Ahhhh…. WiFi at last! After three planes, 5 cities, countless buses, a lot of walking and a long bus ride… we’re finally here at Ostróda Camp. My cultural horizons have certainly exploded in the last 48 hours. I have seen some interesting toilets, eaten things I couldn’t identify and come to appreciate more than ever the personal space I am so accustomed to having! We spent the first day and a half in Warsaw, where we were able to gain some cultural insight and history in preparation for our time with the Holocaust survivors. Ben’s great interest in WWII era history had given me a great deal of background well before the trip, but standing in the actual place where the ghetto wall stood and seeing photograph after photograph of what Warsaw looked like before the war and then after it was devastated during The Uprising… well, it’s just different when you’re actually standing there. We went to the Warsaw Uprising Museum, another museum called “History of the Place”, and saw memorials and artifacts of the horror that happened on those streets. I teared up more
than once and I can’t imagine what it is going to be like to actually sit and talk with those who lived through it.
We also had a short class introducing the Polish alphabet, which was helpful. I mean how do you even begin to try to pronounce Kościoła, even if you happen to recognize what it means (church)? I am horrible with languages, so I’m no where close to speaking Polish, but it helped. Fortunate for me, there are a fair amount of people who know some basic English and there are a couple of interpreters here. Even if I had done a crash course in Polish, it wouldn’t have gotten me far. The Holocaust survivors are coming here from Israel, where they speak Hebrew, and most actually have Russian as their native language. Lots of language barriers, but the Love of God will cross them all!
After settling in at the camp, we met with our leaders (Dave & Sandy Hatfield), the summer interns who will be working at the camp (college students) and the interpreters for some focus, devotion and prayer time. We’ll begin with this in the morning as well and be ready to start serving in this amazing place.
Here’s some pictures!