Welcome To The Mission Field

I want to take you with us on our journey here in Krakow,Poland. This blog is designed to let you be a " Fly on the Wall", going through our ups and downs as first time Missionary's.

Christmas in Krakow~

I Love, Love, Love this time of the year in Krakow. They have a very large Christmas Market on the Main Square. Yes, they still call it the ”Christmas” Market! It is the most wonderful place. It is a lot of handmade items, different foods to eat.  Set up in these little cottage looking buildings. There is evergreens every where they can stick them! When you walk into the Main Square of the city (where the Christmas Market is) I feel as tho I stepped out of a horse and carriage ride. My husband should be in a tux and me wearing Judy Garland’s Dress off of “Meet me in St.Louis” movie. You know when they go to the Christmas dance? I should have a muff and all!  At least that is what I see when I arrive at the square! Hey a girl can dream can’t she?  Moving on from the square there are so many Christmas traditions in Poland, I can not name them all. Most Americans start celebrating Christmas right after Thanksgiving. Here in Poland they start Dec.24. They will usually fast all day on the 24Th, then around 7:00 or 8:00p.m., they have a 12 course meal. I can handle that! Then they will put up a Christmas tree that very night! A live tree of course. With handmade ornaments and all! This 12 course meal has a very interesting meat. It is a “Karp” or in English “Carp”. It is a type of fish. This tradition of the Karp they will buy it live 2-3 days in advance. They allow it to swim in the bathtub for the 2-3 days. I have been told the Karp has a dirty vein that needs cleaned out with fresh water before eating it. However the kids think it to be sad they get attached to this big fish that has been swimming in their bathtubs for a few days now! On Dec. 24, the Daddy wakes up and ”takes care” of the Karp and prepares for it to be eaten by the family! So it is that I go to the Market this morning to find the big bin, you know that kind of bins Walmart puts watermelon in.  That kind of bin with live fresh Karp flapping and flopping around ready for someone to buy. I have to add there was already a line to get fish. Not sure who is sneaking the fish early, or what. As I was standing there, staring in amazement, this kind man took his very big net and He lowered it to get a fish out of the bin. He then put it into the plastic sack, you know the kind you get at “Walmart. As, he was trying to weigh it in the bag the poor fish was flopping everywhere. I started laughing watching this. I was wishing so very much I had a video recorder. Moving on through the store I go to the fresh meat counter. Looking at chicken breasts to purchase. I look over to my surprise I see a very large Pigs head. Ears, some hair,snout and all. Not just 1 but 3,very large pigs heads! Needless to say I skipped the chicken for the time being.  Also ,while walking through the store I was scared to death as I thought someone was jumping at me. When all it was, was a few fish in the carts of other shoppers begging to be put back into the water. I pack up all my groceries that I had paid for and was walking home. In the parking lot of the Market was set up a very large space containing fresh Evergreen Christmas trees. The smell of those trees melted every fish and pig headed thoughts out of my mind. I just stood there and closed my eyes and breathed in those incredible Christmas smells! It is hard to believe there are  only 10 more days until Christmas. I am  excited about the new traditions for Christmas that we will incorporate with the old ones. However, I do not fore see ”Karp” in the new traditions category.  I pray everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! “Welcome to the Mission Field”. Rhonda~

