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I. Polish Little Friends

She had to say goodbye to her ‘little friends’ that she’d made in Poland. Brit stood next to her, her own eyes sad. She leaned her head on Brit’s shoulder and cried.

Little Claudia, a Polish girl, had been the first to come to Christ—a miracle.

She had come to the Poland mission’s trip completely unprepared—she was too busy trying to keep up in college at Centralia. When she came, she wasn’t sure what to do. When she came, she wasn’t even sure she could do this thing.

But Jesus brought to their mission team the children. And this, she knew about.

In the town square, they played with the children. Through Paulina—one of their translators, she taught the children how to play freeze tag. They loved it. She still knew how to run, and she played with them.

They played music for the people of the town: Mr. Baldwin and Ian on their guitars, Brit playing her fiddle beautifully, and she herself playing out a djembe rhythm on a hollow guitar case. They gave their testimonies. Before this, she had not realized how her fellow young adults on the team had struggled. We all had a part to play in this.

And when it came time, little blonde-haired Claudia with the sunny blue eyes and questioning gaze picked up a tiny silver cross. “What’s this?” she asked through Paulina. Oh gosh. I looked to Paulina for help. Paulina was wise and waited for me to speak.

Slowly, haltingly, I told the Christ story to Claudia.

She asked her if she wanted to have Jesus come into her heart.

Claudia said yes.

She prayed with her. And when Claudia opened her sky-blue eyes, they were lit with an inner fire—the Spirit. Her Polish eyes were smiling.

Dagmara (a young teenage girl) was first befriended by my brother because he is such a nice guy and can’t help but draw people to him (including girls).

I smile at the memory.

After a while, Dagmara became my friend too. (Our whole family seems to be like that. Christians draw others to them like a moth to the flame).

We studied God’s Word together on the lawn—Dagmara, Claudia, and baby Julia and her mother.

We had a Polish New Testament from Pastor Yanick’s Church. I read out of my faded Bible I’d had since I was baptized at the beginning of middle school, and they had their Bibles in Polish.

It was a miracle when we sang together in church—us Americans and the Polish. We knew common songs and sang them together as one—them in their tongue, and us in ours. And all was for Jesus.

I have never heard such beautiful music.

We read on the lawn from John 13, where Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. We took turns reading, and then talked about it. I wanted them to love God’s Word as much as I did.

Little ones trailing, I walked across the town to where their team was holding the BBQ (‘American Hot-Doggie,’ as our translators explained it) in a park. At my request, Julia (another little friend) taught me Polish words, giggling at my lack of memory, and some of my attempted, guttural sounds.

Julia wanted to carry my purse, so I slipped it off my shoulder and handed it to her.

Dagmara trailed her little blonde-haired brother, his little hand in hers.

Claudia merrily skipped along, her eyes always alight. Claudia had insisted on carrying my backpack—and I had let her, though it was much too big for her.

Now, another of the girls wanted to carry it. Claudia frowned and shook her head.

How could I explain this? Claudia did not speak much English, and Dagmara only knew a few phrases and words. And Paulina wasn’t with us.

Inspiration came.

I tapped my foot with my hand. “Yaesues,” I said. Jesus, in Polish.

Jesus washed His disciples’ feet.

Servanthood.

Being a servant to others.

A moment, then her eyes lit up. Quickly, Claudia took off the backpack and helped put it on the other girl’s shoulders.

My heart was filled with joy.

II. The King of Hearts

We performed, many times, a skit called The King of Hearts.

One man—macho, punching the air, not afraid of anything. Wearing a mask.

One woman—a clown, drinking, happy. Wearing a mask.

One woman (my character)—seductive, pleasurable in her movements, coy smile (I felt as uncomfortable as heck, and prayed all the while). Wearing a mask.

One Man—come to save. He took away their masks.

The man had pulled away in fear, cringing, when his mask came down.

The woman had looked into a mirror slowly, then turned away quickly, ashamed.

The clown had let down her mask for a moment, showing a sad face.

The Man took away the broken, fabric hearts pinned to their shirts, giving them a whole heart once more. And there was joy once more.

We came off stage.

Dagmara hurried over to me. She pointed to her chest, to my fabric heart pinned to mine, and she made a motion with her hands. Broken.

We prayed soon after, and she accepted Jesus into her heart. He made her whole once more.

III. Goodbyes

The Calvary missions’ team needed to leave Poland behind and return home. The week had come to an end—but not the joy. That, we would continue in heaven. I look forward to it, my dear little friends.

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