Sunday, July 21, 2013

Polish Prayer Meeting

Yesterday I had the blessing of taking part in the Polish prayer meeting. I was half and hour late, I ran into the room, dropping my cell phone with a loud bang. Everyone was silent and turned around to see what happened. I find these awkward entrances quite common in my Lietuve life. There were about 60 of my brothers and sisters there. It was so beautiful to see each of my dearest Polish brothers & sisters share their hearts and visions for evangelizing in Poland. It just brought tears to my heart and eyes.  It was moments like these that God left my heart completely speechless. I’ve been waiting my entire life to meet my young generation of Europeans who love Jesus and really get to know their hearts, souls, what makes them come alive, what makes them cry, what makes them smile, and what drives them to have a relentless passion to live this beautiful life. It was interesting to hear the perspective of what the actual spiritual state of Poland is. I knew that in general Europe is a very spiritually dead country, and less than 3% of the continent of Europe is evangelical.  As missionary Steven Wallet says, “The geography of Poland is like bread and butter, the population is evenly distributed throughout the entire country. In some European countries, the majority of the population lives in the capital or larger cities. In Poland this is not exactly the case. Lots of the people live in small villages throughout the country. There is a huge need to start some type of ministries that are specifically geared toward reaching the people of Poland who live in villages. As discussed in the meeting, young missionaries are more drawn to doing ministry in the larger cities of Poland (Warsaw, Krakow, Katowice, Bratswaw (sorry dearest Polish friends, I know I spelled that wrong). There are many churches and ministries that are strongly established in these cities. There are about 17 other major cities in Poland where my generation of Poles goes to university to study. This is another key opportunity to start ministry in these places as well. As for ministry dreams that were discussed, one Polish couple is trying to find a space in Warsaw to build a community house. This community house would be a place where there would be a coffee shop, areas to do art, record/play music, dance, express any creativity and build local community while evangelizing. My Polish brother Bulve has the idea to start a metalcore band and use this band to evangelize to the large underground punk/metalcore scene in Poland. (My heart couldn’t help but smile and laugh that I had the exact idea for Lithuania as well) Some of my Polish brothers and sisters have the calling to do ministry outside of Poland as well. They are praying for direction as to what other countries God is calling them to go to.
Poland has a strong Catholic presence. Just like other countries in Europe, such as Lithuania, most people identify themselves with the national religion of their country. As for those who actually practice their country’s religion, the numbers are quite low. The ministry key in this situation is not to let the “divide” of Protestant and Catholic get in the way of loving people for Jesus. I personally believe at the end of the day it’s all about “Loving God, and Loving People”. As simple as that, yet it is easier said than done. I don’t think it matters so much what branch of Christianity you identify yourself with, wither you are Protestant, Catholic, Lutheran, Assemblies of God, Evangelical or something else.  The challenge is to find a way to relate to each dear brother and sister in Poland so that they would get to experience Jesus love in their lives.
In conclusion to this prayer meeting, my heart is so encouraged to hear of the passion and aliveness that there is so much hope and greater things are yet to come for the dear country of Poland. My heart and eyes were once again re-opened as well to the reality of the spiritual state of Europe. I’m so overwhelmed at how GREAT the NEED for European missionaries, planting churches, establishing strong Christian communities and ministries are. It’s to the point where my soul just freezes questioning how can such a huge task of evangelizing Europe be accomplished? I know in God’s perfect timing, everything will come together, I believe we serve a God who is capable of doing beyond the impossible. I firmly believe in complete healing and restoration over every dear life in Europe. At the end of the meeting, we all got into small groups of 6 to pray.  This moment felt so unreal to me. I pinched myself to double check that I was actually alive for this moment. Just sitting in that circle hearing my Polish brothers and sisters pray their hearts out, touched my heart like the kiss of a golden sunset. Just realizing the fact that I was standing in a room full of world changers, revolutionaries, and pastors continuing and starting the new era of evangelism in Europe, I am so humbled to be alive for such a time as this.