Krakow Gospel Choir ~

September of 2010 I was in America for the “WE” conference. During that time my husband and children stayed home. There was a 7X Gospel workshop that took place here in Krakow. Tony was able to take Macy and Brock to this workshop Concert. He met so many new people during this concert. One being the Choir director that brought gospel music to Krakow,over 13 years ago(I think that many). Her name is Lea. While Chelsea was here we were able to attend the 7x Gospel Workshop 2011, in which I was able to meet more people. After much prayer and fasting I asked God to help me get into this core group of people that were involved with Gospel Music here in Krakow. The choir director that was doing the workshop Brian, he was able to introduce me to the actual director of the Krakow Gospel Choir. A couple of weeks went by and I finally got enough courage to go to a rehearsal by myself. There God opened so many doors. I was told I could come to the rehearsals if I wanted but there would be auditions on Dec.4. when I could come and try out for this choir. This is totally out of my comfort zone. I do not declare that I have a wonderful singing voice, however I do know how to carry a tune, at least most of the time!  So I go to the audition I walk into a room full of people I have never meet. Then I see 2 people I talked to only once ever in my life. I was scared to death to say the least. They were all speaking Polish which I only understand a little bit. When I say a little bit I really mean it. It is a very hard language to learn, I promise, I am not just saying that either. Google it. We were all ushered into the kitchen to sit and drink tea, while we await our turn to try out. We went in one at a time to sing a song of our choice and do some vocal warm-ups. As I am waiting my turn I feel something move along my legs, yes it was a cat. Now don’t get me wrong I am not an animal hater. I am just not a big time lover. I think they are cute, but I am one that just does not get to attached, and I do not prefer cats. I started thinking to myself I hope this cat does not jump in my lap. Everyone else at that time was just holding it and loving all over it. Not that I am opposed to these things, I myself just don’t do that! They started talking about how cats can sense sickness in people. Such as if you have breast cancer they will lay on your breast,or kidney problems, so on and so forth. It starts jumping on the chair beside me. All I could think to myself, what if this cat jumps on my head and wants to lay there, these people are going to think I have a mental sickness.  Ha! I started to stress about that, along with that I have to go into a room by myself and sing a song! I reach for a cup that I thought was not being used and pour me some apple juice and as I am bringing it to my lips I see lipstick marks on it. Embarrassed I just pulled it down to my shirt and like a redneck I just wiped it all off. I downed the apple juice with every prayer I knew how to pray. I prayed that I wouldn’t get any germs or diseases from this cup! Once that mess was over with, it was now my turn to go “try out”. My stomach was doing flip flops.  However I prayed that God would just take over and do his thing! Whatever he wanted to come out of this I was willing to walk through the door! All went well and I was accepted into the choir. I am not sure what God has in-store, but I am confident in knowing he is in control!! The night ended well, no cat on my head, no sickness the next day, and on to choir I go! I show up at choir rehearsal on Thursday evening and to make a long story short I was asked to sing in front of everyone ”Silent Night’. Of course it was in the highest key known to mankind. I got through the song with lots of applauding(or courtesy claps).  Embarrassed once again I didn’t know what to do. Of all the things I could think of I did the craziest one. Yes, I did a curtsy! Dress sides out and legs crossed and all! At that moment I was wishing I could just run right out the door. I was able to make it back to my seat with out anymore crazy thinking! I am ready to go back and see what happens next. It is very adventurous for me. Like I said I am out of my comfort zone, but I am loving it! ‘Welcome to the Mission Field” Rhonda~

