Poland Jazz Tour May 2022 – Stories from a team member

‘Make sure when you walk into the building you’ve got a big smile on your face.’

These are the instructions given to us by our friend Sergei who is working at one of the refugee centers in Warsaw. He explained to us that the adults (who are mostly women) are so traumatized by what they are going through that they just don’t smile. So we walked in with big smiles on our faces and passed out some toys, talked with the volunteers, played some jazz  and hopefully left some smiles behind.

When we went into the refugee center I was drawn to talk to some of the English speaking volunteers. I asked one young Polish woman how it was going for her as a volunteer. She said she loved playing with the children. She said the difficult thing for her was hearing all the stories. All the sad stories of what these children and adults have experienced as refugees from their country. There wasn’t much I could say as someone who’s never been in that situation. I just looked her straight in the eye and told her she was doing an important work just by listening to those difficult stories. I hope she believed me.

It was the only outdoor concert of the Poland Jazz tour. A cold, but beautiful evening with a good crowd including a young couple dancing to the music. After the concert they approached Diana and me. Fortunately a church member joined the conversation to translate. They explained they had just moved from the Ukraine to Warsaw with their four year old son. They had an apartment, but no jobs. I asked then if we could pray for them.

They were happy to let us pray for work, for their new life in Poland and for God’s blessings. They left their contact information with the church member who was going to help them look for work. 

This side of heaven we probably won’t hear the rest of these stories. Until then, we leave them in our good God’s hands.