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Nearly eight months, and a whole internship later, I find myself sitting in the living room of my Calgary home reflecting on all that God has done in, through, and around me during my time in Europe.  It was a time of much growth, maturity, inspiration, challenges, and so much more.  I have found a fonder appreciation for this experience, one that already had a special place in my heart.  Through my whole time spent in Poland, and in several other European countries I met with, spent a great deal of time with, and was privileged to build lasting friendships with many godly people.  I learnt a lot about ministry, missions, church planting, as well as learning a great deal about myself and how God has gifted and impassioned me to be involved in such things.  But even more than all of those things, I learned a great deal about the beautiful and powerful God that we serve.  His cross was enough. His love is enough. He is truly all we need.

I wish to finish this internship, and effectively this blog, by extending a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have followed my journey over the past eight months.  I hope that you were able to glimpse into my world from a distance, and feel a part of this experience with me.  I’ve had a great cast of people around me supporting me, praying for me, emailing and skyping with me to see how things were going, to talk things out – and I couldn’t have done it without any of you.  You know who you are!  I hope to be able to connect with many of you this summer, or perhaps even in the fall, and to be able to share more with you of this past year, and to hear about your journey and how you saw God move, felt his presence, and grew to know him more.  I will be in Calgary for the majority of the summer.  Currently I am on the lookout for a job, and could use prayer for doors to open up in that area of life, and for the patience and resourcefulness to land one!

If it already hasn’t happened, I anticipate catching up with many of you somewhere, sometime soon. God bless!

– Jonathan

Spring has started to unveil itself of late, and I’m enjoying the active sunshine that seemed to be hiding this winter. This past week I had the privilege and blessing to join a short-term team from Malone College, Ohio. The Malone group consisted of eleven students and two professors, and was one of their several Service Learning Trips which seeks to offer cross-cultural experiences and service project opportunities for students. Don, Betty, and myself helped the team get settled, and showed them around Krakow, Dabrowa Gornica, and Warsaw where we were involved in a number of activities.  It was a very enjoyable week that included tours of Wawel Castle, the Auschwitz/Birkenau camps, a couple days of service in the greater-Katowice area, and a final day in Warsaw’s Old Town, just to name a few.  I have been a part of several short-term teams in the past, but this was my first experience to help serve a team in this capacity, and although I’m currently exhausted and a little sick, it was entirely worth it. They were a fun group to be around, and will definitely be missed.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll head back to Krakow and meet up with Don, Betty, and several other international workers from our mission, as we spend this following week in fellowship, prayer, and setting up goals and plans for the upcoming year. I enjoyed spending time with many people during  the last Field Forum in September, and look forward to learning from them again.  We’ll return to Bialystok during the weekend, and jump back into our responsibilities there.

Please pray for: an encouraging Field Forum, healthy bodies, and joy and thankfulness in all things.

-Jonathan

Greetings again from Bialystok!  I had a wonderful start to February with a week-long trip to Switzerland and Germany, and finished it off with a day-trip to Warsaw this past Sunday, where I had the privilege to preach at the International Christian Fellowship of Warsaw.  I’m enjoying the people who I’m working with, the ministries we’re a part of, and the possibilities and potential that I see for God to do in this city, this country, and this continent.

I want to start off by specially thanking those of you who have followed me from the beginning of this journey, who have supported me with your prayers, finances, encouragements, and the occasional skype conversation.  God has used you to be a driving force during my time here in Poland.  At times, despite the many wonderful people here, it can be very lonely and discouraging.  But we serve a good God who loves his people, and I am thankful that many of you have been able to partner with me in the various ways you have!

