Testimonies and Blessings

Poland Ministry Trip 1986

Testimonies and Blessings

We have had several sessions of singing with the Polish people – a great time. We have learned some of their songs and we all know the same songs, but we have learned to sing them in Polish and they have learned to sing them in English.

Family dinner - we were as One Family. Praise Father God!

Family dinner – we were as One Family. Praise Father God!

Last night we had our first meeting. It was a brief one, only 40 minutes. We had some guests here from Sweden and one lady born in Poland – at age 21 moved to the United States with her family. She found Jesus in the USA (btw He had never been lost). She made statements like: “all the time I lived in Poland I was so unhappy; while I was a Catholic I never knew Jesus; I went to the United States. Giving my heart to the Lord is the happiest, happiest remembrance.” When the Lord told her he was going to send her to Poland, she just couldn’t believe it. Why would he send her back where she was so unhappy? She now ministers and loves on all the Polish people; she explains wrong teachings and the way to have Peace and Joy and to find the Love of the Lord. A beautiful lady, with a big work ahead of her. Only through the Lord could she do this work.

The other was a couple from Norway, directors of YWAM (Youth With a Mission); now they have a permanent residence in the United States. They also work with the youth in Norway. They are here in Poland for their first visit and will be a speaker along with Ron Rearick. The first lady described is supporting us as an interpreter. We have also met a man who lives in Krakow who is here now and also is very capable of interpreting. Our third interpreter is pastor Sobriski’s wife. The pastor is the head of the churches that are growing in Poland. Praise God we have interpreters and that the message will get to the Polish people and that we will also be blessed by the messages.

Saturday morning we had three speakers, the same that spoke to us last night, briefly. The couple from Norway, Sunnie and Yngor Thorstensen. Yngor spoke on boy-girl relationships covering the requirement to be in God’s will to have a healthy and successful relationship. His wife, Sunnie, spoke on keeping God’s laws and hearing God’s voice. She talked about the need to be loved by your family when growing up or you receive the spirit of rejection. The spirit of rejection is so pervasive that until you recognize it and ask Father God to take it away, you suffer through all relationships.

Irena Stankiewicz, a lady who was born in Poland and moved with her family at age 21 to America, spoke on her personal relationship and entrapment’s into sexual contact. She remains single today and for years was suffering from an attraction syndrome where she would spot a male in a room and would become attracted to him. If he spoke to her, she found herself focusing in on him and not on what God’s plan was. She used the scripture Colossians 3:5 to help define four words:

  1. Lasciviousness which means stirring up desires which cannot be satisfied within God’s limits
  2. Concupiscence is an abnormal desire for sexual attraction.
  3. Sensuality, which is a planned appeal to physical attraction. It is the motive of the heart, not necessarily the dress
  4. Defrauding, to use to take advantage of, to deceive in the intention of the relationship. For example, I want to date because I don’t want to be at home or because others are dating. Another method of defrauding is the desire to be with somebody but never letting him know how you really feel. Or, using the words, “If you love me you will do this or that.”

Our affections are controlled by us and God asks us, “Are you willing to control your affections until God says it is okay?” That is only possible if you learn to believe and be convinced that God has your interest and who you marry in his own heart. He is very committed to your life. The address for the Thorstensen’s is TA (put a little circle over the A) SEN TERRASSE 4 0873 Oslo-8 Norway. Irena’s address is 7085 Battle Creek Road S.E., Salem, Oregon. The pastor doing the interpreting is Anatol Matiaszuk, his address is UL. OLGIERDA 31 81-534 GDYNIA Polska.

Retired men gathered following a walk

Retired men gathered following a walk

On Sunday, we all arose early and broke into two groups; I was with the group that went into town to the local church. The church service was 2 ½ hours and it consisted of a lot of praising the Lord and beautiful, beautiful testimony. Several prayers and then a short message by Denise, followed by a short message by Ron Rearick and one by a pastor born in the Ukraine but living in France. We rode the bus to church but missed the bus going back so many of us walked – 2 1/2 miles is a nice walk.

