|Amanda and Bethany enjoy delicious food at a pot luck|
meal. Josh has organized the weekly meals for all those
living on campus during the summer months.
This is an issue that we'll be examining a lot during our time at LCC International University since a large part of our job description focuses on our creating an atmosphere that fosters community.
Before moving to Lithuania, we lived in an intentional faith community of sorts called Goldensun. At its heart, it was created to be a place where people could live out their faith in a community that places adults with developmental disabilities at its center. Living there meant rejoicing with our neighbors over small victories, lending a hand when one was needed, laughing together often, and sharing the burden during the sad times.
It's hard being away from that. Mark, Aaron, Traci, Jesse, Markey, Anna, Michelle, Jeff, Cade, Robert, Keturah, Jared, Monica, David -- I think about at least one of you every day and I don't think that will ever change.
And don't even get us started on our family and church community!
When we moved, we went from a place of being surrounded by community to having nobody but the two of us and that sensation was extremely unnerving.
But the beautiful think about community is that, with the right elements, it can grow like a weed. We are (happily) experiencing that right now!
The seeds of exciting relationships began to sprout as soon as our plane landed. And while it will never be the same as what we had in Phoenix, it is beautiful and gives us hope nonetheless.
This week as we continue our orientation and training, we are being equipped with skills and knowledge that will help us be the sowers of community in this dormitory. As we learn, I keep returning a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer to stay focused on what truly matters.
Bonhoeffer, a pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi resistant, once said, "He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community."
In other words, community means caring for people.
Keep us in your thoughts as we seek to care for people we've not yet met in an exciting, radical way.
Last Sunday we volunteered at a local orphanage. Here are some pictures!
We learned about the orphanage last month through the Summer Language Institute's camp pastor, Kel Fowler.
Kel, a New Zealander who has been living in Lithuania for the past decade, is the pastor of a local church that has a special relationship with this orphanage. He invited us to come and support a team from the Netherlands as they led a day of games, food, and quality interaction time with the children.
An interesting discovery is that a good portion of the children in the orphanage had developmental disabilities of sorts. I'm not sure how the ratio compares to that of such institutions in the United States, but it is certainly a very difficult environment to grow and develop.
While I was talking with one of the children, he asked me if I thought I'd ever come back. I told him, "I'd really like to."
He looked at me in the eyes for a moment and then said, "I'll be waiting."
It was a very good experience and we definitely plan on continuing to volunteer there when we are able.
Exploring Vilnius video
Now, as promised in last post, I present to you a photo montage of our trip to Vilnius, Lithuania's capital city, last weekend. Turn up your speakers because this video features a special commentary from the two of us!