21 Jan 2006

Priviet!

"Priviet!"

"Czesc... Welcome."

"Chlodno..??..??"

As I opened my apartment door to a myriad of faces, some familiar to me, some new, it felt like welcoming family. How do you welcome someone into your home who doesn't know which language to use, or when they don't understand you? I smile and nod politely. After a 20hr road trip through the winterous Polish roads our Spring of Hope team finally arrives in Poznan.

A group of Ukrainians were here just 2 weeks ago, returning home from the Awaken conference in Amsterdam. They felt like family... 2 nights, a ukrainian feast, a russian bible study, a few jam sessions.... And now as we sat around the dinner table, all 11 of us, from different walks of life, somehow the fact that we don't speak each others language doesn't seem to matter. We are family.

As Spring of Hope, Sasha speaks in Russian, Ania translates, "You know usually when you leave your country there is this strange feeling in your stomach. Like you are somewhere different. But this time it doesn't even feel like we left Ukraine. And look now we are even eating Ukrainian borscht! I feel like i never left home..."

"What was the best part of Europe?" - Laurie (in Russian)
"Poznan" - Sergei
After Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin... that response is beyond me. Only one thing i know, it is better to be with family than anywhere else in the world. A thousand grand cathedrals and amazing monuments and an eifel tower pale in comparison to being with my brothers and sisters in Christ in true community.

We joke about the schedule. "Poznan-Kiev-Poznan" yells the driver from the other side of the room- only he's not joking, tomorrow 2 of them are going back. They drove 20 hours to bring the team here to help us reach lost Poles. 40 people have died in Russia in the past week due to freezing weather conditions, and our Ukrainian friends drove 20 hours in that weather to come help us reach Poles who are also dying- just in another way.

Ania translates Roma's Russian, "I have been thinking a lot about what Kolya said at Awaken. This job is too big for me. So i know that if anything happens here this week it is because HE did it, not me."

How can i feel so close to people i hardly know and some who i can't communicate with? Why do I want to go back to Amsterdam and visit Kiev at the same time? After a family reunion i think i always left being reminded of how great it is to have family.

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