During lunch, I met one of the speakers, Irena, and talked with her at length about YWAM. She spoke of the work that she is doing in Slavic countries (Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, etc.) and then we went for a walk to town. We explored the entire town. Everything was closed but Sunday is a day to get your families out and go for nice walks. She spoke Polish and so it was a joy. We found this man hanging out a third story window with a long stick reaching out into what appeared to be a gutter. We stopped to take his picture and he at first frowned at us. There were children down on the ground laughing and saying, “oh they are taking your picture”; Irena spoke to him in Polish asking, “what is going on.” They told her and she said, “well we are going to take your picture so that we can show the world how people in Poland fish.” That is their humor. Their humor is very basic and beautifully fun. They laughed, they love to play jokes.

We went on further into town; she wanted some ice cream. At the ice cream shop, I had chocolate cake (it was really a white cake with some pudding-like ingredient and a little tiny touch of chocolate on the top). It was good, not near as sweet as in the United States, but when you have been without sugar for several days like we have, it was excellent. She had cheesecake and then she followed that with some ice cream with some chocolate topping on it. I didn’t eat the ice cream for two reasons. Number 1, the sugar in the cake was adequate, and secondly, the ice cream, of course, is not cooked; we are trying to avoid milk that has not been cooked or heated to a high temperature.

We then walked around some more. We went inside the 17th-century church. It was very ornate; Filled with huge carvings and beautiful pieces. She said it was very typical as to what is throughout Europe in the old churches. Then we found a church that was more modern; it was very plain. Only the steeple was of the old architecture. It was a plain church on the inside.

I had to go to the bathroom so we went into this bar; it was a men’s bar, just table, and chairs. So I asked if I could take a picture, and she said, “sure, go ahead.” As we were leaving, somebody hollered at us. I asked, “oh, are they talking to us?” and she said, “no I don’t think so.” So, we kept walking. We didn’t know it but they were following us; of course, we were speaking English so they thought we were Americans – we were dressed like Americans. Even though she is Polish, she has lived in America for 20 some years and has adopted our culture and dress. They came up to us and asked us why we had any right to take any pictures of them. She answered them right back and said, “well who are you?” She said, “we didn’t take a picture of anybody, we took a picture of a room, and there is no law against that.” They were just trying to intimidate us, wanting money by intimidation;  Irena held her ground and when we left, she starting laughing; but I noticed her face was kind of red. I am sure she felt she can’t afford to be picked up for anything because she is trying to minister to the Catholic church.

We decided to head for home and became lost. We were completely turned around in the town. We asked several times how to find our camp. Some people didn’t know where the camp was, others gave us wrong directions. We finally found our way and actually walked quite a way before we were able to catch a bus to the camp and arrive in time for dinner.

Unaware of Enemy Attacks

The enemy is trying to work amongst the people here at camp. The American leadership is young and appears to be domineering. I guess there is some concern about the safety of all of us in this country. The government, of course, is watching us all the time. We have had soldiers in the park, cutting grass, just to keep an eye on us. However, the approach that is being taken is that they don’t tell us anything. They tell us to not ask and obey; many feel we are being treated with the oppression that is present in Poland. The Americans are rebelling. It has caused some friction. There have been some outbursts of anger and many, many, many tears. We are all praying for the leaders as well as our own attitudes. Even the young people are resenting the treatment, let alone those of us that are over 40.

There are some undercurrent things going on here in Poland that we are not aware of. As far as ministry goes, the team is not being used for anything. We have simply been invited to worship with the Polish kids that are Christians and to be their friends. Ron explained to us today that there were things going on that we cannot be privy to. I began to feel we were kind of a camouflage to the real work – the police were concentrating on watching us. As long we stayed in camp and sang and just worshiped, they were not able to see anything that was truly going on. It is very puzzling at this point.

