Our time in Minden is over and all three of us enjoyed our time. Especially in the last days there were a lot of things happening. In the local there was an article published about us and the temporary community and even though we weren’t qiote happy with how it turned out there was a lot of positive feedback. Unfortunatlyit was published on Wednesday – two days before we left – so the people who wanted to join our prayers then didn’t really have the chance to.
The volunteers working in the St. Simeonis church said goodbye to us with a little present. This was very unexpected because we didn’t talk much aside from greeting us every day. But they said they were very happy there were some people bringing live into the church and using it on a regular basis.
On Thursday evening we had our goodbye dinner with some of the people from the association Wiebke, Julian, Simone and the sisters. It was a nice gathering for the last evening. Afterwards Marta left and Sarah and me left on Friday morning.
Our time wasn’t always easy and we had our struggles. Frankly sometimes we had so much free time we didn’t exactly know what to do and on the other hand towards the end we felt a bit overhelmed by how tightly scheduled the last days were. Also people normally were having some issues with talking English to us. During the first days we also didn’t manage to always keep it in English but we adapted. But for a lot of people we met it was way harder. Most people in Germany can speak English. And they did speak English to us in the beginning of the conversations. But after some minutes or when Marta didn’t say much they switched to German. That was really a pity because then it got way harder to go back to English and Marta was excluded from the conversation. Only because it was easier for them to talk in German. Trying to translate what they were saying was also a nearly impossible task. However there were some people we could communicate well with. For example the sisters really tried. Our English wasn’t perfect and the both of the sisters have lived some years in Italy so we had funny mixtures between English, German, Italian, French and Polish but most importantly everyone understood what the others were saying.
Sarah, Marta and me became friends during our stay and were going along really well so we are very sad to not live together anymore. After some problems in the beginning (which is normal I guess) we got to know each other better. We enjoyed being around each other but also giving the others the freedom they need and not spending the whole time together. But to be honest looking for each other in that big house was just a mess.
We have learned a lot working in the Wärmestube. Which kind of people go there and how such an institution is organized. Also we got to know the people volunteering there and their reasons behind it which was inspiring. We actively had to practice forgiveness on a daily basis. The people coming there don’t have much money and material goods in general. They don’t have enough to make sure they have got a warm meal every day. So the Wärmestube is a very important place for them. It’s a safe space because they know Sister Annette (and the other employees as well of course) deeply cares about them and they won’t be judged for who they are and more importantly who they are not. But that doesn’t mean working with them is always easy. There are some that get aggressive. There have been cases where people stole food and cooking supplies. So working in the kitchen you have to learn how to forgive. If someone tries to scam you you have to learn to laugh about it and not to get angry.
The temporary community was a very unique experience for the three of us. We grew here and learned and especially in the future we are going to see what we took with us during our stay.