Wednesday, 1 August 2012

God is Faithful

Hello everybody!

I know I haven't given you an update in a little while and I should definitely give you a quick one. I am half way through the last camp of the summer and it has been super exciting so far. I will update all of you later on the amazing things happening at the camp here in Bielsko Biala.

But for today I want to talk to you about something that has been on my heart lately. I posted a few weeks ago about an amazing opportunity to stay in Poland for an extended 3 months. It is something I have been considering and praying about for a while now and  after my last camp in Jastrzebie God touched my heart and told me one thing. You need to be staying in Poland. So I began to tell some people back home and started the process applying for a visa to remain in Poland. I even had a suitcase of fall clothes brought over last week.  I began to get very excited about staying and seeing all of the areas I could continue to serve in here in Poland through until December. I prayed that I would be the Lord's servant and follow him wherever he wanted me and most of all I prayed for the the youth here in Poland, and God moving in their lives.

The anticipation was overwhelming and I could barely contain my excitement about staying here, continuing relationships, discipling students, having bible studies, and loving the people in Poland. I could feel God calling me here. I switched my mentality about the next 4 months of my life to ministry in Poland, not to Canada and I began to prepare for that.

God is sovereign and he has a plan for my life and after yesterday I got a clear message that for now that is no longer in Poland.

After much preparation, phone calls, letters, documents, the possibly of receiving a visa in Poland fell through and it broke my heart yesterday as I realized I am going home in just over a week's time.

I love Poland.

And I know God is faithful and has a plan for my life. It hurts me that I have to leave Poland, and I have to leave the Josiah Venture family. But I don't think that this is the end here in Poland. God is pressing the pause button. Maybe it is because he is preparing me for even bigger things. I don't know, but I know he is in control and so I will follow him back to Canada on August 9th.

I am so blessed to have my hope in Christ, he is my comfort in times of confusion, pain and brokenness. As I spoke at camp last night about hope, and about what God has been laying on my heart, it was clear to me that he knows best and he loves me and he will guide me through the next chapter of my life, through these uncharted waters.

I am overwhelmed with a heart for Poland. I am in love with this country and with the people here. I am so grateful for every opportunity I have had to share the love of Christ over the last 60 days I have spent here. I will share more about what he has done here in a few days after camp. But I want you all to know my heart right now.

Please pray for me as I focus on the last 4 days of camp and want to remain present with the campers. Please pray as my future still confuses me and I am mending a broken heart having to leave Poland. Please pray that the campers here in Bielsko would understand that God loves them and is pursuing them and they need him in their life.

Thank You

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Do not fear for I am with you.

I wanted to share with everyone a little bit about how I have been encouraged lately....

A few days ago I received a lovely package, I was a little confused as to who the sender was and it became quite the surprise. Inside was a lovely card from a teacher at Stouffville Christian School corresponding with a letter and six separate envelopes numbered by weeks. To my delightful surprise I learned that during missions week the youth pastor Alex from Springvale Baptist Church told the students of the school about my trip to Poland and the students decided to encourage me by writing me letters. It was overwhelming reading letter after letter after letter from kids who mostly I had never met, encouraging me, praying for me and sharing what they think about my trip. It blew me away! When you have an 8 year old sharing scripture with you and talking about the gospel  I must say you become incredibly humbled. It was such a beautiful thing to me hearing from these children and it made my week knowing that these children are supporting me through prayer, it is probably one of the most encouraging things on my trip thus far.

Today I opened the second envelope of letters which contained another 10 notes from kids on top of the 16 I read last week. It brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes reading the thoughts and prayers. My favourite letter so far came from a girl I know who used to be my camper at the camp where I spent the last 3 summers working. I was so delighted to read her letter and I was encouraged by her bible verses.

Isaiah 41:9-10 "I took you from the ends of the earth , from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 

Hayley's letter put a smile on my faced and deeply warmed my heart; her verse is one that I will keep close and turn to in the next few weeks when things become busy and stressful. Isn't it so comforting to know that God is always with us? 6999.5 km away from home I know that God is here on the good days and the bad ones and that is what keeps me going when I get up in the morning. I hope that wherever you are and whatever life is throwing your way that those verses can be a comfort to you through good times and the rough ones. God has got it you don't even need to break a sweat. Pretty cool right?

