Category Archives: CENTRAL EUROPE


20131003-232728.jpgAfter all of the excitement of Poland and a prayer of thanks because airplanes really can stay in the air and then miraculously and safely land on solid ground, we are home.

Funny; home seems bigger than a house on a street. Places and people easily take root. Though our bodies are in Budapest, a piece of our heart reaches backward to grasp that embrace of belonging found in Sweet Surrender Poznan.¬†This is the very thing that we hope for each time Sweet Surrender’s bell rings over the door and somebody responds ‘Zheen dobray’ to a weary sojourner in need of strong coffee.¬† Continue reading


20131005-230146.jpgWe want to thank you for traveling with us this weekend to Polznan, Poland. We are home now with our precious girls who also had a very full weekend. A little later today, we will be writing another blog about Poznan and missionary life. One of the challenges to this weekend’s plan was a fussy internet but we trust that you gained some of the flavor of this wonderful place! Continue reading


Colors. Everywhere. Each narrow color strip represents an individual domicile. People fill the square and at 12:00, the clock on the square chimes while a trap door opens to reveal sheep. Check back later to hear the story.

finding their sweet surrender

20131004-073142.jpgIt is an early morning, pre-kawa (coffee) moment. We are staying in the apartment of Dave, Marybeth, and Makayla Giles and I have snuck into the living room of their typical Polish apartment to blog. The Giles live in the student area of the city just one tram stop from the Sweet Surrender coffee shop.

This family of three, along with the Tracys who are another Mission Corp family, keep Sweet Surrender going. The shop employs seven Polish young people and together they create a cozy haven for the pour soul in need of a shot of caffeine or the harried mom in need of a tranquil moment, or the friends getting away to touch base in a busy day. Community in the midst of a community. The very nature and activity of the Jesus we all attempt to model. It is him that I meet with each morning over my first cup of coffee. Continue reading

a little about sweet surrender poznan

Start your day with a good cup of coffee at Sweet Surrender. The sign greets you upon entering the cozy atmosphere of this Nazarene coffee shop tucked into a Polish community. A quick walk around reveals a varied clientele soaking in rich aromas of coffee, friendliness, and the intangible presence of the Holy Spirit. He fills the creative spaces of this corner shop and floods the senses with the fragrance of relationship.

Within this strongly Catholic yet intriguingly post-modern culture, new approaches such as Sweet Surrender are a Nazarene investment in the daily rhythms of every day people.

Sweet Surrender. You are welcome here.

a language I almost understand


As we complete leg one of our two-step flight, Polish culture begins to seep into our bones. We left an unusually sunny Budapest for a short one hour flight into the capital, Warsaw. As Colleen, Jay, and I listen to the Polish announcements, our Russian-tuned ears can almost understand the beautiful Polish language but not quite.

One thing that remains the same across all Slavic cultures is the beauty of its women. As I look around, there is something in the carriage, the eyes, the embrace of their femininity, which is so captivating to the observer. If Slavic cultures are ruled by the babas (grannies) and trust me, they are, then those same cultures have been romanced by their women. This recognition gives new layers of understanding to the Bulgarian proverb, Yes, the man is the head but the woman is the neck. Perhaps this is why we find Slavic women leaning into their femininity.

Culture and history run deep in the countries of central and southeastern Europe. In Poland, one senses a pride that is not misplaced. Of all the countries on our field in this post-communist reality, the Poles have the strongest economy. Poland is thriving in many ways. Yet, as we begin to breathe Polish air on the eve of a historic WW 2 anniversary, one cannot miss the truth that the pride and beauty of this great land is meshed with the pain of generations caught in unbelievable heartbreak.

Floating peacefully in the clouds somewhere between Warsaw and Poznan, I find myself ready to be captivated by this beautiful culture, her language, and her people. Speak to us Poland, we are ready to hear you.