Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Bed Count - July

We've been counting beds since February as a way of tracking our time in transition since departing Nitra, Slovakia until we have a place to call home in Włocławek, Poland. Here's the running tally:

February = 6
March = 5
April = 10
May = 5
June = 6
July = 6
Total = 38

Suddenly 40 is not seeming so hard to obtain.

Step Three (almost)

As the hoop jumping continues in our journey towards Polish visas, we thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Turns out we were mistaken. Step One was getting everything required to apply for a university Polish language program (it was more involved than we had originally thought). Step Two was our acceptance to the university, which we thought would expedite our visa process.

On July 14th we thought we had everything we needed (pictured above) to successfully apply for our Polish visas. We went into the consulate for a review of our papers. It turns out some of our paperwork was not exactly what they wanted. Some was not "official looking enough" (actual quote). Some requirements had not been listed on the paperwork or online. The shiniest moment was when they told us that we had completed the wrong application embarrassing blow since we both had reviewed it and thought it correct. So, maybe this process is not as linear as it first seemed.

We've got most of the newest requirements covered and our goal is to have our final applications in (which means giving up our passports for a few weeks) during the first week of August.

We wonder what a nice, fresh, Polish visa will look like in our passports.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Newest Language

With life in Poland getting closer by the day, we've returned to one of our tried-and-true methods of vocabulary acquisition: labeling as many objects as we can! This picture is a simple, yet handy, example. We bet you can learn this word in no time! Slovak and Polish are both Slavic languages so we've got a good base for learning Polish grammar and our language course will be a huge boost in this area, but we'd like to arrive in Poland with a few basics under our belt (foods, directions, pleasantries, numbers etc.) so that we can at least speak in Slovak with a few key Polish words included.

Part of learning any language is keeping a good sense of humour and we're already interested to see what linguistical mishaps may await us as we learn Polish.

Friday, July 2, 2010

3 605.1 kms (that's 2,240.1 miles for the kilometer-challenged)

On the 30th we returned from our last major speaking trip during our time in Canada. 3 605.1 would be the number of kilometers we racked up on this trip alone. A significant portion of the last few months has been spent speaking and connecting with people both near and far. We really get a kick out of sharing the lessons we've been learning, meeting new people, and answering questions. Connecting the European and Canadian church is something important to us and we're all for engaging Canadians in missional living.

It isn't all roses and puppy dogs. There comes a point where living out of a suitcase becomes less-glamorous and personal space becomes a valued commodity, but we balance it with the fact that we get to see more places and more people and more churches than most (that probably includes you...just saying). After all, we did see 6 brown bears, 1 grizzly, 2 deer and 3 foxes in the past 11 days. Life, work, visa applications and correspondence does not stop when we are out and about and so we have taken-up temporary residence in coffee shops around the country (like this one in Terrace, BC).

The good Christian thing to say is that "there is no coincidence, only God's plan", and we've been reminded of that often throughout our travels. There have been so many times where we seem to arrive just as a friend or stranger needs someone. It's been a real privilege to see how God has got our calendar filled with meaningful encounters.

We have felt so loved and welcomed everywhere we have gone; in fact, we often don't feel like we deserve such hospitality. We continually pray that God would help us build meaningful connections, and each time we are surprised at how thoroughly he comes through on that front. We've covered a lot of ground, but it's been absolutely worth it.