A New Beginning in Poland

A New Beginning in Poland

The Searles are settled in Poland: coffee machine and toaster ease our mornings. We have internet and a printer-scanner. Soon we’ll have music. Electric space heaters are at the ready to heat each of our four rooms. Let the snow fly !!

The Searles are settled in Poland: coffee machine and toaster ease our mornings. We have internet and a printer-scanner. Soon we’ll have music.  Electric space heaters are at the ready to heat each of our four rooms.  Let the snow fly !!

Sunday, we have our first potluck at Lodz (Woodge) church, and our first of eleven midweek two-hour presentations with a translator—one at each of the eleven Evangelical Reformed churches.  It will feel as if we’re itinerating again–traveling from church to church. This time, however, we’ll travel by train and bus, and we’ll travel in Poland.

People here would like us to talk about our work in China, answer questions, teach a few songs, share some scripture and prayer, and have some time for informal fellowship.  After all the wonderful potlucks we had in U.S. churches, we’re eager to check out Polish potluck fare 😉  We’ll let you know what turns up.  Our contribution will be something tame: banana bread.

The Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland elects a bishop every four years. It’s an administrative role that the bishop holds at the same time as he or she pastors a church.  The administrator is called a Bishop, because one needs an appropriate title to speak to parallel representatives of other denominations here in quite hierarchical Poland.

The other non-Doug or Liz person, first on the left, is Rev. Semko Koroza, our denominational liaison.  The four of us talked about our shared vision for youth camps, ESL classes, music workshops, the new church planting in Wroclaw, the need for Sunday School materials and teacher training workshops, the need for new music in the churches and musician training, and how we can begin forging connections between churches in the U.S. and churches in Poland so that we can share news and pray for each other.

We also talked about the challenges the minority and marginalized reformed churches face in Poland, the diaspora that reformed congregations have suffered, the difficulties connecting reformed youth so that (maybe) they can marry a Protestant and stay in the church, and the very difficult history of Poland and the Evangelical Reformed Church, which was founded in the mid-1550’s.  It’s truly a Reformation church.

There is a lot of excitement about our coming to walk with the church.  Until the end of February, however, we’ll try to spend most of our time on Polish language study, interpretation–writing newsletters and e-mailing U.S. friends, and discerning next steps.  Oh–and there’s a winter youth camp February 1-8 that we’ll be planning.  Think snow outside and fireplace inside.  If anyone would like to join us . . . . welcome!

In fact, you’re welcome to visit us in Poland anytime.  If you have a group, think about camps, workshops, retreats, leadership training, computer training–whatever gifts you can bring.  We’ll try to connect you with friends churched and unchurched.

The great thing about serving in international ministry is that every morning we wake up and realize we are in another country and culture, so we can say with conviction: “God has made all things new!!!”

Write about what is new in your lives, too, won’t you?  And send those prayer requests so folks here can get those prayers rising!!

Blessings on all your ministries!

Liz & Doug Searles in Lodz, Poland

Doug and Elizabeth Searles serve with the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland.  They serve as mission workers for church growth and outreach.