On Monday morning we got up early and had a 7:30 worship service followed by 8:30 breakfast. Astonishingly, three of us actually rode the bus to town on Monday entering and exiting without issues. In town, we again found everything closed. We were puzzled. We finally met a lady that spoke German; we learned that they were closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday because of some kind of a national holiday. It is like our 4th of July, something with the Russians. The Polish people are not too impressed.

For the children, Russian is the number one required language in Poland. Polish, of course, is spoken in the home and no one uses Russian, but it is required in school. The children must master it. Then they have the option of taking German, English, Spanish or French.

Today is Tuesday, and we are up on the mountain. We are waiting to ride up on a chairlift to go to the top. This is a resort town. It is a ski resort town in the winter and a hiking resort town in the summer. There are more people here than I have seen anywhere. More cars – may be an area for the wealthy. The team chartered two buses for us to come up to the resort. To reach the retail area, we walked up a slight incline. But, we are still in the holiday period and the shops are all closed. There are several vendors up here but the wood carvings are extremely primitive. Very little artistic ability. They had sweaters for sale, but the Polish girls told us that the wool was not good and to not spend our money. They were 5,000 Zloties, which is about 12 dollars. One vendor has his dog with him and is selling what looked like Swiss Alp’s jackets and hats. He seems to earn more money by selling pictures as he puts a hat on the dog and hangs something from his mouth. It is funny. Many of the people were taking advantage of it. Up here I have found that everyone in every shop so far has spoken German and they all assume that I am German. They immediately speak German to me as opposed to Polish which makes it easier for me because then I can communicate relatively well.

Yesterday I asked one of the Polish girls to go with me over to the hotel and see if we could purchase a hot shower. Our showers at the camp are cold, they are ice cold. I wanted to have a hot shower to reduce the cramping I was having.  We went over to the hotel. I asked her if she would write me a note, and she said it would be better if she went with me. So, we went over to the hotel and asked and they said there was no way, it was not possible. First of all, they have cold water, secondly there were no showers that were not attached to a room, and third, all the rooms were taken. So I came back and said, “okay, I’ll take a cold shower.”

Well, she told Marek. He came to me and said that I could go to his house and take a shower. I was embarrassed and didn’t want to do that because the Polish people will give you anything. If they think you have a need, they will make it happen for you. No matter what the consequences would be to them. One of the other gals, Shawn, was standing next to me, and Shawn said, “oh, yes, I’ll go, I’ll go, let’s go” and I just felt awkward and bad; I was sorry she was standing there. It made it uncomfortable. We went, by that time, it appeared they were going to get their feelings hurt if I didn’t go.

We had a nice shower at their house. It was wonderful. I washed my hair and even dried it. They had a converter for my hairdryer. My hair dryer, even though it has a 220 switch on it, doesn’t have the right plug, and none of the converters that any of us brought will work. It is one of the newer plugs that has one prong larger than the other.

Their house is very small. It has one bedroom, a living room, a sitting room and a kitchen and a very small bathroom with a tub and a hand-held shower. They paid 3 million Zloties for their house. Their brother bought it for them as a present. He is a very rich man. You may remember the exchange rate is 400 Zloties to one American dollar; you can figure out the cost. In an apartment complex, they have just one apartment and the apartment looks very run down from the outside. It looks very shabby. It looks like tenement housing, but inside she has really designed it very well. Mared is a carpenter by trade and makes 20,000 Zloties a month; his wife is a secretary and makes 10,000 Zloties a month. The rug on their floor, a small 9 x 12 rug, was 40,000 Zloties, over one month’s pay for two of them. They do not have a car, and they likely will not have one for many years. An automobile costs 180,000 Zloties.

