In July of 2009, my sister came over to visit me. Romas was deployed to Iraq and I was on summer vacation from school so we took the opportunity to do some traveling. One of the places we visited was Boleslawic, Poland to shop for pottery. While it's close enough to drive round-trip in a day, we wanted to take our time, shop, eat an authentic Polish meal, shop…you get the idea!
We were up before sunrise to start our drive east and arrived just as the stores were opening. We were greeted by this beautiful sight as we came to the first store...
We shopped til we dropped - hitting up a ton of stores and filling our tiny rental car with Polish Pottery!
In our defense, we did have sleeping bags and pillows in the car for our stay at the Mission, along with bags of goodies to donate! They asked for brownie mix and peanut butter - two things they cannot buy in Poland but love to share with the poor children in the area.
Before going to the Mission, we stopped at this amazing restaurant to have dinner.
We sat outside and ate pirogies!! They were absolutely delicious! (Definitely not on any diet plan, though!)
We ate like royalty: salad, pirogies, and Coca-Cola for only $5 a person! In Germany we pay almost $5 for the Coca-Cola alone!!! It was quite a treat to eat so cheaply!
Only a few miles from the pottery town is the Elim Christian Center. We emailed back and forth to arrange to stay there while we were in Poland. The husband and wife who run the mission speak perfect English. We were told they didn't charge to stay overnight - they just asked for a donation. I believe we each paid 10Euros to stay. Not bad, huh?
The Mission is in a Renaissance era castle - how cool is that?!?
The area is very poor (as is much of Poland) and the mission helps families in the area who have very little. One of the programs they have is teaching women to sew. Teaching a trade helps counter the 90% unemployment rate in the area.
Some of the women who sew are chosen to help create the nativities the mission sells. I bought my handmade nativity for 100Euros. It is beautiful and I love making it the center of my Christmas decorations each year. All of the figures are weighted with beans so they can all stand by themselves. The angel has a halo that can also be used to suspend her above the scene.
Isn't this gorgeous?
It feels good to have contributed to such a worth cause. Not only did we help support poor women and their families, we have an absolutely stunning Nativity set to display each year.
Want to learn more about the Elim Christian Center and their Nativity program? Click HERE.
If you are planning a visit to Poland to shop in Boleslawic, I would highly encourage you to stop by the mission. Don't forget to bring some peanut butter and brownie mix for the kids!!
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