Chapter 18: Home



Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
—Isaiah 30:20–21


I recalled our first adventure in Poland while Loralie and Jack played tag in the Krakow Airport baggage claim: The dread of only having 3 of 4 bags in my possession, kids safely latched in their stroller, unfamiliar and unknown words pointing in various directions (does that say Exit or Welcome? Or, is this where we go to be questioned by immigration?).   Were my first thoughts, “This was clearly going to be an adventure!”….or were they, “God, what have I gotten my family into!”  But God!  He whispered in our ear, seemingly from behind saying, “Go.”  There were no feelings of dread, panic for the safety of my children, or doubt.


Relief overcame us.

Relief that our travels were finished (for this month).

Relief that our delayed and canceled flights, 15 hours total, over 3 flights and 3 countries had all landed safely and soundly (with less than 45 minutes of layover at each airport PRAISE THE LORD!).

Relief that we are HOME.
One of our good friends expressed these words to us.  “It is good that you have returned.  We are very pleased.  Not many people who say they will be back actually return.”   It hit home how God has used our return to give us a position that not many get to experience: We have built trust with those that we know.  May God continue to whisper in our ears where our path should go, and may we walk in it.


We had so much fun at the Sweet Surrender staff and English Club Christmas Party this past weekend.  Our good friends Tony and Rhonda, fellow M’s, did a wonderful job hosting the party!  All were “encouraged” to participate in the festivities; unfortunately I think there might be photographic proof of it! It was here that we realized how reserved (culture shocked?) we were last year.  I think we even left the New Year’s party before New Years!


On Monday we visited the school we mentioned in our previous newsletter, Bright Child.  Peace.  This is what filled our hearts as we entered.  We know that God is going to use this school in real ways for our kids!  We know that this is where we will be sending our kids for schooling for at least this first year.  This does increase our financial need for the year.  We will need to raise an additional $6,000 for this expense for the yearThankfully we serve a big God who will provide!  Praise the Lord!

This month we have a lot to be thankful for:

We arrived safely in Krakow, Poland.

We confirmed the school that our children will attend.

We confirmed the school that we will be participating in language studies.

We have fully adjusted after 1 week.

We have purchased all of our initial needs.


Those are some pretty big and awesome prayers to have answered!  Praise the Lord!

Remember in this time of celebration, we serve a truly amazing God.  He sent His only Son to us, to redeem and forgive us.  Though we hung Him on a cross, He still whispers in our ear (a very intimate act!), giving us direction and encouragement.  Know that He loves you more than you can imagine, He cares beyond reason, and He is an active participant in our lives (whether or not we choose to listen!).  At the end of the day, never forget that God is good.


We pray that God would make Himself known in very real ways this holiday time.  May you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!

Please continue to pray for our family as we…

…look to fulfill our financial requirements for our children’s school and to complete our second year’s budget requirements.

…engage our friends, old and new, during this special time of the year:  sharing the Love of Christ.

…pursue our language studies.

…send our children to school for the first time!


If you are interested in sending packages to us in Poland, here is our address:

Attn: Graves Family

ul Zabłocie 25

30-701, Kraków


If you don’t want to pay shipping and just wish to send a private money gift, feel free to click the donate button on our webpage,

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.  Please know that God uses your prayers and financial support in very real ways for our family.


May God bless you and keep you.


Much love,


The Graves Family

Are you a Circle Maker?

“The first glimpse of Jericho was both awe-inspiring and frightening. While wandering in the wilderness for forty years, the Israelites had never seen anything approximating the skyline of Jericho. The closer they got, the smaller they felt.”


“The six-foot-wide lower wall and fifty-foot-high upper wall encircled the ancient metropolis. The mud-brick walls were so thick and tall that the twelve-acre city appeared to be an impregnable fortress. It seemed like God had promised something impossible, and His battle plan seemed nonsensical; Your entire army is to march around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day you are to march around the city seven times.”


“After seven days of circling Jericho, God delivered on a four-hundred-year-old promise. He proved, once again, that His promises don’t have expiration dates. And Jericho stands, and falls, as a testament to this simple truth: If you keep circling the promise, God will ultimately deliver on it.”


