Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The end of our adventure...or is it?

Hey guys! Well needless to say we are back! We flew in on Friday and went through some debriefing on Saturday. Sunday we went to Santa Claus Indiana to Holiday World Splashin' Safari to relax and enjoy one more day as an entire group. Monday afternoon we entered back into the world no longer as Mi2 interns but as Mi2 alumni.

We want to thank you for all the prayers and support that you provided over the 3 months and more and cannot think of what it would have been like if we had not had the prayers. Hopefully we can meet up and tell you our stories face to face. Love you guys!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Realna Akcja in Sandomierz

Well we are back from Sandomierz. All last week Dane and I participated in the event Realna Akcja. The whole premise of this week was to go throughout the city doing different types of service projects, hoping to build hope for the city. Needless to say that we were there to serve God and serve the people.

It is really hard for me to summarize the week based on the many things that happened. The concept that we were serving a people that would in no way be able to pay us back, made the week feel even more special. It is different when you do something without being paid back.

I had the blessing and honor to serve all week this family. They lived in what you would maybe call an apartment, but it really wasn't even that. Two rooms, one as a kitchen and the other a bedroom/living room/tv room. There was no bathroom in the house, the outside had makeshift shack rooms and the inside was in disarray. We spent 2 days scraping paint off the walls and tearing up the house to make it better. I had a constant struggle each day trying to figure out why we are putting so much effort into these people's home. Would they even take care of it once we are finished. There was a man and woman living there, both handicapped. And then there was a 7 year old girl. 3 people in this ruined place. And I didn't know if they would keep it up.

But as I continued through the week I kept thinking that somehow our actions may not impact these adults but maybe a few years later it would effect Sandra, their daughter. There is no way of really knowing, but I think that is the basic concept of doing work with no expectation of being paid back. My prayers go to the family in hopes that the new things in their house will be kept clean and that they remember that 3 different nationalities came for a week to help them out, only in the name of Jesus.

We are on our last week of Poland. Many mixed emotions right now, but once we are gone I know I will be longing to come back soon. For some of you followers, we will see you in a week or so. Until then, thank you for all your prayers and support. We really appreciate it.

Love all of you.
Erich

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interkosz Ends, Realna Akcja Begins.

What a beautiful day. This morning we got up early to wish the American group goodbye. This was such a great group, and so willing to contribute. They literally ran this camp all week. It was awesome to get to know them. They have such hearts for what they do. It was a great week.


I spent a lot of time with Maciek this week. I didn’t realize how much I am going to miss him until mid-week. His heart is SOOO big, and he encouraged me in more ways than he could understand this week. To see him pour his heart out to our small group of guys was just incredible. We spent the week discussing the gospel with 7 eighteen year old guys from Lithuania. They are unbelievable basketball players, and I think they are starting to understand who God is. It’s such a beautiful picture.


The week was really busy from all of the scheduling I had to do, but today was a great day to relax. We had the entire afternoon free, so I was able to catch up on our reading, work on the rock wall, watch a movie and Skype with a few people. I wished my parents a happy anniversary (28 years), I got to catch up with Paul Phillips and we got to talk with our Kenya team for a little while. They’re doing great, but struggling with the same life decisions we are. They are preparing for a medical initiatives conference this week, so please keep that in your prayers.


Tomorrow, after church, Erich and I leave for Sandomierz, Poland for a week long service project. We are going to blitz the city with different projects that need to be completed. Please be praying for our safety as we stay the night in this unfamiliar city, as well the conversations we will have with the locals. Pray that we are effective in out outreach.


Thanks again for following us. It means the world. I will try to update this week, but I may be hindered from doing so because I won’t be bringing my computer to Sandomierz. Have a great week, and we will update you by next Sunday!


-Dane

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Narrowing Down the Days

It's hard to believe that our time here is almost over. This is something that I do not like to think about just because of the great relationships that have been built here as well as the love for the country. I keep thinking about how God has continually moved to get Dane and I here, and how Sovereign He is. Without any of our doings, we got here. And now that we are here, we are learning a lot, loving people and just having a great summer. Like any child when the summer ends and they are about to go back to school, we are feeling the same way.

I would say that for both of us, one of the things that we can take out of this experience is that we now have an idea of where we need to be going. The path we were going down before this trip has been completely changed and the new direction seems so much nicer and better and more fitting to who we are and how we operate. I know that this adventure will shape the rest of our future. How we do not know, but I think after a few weeks of being back home we will see some of the results of what has taken place.

This week has been a completely different week. Basketball all week. I haven't experienced this since I was little and going to Rick Pitino's Basketball camp. 5 different countries in one place to learn about basketball, play basketball and learn about Jesus. It doesn't get much better than this. I have been coaching a team and after 4 days of playing, I finally got a win last night. I have been instilling into my kids the importance of team work and passing and making smart decisions. That it is not about winning and losing but to work as a team and to be smart in the decisions that we take. I started thinking about this and how much this applies to our relationship with Christ and one another. It's amazing how we can learn a lot from basketball.

