Tuesday, August 14, 2018
For most choir members, today is a travel day. A majority of the singers are returning home, while some are exploring more of Europe yet, before heading home.
If you have a moment, please say a prayer for them!
The 3 week tour has been an incredible experience, and it is hard to say goodbye to people that have become close friends and feel like family members. But life continues on, and we praise God for the amazing times we had together!
Thank you for your many thoughts and prayers during these weeks of tour!
May God be Praised!
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 15:5,6 ESV
This verse was a blessing to me this morning as I reflected on the many memories that have been made over the past 3 weeks and all the positive connections that have been made here in Poland. I am so grateful for the God and Father of us all who gave us the ability to sing with one voice and glorify Him as we were about the business of planting seeds for His kingdom.
The morning started a little earlier for two of our choir members, Dervin Martin and Drew Roth, who had morning flights to catch. Theirs were the first of many farewells that we will experience over the next several days as people flock or trickle out of Poland, whatever the case may be. Anyway, the rest of us got to sleep in and have breakfast at 9:00. We were then split into a number of different work groups and dispersed to help around the community. Some worked at the English school, some at Matt and Deborah’s house, some at Lavern’s house, some men went to fix a roof for one of the church families and the remaining 8 of us stayed at Gustav’s to clean and chop wood. The day was fairly uneventful and slowly people wandered back for supper at 5:00. The food was very yummy as usual. At 6:00 we had a debriefing/reminiscing session that lasted two hours. There were tears as we reflected on the years Lloyd and Mary have contributed themselves to Hope Singers. We ended with a time of prayer and one final run of Abendlied. Then we all started saying goodbyes and signing pictures, etc. Now it is 10:30 and most of us have finished packing, some are playing games, some are strolling under the stars and some brave souls are attempting to get some sleep before our 3:00 a.m. departure.
Dawn (aka Caesar)
QOTD 1: Me to a choir member in reference to a certain activity “Well, this is not my forte.” Choir member: “Ha, it’s not even a ppp for me!”
QOTD 2: “We realized today as we were washing windows that it’s really hard to tell the difference between bug guts and strawberry jam.” ~Sharon Spicher
Random fact of the day: the average age of the choir is 27, which is exactly 2 years older than the average age of the 2016 Hope group.
Sunday August 12 was absolutely a gorgeous day weather wise: clear blue skies, a moderate breeze, and crisp clean air. It was great weather for the last day of concerts.
In the morning I asked a few people how they felt about this being the final day of tour.
The answers were varied:
Our morning concert was at a Baptist Church in Warsaw. The Communist government allowed the church to be built for Billy Graham’s visit to Poland in 1978 as a kind of gesture of religious freedom to the onlookers. After the concert, we walked around the corner to a restaurant where lunch awaited. Said lunch was fabulous. Just saying.
When said lunch was consumed, we headed back to the church and gave an abbreviated concert for a Russian congregation. Gustav’s was our next destination for an afternoon break before our evening concert.
At 4:30 we left for Minsk for our final concert. It was a first Hope concert in the large Catholic church in downtown Minsk. We ran through some vocal warm-ups and standing arrangements before heading off to the nearby park for a picture taking session with Auntie Janelle.
It was a full house. Our audience was attentive. The three second reverb in the lovely space helped to mask the few random mistakes we still made, even in this last concert. At halftime, first tenor Dervin Martin (Dad) was heard to say, “Wow. I could bawl my eyes out. This is amazing…”
This concert was especially significant for Mr. Lloyd. It was his final concert with the group that he started many years ago. As the singers exited the back of the stage, the “Father of Hope Singers” turned and gave 1 last bow to the applauding crowd. When asked how it feels to be in a moment like that, he said that there are some feelings he will talk about and others that he won’t. But the sense I got from him was that while he will really miss this, he is looking forward to life’s next ventures!
I spoke with the HS Queen as well. She said she wasn’t sad or glad necessarily but “just glad that I was able to be here tonight and experience this!” The emotion however was clear from the choke in her voice as she spoke.
That brings us to the current time, 1 am Monday morning so I’ll bring this to a close! Thank you all for your prayers and support! Goodnight!!
Written by Derek Sensenig
Today started out with some refreshing rain, but ended with some lovely blue sky and some sunshine! With recording finished, we were privileged with a free day to explore the exciting capital of Poland, Warsaw. Many memories were made throughout today!
We started the day at the Baptist Seminary, were given rides to the train station (with some people enjoying the ride from the trunk), explored and enjoyed Warsaw, and everyone eventually made it back to Dębe Wielkie (Gustav’s place/ our home base/ rehearsal location) for a relaxing evening.
The choir members were able to enjoy a variety of things that Warsaw has to offer. Below are some locations and events that the different groups enjoyed:
Coffee; Fresh, warm donuts; Warsaw Zoo; Chopin Museum; Nowy Świat; Traditional Polish cuisine; Warsaw Uprising Museum; Polish Bolesławiec pottery; Souvenir shopping; Gofry (waffles with whipped cream, fresh fruit, nutella, or chocolate syrup); Ice-Cream; Zapiekanki; Street musicians (some choir members busking as well); Warsaw Old Town; People watching; Warsaw Palace of Culture; plus much more!
But most of all, we enjoyed each other’s company! Being together for 3 weeks has made this group of choir members into a family. We care about each other, and know that we will never have this exact situation and opportunity to do it again.
Thank you for your continual support through reading our posts, viewing our photos, and mostly, for your thoughts and prayers! THANK-YOU!