Friday, April 17, 2009
Trip to Poland
We were privileged to fly to Krakow, Poland, in order to get a needed stamp in our passport. Poland is our neighboring country to the West, and we were delighted to find that it cost just under $100 each for our airline tickets round-trip. We were away for five nights, and enjoyed our time being able to get away in order to refresh ourselves and recharge our spirits. This was our second time to Krakow, the first time being five years ago. Not much has changed at all since our first visit. Krakow, Poland is a very pictureque, quaint city, not as well known as other European countries, but a tourist attraction, nonetheless.
Just an hour away from Krakow is the ever-famous city of Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp where the greatest number of Jews were killed during Hitler's Holocaust. It was our privilege to be able to spend the day riding out to Auschwitz and walking around the camp and through the buildings that now stand empty today. We were asked not to take pictures in the buildings, but we were able to stand in a gassing chamber and walk past the ovens where precious Jews' bodies were burned to ashes. It was very sobering to think of the horrible pain and terror those people went through, all because of their race. It made us think.... "If only there had been an 'Esther' during World War II who would have stood up and risked their life to save the Jews once again, all of this possibly could have been avoided." We also saw mountains of shoes, clothing, suitcases, dishes, etc... that belonged to those dear people. Probably the most difficult thing to look at was the mountains of hair that the Nazis shaved off of the Jews' heads after they were gassed. They used this hair to be woven into material or to stuff mattresses.... to the very last detail, the Jews were degraded for man's wealth and power. What a sobering lesson to realize how cruel man can become when he lives his life for self and not for God. (The picture above was taken at the entrance of the concentration camp. The words above the gate are translated "Work will make you free"... a mockery to the Jews that they were forced to read each day as they went out to slave labor.)
And now, on to the rest of our trip... We were excited to find that Pizza Hut was still prospering in Poland, and we enjoyed eating there twice. We even found a Mexican Restaurant to enjoy once, though I wasn't too terribly impressed with their food. We also found flour tortillas, corn chips, and cheese dip in a grocery store. We added those products to the Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Twist, and Mountain Dew that we found, and enjoyed some great snacking on some things we do not have in Ukraine. During our wait in the airport on our way home, we found a nice coffee shop and enjoyed cappuccinos with marshmallows on top, to end our trip on an extra sweet note.
We are now back home and working full swing in the ministry once again. Today we spent some time in the orphanage here, and I would like to write about our orphanage ministry in a future letter on here.