In 1986, after six-and-a-half years of living in England, Lesli and I visited eastern Europe just before the infamous wall came down, the ugly barrier dividing the free peoples of the West from those repressed by Communism in the East.
Not until our mission trip last week, however, had we ventured as far east as Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine. What we discovered filled us with a mixture of joy and pain. It upset and renewed our perception of humanity. It rendered us more sober and, because of Christ, more hopeful.
We have felt your prayers, the prayers of the Camelback family, during our time abroad, and we want to share how they have been answered – at least, how they have been answered in real time, during our stay in eastern Europe. In time eternal, answers will doubtless be multiplied many times to the glory of God.
Everywhere we went we met people we did not know, and yet knew so very well. Because of our common love for Jesus Christ, we were able to embrace these ‘strangers’, sharing the same affections, vision, and purpose. Where else in a painfully fractured world is there such immediate affinity? The bond of Christ is a beautiful thing, more winsome than a crimson sunset, more triumphant than a championship for the home team.
To have my face cupped by the filthy hands of a Christian Gypsy grandmother, pulling me to her cheek for three successive kisses, to hear the shouted ‘Amens’ of Polish pastors affirming their commitment to King Jesus, to see our son, Jonathan, reach out to and be embraced by Slovakian young adults only moments after introductions – such unity is unthinkable except where the miracle of a Savior’s love binds people together in perfect harmony. Whatever the ethnicity, whatever the location, whatever the political system, we are bound together by blood, by the shed blood of our eldest brother Jesus Christ.
It’s a union like no other!
For your joy and encouragement, I want to pass on many of our memorable experiences. You sent me to minister in lands far away from the Arizona desert. I know you are praying for us as a family. In the following series of posts, I will send tokens of our love for you, and of our gratitude to Christ.
Blessings in Christ,
Read more posts in the series:
- Tokens of Love | Part 2: History of Poland
- Tokens of Love | Part 3: Through Our Suffering, God Can Work Mightily
- Tokens of Love | Part 4: Freedom in Jesus Christ
- Tokens of Love | Part 5: Poland’s Favorite Sons
- Tokens of Love | Part 6: Peace and Freedom
- Tokens of Love | Part 7: Assurance of Eternal Life
- Tokens of Love | Part 8: Exploring Krakow
- Tokens of Love | Part 9: From Artistry to Depravity
- Tokens of Love | Part 10: The World Slowly Being Transformed into a Wilderness
- Tokens of Love | Part 11: New Life in Christ
- Tokens of Love | Part 12: Reaching the Gypsies
- Tokens of Love | Part 13: Grieving the Empty Seats
- Tokens of Love | Part 14: The Greatest Work of All
- Tokens of Love | Part 15: The Kingdom Plans of the Lord
- Tokens of Love | Part 16: Until We Dance at the Foot of God’s Throne
- Tokens of Love | Part 17: Fullness of Life