SMS Blog Update #4

As week 5 of SMS 13’ comes to a close I’m so thankful to be here. Just a quick summary of what else has been happening. On Saturdays, our missions school does an outreach in Dresden,  (one of the larger cities in Germany) We are divided into 8 different groups, Art, prayer, music, dance, cinema, drama etc. I have the blessing of being the leader of the dance ministry group. I never expected this opportunity to arise, but it wonderfully has. My dance ministry team consists of 2 lovely young women. Maira from Brazil, and Ana from Madrid. As a missions school, we set up our groups by this large tree in one of the parks in Dresden in the afternoon to the late evening. This week for the dance ministry we hope to have a space where people can come and dance for fun. Then, I’m hoping to dance to this evangelistic metal core song by the band For Today. After that Ana will teach a salsa lesson, and we are trying to put together a fire spinning show. I am curious to see how this outreach will go. Aside from the weekly outreaches, life has been wonderful. I’m enjoying the daily lectures and learning about what it truly means to love Jesus with everything inside of me. It’s been such a blessing to be living in a small village that is directly immersed in God’s nature. It’s so refreshing, it’s hard at times to realize my entire summer will mostly be spent in the middle of German nowhere, but I think I’ll survive anyways. The weather is about 16 Celcius, with cool gentle breezes and sunny. I honestly can’t complain. God blessed me with an amazing dear sister. She is from Croatia, and it’s been such a blessing to hang out with her. Our missions school also had a Brazilian and Polish barbeque. Eating Polish food, reminded me of how much I miss eating Lithuanian food.  In about 2 weeks, our missions school is going to do our week long international out reach. Destinations include Madrid, Berlin, Polish Woodstock, Poltava, Ukraine, Beirut, Lebanon, Istanbul,Turkey. I’ve been praying about where God is leading me to go to. I’ve been debating wither or not to go to Poltava or Polish Woodstock. In Poltava the outreach there is going to bring Steiger 13’s Brazillian metalcore band to minister to the clubs and night life in Ukraine. Polish Woodstock is Europe’s largest secular music festival that gets up to one million people from all over Poland and Europe. The atmosphere there is very hardcore. There is drugs and drinking. For the past several months, as I pray I believe God is calling me to go to Polish Woodstock to do evangelistic outreach. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. It is going to be a very challenging experience, but I know that it will be worth it.  Also this past week, I’ve had the blessing with connecting with more Polish missionary families. I’m so excited to make these connections for future ministry opportunities in Poland and Lithuania. I feel as though my thoughts are very jumbled, but I hope dearest friend that this gives you a more clear picture of what God has been doing in my life these past weeks.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support!
Love you all so much,
God Bless,
~Aiste <3 <3 <3

SMS Blog update #3

I can’t believe today marks exactly that half of the Steiger Missions School is officially over. It seems so unreal. I feel like I’ve been wonderfully lost in this European dream for the past 5 weeks. It’s been such a blessing to be here. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. It’s also been SO HARD for me to keep you dearest friends updated on what God has been doing. My mind has so many thoughts to express and I was wrestling with the ideas of having a missions news letter, updating my RuslanaEvelyn blog, updating my missions blog……For now I think I’m going to simply express my Lietuve heart just like this…Freely artistic as God’s heart speaks to me.  Last Saturday, our missions school had the blessing to go to the  SLOT  Art Festival in Lubiaz, Poland. It is a small village town. It took about 3 hours by bus from Krogis to get there. This art festival has been happening for the past 20 years. This festival gets up to about 7,000 people from all over Poland, and surrounding European countries. The main highlights of this festival: You can sign up for creative workshops such as, singing, dancing, painting, fire spinning, learning how to make music with a saw etc, go to a variety of concerts (styles include acoustic, jazz, rock, pop, rap, club, reggae, metalcore) go to a cute artistically colorful coffeeshops, or try amazing Polish food. The festival itself is a week long, so there are hundreds of tents scattered everywhere. It reminds me of the European version of Sonshine Festival. (Minnesota’s largest Christian music festival). The event is held inside an 800 year old monastery. The architecture of the building so intricate and beautiful. SLOT also has a strong Christian presence here as well. There are prayer rooms set up inside the monastery. The idea behind this festival is simply for young people to express their creativity.
My heart and soul are so blessed and touched by the creativity of my European brothers and sisters. I felt so at home artistically here. It was surreal to simply walk around the festival grounds and just look into the colorfully creative eyes of my dearest Polish brothers and sisters. Seeing “them” for the first time in my life. I enjoy how every person has their own sense of style. Every person there is a walking piece of fashion art. I also enjoyed rocking out at my very first Polish metal core concert in the late evening. I had the blessing to meet even more Steiger missionaries at the festival and make connections. In the early evening, I went to a Polish worship service. That was one of the most touching moments of my life. I’ll elaborate in greater detail in another blog post. Most of my missions school stayed at the festival until 1am. Did I mention we left at 5am the previous day? I was so tired and for the rest of the late evening I just watched a few more melodic/electronic concerts with my friends. My artistic soul has never felt more alive, being surrounded by so many amazing Polish artists. Next year, God willing I’m hoping I can go to SLOT for the entire week. I HIGHLY recommend this art festival to all of my dearest friends. It’s a unique experience that  will just kiss your soul.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Steiger Missions School 2013 UpdateZ