Our bus rides to town are six Zloties per person. It is an honor system; you must have tickets ahead of time – At the entrance, you punch the ticket yourself. Now, you don’t have to punch your ticket because it is an honor system, but if you are on the bus and the controller comes through and you do not have a ticket, you are fined 1,500 Zloties. Three of us took a cab back from town to the camp which is about 2 1/2 to 3 miles and it was 100 Zloties – I think he charged us double, so it was a quarter. Riding on the chairlift coming down, all we did was wait in line for 2 1/2 hours and ride the chairlift up, stay up on top for approximately 1/2 hour and turn around and come back down. The draw to go to the top was a church that was brought over from Sweden. The church was built without the use of nails. It is round and has a small little cross on the top. I saw it only through binoculars. It is a one hour walk to get there and one hour to return. Our time allotment did not permit the trek. There is a meeting in Boleslawiec tonight and therefore we must return.

Sculpture survived the war

Sculpture survived the war

I would like very much to tour Poland with an auto and plenty of time. It takes hours to explore the history and the architecture of this grand country. The people are delightful, helpful and welcome us. There are several sites like the little church on top of a mountain that is worth spending a day doing. And that is only in our little slice of Poland. Krakow would be a location for me to explore. While I do hate large cities, when they are full of history and exciting, even if sad in some cases, stories. I loved Rome even though it is huge.

The focal point of the church in Dovrowica, built in the 14th century and hand carved out of stone, is a statue of Mary and baby Jesus. It is a Catholic church; the grounds are beautiful and well-manicured. It has a private cemetery attached and several shrines. The church was constructed in 1382. The mountain and ski lift were in Karpacz.

After leaving there we went to an elegant restaurant that is privately owned called the Galery Night Club in Jelenia. In 1108, Polish duke Boleslaus III founded a fortified settlement, nestled in a valley among the mountains; the origin of today’s Jelenia Gora – a town of 900 years’ history. Recognizing the numerous historic monuments, hot springs and picturesque location Jelenia Gora is often called the Pearl of the Karkonosze Mountains.
All roads in the Old Town lead to the market square, which is surrounded by burgher houses with arcades, where visitors are greeted by a bugle-call, played from the town hall’s tower. From here it is only a stone throw to the remnants of city walls, Gothic and Baroque churches, streets with art, nouveau style houses, to castles and palaces. The photo of Mary in the grotto with the bench and the candle used to be a large stone hill, and the stone from that hill was used to build the church. That is why Mary was placed there. There is a large cross inside the church with Jesus hanging on the cross and that is made from one solid piece of alabaster. On the very front of the church over the altar, there is a picture of Jesus as a shepherd with lambs. That picture moves down and exposes an elegant oil painting of Mary. This is done to favorable music. The church is very tall inside, but very narrow, seating probably a maximum of 100 people.

Here we are on a Tuesday again. We are up early and attending worship followed by teachings that last until past lunch hour. While Ron Rearick does a good job of teaching, people are getting tired.  Various sickness is beginning to take its toll on several people. They are ‘run down’ and sort of winding down. It is a combination of heat, bacteria, lack of sleep and all of the authoritarianism. I personally am feeling fine, perhaps a little tired. I had a severe headache yesterday followed by cramps. But today, I am feeling good. I found the Bee Propolis so I am taking that; it is helping with the Lord’s Grace.

This morning I was writing postcards to mail to the U.S. Ron Rearick came by and said, in a rough authoritarian voice, “do not ask the Polish people to mail those.” This stems from two incidents where I had asked how much postage it would take to mail a card and from that innocent question, Marek took my cards to the post office himself. Ron, of course, saw him, plus I mentioned it, and secondly, when I asked one of the Polish girls to write me a note about the showers next door and Marek ended up taking me to his house. Ron has alluded to the fact that some people are using the Polish people like bell boys and he looked right at me. Not only am I feeling like I am being unfairly persecuted, but our purpose here in Poland is not being fulfilled from what I can tell. If we are decoys, then I guess it is being fulfilled. However, if that is true, then we are misled. We have had no opportunity to do any ministry except to make friends with the Polish people. While that is fun, they are all young and want to play soccer – all 15 to 18 years old. Several of us that are older did not come this far at this great expense to play only. We thought we would be ministering to the unsaved, we would be winning souls for Christ and part of the team by volunteering to take part in the team responsibilities. We are turned down on every corner. We are treated like children, and quite frankly, it is not as effective as it could be. We leave here in two days and head for Berlin. Perhaps the atmosphere will change. There are obviously some people which are the favored children, which is a shame to see happen in a Christian camp. I would have thought that our leaders are above that. An added problem is that most of the adults because they are being pushed around, are beginning to become bossy to each other. So, most of the older people are giving everybody orders. I am avoiding that like the plague, but I am receiving orders from numerous people.

