Wood Shavings

God really is blessing as we are in the final two weeks of moving.  I am one of those weird ones that keeps as much original packaging as possible, good used boxes, and good used packing materials.  I would not suggest this for everyone, but since we are basically a modern version of nomads, it works for us.  Having the stuff makes packing easier than finding all new packing materials with poor language skills and little budget.   Thanks for praying for us.  If you aren’t yet, please start doing so.  Hahah.

Here is our study guide from last week’s study, the InterNational Church of Wroclaw.  The story of Nicodemus is so rich with spiritual truths.  Our focus was on the need to be confident we are both born of “water” and born of “spirit”. April21 WSG

Please pray for our daughter Hannah as she finishes her junior year at college and prepares to visit us this summer.  She will visit for two weeks and then be off to Bulgaria for a six week project.  Then she will be back with us for the rest of the summer.  We can’t wait to have her back.

Your prayers have been effective in relation to the water project my parents are completing in South Africa.  Though there have been many setbacks, much progress has been accomplished.  I am not sure of the details, but they let the family know they were extending one week.  I assume this means they believe one more week will ensure the project is completed, Lord willing, by the time they leave.

Thanks so much for praying.

Wood Shavings

I feel like I am living the song ”Hello Mother, Hello Father” by Spike Jones.  Today the sun is shining and yesterday it was time to crawl under a rock.   I would change a few of the verses of that wonderful song to include searching for apartments, packing, starting a church, and spiritual warfare.  What brought this to mind is that I think I got sunburn in the little time I spent outside today.  It seems like last week there was snow on the ground.  It seemed like it because there was, I saw some even on Monday.

Spoiler Alert, sort of, Hahahah.  The following picture is our upcoming apartment – backyard.  Ok, so I just found out I forgot to take a picture of the building itself.  Also didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures inside since an Italian family is still living there.  I will share pictures in the future.FILE0059

So all about yesterday, actually I better back up a tiny bit.  If you didn’t know, we were informed two Saturday’s ago that we must move.  Thursday and Saturday last week we saw apartments and one especially interested Denise, and me another.  We found out on Monday that the one that interested Denise is literally next door to where Dietrich Bonheoffer was born and lived his first six years.

Monday we visited the two apartments again.  It felt good that both owners wanted us to rent, even reduced their prices to entice us.  By the time we saw the apartments again Denise and I had shifted our interest, wanting to be supportive of the other’s choice.  At that time both apartments seemed nearly equal.  But our prayer from the beginning is “God’s will be done”, so key was finding what God wanted and not what we wanted.  We were wondering even if God was saying both were fine with Him.

We visited the apartment I felt slightly stronger was where God was leading us, lets call it Borek sense it is in that region, and it was confirmed in my heart.  But I sensed we needed to see the other one again as well even knowing someone else was seeing the Borek apartment after we left.  When we were leaving our realtor asked if we wanted to give a verbal offer, we said not yet, but told them we would inform them later that night.

We visited the second apartment and I felt strongly this time it was not where God wanted us and God make it also clear to Denise.  We went for a walk, prayed some more, had a bite to eat and made an offer on the Borek apartment.  But we also found out the other person, a business, had given an offer and was interested in a 10 year commitment.

We went to sleep knowing the owners would make a decision the next day, Tuesday, yesterday.  I woke up with a sense we were going to move to Borek.  But we got word that morning they had chosen the other offer.  The rest of the day I could not give up on renting at Borek.  We made a counter offer, to our surprise, and found out it was not too late.

It was about this time I enlisted prayer support and wondered if spiritual warfare was involved.  The owner asked to contact our current landlord, who did not know we were looking at other apartments, but we made the arrangements (another sub-story to tell another time).  Somewhere in this process the owner’s father had two dreams that greatly concerned him about Denise and I.  Here was the proof for me of the spiritual battle God was waging.

I look forward to learning all that happened during this time, I will get the details in the future and share them another time.

I don’t know how it exactly prayer works; either God answered our prayers, or we came into alignment with His plans all along.  One more lesson Abba is teaching me.  In the end our Father used His limitless power to lead to our signing the contract last night, returning home exhausted at 11pm.

God is teach me at a new and deeper level than ever before how to discerning His will, trust in what He tells me, persevering according to His will, and prayer.

Thanks for praying.

Wood Shavings

I hope you have experienced one or more of those “big” events in life when God prepared you before it even happened.  This continues to be our experience with this sudden move and God is already getting the glory.  Yesterday we shared the news with our language tutor.  He said He was surprised at how well we were dealing with the situation.  It was a convenient opportunity, one that we took, to share how God is the one making it possible.