Well I am off to rehearse for this morning. Continue to pray that God will work through us Mi2'ers (Kenya and Poland)

Love you guys.
Erich

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Busy As Always

It’s been a great (and yet still hectic) start to Interkosz, Proem’s International basketball camp. The kids have been enthusiastic so far. It’s so cool people from multiple different competing and laughing over the game of basketball. This week, we have kids here from all over Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the Ukraine. The weird part is, after weeks of kids camps, this week consists of all kinds of guys over 6’2”. It’s pretty intimidating.


As well as camp starting this week, we got to go with Southeast’s short-term group to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Krak√≥w. What a humbling experience. Words cannot express the feelings I felt being there. At one point, we stood in a gas room that was used to kill thousands of innocent lives. You could still smell the scents of the suffering that took place.


Overall things are going really well. I’m constantly busy with various tasks, and unfortunately rarely find time to read The Call (which we started last week). I need to keep up with it, so pray that I find that quiet time during the day. Also, I’ve been placed in charge of scheduling games each day, which has taken another hour or so out each day. It’s exciting, and it’s a way I’ve actually been able to use the things I learned in school.


I hope all is well, wherever you are. Please keep these last few weeks of ours in you prayers. This weekend we are supposed to leave fro “Real Hope”, so please keep that inner-city mission project in your prayers as well.


Love you all!

Dane

Friday, July 17, 2009

Praising God Always

Psalm 150:6

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

This verse has been in my head the past few days. Last night, it all came flooding down like a monsoon of emotion and glorification. Thursday morning Brian Sites led us in devotionals and mentioned Psalm 150. This is the last Psalm and all the other Psalms we read about times of pain, suffering, enduring, glory and remorse. And at the very end we read, Praise the Lord. Amidst all suffering, all remorse and pain we still praise the Lord. I had to start looking at this really hard earlier this week, when I found out I had pink eye. Never had it before, never really even wanted it. And I found myself wanting to be miserable and feel sorry for myself. But looking back, God's grace was upon me. It allowed me to get some rest and to just refocus my attention on God.

Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.

But last night was a worship night that was so amazing. Hearts pouring forth songs of praise and adoration to our Creator. I just found myself so caught up in the moment that there was nothing I could do but pray. Pray for the hearts in that room that the praise they were singing was for God and not just a cool sounding song. And then at the end, God was glorified. The kids wanted an encore. And then another encore. It was so amazing. It was so glorifying.

I keep thinking about the word glory and glorification and praise. I think of us as creatures created to serve the purpose of glorifying God. But if God is glorious and is the definition of glory, then how can glory be given to the Gloriest of Glory? It has been on my heart recently, along with the idea of God being a jealous God. El Qatar. And yet these two concepts work together. God is jealous. What does he want from us. He wants us to glorify Him and praise Him. He wants what is rightly His. I know that there is more to God being jealous and wanting our praise and glory, but these are the concepts that are on my heart right now.

I look at all that has happened these past few months and I am in awe of who God is and what he is continuing to do. Please continue to pray that Dane and I can find comfort in knowing that God is in control and that we may not really know what our next step is after Mi2, but that God will reveal this in His right time. And pray that we, as a body in Poland and around the world, even back home, know what it means to really give glory and praise God.

Love you guys.
Erich

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Life Has Been Great

In case you can’t tell from my 1 1/2 week absence from Blogging, life has been great. The last camp finished well, with 8 of my 12 kids coming forward to ask questions about God. This week has been relaxing, but continually busy.


Although I am only leading a guitar workshop and working in the snack shack this week, I have been busy with other things. Erich and I had to start reading the book the Call (Os Guinness) this week, so that had taken some time, and we have spent a lot of time with the Southeast group that is here right now. There are 6 people here from Southeast, and Christian Academy of Louisville sent a group of 4 girls and 1 adult. So we’ve enjoyed some new relationships that remind us of home.


Wow. We have 22 days until we leave. It feels like just the other day that we arrived. I don’t know where the time has gone, and I don’t know if I have much more clarity in regards to the future. Just confusion.


This week has served as a reminder of God’s love. I guess I had just grown numb to it. In Exodus 34, God calls himself Jealous. Like, he says it’s his name. He is Jealous for our affection. Not in a worldly view of jealousy, but in a way that resounds I care about you, and I understand that you will never find anyone like me. Therefore, I am Jealous, because I know what is best for you.


It’s crazy to begin to understand that. It changes my habits and the ways I interact with people.


Lastly, please be in prayer for the High Schoolers here this week. They are hearing the word preached in full, so please pray that they are receptive. Also, please pray for my direction. This has been a big worry on my heart the past week. I am praying for clarity.


Thanks again. Sorry for the absence, but know that I have been fulfilling the ministry in my time away!


-Dane


Also, Erich suffered from some sever pink eye earlier this week, and is almost finished healing. Please keep praying that he heals fully and that it doesn’t spread to anyone else.