Sunday, April 22, 2018

NO WORDS

I have titled this post No Words for a reason.  This weekend has left me almost speechless.  I know that is hard for most of you to believe, but  miracles do  happen today.  LOL.
Seriously though, this weekend in Poland has been amazing.  God's presence has been felt since we arrived and at the bottom of this post I will share about the ministry times we have enjoyed.

We arrived on Friday night an hour late since our plane in Warsaw was having trouble, but when we finally arrived Mary Jill Callery was there to meet us with her sweet room mate.   After all the hugs and kisses etc. we got in the car and headed toward Jan and Basia Skarbek's home which was about an hour and forty minutes from Krakow. We arrived around 9 and Basia had a delicious meal waiting for us.


We fellowshiped for several hours and finally got to bed around 12.  It always amazes us how small the world is but also how no matter where you go in the world, if you are with fellow believers it is as though you have known them forever.  That was definitely the case on Friday evening.  

Saturday dawned early......the sun comes up around 4:30 or 5 a.m. and we woke up to bright sunlight in our room.  It was a real treat. Plus the air was warm already and near 65.  Poland is having an early spring and all the flowers are blooming, trees are green and the air is scented with fragrance from all the flowering bushes.  After breakfast Basia and Sherry took a walk in her village.
This is a stork sitting in its nest that we saw on our walk. They are beautiful birds and build their nests on top of poles. 
This is a predominately Catholic country so it is not unusual to see these little shrines on the side of the road especially in the villages.

Here is a house with a built in shrine between the windows.

This is one of the village yards. 

After our walk,  we awaited a visit from our friend Valya and her husband Machek.  Valya used to be one of our translators in Ukraine and moved to Poland after marrying Machek. So it was a real blessing to be able to see her and meet her husband.   They took us into Tarnow to the Jewish quarter to treat us to lunch at a Jewish Restaurant. It was so much fun and we enjoyed catching up while eating our meal. 
Valya, Boris, Machek 
Dinner was amazing. There is salad under the pita that is eaten inside the pita. Oh my
Our waitress with the pre WW2 head dress of a Jewish waitress
The inside of the Restaurant. Notice all the black and  white photos of Orthodox Jewish men on the walls. 

After dinner they took us to Mary Jills home so we could rest and prepare for our night of ministry.   We arrived at the Church and the place was packed.   The Women's Aglow had turned it into a couples night and asked us to share our testimony and then pray for those who wanted prayer.   They had decorated the room with ropes tied in knots to represent what we do in marriage.


Here we are sharing something funny from our story


You can see the knots hanging from the ropes. Each person was given one with a scripture attached.

While we were sharing many were crying. As always we are always amazed at the way God uses our story to touch hearts.  At the end the invitation was given and we were privileged to minister to over 35 people .  The line was from the front of the Church all the way to the back.  It took us over an hour to pray for them all but oh the joy.   One woman came and said she wanted to know God and we led her in the prayer of repentance and she gave her life to Christ.  We were so full by the time we got home we were energized.  

This morning at the Lord is our Banner Christian Center we had the joy of worshiping with our brothers and sisters and sharing the word with them.  The worship at this Church is amazing. The presence of our Lord is felt from the first song and we believe it is because this body is in unity.  The people are encouraged at the end of worship to come up and share anything that the Lord said to them during worship and about 8 people came up to share. The theme was love. The love that flows through them to each other is palatable. Pastor Jan has done an incredible job of bringing them to this place.  PW preached one of the most anointed messages he has ever preached taken from Psalm 133 on unity and how the Lord commands a blessing as a result of walking in this kind of unity and then also shared how God is able to do things in our lives that we could never even imagine possible.  Once again a man came to the Lord.   At the end of the service they presented us with a gift bag and a surprise cake and flowers for Sherry to celebrate her birthday and then they took us out to eat and for a walking tour of Old City Tarnow. We spent time in the Jewish Ghetto and were awed by the beauty of this old city. 

Here are some more pictures to enjoy.  

He was on fire.

My cake and beautiful flowers

The congregation this morning

Jan and Basia




It is early evening and I am sitting outside in the warm air typing this and trying to absorb all that the Lord has done this weekend. The testimony's from the people are touching and we are so thankful that God has allowed us this privilege of coming. They have been like sponges and as a result it has pulled out of us all that the Lord has deposited in our hearts. It makes it so easy to preach to people who are hungry. Pastor said they are like this all the time. 

Pastor Jan has invited us to come next July to speak at their family camp and to do a marriage seminar.  We are very excited for this new open door.  Years ago the Lord sent several prophets to us at different times telling us that we would be going to the nations. At the time we could never have imagined this happening.   And here we are all these years later doing just that. PTL from whom all blessings flow.  

Thank you so much for all your prayers. Our Church has been such an integral part of our trips. When we go you come with us.  We carry you in our hearts. We have sensed God's favor from the time we got on the plane leaving Cleveland. This has been an amazing trip.  

