Tuesday, November 07, 2006

why poland?

this time last year the pbu was preparing to tour in poland, germany, and czech republic. it didn't really seem real, and i moved forward knowning that i would be going unless God did not provide the money, and even then i felt as though i wouldn't have minded if that happened. it was the conductors job to do all of the behind the scenes work. we just filled out paper work. even while we were in training the week before we left, it did not feel as though we would be leaving the country soon. the semester had been so stressful and i had not had time to even think about our trip. i cannot remember when it first hit me that we were in a foreign country. maybe it was when i stepped foot in poland and suddenly realized i could not understand anyone other than those whom i came with. perhaps it was when i stepped out onto the tarmac to see the 60 person plane before me. or maybe it was when we sat down in the church in wroclaw after unpacking our things. the smell was different. the atmosphere was different. we had worn the same clothes for over 24 hours and hadn't slept that long either. throughout those first few nights i went to bed trying to wrap my mind around the idea of being in EUROPE. i tried to picture myself on a map, but it was still hard to understand.

in preparing for europe, the country i was most looking forward to visiting was germany. i'll be honest and say that i wasn't all that excited for poland. it just seemed there. it's hard to explain. anyway, looking back, poland was definitely my favorite country. i remember sitting on a bench in germany, close to tears because i missed poland. (that and the bach museum was not all that exciting.) there was just something about the country that just stuck with me.

there was this bridge, the "dreaming bridge," as marta called it. when you walk across it, you are supposed to not talk and dream a dream (make a wish) and if you do not talk, your dream will come true. (some some of us surmised that this was created by parents who wanted their kids to be quiet, but we observed the tradition nonetheless.) while walking across i wished that i could return to poland.

there is something about the people. the culture. the land. the history. over the summer i read a book called, "push not the river," which is about poland in the seventeenth century. in it they say that in ancient times, the poles would worship the worm because no matter how many times the worm got cut up, its heart would still beat. and so is true of poland. it has seen the effects of war too many times, and yet it's still there and its culture still lives.

there is an interesting battle going on right now. not for land, but in the mind. there is a battle of the old and the new. drive through any town and this will be evident. the cathedrals from the thirteenth century right next to a modern looking building. the country is undergoing a time of transition. my generation striving to become modernized while the older generation, still hurting from the effects of communism, strive to hold on to a culture they desperatly fought for. my generation searching for answers and differing view points. the older generation not sure who it is safe to trust.

this country knows christianity as rituals and doing things for the sake of tradition. there is a place for tradition, sure. but where is God? where is grace? how can a person learn to trust when they can still taste the effects of communism which ruled only twenty years before?

but they are open. i have never met such loving and open people. after we had sung out concerts, there were people coming up to us afterwards thanking us over and over again. for some of them, "thank you" was the only english phrase they knew. others sought translators to express their gratitude to us. others took us by the hands, looked deeply into our eyes, and spoke in polish words that we could only suppose were of how our music had ministered to them. this is a very beautiful culture with a very beautiful people. actually, they are not that much different from you and me.

so why poland? why not poland. "one study has shown that when certain numbers are crunched, poland has the most need of workers than any other country in the world!" says poland 52-7 newsletter. i want to be apart of that. i want to be where the need is greatest and i want to serve my God, wherever He may lead.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

here's the kick off.

well this is all very exciting. i am finding this blogger a little hard to navigate through, but i suppose i will get used to it the more i use it.

this blog is for a specific purpose. i have my xanga to keep tabs on my life and such, but i want this to be for my journey as a missionary. it's so strange to say that. i'm not sure exactly what emotion that invokes. excitement, sure. but i'm also scared. there is a lot of unknown that goes along with this journey and a lot of struggle that i know will come. it's a step of faith. aw heck, it's a RUN of faith. but that's life and i love it.

so i'll be going to poland in july. so i'm looking to... hoping to... man, i don't know how to say this. when i say, "i'm going," i get scared because what if i don't go? what if it isn't definite? there are so many "what if"s. BUT if i spent my life focusing on "what if"s, then i will never really live life. so i want to live my life. starting now: i'm going to poland.

my next step is to fill out an application to SEND. it's actually a pretty long detailed application and it makes me kind of nervous, i'm not going to lie. i will keep you updated on how that goes. i'm going to go now and work on that.

God bless. :)