Stories - Belarus - June 13 and 14


Belarus - June 13 and 14

Randy Schlichting | Jun 14, 2016

June 13th - They danced. They sang. They played instruments. Traditional Belorussian folk dance. Belorussian folk music. Belorussian hip hop?


We did too. The Beatles "Help!" and Justin Timberlake. An original by Colin Baxter. It was not a battle of the bands. We bonded over dance and music.


That was the opening hour of the first day of the workshop. Then we split them into groups. ~25 for dance and ~ 20 for musical training. 6 vocalists, 4 keys, 3 bass, 4 guitar, 3 percussion. The team found it hard to instruct through an interpreter. It takes time to get in the rhythm, but French is French, so plié still works. And moving your hips is a universal language. And "oh oh oh" works for the vocalist. A note is a note.


Even though we don't have the same electrical plugs or voltage or language, God created all men and women in His image. And He gave them body parts that are similar: arm, head, foot; even though they are different in color or size. Great idea. There is unity in the midst of diversity. And music and dance transcend language.


In the late afternoon our girls learned their first Belorussian folk dance from a Belorussian instructor with no English.


We also found out today that the city officials were impressed and they have decided on sponsoring a cultural coming together for the city on Thursday at 11:00 AM in an amphitheater in the main park. We will use Christian song and dance, so please pray the Holy Spirit would use it.


June 14th - We kicked it into high gear today. Teaching, sharing life stories and learning. Our team members are bonding with families. And the outdoor presentation is on for Thursday at 11:00 AM city wide.


Now I want to share that Stolin is a small town of maybe 13,000. It has been through much over the years and the gospel is just beginning to make its way back. We are working with the one evangelical church.


The history is ugly. Nazis, Communists and others have bloodied the fields of Stolin. After our "work" today we visited a site just outside of town where more than 13,000 Jews were executed during World War II. They were gathered from surrounding villages into a man made ghetto in Stolin and then marched on the road of death to a field in the forest where they were shot. A monument has been erected marking the spot.


It was a sobering and tearful experience to think that as many people as live here now were executed by Nazis. Our guide was a man whose father had gone to a concentration camp. His father lived through it but died shortly thereafter. Now the son tells the story so people will not forget.


The group was moved. And maybe we became a bit more resolute. We know God is sovereign so even though we stood on a field of death, we know we work in the land of the living and we have work to do. Our hope is to be salt and light and give a reason for why we believe.


One day Jesus will come back and the dead in Christ will be united with him. We want that for Belorussians who have endured such pain.


Tonight we had a wonderful dinner at a church members house. Good team time. The boys then went to play soccer. Girls are exhausted and ready for sleep.