~Personal Space

Personal space is a concept that Poles do not understand. Now, this is not a slam on the Poles, it is simply a way of life for them here.  They see no need in personal space. If there is an inch anywhere they can and will fill the spot. However,being the American girl I am, I did not understand this concept. The longer I live here, the more and more I am understanding this concept. In Indiana, where I am from we give each other personal space. Whether it be in line at the market,or on the sidewalk or just simply anywhere. When we first arrived you can just imagine how voilated I felt. As I would approach the entrance to the grocery store; they do not have entrance and exit doors. Well , they do, they just are not sure how to work them correctly. As I would walk through the door, I am in the way of the on-coming traffic, so quickly moving to the other side, realizing I am still in the way. Through much frustration I make into the store. While shopping, I found out real quick, you better follow the pattern they have laid out before you. If not, you will be ran over. Again, I repeat they will run you over. After getting everything I needed  I head to get “IN LINE”. That my friend is a whole new experience in itself. I stood in line where I thought the person in front of me would have enough room to unload there items onto the belt. Well, as I am standing there a young lady comes in between us. I look in despair as if, “Why did she cut me in line?”  I take a step back so I can give her my spot. I thought she was just a little to close to me. As I am taking just a tiny step back here comes an older gentleman right in front of me. At this point I am  thinking I must be invisible here standing in this line with a cart and all. So, as I am taking another step back it clicks in my mind, wait maybe they think I am letting people in front of me, or they think I am really not in line. So I push my cart real close to the gentleman. Totally feeling uncomfortable, but realizing if I don’t I may never pay for my food. Feeling better at this moment about stepping up the worst happens. This little older lady starts nudging me with her cart into my back-side. I turned around thinking she accidentally pushed the cart into me, no big deal! Right? Until I  turn back around and she kept on nudging me. Eveidently I  was not close enough to the person in front of me.  My friends this is not the only time this has happened. I have learned to adjust to this cultural shock. Nothing like being up-close and personal at the store! Through all of this silliness of personal space, I have had to turn to my spiritual side. I have often thought about how God wants us to be up-close and personal.  We as Americans like to do things ourselves. Even when it comes to the things of God we are still wanting to do it without his help. All the while, he is standing there waiting and willing to become so close to us. He wants to carry our burdens, our hurts, even our concerns. Yet sometimes we think that he is too busy with other things. That he really does not want to mess with our little problems. When in reality that little problem is usually the BIG issue in our lives. OH, how he longs to be so close and personal with us. I look around here in Poland and realize that most of the Polish people do not even know they can have a personal relationship with God all mighty himself. I know he has put us here for such a time as this! I hope this will encourage you today to draw close to him. The weight that will be lifted, I promise it will feel amazing! God wants no personal space and neither do Poles! ”Welcome to the Mission Field” Rhonda~

Thanksgiving Eve!

2 Pumpkins pies-check

1 Carrot Cake-check

1 Loaf of Banana Bread-check

1 dozen of Pumpkin spice cookies with cream cheese icing-check

1 No-bake Cheese Cake-check

1 Crock-pot stewing Beef for Noodles

1 macaroni salad-check

1 Big Bird thawing -check

I was so Happy to have my friend Annia,over to help me do all the baking! We had so much fun! Now off to bed. I have to get up bright and early to put the Big Bird in the oven! Going to bed with such a Thankful heart! Good-night! Happy Thanksgiving!

Home for the Holidays?

I am very excited that the holidays are just around the corner. All the family get together’s , food, games , food, laughing, and of course more food. At least it was that way in my family. We would start the night before on Wednesday getting everything prepared for Thanksgiving dinner! We would be stuffed from just the preparing part; we really didn’t need to eat the next day. However, we always found more room to stuff our faces even more on Thursday, Friday and even Saturday. Thank God Sunday was church and no more left-overs! As we braved our first Thanksgiving here in Krakow without our wonderful families , God gave us a beautiful Polish family that wanted to enjoy this day with us. As much as we tried to prepare them for what we were about to do to our bodies, I don’t think they knew what they were getting into. Polish people eat very little and not very often. They came and joined us for the evening dinner; when they walked in their eyes were bugging out of their heads. They asked, “Why so much food?” Funny thing is, I only had half of what we “Americans” are used to. Needless to say they ate more in one meal then they do all month long! As we are approaching Thanksgiving day yet another year without our loving families , God has already provided us with loving friends that will be joining us this year! Even though I have already cried many, many tears over the loneliness and how bad I wish I was “Home for the Holidays” I am so Thankful to God that he is our strength. His word does not lie. He said he would stick closer than a bother and He has done that for us! Always there and always being whatever we need. Whether it is financially , emotionally , or whatever we are in need of- He is there! So, in this time of Thankfulness, I am simply Thankful for the Love of God!”Welcometothemissionfield” Rhonda~

 P.s My Thanksgiving Menu(not all the way finished)

 1.Turkey( they only had 5 turkeys to choose from,I am so thankful they have them)

 2.Homemade Beef and Noodles

3.Mashed Potatoes

 4. Green bean Casserole (thanks to family and friends from America)

5.Homemade Carrot Cake

6.No-Bake Cheese Cake

 7.And Whatever else comes in the Mail, Thank you to  New Life Church, in Indiana!!! I will post my final Menu tomorrow!