Tomorrow we are going to a nearby village to see special painted houses. I will post pictures tomorrow evening after we return from the prayer meeting.  

Much love, 
PW and Sherry















Friday, April 20, 2018

Bittersweet

I think I say every time we leave a place where we have poured out our hearts it is bittersweet. This time is no exception.  Yesterday was full of teaching and small group exercises and answering tons of questions which is always fun. PW finished up the basic course and had time to teach on two extra topics which the students chose.  Worry and Anger.  So yesterday he taught on Overcoming Worry and then today finished up with Overcoming Anger teachings.  The students this year were very mature and serious.  It was easy to see which students were especially intrigued by the topics and that will most likely pursue more study in the future, but all admitted that this week taught them how to overcome issues in their own lives.  Praise God

After school yesterday we went to spend the evening with Danny and Damaris Pedraza in their new home.  It was such a treat to spend time with these two warriors for God.  They have been in this country for over 20 years and have poured their lives into the people God has brought across their paths. They moved from Argentina to Belarus first then to Latvia after serving several years. They started by planting a Church in a coastal city on the other side of Riga and over the years have made many friends and contacts in the country. They moved to Riga around 8 years ago so they could oversee the Baltic School of Ministry where we teach. They also are Pastoring a Russian Church in the town of Jelgava and they are working with Church planting teams.  To say they are busy is an understatement, but they so love what they do and find such joy in pouring out their lives.  They are a true blessing to the body of Christ.  They will hopefully be visiting us in our Church in Chardon in August.  We cannot wait for our congregation to meet them.

A former student of ours given this testimony in Chapel. He is serving full time in a Church and is recently married. 

A gorgeous sunny day with temps in the high 50's. The trees are putting forth small green leaves.

Small group activity - counseling practice

Small group activity 

Serious conversation going on 


Danny and Damaris in their lovely living room

Our trusty translator Arnold who was a student last year.  

A highlight every year as the students pray for us and bless us. They have no idea how powerful this time is to us and to the other teachers.  Before this they presented us with a gift of Latvian foods and a new notebook.

Our sweet Natasha saying goodbye as we leave the school. 

This year has been special to us in a different way than past trips. It is the first time we have come without Sherry's mom waiting at home.   Most of you now she passed away in January.  But her sweater came with us and other things that she always insisted Sherry bring with her.   
We have also sensed prayer support in a more powerful way than ever before.  You have always prayed for us during these trips, but this year it just seemed we felt the prayers.  

We are sitting in the airport waiting for our plane to Poland.  We start ministry there tomorrow evening as we share our testimony at a couples meeting that the Tarnow Women's Aglow has arranged. Please pray for us to be especially sensitive the the Holy spirit so that we will share exactly the parts of our history that will touch the hearts of those God brings.  

As always thank you so much for your prayers and notes of encouragement.  WE love you. 
PW and Sherry


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GOD HAS PLANS

Wow just about the time we settle in it is almost time to go home. We have reached the half way point today and tomorrow we will begin finishing up.  The week has flown by.

Anyway, today was full and the students once again had tons of questions. We had the privilege of sharing our testimony in Chapel. We are always amazed at how God uses our history and subsequent testimony of what He did in our marriage.  Several students were in tears and afterward there were many more questions.  God is so faithful to use our greatest failures to minister to others. One woman came to me in tears and said God used what we shared to answer some questions and to heal her heart. Thank you God.

We received an email right before lunch from Danny Pedraza who leads the school and he asked if PW would be willing to preach tonight at his Church.  We have gone there many times before and it is always a joy, but this time we had no prep time. God loves to do that to PW. 😉 God as usual came through and PW preached a powerful message to these brothers and sisters on the purpose of sex.  I know, are you blushing yet?  Well it was not that kind of message but it was an exhortation to understand God's purposes so we don't misuse His gifts.  It was very good and the people came up afterward and thanked him  PTL.

Here are today's pictures- this was clean up day so the I took pictures of the students cheerfully doing their work.  




Thank you so much for praying for us.  We ask that tomorrow your prayer focus would be that we will know what additional teachings to do to minister to this group.
Please pray for the small group time with the students that they would all participate and learn.
Please pray for them to comprehend all that has been taught this week so that it will be life changing. 

Much love, 
PW and Sherry

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

FOUNDATION LAID TIME TO MOVE ON

Today we finished up our foundational teachings for the class and tomorrow we move on to the practical applications.  This is our favorite part as we give assignments that will help them to walk out what we have been teaching.   The students asked tons of questions today and seemed to be really grasping the content. They were coming up with questions about situations that needed counsel and were trying to figure out how to proceed so the rest of the week will be extremely helpful for them.

Here are some pictures from the day. 

Rain and 45.  Gloomy view from our window

But the flower perks up the view.  It makes me happy.

Natasha is such a joy.  She dresses up each day for the students and is always so pretty

Look at that pretty smile.  



Chapel service, two students from last year. Arnold is translating into Russian for Birgitta who spoke her testimony in English for us.  She has an amazing story of redemption. 