I know evil is afoot but we are aware and fighting. I do not understand that we are ‘giving in’. I have a strong feeling that I am not fitting in. Several of us walk and do things at different times, but not bonding. There is one lady who was recommended that would be a good friend; turns out to be almost hateful toward me. Her name is Lynn Wright. Obviously wealthy but it seems more than that. Disturbing. I do not need the stress. Looking back now during 2016, my personal need to people please was raging. I tried to fix things in all areas. Not healthy nor appropriate.

For breakfast this morning, we had a small plate with three pieces of raw bacon, a tomato, and a half an egg. There was mustard on the table and old bread. For dinner, noontime, we had chicken noodle soup, followed by a piece of breaded raw meat, potatoes, and cauliflower. For supper, we usually have a lighter dish that consists of meat. Sometimes, just a piece of meat and bread, other times, a beef stew, which is typical of the way that we have been eating every day since we have been here. We have excellent soup every day.

The Christian kids are so hungry for the gospel. They take everything in and worship Jesus with their entire beings. It is beautiful to be in a service with them. They don’t have the privilege to go three or four times a week and be fed. They must make this last a long time. Many of them do not have Bibles. Yesterday on the bus one gal, whose name is Margarete, wanted to borrow my English Bible to compare to her Polish Bible. She and I read together and discussed some of the words and the verses. It made the scripture more real to me working with her. These are very devoted young people. I only wish we had the opportunity to reach some of the unsaved. I would like to have been involved in praying with some of them and teaching them about Father God and Jesus.

We are on the road again. We left our camp and are traveling toward Berlin. We arrived at the Brandenburger Tor (also famously known and labeled “check-point Charlie”), a monumental gate built in the 18th century as a symbol of peace. During the Cold War, the gate was located right near the border between East and West Berlin, it became a symbol of a divided city.

The wall was still standing and heavily guarded. Pariser Platz is the desolate area also known as ‘the point of no return’. It is described before the war as 19th-century grandeur.

Brandenburg Gate aka Checkpoint Charlie

Brandenburg Gate aka Checkpoint Charlie

This symbol of peace became a symbol of Prussian militarism and was badly damaged. After the war, it was a clear mark of the division of Berlin, just inside the Russian sector.

Once we make a left-hand turn and you look to your right, you will see a Russian war monument.

Hitler used to speak to the masses. This is one of the places he would do that. This is a condemned church, and we had a meeting in there one night. The pastor who was speaking said, “let’s praise God until the roof falls in”. Two days later the roof fell in.

We are in East Berlin. In 1961 – on the night of August 13, so 25 years this August in about two weeks, they will have some memorial services. Following the war, Berlin was divided into four sections (Russian, French, British and American). Later another conflict resulted in the creation of two separate German states. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) split up Berlin.

We stood near the bunker where Hitler in the last phase of the war committed suicide with Ava Brown. They had married the day before; the next day they both committed suicide.

This concludes my pages covering the Blessed Ministry trip to Poland in 1986.  Thank You for visiting. If you have comments, please leave them for me below. I love comments.

 

[i] Poland (Polska) is 120,726 sq mi, making it the 69th largest country in the world and the ninth largest in Europe.