Monday, July 26, 2010

One Prayer, Four Requests...

"That night God appeared to (Solomon) and said to him, 'Ask for whatever you want me to give you.' Solomon answered God, 'You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promises to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 'Give me WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE, that I may LEAD this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?'" -II CHRONICLES I:7-10

This our prayer...that God would give us the strength and wisdom to lead, and the humility and perspective to allow him to work in and through us however (and whenever) he sees fit.

4 prayer requests for you to consider:
1.) That our final construction permits would be approved by the Poznan city government so we can continue to promote and grow our coffeehouse ministry here...
2.) That God would provide funds for the purchase of a facility for the new work in Krakow...
3.) That God would also provide funds for our Poznan and Krakow staff members to attend a week-long training and networking conference in Oslo, Norway, in September.
4.) That he would continue to work in and through the lives of our current and future Sweet Surrender staff members, in Gdansk, Poznan, Krakow, and beyond!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Photos...LOTS of New Photos!

Brit has posted a lot of new photos of "A Day in the Life" in our apartment and the can view the album here!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We Heart Cathedrals!

We spent last Thursday morning exploring Poznan's Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul with our friend (and fellow American volunteer) Katie.

Lots of pictures are available here. Enjoy!

-Aaron & Brit

Monday, July 12, 2010

Poznan Pictures!

Photos of our apartment in Poznan are available here...

Photos of the coffeehouse are available here...

Photos of the church that meets here are available here...

...and photos from our trip to the Town Square are available here.

Happy looking!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's All Happening, Part 3

After landing in Warsaw (pronounced Var-SHAW-vah in Polish) and clearing Customs in about fifteen seconds, we learned that our connecting flight to Poznan (pronounced somewhere between POZE-nahn and POZE-nine) had ALSO been delayed. Joy! :(

After a brief period of despair, a helpful and fairly bilingual ticket agent managed to A.) get us in the last two seats on an EARLIER flight to Poznan -and- B.) re-route all four of our bags along with us. Sweet action! :)

We hustled down the hallway to our plane...then down a double set of stairs...then across the street and into a waiting shuttle bus...then across 3/4 of a mile of tarmac...and finally up a set of old-school airplane stairs into a compact commuter plane. Less than an hour later, we touched down in Poznan...but a full 2 hours earlier than the missionaries (Rev. Ev and Rhonda Tustin) here expected us!

After another shuttle trip across the tarmac to the main/only terminal, we collected our luggage at the baggage claim (pretty easy, since ours was the only plane landing at the airport). We immediately cracked open the laptop and our iPod and began casting about for a suitable wi-fi signal with which to contact our ride before the laptop's battery died. We JUST made it, after only 20 minutes of experimenting with different positions in the baggage claim area...we posted the Facebook SOS and got a response less than 5 minutes before the battery died!

Realizing we hadn't eaten in something like 16 hours, we made a late-night stop at a gas station on the way to our apartment (Note: never, ever attempt to eat a pizza from a Polish gas station!). But after a few more minutes of wide-eyed car transport, we finally arrived at our 3rd-floor apartment above the Sweet Surrender Coffeehouse. We are finally home!! :)

It's All Happening, Part 2

After arriving in the international terminal and learning that our flight was going to be substantially delayed, we immediately decided to return to one of the (many) main terminals for some higher-quality food than the (much smaller) international terminal food court had to offer.

There was only one problem: the boarding passes for our now-six-hours-late flight only afforded us admittance to the INTERNATIONAL terminal...which is how we ended choosing between a 24-hour coffee place, a sort of Chicago/Philly fusion hot dog stand, a McDonald's (where neither of us has eaten in 3 years), and a bar.

To make a long story short, we ended up splitting a cheesteak, some cheese sticks (are you sensing a theme?), and a giant sort of combination roast-beef-and-sausage sandwich. Overwhelming at first, surely...but, as it turned out, the only decent food we'd get for the next 16 hours!

What followed was a seemingly interminable six-hour wait (during which Brittany slept a few hours and Aaron slept none at all). To be fair, it also included an enjoyable re-viewing of one of Aaron's favorite movies, "Almost Famous." After a few anxious moments when it seemed like we might not receive our specific seating assignments (again!), we finally boarded our plane.

After settling into our lumbar-restricting seats, the flight attendants almost immediately began serving breakfast...which seemed nice, until it turned out to be six-hours-old beef and rice intended for the previous day's dinner! :) During the balance of the 8.5 hour flight, Aaron narrowly averted a series of INCREDIBLY painful neck spasms and managed to get 6 or 7 hours of sleep (his first in about 36 hours). Brittany, however, was forcd to endure two consecutive movies (dubbed in Polish, without English subtitles) and a Polish-speaking seatmate who refused to let her walk/climb/hop past him into the aisle.

At around 7:00 PM local time, we finally arrived in Warsaw!

To Be Continued...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It's All Happening!

We have officially left the United States (heck, the Western Hemisphere) behind us!

Last Sunday evening we began re-packing (for the 3rd or 4th time) for our trip to Poland. Six or eight hours later, we stumbled into bed with four 49-pound suitcases, two 13-ish-pound carry-ons, a purse, and a laptop bag waiting for us downstairs. We had less than three hours left before we needed to leave for the airport, so neither of us slept much!

We arrived at BWI at 6 AM for our 8 AM flight to Boston. Thankfully, all of our bags weighed in under the limit (if only JUST) and we made it to our Southwest Airlines gate with plenty of time to spare. The short flight to Boston was a breeze; not sure either of us was awake for more than 20 minutes of it!

Boston Logan International Airport, on the other hand, was perhaps the worst thing that ever happened to us. At Logan we switched carriers to United, the airline that our Polish carrier (LOT Airlines) uses in the US. That's where the trouble began. United's Boston ticket counter staff, gate agents, and customer servicepersons were either overworked or incompetent, and a very real possibility exists that they're both. In any case, it took 4 separate lines, nearly 3 hours, and conversations with 3 separate agents before we had our bags safely checked and our boarding passes in hand. And we were only flying from Boston to Chicago!

Once safely landed in Chicago (more sleep on the plane for Aaron!), and being the conscientious international travelers that we are, we bypassed all of the delicious-smelling restaurants in our terminal, bypassed security, and headed straight for the international terminal to check on the status of our flight to Warsaw....which, as it turns out, was running 6 hours behind schedule! :(

To Be Continued...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Down to the Wire

We spoke at our last 2 churches on Wednesday and Thursday night during our last week in Maryland (and the United States)...the Cambridge (MD) and Damascus (MD) Churches of the Nazarene.

The pastoral staff and members of both churches received us very graciously, and we enjoyed sharing our call to Poland for a final time in with friends in the US! We also had the opportunity at both churches to eat and fellowship with members of the congregation and friends from their respective neighborhoods before the service began. It was different some places where we've gone to church in the past, but we really enjoyed the food and, no one had to rush home from work, corral their kids, make dinner, and THEN try to make it to church by 7:00 PM. It was a great system!

Special thanks to Pastor Richard in Cambridge, and to Janet, Roy, and Pastor George in Damascus...we really enjoyed sharing with (and getting to know) you and your people!