Blog Update #1

Dearest friends,
I can’t believe it’s been exactly 2 weeks since I’ve been in Germany. I don’t even know where to begin. It has been absolutely AMAZING. I wish I could just upload the entirety of my journal so you could just read what God has been doing. I’ll do my best to summarize this crazy missions experience.  My friends who came with me on this journey (Sam & Gau) We left Minneapolis on June 12th, 7:30pm from the Minneapolis airport and arrived in Rekejavik, Iceland around 6:30am. We had 10 hours to spare so we walked to the town of Keflavik which was about an hours’ worth of walking. It was cold, cloudy and the town was deserted and smelled like deceased fish. We got to walk on this black mountainous rocky shoreline which was the Atlantic Ocean. Then we flew to Frankfurt, and arrived at 9:30pm June 13th. I’ll never forget the feeling when the plane was landing in Frankfurt. I started crying. Just realizing that it took 2 years to get to this missions moment. My heart was SO overwhelmed. A lady in her 60s also started to cry as she saw me crying. It was such a precious moment. Realizing all the obstacles, scars, joys, hells……… be alive for this very hour, that God had carried me to His heart, in the most unlikely of circumstances………
I was SO naïve with this traveling experience. Little did I know the madness that lay ahead. We waited about 6 hours at a train station for our 4:37AM train. My patience was growing very thin. This was my first time riding a train in Europe. We didn’t even know if we were on the right train. We went to Nurberg which was about 3 hours, then 7 more hours to Meissen. We almost missed our train to Meissen. Then from Meissen we bused to Krogis……I was SO deathly tired…….it wasn’t even funny. When we arrived in Krogis, this kind German lady who didn’t speak English told us to walk down this pathway to the missions school…… We got lost, walked forever, Sam & Gau went to find someone to ask for directions, and I just sat by the roadside and started playing my guitar and singing…5 FREAKIN KILOMETERS LATER, after dragging our freakin HEAVY luggage, we arrived at the gates of Steiger, Krogis. I was SO mad, tired, and ticked off at life…..I’ve never been in such a ridiculously long travel experience, but I couldn’t have been happier. (Let’s be honest, what really made me survive the rest of the day was when these 4 good looking young Brazilian men, helped carry our luggage the rest of the way….)

SMS Blog Update #2
The Atmosphere
There are about 100 students at this missions school. They are from Brazil, Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Finland, USA……..I live with 4 other crazy young ladies. Olga & Magda from Poland. Gau, and Anna from Spain. I couldn’t have asked for better roommates. What’s really nice is that they appreciate my wild Lithuanian craziness. I’ve promised myself that I’m going to continue to learn Russian and start learning Polish. It’s going to be really hard, but for future missions purposes my heart would love to evangelize in Lithuanian, Russian, & Polish.  Krogis is literally in the middle of nowhere. The only store in the town closes at 8pm. AHMEN. I’ll survive. I absolutely LOVE living in such an international community. It’s interesting to see the culturally awkward moments unfold. A typical mission’s day…… Spending time with Jesus…..chores………..several hours of church services………….working on creative evangelistic outreach projects…….learning Russian…..learning Polish……………..hanging out with amazing dear friends……..

Sermon Quote Highlights
(The top sermon quotes that have really blessed my heart & life so far……too much amazingness to write down all at once)
“The good shepherd takes the lost sheep, puts it on his shoulders and walks with it home, lovingly. ~The heart of Steiger~
If we are going to get the world’s attention for Christ, we must be foolishly passionate ~David Pierce
“I’m going to have a fire in my soul, until I go to Jesus.” Jodi Pierce
Go to the place where you need a miracle.
When things start happening with God, you’re not going to want to continue sometimes, you’ll be really exhausted, you’ll want to quit, but you MUST keep going and NEVER give up. #SEEK.GOD.
“Clean the toilets” Life perspective
“If I was going to win that race, it was going to mean PAIN.”
“If I don’t die….I’m NOT going to quit” ~David Pierce
Your experiences, not others, take initiative; don’t wish you lived someone else’s life. Live your life in such a way, you aren’t jealous of anyone else’s. ~Jodi Pierce
When people say you can’t do this, remember you can do it, with God.
If you are SO afraid of criticism, IT WILL DESTROY YOUR CREATIVITY.
“I don’t like that man, I must get to know him better” ~Abe Lincoln

The Polish Boy

I’ll never forget that night
It was one of those evenings that you dream of that only happen in books or movies
The last thing I dreamed of is that it would happen to me
It was a cloudy warm summer German night
For some reason in my heart I felt that I should go play guitar
And so I took my dearest colorfully musically clown barfed Ruslana Evelyn
And walked into the unknown darkness of this European forest
I sat down on the wavy green grass, and started tuning my guitar
The tuning was taking a long time, and I was getting frustrated,
Finally, moments later I inhaled my first musical breath on German soil,
And as I was about to strum a G,
I heard a rustling of footsteps behind me,
A young man wearing a hooded sweater,
Walked closer and closer,
My heart started racing, waiting for him to reveal his identity,
He then took off his hood,
And my Lietuve heart just died.
It was my Polish crush.
I thought to myself,
Is God really that good?
How in the world did he know I was here?
Seriously mano Jezus, TOLI!?!?!? TOLI!?!?!? TOLI!?!?!?!?
He smiled and calmly said, “I hope I didn’t interrupt anything, mind if I join you?”
I was just sitting there like WOW……just WOW……this is too good to be true, and I was like yeah, that’s just fine.
We then started sharing our life stories and his curiosity just made my soul smile
We continued to sit there and stare off into the black stormy lighteningy sky,
I realized this moment was an answered prayer.
I dreamed my whole life of this very hour,
That I would be blessed to meet my European generation, who passionately loved Jesus,
And get to share my musical heart & story with them.
As this young Polish man talked, I couldn’t help but gaze into his sparkling light blue glass eyes as they reflected off the distant lightening.
I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to start this European adventure.
I will forever hold this moment close to my Lietuve heart.
Dearest Polish boy, for your sweet kindness and boldness…….thank you so much.
You have inspired my life in ways you may never know.