17 years. That is how many consecutive years we have been able to serve in Poland Family English Camps. As we look back, we realize that God has made this unlikely journey possible. Sixteen years ago, we signed up for one camp. One. We decided to try bringing our kids, and honestly weren’t even even sure this was a great idea. But looking back at all the things God has done, we are so thankful that God has sent us back each year. We see God work in the lives of Poles each year, and nothing has shaped us or our kids more than these missions trips.
Today as we board our flight toward Poland, we are not looking back—but forward to the next two weeks of ministry. Once again, God has been faithful and provided a team of 32 Americans from across the Midwest and from Europe. Family English Camp starts on Sunday, so the team’s travels will converge Friday evening in Kudowa Zdrój (pronounced Coo-dō-va Zdroo-ey). We will have a couple of days to begin to adjust to jet lag, to finalize planning for the week, and to gel as a team. Anyone who studies team dynamics will know intuitively that 24 hours is not enough time to develop team dynamics, but ironically these relationships are the foundation for our week of ministry. Jesus taught that if we are going to be a light to the lost, we must start by loving one another. The call is not to “tolerate,” or even to “get along.” Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by how you love one another.” Christlike love for one another is not only God’s command, but the fuel that ignites the fire in the hearts of the lost.
On Sunday, about 160 Polish campers will show up at the camp. This will include campers of all ages, but we expect a larger number of youth and teens this year. In a typical camp, about 60-70% of the campers would identify themselves as unbelievers. For many, this camp will be the first time they have ever personally opened and read the Bible for themselves. It will be the first opportunity they have to experience a Christ-centered community lead by God’s Spirit. This is why we all do our part by investing our time, our prayer, and our money. These trips give us this rare opportunity to live in this fishbowl environment for a week and introduce Jesus to these wonderful, lost people.
Our trip starts today, and continues through Wednesday, July 10. Thank you for praying with us for the following:
- The enemy seems to be attacking our family through discouragement this year. Pray that we would persevere and experience God’s encouragement as we lead and serve this week.
- That the team would love one another with God’s love as we work together in a challenging and fast-paced environment.
- That many would experience God this week and would want to know more.
- That the enemy would not be able to disrupt our plans by impacting our families, jobs, etc. back home.
- We will be inviting campers to start Bible studies on their own after the camp with their families or friends or coworkers. Please pray with us that some campers would catch this vision and begin Bible studies within their own communities.
Thank you again for partnering with us in prayer!
Mike, Mary, and Josiah