Eve in Poland, they celebrate bringing in the New Year the same way we do in the States. At midnight they had a fireworks display in the center of our little town. While the display was smaller than what we were used to in the States, it was more fun because you could get within a few hundred feet of where they were launching the rockets. The boys loved it. New Year's Eve also highlighted a problem that is worldwide but more intense here. Alcoholism is the Polish drug of choice, and it was completely on display New Year's Eve. This isn't just a problem on the holidays though, it's not uncommon to see a man passed out in the grass in the middle of town even mid morning, rather than disgust most other Polish men seem to offer pity and help so as to keep the drunk from any further embarrassment. I think they also hope that when the time comes the "good deed" will be returned to them in the hour of their drunkenness. Mostly, these public displays are a source of humor. The Polish definition of "drunkenness" is reserved for those who can no longer walk, any thing short of that is not considered drunkenness." Alcohol seems so benign to most of us doesn't it? To the point that one laughs at drunkenness rather than despising it. A drunk man is funny, a heroin addict--not so funny, yet both are life dominating. For Polish men, vodka is a way to forget hardship and neglect responsibility--its also a sign of manhood (far from the Biblical model of manhood) and yet they practice a religion that can offer no help. Only the life changing belief in Jesus Christ and His work on Calvary will ever bring true help to the men and women of Poland. God help us to be faithful messengers