VI. God is in the Small Things

by valerie shultz

July 15, 2011

2358 hours

I’m still awake.  I’ve no idea why or how I’m still awake.  I finished homework and somehow seemed to be too tired to remember to sleep.  (I didn’t defer my class and must keep up with my studies while on my mission trip.)  Today we had orientation all day.  We talked about so many things after our morning devo (devotional) time.  We talk about evangelists and Nebuchadnezzar, we read Isaiah 55:11 and discuss the power of the word.  We talk about Ablaze and David shares his Eurasia Motto with us: Reconnecting people to their Christian heritage.  We discuss history and how German influence affected religion in this region of Europe.

We discuss communication and David explains that 55% of all communication is nonverbal and that it plays into our favor since we basically can only communicate nonverbally unless we have a translator nearby.  Hand movements.  Gestures.  Smiles.  The small stuff.  But that’s okay.  God is in the small things.

We discuss how teaching English and sharing Christianity is a process that goes hand in hand for us missionaries and why.  If I hadn’t been awake for an obscene amount of hours, I would explain this.  But I don’t because I am fatigued and because I am sure it will come together more clearly later in the week when it happens as a process and not just in words.

We discuss value, triangles and circles, and blue and red.  Triangles are boys and circles are girls.  That will come in handy if you ever want to use a public restroom in Poland; not so much any other time.  Blue is a metaphor for American customs, traditions and attitudes and red is a metaphor for those things in Europe, and we discuss red and blue in some depth as we discuss value differences, and therefore some behavioral differences between Americans and Poles.  We discuss real estate and how everything is smaller in Europe (ahem, showers).  God is in the small things.

We break for lunch and have a wonderfully traditional and very large Polish meal.  Tomato soup with star shaped pasta in it for me (did I mention I am a vegetarian and required different meals at times, to which our hosts graciously obliged), pierogies, and a very sweet dessert made with cake and plums that I cannot finish.  And water with no ice.

After lunch, we all return sleepily to the conference room, where Ethan is playing the guitar and singing.  I love the fellowship.  Being in an environment where worship is such an integrated way of life is so rejuvenating and empowering.  I’m realizing there are changes I want to make in my own life.  I strive to be the everyday Christian and not just the “Sunday Christian” – the person who goes to church but doesn’t think much about God or prayer or faith Monday through Saturday – and I’ve done okay at that.  But I can do better.  I need to conquer my prayer anxiety.  I pray and I pray a lot.  But never in front of others.  I have never prayed out loud in front of anybody other than my children.  I need to conquer that.  Is it a small thing?  I hope so, because God is in the small things.

After our afternoon meeting is over we are taken by bus to the city center in Krakow and allowed to go out on our own.  I chose to go with Jeremy and Ethan.  We walked around and looked around.  I was amazed at the beauty.  My mind just couldn’t absorb what my eyes were seeing; so much beauty in every direction.  The architecture is simply amazing.  The textures, the colors, the little touches in the carvings and statues and the wonderful little balconies with their flowers.  I love it all.  Luckily Jeremy figures out quickly to stop walking about every twenty feet and wait for me because I’ve stopped to take a picture of something that caught my eye.  I wonder how anyone who isn’t from Arizona can stand to go there and look at our ugly buildings, with stucco that is always painted a color reminiscent of dirt.  Don’t we have enough dirt in Arizona?  We need buildings that look like dirt, too?

Jeremy, Ethan and I decide to eat at The Hard Rock Café.  Well, mostly Jeremy chose to eat there and Ethan and I agreed, pretty happily.  But guess what?  I got ice.  Lots of ice.  I ordered a Lovely Rita and a water.  At first I was envious of Jeremy and wished I’d ordered a Polish beer like he did so I could try it.  But I got the best of both worlds.  He let me try his beer, and I got my drinks, both of which were served with ice.  Lots of beautiful, small ice cubes.  God is in the small things.

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