Poland 2015

Cost: 3700 per person

Over the summer, I was privileged to help create a relationship between Gordon College and Poland. Our team was the first Gordon team to visit Poland on a summer service learning trip. We worked with an organization called Josiah Venture. What Josiah Venture does is partner up groups of English speakers with local Polish (and other eastern European) churches to create English teaching summer camps. This is a very effective strategy to display the gospel for a few reasons.

The first thing to know about Poland is that it is almost 90% Catholic. The problem is that there is a fine line between Catholicism being a religion or simply a part of the cultural, which is easily blurred. There are a vast number of professing Catholics in Poland who do not know what their religion really means and they are not invested in finding out more. The second thing to know is that it is a very common thing for Polish high schoolers to go to many different camps over the summer. Lastly, many Polish kids want to know English and are drawn to the prospect of learning and practicing the language more. What we did was come in and pair up with a church in a city called Wroclaw. We then took a bus with all of the kids and youth group leaders to a camp facility in the north of the country. Then we lived the summer camp life for a week with these kids. We each had to take on significant amounts of responsibilities while at the camp. We taught 3 different levels of English classes, a volleyball class, big group games, and all of the aspects of a morning and evening program with songs, games and sermons. While our advertisement was for an “English Camp” we actually did much more than this. Through our interactions and our evening sermons, we gave the kids an honest and genuine display of the gospel.

  poland big group photo

 

One of the things that will stick with me after this trip was their response to the gospel. They were overjoyed and amazed when they came in contact with the Truth that the gospel offers. I was supposed to be the one telling them how great Jesus is but their amazement seemed so much greater than my own. I realised that since I had grown up hearing about Jesus I had grown numb to the excitement and awe that he brings. It opened my eyes again to just how great he is and how much our souls thirst for a loving God.Poland small group photo

I feel that often times, when a mission trip team leaves those whom they’ve served, a void is left in which growth significantly slows down or even stops. One of the reasons that Josiah Venture is such a great organization is that even after English Camp is over and the Americans leave, the kids still have a great team of Polish leaders who are there to help them continue to grow. I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to serve with my team and to be a part of an organization that is doing such impactful work to further the Kingdom.

-Peter Nawoichik