Anyways those are my thoughts on this rainy evening in Bielsko. I will check in again real soon, I promise!

- Kat

My letters so far! 

Sunday, 8 July 2012

You make beautiful things! You make beautiful things from dust.

Hey friends!

It is great to catch up as I relax and rest after an action packed, busy, awesome week! This last week was spent putting on my first English camp of the summer in Poland and I must say it was an unbelievable experience.

I was reunited two weeks ago with the 10 other Poland summer interns (which was wonderful in and of itself) and we got ready for the first ever summer English camp in Jastrzebie (pronounced ya-shjem-bia). After lots of prep and prayer we loaded up a trailer with supplies and squished into one van like a clown car... and we were off. We weren't really sure what to expect, this was the first camp in this town and even though we had advertised in a bunch of schools we really didn't know what would happen. So we stepped out in faith knowing that God had a plan.... and let me just tell you it was beautiful!

Things didn't go exactly as planned, we were prepared for the camp to be heavier in soccer than English but every camper pretty much signed up for English so that changed things a little bit. But we quickly adapted and just went with the flow (a skill necessary when planning English camps). So Sunday rolled around and campers began to show up and it became very real, very fast. We had approximately 25 campers come (which may not seem like a lot to you... but to me it was an answer to prayer!) and we began our week showing how there is a life Greater Than this one.

This week seems like a blur (a very hot blur I might add... fun fact there isn't really air conditioning in Poland)... it was full of English Lessons, lots of dancing, games, Hawaii night, pool day, me losing a toe nail, sweet worship and most importantly we got to talk about Christ through the story of the Prodigal Son and tying it into our summer theme Greater Than. I quickly became attached to everyone who was at camp this week and we became like a family. I have a special place in my heart for each and every one of them, and I am so thankful that God brought this camp in Jastrzebie together.

I was able to share my testimony over two of the evenings at camp and teach on the final evening. My absolute favourite part of the entire week was watching God move in the hearts of campers. It was so special for me to have been able to be a small piece in God's puzzle at camp. Most of the campers I would say have been soaked in a society of religion their whole life, but one thing that each of them said by the end of the week is that they have never experienced the idea of a relationship with Jesus and they were stunned by the passion and joy they witnessed through the interns. And what touched them the most was hearing the personal stories of lives that have been changed by Jesus.

I got the chance to meet an amazing girl who I connected with very quickly. Before long I was visiting her home and we began to build a relationship and talk about everything. She is so precious to me. To see her heart touched by Christ in a real way was the best part of my week. Getting to sit with her and share my story and talk about the hope I have in Jesus was unreal. I believe that her life will never be the same and that is all thanks to God and his love.

It is hard to sum up the week of camp but as we danced our camp dance one final time yesterday I was overwhelmed with a feeling of incredible joy. Maybe it was the realization that we had become one big family and maybe it was because I had an incredibly fun week. But I think that the main reason was because I new that God had been SO good and that this was the beginning of something amazing that God is going to do among the youth in Jastrzebie.

Thank you for all of your prayer and support, please continue to  pray for all of the campers from Jastrzebie. Pray that this wouldn't be a fun memory of a good feeling they had about God but that God would transform them from the inside out and they would hunger and thirst for a deeper relationship with Him.

So, I am back in Bielsko Biala and it is bittersweet after an awesome week in Jasterzebie, but I am so excited to get closer to the youth here in the next weeks as we prepare for our camp here that begins on the 28th. It is going to be awesome!

That's all for now!

- Kat

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Here's my heart, O take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.

Hey Everybody,

I wanted to give you an update about something God has really been laying on my heart recently and I want to ask for your prayer about it. So hang with me as I give you the spiel. Here it goes...

My time in Poland so far has been unreal and it is really hard to believe it has been almost a month since I arrived here. Crazy right! Since that time I have begun to develop some awesome relationships with some of the Polish girls in Bielsko and God has been moving in my heart. I already knew that I was in love with Poland and the people here but I guess this last month has really affirmed that and I have just really deepened my heart for the lost here in Poland.