One of the interesting dynamics of moving in central Europe, not only Poland, is finding a location.  We already have a realtor from the church and Denise has spent hours searching the internet, none of this is unique.  What you might find “odd” is that it is very difficult to find an apartment or anything that is empty – meaning furniture-less.  (When in Russia we had to get our own furnishings.)  Not only are they not empty, but the owners are not willing to move the furniture out, so you can move yours in.  This is one of those situations where culture comes into play.  Here are some of the probable reasons for furnished rentals.  1. People tend not to move and when they do, they leave their stuff behind.  2. Many apartments have been handed down from relatives, providing them with a rental location, and since people tend to move to furnished apartments they keep the old stuff.  3. There are very, very, very few available storage facilities.  4. Lastly, space is a much higher premium in Europe = expensive.  I better move on as I think this hits the key points.

Please do pray that Denise and I will stay focused on every element of God’s Will related to the move.  To be perfectly transparent, we are feeling a bit “anxious” (Philippians 4:6) despite a confidence in the Lord and the peace (Philippians 4:7) that is coming through prayer and relying on Him.

Sunday we had a good group for our time together.  Enjoy the pictures.  The one of Denise and our friend leading the music was not intended to be so artistic.  Hahah.

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You can see nearly everyone who attended.  At this point we have just over thirty different people who have attended in our first three weeks.  I am really excited about this size as I am confident God wants us to grow deeper spiritually together before aggressively seeking new growth.  From now until about September we will meet for 30 min. for singing and prayer, then 45 min. for Bible study.  The goal on Sunday was to share the Core Values of the church, see the attached handout for the outline.  I am tempted to share more now, but I will save it for the weeks and months to come.

One more detail I want to share about the INCW.  God has put it on our hearts to start as a church based on God’s ethos/culture.  Denise and I strongly believe this is to be done through a focus on discipleship with every possible aspect of the church.  We are convinced that starting well will mean staying closer to God’s Will in everything that we do and who we are as Jesus’ bride.

This coming Sunday we will focus on the first five Core Values through studying John 14:15-27.  Please keep praying for the INCW as we need the Lord to lead us in every way through His Spirit.April7 WSG

Here is a quick update on the Wroclaw Language School.  God continues to work in and through the school.  The teachers need your prayers for wisdom and power to be the salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) He wants them to be.  Soon we will have a few outreach activities: Ukrainian Night and Mexican Night.  I will make sure to fill you in before the events.

I heard from my parents last night.  They are doing well and their “adventure – mission project” continues.  The unreliable truck they rented is doing much better after a few more times in the shop and new parts.  My mom is teaching a group of ladies, pictures are coming some time in the future, how to sew and knit.  She is also teaching them conversational English primarily through songs and the skills they are learning.  The water project is back on course (pun intended).  A fence has been built around the location for the small dam they will build at head of the spring.  A team of locals is also digging a trench for the pipes.  I have no specific idea how to encourage you to pray other than for “God’s will to be done” (Matthew 6:10).

Thanks for praying.

Wood Shavings

Snow, in April!  We are supposed to get snow every day this week as well.  No use fighting what you can’t change.  It sure is pretty coming down and a lot nicer than rain in my book.

We had a great Easter celebration.  I didn’t get a picture of the group, looked a lot like the previous week’s picture anyway, but I did get a shot of the snow, which fell all day.

Easter morning from the window where the new church meets.

Easter morning from the window where the new church meets.

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I did not notice such a change last year, but this Easter the city felt like we had experienced the rapture or something.  There were so few people visible in the city.  This is primarily true because of three factors; stores are closed, people have traveled to visit family, and or Easter breakfast.  On Saturday families take a wicker basked with food to their local Catholic church to be blessed.  In a special service each basked receives a sprinkling of “holy water” from the priest.  Then Easter morning the blessed food is eaten.  One friend described the Eater Breakfast as: eggs, sausage, eggs, various salads, eggs, eggs, cake called Babka, and more eggs.  So people are not out on Easter as they are enjoying – eggs I guess.

This coming week at the new InterNational Church Wroclaw (INCW) we will shift our Sunday morning meetings to more of a small group format.  Starting this week we will begin with an extended time of singing before a time of Bible study.  April we will focus on the vision for the church based on the Bible.  Each week I will post the handout from the previous Sunday.  This handout is intended to become a guide for all activities of the week.  A primary element of the guide is for each individual, their daily time with the Lord.  I am convinced that if each of us maintain a healthy daily devotional life, then God will use each of us.  My guess is that it will take a few months before the guide becomes widely adopted by those who attend the INCW.  Here is the guide for this week.  This week’s guide includes a chronology of the events between Jesus’ Resurrection and the Ascension.Mar31 WSG

You might have noticed I made a “mistake” in the title for the new church.  Well, I didn’t for once.  The new church is to be an inter-national church.  Our goal is to not have the new church be limited to speaking English.  We hope in the future to have small groups meeting in every language found in Wroclaw.  We intend to sing verses of songs, voice prayers, and find other ways to incorporate various language into each time we gather.  So we are going to be the INCW.

Please pray for Denise and I as we meet this week with our mentoring partners.  Pray with me for a new partnership to start this week or latest next week.  One of the most enjoyable parts of each week is to meet with these younger believes in a “disciple making” or mentoring partnership.

Thanks for praying.