Polska

1 Jun
So, I have spent a week in sunny, sunny, very sunny Poland. It was 30 degrees all week apart from a brief extreme thunder storm which flooded a whole street and rained down golfball-sized hailstones.
Didn’t really know what to expect Poland to be like – to be honest, I didn’t think about this trip at all until the night before cos I was so busy. But, I am now a Poland fan. Nice architechture. Friendly people. Good sausages. Yum.
So we had the chance to hang out with a very cool little church in Lodz (that’s Woodge to you) whose pastor, Karol, is a quality guy with a very good sense of humour who spent all week running round looking after us. His kids are equaly cool. We got to rock out at their rock concert, attempt to eat more food than is humanly possible, get to know some of the young people in the church a bit, play/watch our English team get beaten at football, and become a travelling circus doing some street work… Roger Cole’s gifts are not confined to healing prayer and prophecy, oh no, he can also teach a Year Team how to do escapology, drama, and how to make a sword/dog/fox/giraffe/mutated cat out of a balloon. I think I might put that on my CV now.
Poland really has had a rubbish century. Some outrageous and unbelivable treatment under the Nazis. Then when Russia freed them, it was locked in decades of communism. A brief look around Lodz shows the joyful reaction to having got out of communism – lots of artwork, sculptures and brightly-repainted blocks of flats which just would not have been permitted before. Now that the people are allowed to express themselves, they’re going for it. 
It was a very fun week – it was bound to be really, with the lunatics who went. We spent the week driving around in 2 hired white Ford Transit vans, driven by Roger and Jonny Lev, who struggled for quite a while to use a left-hand drive car. Lots of stalling and having to shout "go wide!" at him every time he needed to change into 3rd gear earnt his van the title of "the van of death", while Roger’s propensity for U turns in the path of oncoming trams merely dubbed his "the van of mild peril". By the end of the week though, Lev’s driving was much improved (even though we really had no idea what the rules of the road for the trams were, generating some occasional screaming), and having the windows down, the system up, and Brucey and Griddles dancing with all their might in the front seat eventually renamed his van as "the funbus" or, if you must, "the Vengabus".
It was amazing the number of people we got to pray with just on the street, and good to remember what the point of our existence is again – and when there is nobody else around, you will step up and do the things you really don’t think you are capable of doing. Which is good, because God is quite capable if you just step up.
Rog really is obsessed with Polish ice cream though. We went for "lody" every singe day – and once, twice in one day, until the lady in the shop must have known all our middle names. "So we’ll do some streetwork, then we’ll come back for a rest, which will leave time for lody before lunch". I think he planned our whole trip around the lody schedule. :o) Only joking Rog. He is a legend.
Plus, Lodz is now home to "Manufaktora", which is Europe’s biggest shopping centre/city of restaurants. It’s pretty cool, and I guess another celebration of communism’s demise, but also perhaps a slightly worrying temple to consumerism. Which, as in the rest of Europe, looks like becoming Poland’s king. I hope not too soon though, it seemed like a country with its feet still comfortingly on the ground.
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