“This miracle is a microcosm. It not only reveals the way God performed the particular miracle; it also establishes a pattern to follow. It challenges us to confidently circle the promises God has given to us. And it begs the question: What is your Jericho?”


–       The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson


It is interesting that such a short question can provoke such deep thoughts! What is your Jericho??


May I share with you what our Jericho is? Sweet Surrender Krakow! Sweet Surrender Krakow is having issues with its contract and some of the ownership the building resides in.  We are at a point of possible transition. Sweet Surrender needs a significant donation toward the purchase of the retail space.  We need $395,000.  This will complete our contract obligation for our shop.  This number may seem big, but our God is bigger!


We are now asking if anyone would like to invest in this life-changing ministry. Not to Brad and I personally, but to the actual building and church that meets in the old neighborhood of Oscar Shindler. In the past, the Nazarene church and several individuals have invested in Sweet Surrender; we seek more individuals to continue this ministry.  Donations will help solidify our contract with the new potential building ownership.  We, along with every other volunteer to have served in Poland, thank the people who have helped keep Sweet Surrender Krakow open!


Let me share with you what you are supporting…


Evenings of worship that bring five to eight different local Krakow churches together.

Book clubs that are comprised of people who seek to invite new people, and coffee shop business: Including the employment of nine non-Christian girls who we minister to every single day. How? We simply ask to join our girls for coffee, lunch and conversation. There is always a good conversation when all three are together!

Events-. YWAM seeks to connect as many believers/non-believers as possible together through English conversation groups, game nights and music nights at Sweet Surrender.

The Krakow Gospel Choir not only practices, but performs at Sweet Surrender.  They bring with them a large fan base from the greater Krakow area.


I might add, most importantly, our CHURCH. Not the building itself, but the people who serve every Sunday. Every single person in our church has committed many hours of service to Sweet Surrender, not only as a business, but also on Sundays as a church. We would like to be able to still offer the building as the church for our congregation to meet in.


How can you help? Like Mark Batterson talks about in his book, The Circle Maker, PRAY. Pray without ceasing for this VITAL ministry.


Give! If you have a way to give toward the coffee it! Do it with joy and give what is put on your heart! If you cannot give monetarily…again I say PRAY! We are asking for prayer in abundance.


I will end with another quote by Mark Batterson, “When rain is plentiful, it’s an afterthought. During a drought it’s the only thought. And Honi was their only hope. Famous for his ability to pray for rain, it was on this day, the day, that Honi would earn his moniker.


“With a six-foot staff in his hand, Honi began to turn like a math compass. His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical. Ninety degrees. One hundred eighty degrees. Two hundred seventy degrees. Three hundred sixty degrees. He never looked up as the crowd looked on. After what seemed like hours but had only been seconds, Honi stood inside the circle he had drawn. Then he dropped to his knees and raised his hands to heaven. With the authority of the prohet of Elijah, who called down fire from Heaven, Honi called down rain:


“Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle until You have shown mercy upon Your children.”


The words sent a shudder down the spines of all who were within earshot that day. It wasn’t just the volume of his voice; it was the authority of his tone. Not a hint of doubt. This prayer didn’t originate in the vocal chords. Like water from an artesian well, the words flowed from the depth of his soul. His prayer was resolute yet humble, confident yet meek, expectant yet unassuming.


Then. It. Happened.


As his prayer ascended to the heavens, raindrops descended to the earth. An audible gasp swept across the thousands of congregants who had encircled Honi. Every head turned heavenward as the first raindrops parachuted from the sky, but Honi’s head remained bowed. The people rejoiced over each drop, but Honi wasn’t satisfied with a sprinkle. Still kneeling within the circle, Honi lifted his voice over the sounds of celebration:


Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.”


As the story ends it rains peacefully as Honi boldly prayed. Honi saved an entire generation with his prayer. Because Honi chose to pray a bold prayer God blessed Him and His people with rain after a terrible on-going drought.


Our Jericho is the need for a miraculous amount to be given to Sweet Surrender Krakow. We will circle the walls, we will pray without ceasing and we ask you do the same.


Blessings to you all as we enter the season of Advent and as we praise God for His faithfulness in the season of rejoicing!


Let us know if we can pray for you? For your Jericho? We are warriors of prayer!

Blessings from Michelle, Brad, Loralie and Jack