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December 13th, 1981

My mom woke me up. It was unusually quiet, even for a frosty winter morning Sunday. She looked very worried. I could tell she was not trying to panic and keep calm, but something was definitely wrong. She looked at me, as figuring out, how to break the news, and in a serious tone of voice announced: "I think, there is a war".

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photo from "The Solidarity phenomenon"

"War?!!! But... I am so young...there could not be a war, I have to live my life first..." these were my very first thoughts, and I don't even remember if I said it out loud. Thousands of streaming thoughts were piercing my mind. "War? Like in 1939, when Nazis invaded? Did the Russians cross our borders? Would they be so arrogant and insolent? Are the other Warsaw Pact allies with them? Will they occupy, close the schools, churches? Are they arresting, killing, torturing people? Do I have anything in the house that I should worry about? Any underground bulletins, anti-communist brochures?" I prayed something like: "Oh God, help us"

After few moments we realized that we were cut off from the world. Although living in a popular communist version of apartment complex (bloki), there was silence, like never before. TV (those two channels that we had then) did not transmit anything. Only sadly torturing Chopin pieces in the radio.

I was walking from window to window. No people outside, neither on the balconies or by the windows. Fear invaded not only our country, but now my little apartment, my future, my imagination. "Revenge", I thought. "We crossed the line, THEY had to do something about it. This is it ".

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Then we've heard an announcement on TV. Our general, Jaruzelski, with a typical monotony proclaimed "State of War" (Stan wojenny). Military coup. No traveling. No school for some time. No social meetings. Evening curfew. Telephone conversations censored. Restrictions. Choking up the leftover dreams for something better than this undignified existence.

I went to church. On the streets some armored vehicles, some ZOMO guys warming their hands over the street fires.

During the Mass solemn prayers. Thousands came. It seemed that everybody wanted to check out, if we will give up, if THEY will win. Some were crying, some devastated, many confused, many in rage.

This was my birthday. Not a happy one. I did not have a party. My sweet 16...

mini_czas_apokalipsy

famous iconic photo taken by Chris Niedenthal, Newsweek reporter: armored vehicle standing by the movie theatre "Moscow", and the movie being advertised is "Apocalypse now" by Francis Copolla who was inspired by Joseph Conrad's "Heart of darkness"

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZyenKyJ4c8&hl=en&fs=1]

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25

About 25 years ago, I was awakened slowly into the new way of life (it sounds like it was soooo long ago, but it feels like just 5 years ago). Throughout the years I was a part of Hallelu Jah Fellowship. This October we were celebrating 25th anniversary... which was my main reason of going to Poland this time. This fellowship had a tremendous influence on my life, it shaped my inner being like nothing else I know of so far. Through the Hallelu Jah people God became my eternal love. They were speaking Christ, breathing Christ and loving me like He would.

It was very special to be present there, on that day.

church NMP na Piasku, where the Mass took place

beauty

bishop Siemieniewski, one of the guardians of the Hallelu Jah

the Mass

walking from the church to the celebration hall

kids were the sheep... don't ask me why...

tables with food

chleb ze smalcem - you don't want to know what this is...

people are gathering

father Zacheusz... the real monk

Janusz (one of the main leaders of Charismatic movement in Wroclaw) and Dagmara (my first small group leader)

Sophie

Jacek(present HalleluJah leader) and Grzesiek (many years of singing, soundman, actor, sailor, father)

one of the many humorous moments

father Marek, whos vocation grew withing our fellowship

Teah with dear friend Andrzej

Magda and Jola

cutting the cake

worship time

more worship

Zuzia

just a nice picture

one of my best friends, Agnieszka

what is he saying?

T shirts

if you think that this guy is wearing very eschatological shirt with a message: "Jesus come, Jesus", you are wrong!!!

it is French for "I am as I am" on the back of Mroczek :-)

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be fervent in spirit

Rynek (main square of the city). Sunday afternoon. Evangelism by Hallelu Jah Fellowship.There were 2 worship concerts, one with the prayer for the city, dramas, pantomimes. On a side of the main stage there were three tents: one full of ideas ministering to the kids, second one open to anyone who would like to get counseling (especially drug addicts), in the third one people could watch different evangelistic media presentations.