I only have eleven weeks left in this internship, and although time has flown by quickly, I feel as if I’ve been gone much longer than 5 months.  There is a funny feeling when you reach this point in a season like this: I am allowing myself to look forward to going home, but at the same time trying not to dwell in the future, so that I can focus in the here and now of what God has for me.  I am excited to go back with these fresh experiences, to be involved with family, friends, school, and ministry, but I know that I have a job to finish here, and I am joyful for that opportunity.  This weekend Betty and I will take a train to Krakow, where we’ll meet a short-term team from Malone College, in Ohio.  They will be here for just over a week and we’ll be leading them in a couple of fun days, where we’ll get to do touristy stuff, and then we’ll head to Dabrowa Gornica and partner with a church for some service projects.  The Malone group is callin it a learning service trip, and so they’ll have the opportunity to serve the people of Poland, learn about Polish culture, and have some fun while doing it!

Afterwards, we will be back in Krakow to meet up with some fellow international workers for another Field Forum.  This will be similar to the one held in Germany last September that I attended.  It will be good to hear about what God is doing throughout the continent and and to catch up with some wonderful people.

Please pray for Don, Betty, and myself as we lead the team from Ohio, meet with the other missionaries, and come home to jump back into what we have going on here in Bialystok.  Also pray for our English fellowship that will continue to meet in the Orr’s home while we are gone.  I am expecting March to fly by, but I hope to be able to catch most of it!

Blessings, Jonathan

Vacation Pics

Vacation Update

Why hello there! I’m writing this from Mannheim, Germany, where I’m visiting some friends during my short vacation. This past Tuesday I had two Norwegian friends join me on a trip to Switzerland, where we had the great opportunity to do some skiing in the Alps and visit some good friends of mine. We had a blast hanging out with Jordan and Martina Weatherson, as well as getting the chance to encourage and be encouraged by the DTS (Discipleship Training School) that they are currently leading in Lausanne. On Saturday morning we drove Malene and Ragnhild to the airport where they flew back home to Norway for the rest of their semester break, and that afternoon I took the train to Mannheim, where I’ve been blessed to visit with two fabulous people, Ralph and Ruth Shareski, as well as their two other guests, Damara and Anna from Canada. Its been a wonderful six days of resting, reflecting, and re-energizing my body, mind, and soul. And I’ve experienced sun and warmth (10+!!) for the first time in months! Its amazing what several consecutive days of sun and blue skies can do!

Tomorrow morning I fly back to Warsaw, where I’ll catch an afternoon train to Bialystok. Please pray for safety along my travels, as well as the ability to re-integrate back into Poland. I’m hoping that the holiday I’ve experienced will serve useful to the rest of my internship… I’m sure it will! Feb. 27th I have the privilege to preach in Warsaw, and in March we have two busy weeks with a short team coming from Ohio, as well as a field forum for our international workers to get together and meet. In between all of that we have our English fellowship meetings, among others, so while the busiest is yet to come, I feel recharged and ready to jump back in and finish strong! Thanks for all of your prayers and support, I am truly appreciative of all of you!

Hello again! As I write this I am packing for my week-long holiday/retreat, which I must say, I’m really excited for! Tomorrow morning I have the privilege to travel with two friends to Lausanne, Switzerland, where we’ll will be staying for 4 days. While there I’ll have the opportunity to meet up with some good friends at the YWAM campus, have fun learning to ski, and take in the beauty of a Swiss winter! After the short stay in Lausanne I’ll travel north and east to Mannheim, Germany, where I’ll be staying for a couple days with some Canadian pastor-friends serving there. Pictures will be posted!

To be honest, I’m really desiring a break. I’ve had a wonderful time here in Poland so far, but I’m at a place where I think it’ll be healthy to step outside of Poland (culture, language, setting, etc.), take a breather, reflect on the past four months of what God has taught me, and done in in, through, and around me, as well as see some familiar faces. While I am looking forward to leaving for a short time, I do so in the hope that I will return to Bialystok rested, refreshed, and ready to re-enter even more fully and passionately into what God’s doing here.

Please pray for: safe travels, joy-filled times with friends, and a refreshed body, mind, and soul. Bless you as you go throughout your week, and I’ll continue to keep you posted on what I’m experiencing here in the European continent!

-Jonathan

Karta Pobytu (short-term residency card)