Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I want to remember

I've been absent for nearly a month from GGGL! But it's because I've been traveling across Europe. Over the past three weeks I spoke in Germany, Hungary, and in Austria. I spoke at a reformed church in Budapest and Debreccen, and in an International church at Vienna, Austria, and at a military base in Wiesbaden, Germany. God has been stretching me like crazy as I've stepped across borders and language barriers, and cultural differences.

And yet he's also allowed me to make new friends, to glimpse what heaven will look like one day as I worshipped with people in different languages, and with different experiences, but with one heart for God. I also ate very cool foods and saw buildings that were amazing!

I wish I could share all of it, but I want to at least give you a glimpse of one very powerful moment. I went to Mauthausen, a concentration camp in Austria where thousands and thousands suffered and died because they were Jews, or as POWS fighting for the freedom of the Jews.

I traveled with a good friend named Martina. She lives in Austria and studied Mauthausen, writing her thesis on what happened behind the walls of the camp. The first thing that I saw was memorials from all around the nation. I saw small rocks piled everywhere--remembrance rocks picked up from the quarry where Jewish men broke large rocks by hand and carried it all up 186 steps. Many died of fatigue or exposure to the elements. Others were skeletal, starved and broken in body.

The hardest part for me was walking into the gas chamber and the Krematorium. These were small rooms, yet large with pain and suffering. A room where evil overtook compassion or human concern. A place where torture was commonplace, and where human dignity was forsaken.

How does that happen? How can a person be so lost in darkness that this seems normal, or even allowed to take place? I believe this is a question that needs to be asked again and again.

But we often do that. We look at the larger picture, but I wanted to take a long look at my own heart.

I brought home a rock. I could have shopped in the beautiful stores in Austria, or in Germany, or Hungary. I could have bought trinkets and tourism items, but that rock picked up from the quarry at Mauthausen will help me remember.

I want to remember to love others.
I want to remember that people in the world are hungry, or hurting and the my comfort isn't the greatest thing on God's heart.
I want to remember that my words count.
I want to remember to speak out against evil.
I want to remember so that I might learn something from standing inside a gas chamber in Mauthausen, and it not just be another experience.

I've missed talking with you girls. Let us know you are here. We love hearing what you have to say.

Suzie Eller


MAS said...

Welcome back!


Hannah said...

Wow. It sounds like you had an incredible trip. Thank you for sharing a snippet with us.