Although the weather was chilly, during the five hours of the continuous program, there were many people who were stopping by, intrigued by this event.

the cross is the reason

"40 and 30 on 70" band

(this is the most original name of a music group you've ever heard; the full name goes like this - "forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys" -  from Judges 12:14)

they play sort of folk music, but with a 'heavier' sound, it depicts Polish soul very well...

Robert Ruszczak, leader of the band and the main organizer of this event

people gathering around...

watching...                                  priest Wlodzimierz (try to pronounce that: Vwoh-dzhee-myezh)

pantomime...                                 interested....

watching

Open up the doors and let the music play

Let the streets resound with singing

Songs that bring Your hope, songs that bring Your joy

Dancers who dance upon injustice

from the song "Did you feel the mountains tremble"

one of the pantomimes

me with a famous preacher, Andrzej Dziewit, a true evangelist...

Andrzej sharing his testimony, I've heard it so many times, and every time it is moving and sobering, he really has a gift...

me with another legendary leader of Hallelu Jah, Mroczek, one of the greatest...

it was a good night...

kids watching

mime

worship and prayer for the city of Wroclaw

worship

prayer time

note in a local newspaper abot the event

most of the pictures above courtesy Hallelu Jah web album

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knocking at the door

What I love about Easter European countries is, that you can visit people unexpectedly almost any time you want, and they will host you as you were the king and queen of England. There is always plenty of food, interesting conversations (not just chatting about irrelevant things of life), friendliness and openness. I miss very close relationships.

People still value friendships more than anything else, and they rather find time to meet with others, than to do anything else. Although you can feel the change in the speed of life, people are more busy and involved in many more activities, still the Polish soul thrives on close encounters.

As I wrote before:

I realized again, how different the Eastern European soul is from the Western counterpart. We are soooooooo…relationship oriented,

home-cooked food lovers,

late night talkers,

tea drinkers,

down to earth practical, but also unapologetically romantic,

strongly opinionated, critical, but instantly mesmerized by suddenly spotted beauty,

painfully realistic, but captivated by melancholic poetry…

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food in Poland

If you don't remember how the real food tastes... go to Poland. Again, I was amazed how simple tomato can make you think about summer afternoons, and a taste of a plum can make you jump high.  The real feast comes with all sorts of breads, cheeses, milk products (healthy).

We still cook from the scratch, very little packaged "starters" (even in USA I make my own noodles once in a while). We still make eating food a celebration-meeting time. We still have time for tea and late night talks. We still value company above rashing issues of life.

I will not even start talking about chocolate (you guys in USA have no clue about what chocolate is, sorry), home made cakes, soups (zurek, kapusniak, krupnik, ogorkowa just to mention few), dishes like bigos, golabki, pierogi. Kielbasa can be addictive (so many kinds), as well as kiszona kapusta and kiszone ogorki. People still make preserves with anyhing they can, for winter and early spring months.

Food for thought:

this is how we serve tomatoes

this is how we serve tomatoes

eggs in mayo, standard party snack

eggs in mayo, standard party snack

even chicken tastes better... what do they feed them...

tea is a must over there, we are drinking liters (gallons) of it.. and it's not Community Tea...

we drink liters (not gallons) of tea, and it's not Community tea...

lemon goes with tea... always...

lemon slice is a must for a cup of tea

"forget Starbucks" said my American husband...

forget Starbucks, said my American husband

plain bread... tastes the best

plain bread is the best

bread is a must for any kind of soup...and we eat soups every day...

can't eat soup without bread

golabki

gołąbki - cabbage rolls

schabowy (pork chops) and potatoes... famous Polsih combination

schabowy (pork chop) & potatoes, classical Polish combination

pierogi

pierogi

eklerki and brownie cheesecake

eklerki & brownie-cheesecake

apple cake

szarlotka - apple cake

pudding raspberry cake

fluffy pudding & raspberry cake

probably the most popular beer in Poland, Zywiec

probably the most popular beer in Poland, Zywiec

straight from the tree...

straight from the tree...

wild mushrooms picked in a forest, drying over the oven...

wild mushrooms picked in a forest, drying above the oven

walnuts, just picked in a backyard...

walnuts, just picked in a backyard...

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