Our class saying hello to you

Soviet era tower. We thought it was interesting with the wood top on a brick base.

No honey there is no pizza on this menu. 

Shaslink or Kabobs and veggies.  Delicious 

Dessert of Tiramisu - no weight loss on this trip 

Today really was a good day. We are so honored to be here and allowed to share with these young adults who are preparing for life by giving one year to the Lord.   Our greatest joy is when we come back year after year and former students come to visit us and tell us their stories and how the Lord used the principles we taught to help them.  

Prayer focus for tomorrow: 
We will be speaking at chapel. 
That the teaching would give life not just knowledge.
That we would be anointed by God to speak with power and to sense His direction.
That the students would be hungry for the word and engaging.
That their lives would be changed forever. 
That God would speak to us as we prepare for our ministry in Poland over the weekend.  
That God would continue to give grace and health to our family and Church back home.
For Pastor Bill and Edie Bradshaw who have come down with the flu and had to cancel their cruise. 

Much love, 
PW and Sherry

Monday, April 16, 2018

OUT THE GATE

Today we had the joy of meeting our students for the first time and starting our classes.  This group of young people are from places like Estonia, Lithuania and Riga but they speak Russian and English so we only  have one translation going on. In past years we have had as many as 3 translators speaking at the same time translating into Russian, Spanish, German and other languages.  So this year it is not as distracting.  One of our translators is a former student from last year.


Sorry the picture is not better. Tomorrow will be I promise.



We have 15 students this year.  Usually the school has between 25 - 30 students but God had a different plan this year. This group is more mature and very serious about learning.  They are hungry and like the Berean's want to check everything that is said with the Scripture which we love.  There are two students that have said that they know the Lord has called them into full time ministry for Him and one who says he thinks God might be calling him but is waiting for more confirmation.  5 of the students are Pastors children.  We think it is going to be a good week.  Classes start tomorrow at 8:45 and go until 5.




If you have the list of names we gave you please pray specifically by name for each one and ask God to open up their minds to receive what He has for them.  One student already shared that her mind is so full from knowledge this year and also that she has a struggle with obeying God and is very disgusted with herself concerning this so she is looking for answers on  how to change.  

The weather today was once again warm in the 60"s.  We are all enjoying the warm air and sunshine. But this is Latvia and winter might hit again a few more times before Spring finally arrives.  We were able to get out side after class to take a walk and pick up some groceries.  Hopefully the weather will be as nice tomorrow.

So that is our report for day one.  Thank you once again for all the prayer support, it is truly making a huge difference.  We have not had hardly any jet lag at all which is a miracle.

Ephesians 6:19 "and pray on my (our) behalf, that utterance may be given to me (us) in the opening of my (our) mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. "

Much Love,
PW and Sherry

Sunday, April 15, 2018

TEARS OF JOY

😂 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

LUKE 15:7

"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
This is from Beliefnet:
Similar to Luke 15:10, the angels are able to rejoice when a sinner has turned to God. Here though, the angels show their deeper love by celebrating those who admitted their faults and sins but were able to humbly ask for forgiveness. The angels rejoice more for the repentance of one sinner than they do for millions that have not fallen. They know that there is value in those who are grateful to God.
REJOICE WITH US, WE WERE JUST TOLD THAT ONE OF THE WOMEN WHO ATTENDED THE MEETING LAST NIGHT REPENTED AND GAVE HER LIFE TO JESUS.  
Another soul for the kingdom and another marriage hopefully made better by the power of the Holy Spirit as this new saint learns to walk out her faith in her home. 
Much love, 
PW and Sherry

Saturday, April 14, 2018

GOD IS FAITHFUL

Wow today all I can say is God is faithful.  We asked you all to pray and God showed up. Tonight's meeting was amazing. It was such a joy to minister to these hungry young couples. There were even 6 non believers who came and one even asked some questions on marriage.  We shared our testimony and then PW did some teaching on marriage and we  had questions and answers.  The couple who hosted this event were students we had 2 years ago who put Jesus as center of their relationship and now God is using them to reach all these couples.  The meeting started at 5 and the last person left at 10 p.m.  Instead of feeling tired we are energized.  During the fellowship time we had the privilege of counseling with several couples and also to hear the stories of many more.

Below are some pictures we took of those who attended. 


Former Student Oskars and Maija and new baby



She is very interested in marriage LOL

One of our translators, former ice hockey player, Arturs Irbe.  Those of you who love ice hockey might know of him for his time playing for several teams in the U.S. he was a goalie. 

Two more of our students. Allan and Elizabeth and their new son





Rihard driving us home

Our hosts Rihard and Eva taken 2 years ago before they married. 

Please continue to pray for us this week.  We head to the School tomorrow and begin teaching on Monday.  We are very excited to meet our students this year.  CCF peeps, please pray for the by name using the sheets that were in the bulletin last week.  Their last names are first on the list.  

Much love, 
PW and Sherry

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