So here is the big news: I have been offered an unbelievable opportunity; and that is to extend my internship with Josiah Venture here in Poland to the end of November. What would that look like? Well basically it would be me deepening the relationships and connections I already have with the youth here. I would love to get the chance to disciple some of the girls in the youth group and just have the opportunity to continue sharing Christ's love to the youth here even when camp is over, especially when camp is over. Why the heck would I stay longer? Along with an extra three months here in ministry I am also praying that the Holy Spirit would begin to make it clear if he wants to be a part of full time ministry, specifically here in Poland. Multiple missionaries here in Poland have approached me about the possibility of me being part of long term missions here.  I am not 100 percent sure what that would look like yet but what I do know is that I am at a point in my life where I feel like God is calling me to something greater than what I am currently doing with my life and I am praying for his guidance into what that looks like whether it be full time ministry in Canada or here in Poland. What can you do right now? Please PRAY. Pray that God would make it clear if He wants me to extend this summer internship. Please pray that God would provide the funds necessary if an extended internship is what he is calling me to. And please pray that God would also reveal to me if he wants me to be in long term missions in the future here in Poland. I really feel like the Spirit will confirm whether I should stay or not through all of you, the people surrounding me and praying for me as I am here.
Please contact me if you have any questions for me or if you just want to discuss this with me further, I would love to! As for support, I will be making my decision in the next 2 weeks and when I do I will definitely update all of you either way. If you feel called to donate to my extended internship I will let you know the details when I know for sure if that is what God wants me to do.

I want to thank you all for you prayer and your support from home. It means a lot to me that you read my little updates and pray along with me as I am here. I can't thank you enough and I will definitely keep you updated as things become clear to me. So bear with me and all I can ask for is your prayer. You guys mean so much.

God Bless,


Thursday, 21 June 2012

News from Bielsko

Hey Everybody! Here is my latest update from Poland! Just a bit of info for you. Enjoy!

Ps- My face is cut out of some shots but I didn't want to re shoot it so I hope you don't mind.

- Kat

Saturday, 16 June 2012

New friends and new places!

The last few days the other interns in my group and I took a little trip to the town of Olkusz to help promote the English camp that they are putting on this summer. It was quite the little adventure.... I count it as quite an accomplishment that the three of us managed to take two trains all by ourselves to Olkusz when our Polish is pretty minimal. Three hours later we arrived safe and sound. I was very excited to see a friend and to meet some new ones.

The best part of my trip to Olkusz was seeing 6 young men and women following God's call in their lives, these leaders are planning an English camp in Olkusz for the first time and they are going to be a part of a church plant in this town. It is clear that they have a passion for God and a passion for the youth in Poland and watching them really encouraged my heart. Whether it was them speaking in the local church or watching them tell students about their camp this summer, it was obvious that God is moving in their lives and I am excited to hear about the great things that God will be doing at their camp in a few weeks.
I was reminded of the passage in Acts 2 of the early church,

 "And all who believed were together and had all things in common.  And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." ~ Acts 3:44-47

I am greatly encouraged watching the work that God is doing here in Poland and I am reminded that each day matters and in everything I do, whether in Poland or not, it should be done to share the love of Christ with everyone I meet.

I pray that these leaders would grow together as a community and that this summer and through the next year as they minister to the youth and the community around them that God would do unbelievable things in Olkusz.

Please keep my friends Lena, Damian, Michał, Ola, Krystian, and Agata in your prayers.


Friday, 8 June 2012

Greetings from Bielsko

Yesterday was the first time our whole Poland team split up and it was a little sad but it was also really exciting to finally meet the Carlsons (my summer family)! We got the opportunity to meet the youth group in Bielsko and to go to a concert in Skoczow. It was a lot of fun! It was sweet seeing Poles from all over coming to worship the Lord. The band that played is called TGD and it was unreal just experiencing God in another language in another country worshiping God as children of Christ .. regardless of our nationality.