How did you guys actually end up in Croatia? Rod looked warmly at us while he asked this question. We sat at the breakfast table while we ate our German bread with some hot tea. And, by the way, where is it exactly?.
Now, the second question is an easy one: In the far East of Croatia, close to the Serbian and Hungarian border.
The first one gave us a bit more reason to think back, and this is how Jelle responded:
A key point
“One day, in 2011, I made my way out of Finch Metro Station in Toronto. On the ground was a part of the front page of a newspaper. The headline was “Thousands of Roma from Eastern Europe flee to Toronto.” I knew that they were fleeing because neo-nazi groups in Hungary and the Czech Republic burned down Roma houses.”
“Then, I just had this image of me as a grandfather sitting in my chair and my grandchildren asking me: Hey Granddad, how was the situation for Roma back then?, What did you know about it, and what did you do? As I walked out of the subway station, I knew that I had a responsibility to go back to Europe and do something.”
A move to the other end of Europe is not made in one single thought. But, seeing this piece of newspaper was definitely a key step in making the final decision to move to a place where plenty of Roma are. And, this has shaped our thinking.
One newspaper article is good and well. As Jelle’s wife, I wanted to test it with God. I prayed and wanted to have a deep confirmation—one to hold on to later on. I asked: Dear Lord, if it is Your will that we move to Osijek, please give us two families; we all will need that. And, then, I shall go.
Each summer (2013, 2014, 2015), we made summer trips to this area. We prayed, decided different things, and asked the children about their thoughts. But, when we were heading back from our summer trip to the Netherlands for the last time before our move, two families were standing on the stairs, waving us goodbye.
It was such a plain moment and at the same time such a big moment in which I realized: God is with us wherever we go.
Thanks Rod Bishop for asking good questions, which stirs up old stories.
This is number 1 in a series, Table talk.
1.Breakfast talk, key point and confirmation
2.Coffee conversation, exploring old and new ground
3.After 9 p.m. talk