Camp began today—approximately 80 men, women, and children are here now and ready for a great time. Two years have passed since I last attended this particular camp, so it was great fun to meet my Polish friends again.
“Mama Grace,” said Dorota as we hugged and gave each other the traditional two-cheek kiss. (She’s the friend who made the decoupage vase I mentioned in my devotional book Morning Moments with God). Then she shook her finger at me and, in mock sternness—said in Polish, “Don’t you ever do again what you did last year!” She was referring to my missing camp because I stayed home to help my youngest daughter plan her summer wedding.
Dorota and I enjoy a special friendship despite our language barrier. We’ve laughed a lot over the years—especially when she speaks paragraphs to me in Polish and I respond in English despite neither of us understanding a word the other is saying. But we both understand the expressions of delight on the other’s face at being reunited and the feeling of sisterhood we share despite living a half world apart.
What’s built our friendship? Several summers ago at camp, I shared my story about my eldest daughter’s birth in Nepal. She was born with a condition called hydrocephalus, and my husband took her to the United States when she was only three days for medical treatment unavailable in that remote hospital. I was forced to remain behind for a week because the international airlines said I was a medical high risk and refused to issue me a ticket. In my testimony, I told of how God helped me through that difficult time by reminding me of His faithfulness, and how I learned to surrender my fears for my daughter’s well-being to the One who held her in His hands.
After I shared my story that evening, I found Dorota crying in the hotel hallway. She told me that my story was similar to hers. She told me that she had a daughter who died. Then she pointed skyward and said that she now lived in heaven.
I hugged Dorota as tears streamed down her face, and then I prayed for her. There we were—two women separated by distance, culture, and language, but connected by painful experiences. And that pain was the glue that knit our hearts together.
This week’s ministry is all about building relationships. That happens when we share from our hearts—the ups and downs of real life, the good and the bad, the joys and the sorrows. We remove the masks, strip away the facades behind which we sometimes hide, and be real with each other. The result? Friendships are made.
Would you pray that God’s Holy Spirit would guide every conversation this week? Our desire is for Him to build connections as we study conversational English together, explore God’s word, share meals, go hiking, play group games, and worship. As connections are built, so is trust. And trust paves the way for sharing deeply about spiritual matters and how faith applies to every aspect of our lives.
Looking forward to seeing how God will answer,