25 Years of WorldVenture in Poland III

Posted: April 24, 2013 in Europe, Missions, Poland, WorldVenture
Tags: , , ,

After 14 years (and counting) of living and working in Poland, I have absorbed far more of Polish culture and attitudes than I usually realize. One characteristic of Poles is that they frequently struggle to celebrate success. It hasn’t been considered good form to praise others, lest they get a big head. Poles laugh at their own parenting proverbs like “don’t praise a child, or you’ll spoil him.” As a nation, they are realizing that praise can be a positive motivator, although there is still significant resistance to the idea. And as a nation, they are becoming a model in Europe for economic growth and other changes in a very difficult time – although many Poles would not admit to this (see above).

So, when I think about and want to celebrate WorldVenture’s 25 years in Poland, this goes through my head: “I need to be careful in case a) someone thinks I am being proud, and b) someone thinks I am comparing our organization to others to make us look good.” Of course, if I didn’t think WorldVenture and our team in Poland was the best choice for us – I wouldn’t be here. I am proud of our organization and our team. However, as I shared in the last post – there are several other amazing groups serving in Poland. I know many of those servants are just as proud of their “tribe” as I am of mine.

Am I comparing? Well, maybe sometimes. We all have that strong temptation in ministry, and it becomes one of our besetting sins. Depending on our personality, we either compare and end up feeling bad about ourselves, or compare to feel better about ourselves (pride).  For instance, my personality usually goes in the second direction – my wife’s, in the first. I don’t think the end result actually has anything to do with the real facts, but everything to do with our personality and temperament. So just by saying “we’ve been here 25 years” I can do a “one-up-man” on my friends from other organizations. (Also worded as “nah-nah-na-nah-nah”) Yes, sometimes even veteran missionaries act like junior-highers!

Seriously, though, although I love the history our organization has here in Poland, I’m thrilled any time I run into someone new who is serving here. As I said in the last post – there aren’t very many of us here. Way too few to spend much time comparing. And way too much to do to not bless one another and work together as much as possible.

So – with all those caveats above, I’m proud of the great missionaries with WorldVenture Poland for:

1. Having the courage to move into Poland in the late 1980s. (See Wojciech Szczerba’s letter in post I)

2. Having the humility to not push an American agenda, but to discover and assist in a Polish agenda.

3. Having the endurance to stay the long haul. Some of our people are among the longest serving North American missionaries in Poland.

4. Having the flexibility to develop a multi-cultural team. Long before this was a popular topic in our mission, we had a team that was made up of people from 5 countries on 3 continents. For years, at least a quarter of our team has been Polish.

5. Having the grace to forgive and build camaraderie. Our team truly has a family atmosphere.

It’s a great team!

(Applications available on the WorldVenture website) 🙂

25 Years of WorldVenture in Poland I

25 Years of WorldVenture in Poland II

 

Comments
  1. Heidi Viars says:

    Blessings to your ministry … thanks for sharing from you experience here!

    • Mercedes says:

      it’s quite like so, when i was in poland, i felt it that way too, and it had to do with the sesaons, partly. once in summer, i even missed the drabness (i mean, can you believe that?). your pictures bring back a lot of sentiment for me. i see them like, twice; once for the obvious layer, which is in the moment, once for all which lays beyond. bravo!n i still try to make out, pace by pace, what a scandinavian girl does in the middle east. … ;)))hope, for one, it is livable these days. take care.

  2. […] 25 Years of WorldVenture Poland III […]

  3. […] 25 Years of WorldVenture in Poland III […]

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