As most of you know, my husband and I have been in Poland for the past 13 days working and teaching at a family English camp in Poland. So many great things have happened during this short time—there’s no way I can describe them all, but I do feel that I need to process the trip. So, the next few blogs will be devoted to my experiences in Poland.
Meet my translator, Ester. Ester was born in Poland, but moved to Canada with her family when she was younger. This summer she was back in Poland visiting extended family, so she wound up serving as a translator for me this past week. Translating is tough work. Not only does it require switching back and forth between two languages, but it also means that there is no time for spacing off during a conversation! Ester’s job this week was particularly difficult because we were working with girls raging in ages from 10-14 who spoke little to no English. If you’ve ever worked with this age group, you know how much talking can go on in the course of an hour! By the second day the 12-13 girls felt comfortable enough around us and were in the habit of talking or shouting at once and expected Ester to translate all of it. Ester’s job was not limited to the three and a half hours we were together for Bible study, English class, and conversation time—she ended up translating a lot in the evenings when girls wanted to talk with me. I am so thankful for Ester’s diligence and willingness to serve. It was frustrating at times for both Ester and me, but she stuck with it until the end.
Not only was she my translator, but I also feel that she became a friend during our short time together. We had some time each day where we just sat and talked. I think it was the second day of camp when Ester and I were talking about relationships—she is about the age where she’s thinking about marriage, so we talked a lot about the joys and hardships marriage brings. She asked if Nate and I were thinking about having children. I explained to her that it’s something we’d been struggling with, and that medically—the chances of having our own children are slim and that we are interested in beginning the adoption process. Ester piped in and boldly asked, “Well have you prayed about it? Because you can’t just say ‘some doctor told us we can’t have kids so we’ll just adopt.’ You have to pray because God can do anything, you know. Do you want me to pray for you?” I couldn’t believe that this 19 year old was getting so personal with me so quickly. It was a bit unnerving but also refreshing in the sense that someone who I barely knew cared enough to ask if she could pray for me.
Sunday was our last day of camp, so we spent a few hours reading through camp evaluations and talking about our experiences. Our leader (a pastor from Washington) stressed the importance of digesting the trip. So as I sit on the plane (we’re flying from Munich to DC right now) I’m thinking about how I can describe my experience in Poland to others. The conversation I mentioned between Ester and me is a perfect example of what happens at these family camps in Poland: relationships are built. Because the camp has a focus on God, not on teaching/learning English, great things can and do happen. The relationship I developed with my translator is just a small glimpse of what I gained while in Poland---be watching for more!