The Pol-amer Hillbillies!

School time was fast approaching, and there was so much to get done before we started. This is our 3rd.,year home schooling Macy and Brock. It is such a blessing to me to have them in our home teaching them everyday. Not that we don’t have challenging days.Brock is a 8 yr. old boy! Macy is turning 12 ,and she is a FEMALE! I refer to Brock as a boy, because that is simply what he is. Every single ounce of him is pure rambunctious,hyper, and not wanting to pay attention. Of course his pencil is always some sort of flying object going through the air.However,he does his best. Overall,he is a great child who has a wonderful imagination,Whom I am very proud of. Now onto Miss Macy ,She is definitely female in every category. She is such a wonderful student! She loves school,she is what we call our little Mother Hen! she makes sure everything is in line and in order! All the way down to the timing on everything we do. If it is not on time she is letting us know. Now,we are not without our tears on occasion, however she pushes through her female emotions,and is such an incredible student. She has wanted to be a School teacher since Kindergarten. I have no doubt in my mind she will accomplish whatever she sets her mind to.I was saying earlier, we had so much to do before school started. We needed to get some desks for the kids. So,off to IKEA we go.Now let me just say I thank God for Ikea,it is so inexpensive on most items.It is a great blessing when you are on a tight Budget.Can I get an Amen? We get to Ikea and they are having a sale on Make your own desk products. Well it is really just a table ,but works great as a desk. You pick out the top you want,then the legs,so on and so forth. We needed 2 desks.So that was 2 table tops,8 legs, a trash can and a large rug for the room.Now remember we do not have a automobile.We pay for everything and start packing up.Tony is carrying the tabletops.Macy is carrying the large rug.Brock has the trashcan,and I with the 8 table legs.Well,now that does not sound so bad.UNTIL,we get to walking. We make it over to the bus stop to catch our bus and realize that is does not come for 35 more minutes. We spotted a taxi and Tony puts down all his things and runs to catch it. I see him in the distance talking with the driver ,then he gets in to come pick us up from where we are at. He circles around then Tony is getting out of the taxi. I am standing there with all these things and the kids.to make a long story short, the taxi could not take us.Then to our surprise,the bus comes early. So we all jump on the bus with all our goodies. We get to our stop and get off. Here is where the POL-Amer(polish-americans) Hillbillies title can into play. After getting off at our stop,we have this incredible tiny sidewalk to walk on. I am not stretching the truth on this matter. When I say tiny,I mean very busy highway,small stepping stones tiny for about 2 blocks. Tony takes the lead then Macy goes,then Brock and then myself. Single file line we go down the busy highway. The tabletops get so heavy Tony finds the need to put them on his head and walk. Macy finds the rug getting to heavy to just simply carry under the arm.So over the shoulder like a continental solider,she marches on.Brock decides,being the boy he is, that the best place for the trash can his over his entire head where he can not see. Running into the guardrail and all.I start yelling at him like some redneck mama out of the woods.My bag full of table legs starts shifting on its own. About to lose all my legs on the busy highway,chasing down my crazy son with a trash can on his head.We all start laughing uncontrollably. We finally get to a side street.At the point we put everything down and all we can do is just laugh our heads off.Then start praying no one we know can see us.We pick everything back up and walk our final stretch home.Finally making it home,we had no pride left in us and I said ,we just looked like the POL-Amer Hillbillies for sure! “Welcometothemissionfield” Rhonda~

Let me in, Let me in, Let me in!!!

