The Winter Storm

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Today marks the fifth day since I’ve been in the outside world… sequestered in our home by the Great Winter Storm of 2014.  Facebook is flooded with people going stir crazy and desperate to get back to work, school or even to the grocery store!  I’ve really enjoyed the extra time with the family and the complete lack of a schedule.

69720One of my friends posted an update on Facebook that brought tears to my eyes as I thought of my Jewish friends.  I want to share her words – not to make anyone feel guilty for any grumblings they may have uttered, but because it is good food for thought.  Unless you know me very well, you might not know that I grew up in a cabin, built by my Dad, that was only accessible by four wheel drive.  In the winter, it was often only accessible by foot.  We would hike up our 1/2 mile very steep hill in the dark, bitter cold and slippery ice all to arrive at a cold, dark cabin (we heated with wood and didn’t have electricity for four years either… it’s a long story).  I write all of this just to say that my parents taught me a valuable lesson in these times.  They always made us list all the ways we could think of that it could be worse.  It helped us see our situation in a better light.  It’s a practice I still use today.  Having had the privilege of hearing first-hand stories of Holocaust survivors, there is no question in my mind that no matter what trials I face in my life, it is nothing compared to the horrors and hatred these people endured.  I pray that God will bring them healing and His love, that can melt away the winter of the past and bring the spring.

You guys know me, my sense of humor (or lack of) I love making people smile, but I can’t help that this post is going to be more on the serious side. I’ve just re-read my favorite books of the WWII era. First up was my favorite All But My Life, by Gerda Weismann Klein. She was a teenager in Poland when the Germans invaded her country. She lived the war years in slave labor and at the end of the war was sent on a death march as the Nazis felt the end of the war was coming. For 3 winter months, she and her 3 friends from Beilsko walked and slept outside or in barns until they were liberated by American soldiers in early spring. Can’t help but think of her as this snow falls and we’ve had our bitter cold temps. The 2nd is called Bitter Freedom which is about a Jewish couple who was hidden by a German citizen. They dug a hole under his basement and stayed in that hole for 22 months, not standing or making any noise while German officers were above them all day. So as we talk about cabin fever I think of her being down in that place for all those days, trying to be quiet so no one could hear them. These stories get me every time, making me wonder if I could have made it through. Read them if you get a chance.

-Joanna Clapp

We are looking very forward to our return to Poland in a few months, and we appreciate your continued prayers as we make some important decisions… When should we plan on leaving, given that the end of school is pretty questionable at this point?  Can we raise enough funds to purchase our airfare in the prime price window (which is just a month away)?  How long can we stay?  Does God want us to take the lead on the Russian Children’s Camp?  Does God want us to organize a team of short-term workers?  I don’t know the answers to these questions yet, but I can hardly wait to greet my Jewish friends, make some new ones, and pour some love into them!