In order for you to understand this blog, I need to bring you up to speed on a few minor details.We have no preservatives in our food here in Poland.Everything we eat is fresh. I love this about this country. I think that it is a very healthy way to eat our foods. I have realized we should not have all of the ”Junk” They put into foods.Okay enough on that, I really could go on for a long time about that subject. Saying all of that we need to go to the grocery store everyday. Also,we do not have a automobile here in Poland. So, everything we do is by Bus, Tram,Train or by walking. Lots and lots of walking is involved in our everyday living. However, during the week, if myself or Tony needs to go someplace that is further than walking distance we ride the Tram. It costs $2.00 Zloty(Polish Money) which is about $.60 in USD. That is a lot cheaper than the cost of gas,speaking of which it about $7.00 to $8.00 USD a gallon!(yikes). Speaking of the Tram, We always run into some of the funniest situations on the tram . Whether it is by myself or the whole family. We find ourselves in some of the most awkward situations. Now on to what happened to day. As I was nearing the tram stop,I could see it approaching a lot faster than I was walking. Knowing what I needed to do next is not my favorite thing to do. Yes, It is running! So, I take off in my flight to get on the tram.I am running with all my might.As I slide right through the closing doors I hear the bell for take off ring. Breathing very heavily, about to pass out from the run I just had to endure. Yes me the only Large American on this tram. I feel as though all eyes are on me. I am sure some of them are looking at me as if I really wasn’t going to stop panting like a dog that ran a around a block chasing a cat. Remember all trams are standing room only with only enough room to breath.There is no personal space on the trams.Finally,after catching my breath I look up to find a very long line for the tram tickets. So , I get my feet set just right,because if you don’t you will go flying into someone or something very fast. I get in line for the ticket ,only to find I cannot move from my position. I turned around to see what was holding me up and to my embarrassment I find my skirt stuck in the tram doors. I really thought my skirt was going to rip off of me. Horrified I was.I started to pull at my skirt inconspicuously.Watching the line for the tickets go down and knowing it would be my turn very shortly. I pray a prayer of all prayers! Dear Gracious and Heavenly Father please oh please don’t let my skirt rip off of me. Please help me to pull it out very easily. Amen. A few more yanks and out it was. Only after a little tumble into the gentlemen to the side of me. Praise be to God. The skirt was still in tact. My pride ever so humbled. Off to the market I go! “Welcome to the Mission field” Rhonda~

Arriving in Poland!

It has been 1 1/2 years since our arrival here in Poland. I wish that I would have started this blog that very day. However, it’s always been said better late than never, Right? I want this blog to be about our ups and downs on this journey as first time Missionary’s in a foreign country. It’s not intended to be a feel sorry for us, or they have it bad off, or etc… , kind of Blog! Rather, a light hearted blog about what we live like and through everyday! I have so many stories I am going to share from our first arrival here. On those days when I really can’t or don’t have anything else to share. It is such a honor to be able to be a missionary here in Poland and a huge responsibility at the same time. Half the time I feel I am way in over my head. I feel inadequate, unprepared and every other emotion you can think of. I cry more than I thought I had tears, most tears are from the burden that I have for these people , but let’s face it , if you know me,I am such a crier, I cry over everything, you know like simply when we get new things in at the market! When I start to feel these emotions God always steps in and becomes what ever I am lacking. It makes everything oh!, so much better. So, I have started saying to our intern Chelsea Ball, “Welcome to the Mission Field”, when she was( by she, I usually mean We) wanting things she could not afford, or do things we can’t do, or how we can’t just go to the store and buy a bag of Doritos( no we do not have them here). We just start laughing or in my case laughing and crying and say “Welcome to the Missions Field” , saying all of that I would love to share with you our”Welcome to the Mission Field” stories hope you enjoy! Rhonda~

Taco soup
My first attempt at Taco soup very tasty!

Taco soup
My first attempt at Taco soup very tasty!

Welcome to the mission field!