International Convivium in Groningen – a story of adoption
These few lines I am about to share with you, will talk about an adoption story, about a group of people, all children of God, from all corners of the Earth, who have found a home in Groningen. As soon as we got to this amazing city, after hours or even days of waiting in airports and queues for visas, the first thing we found was a church in the middle of a homely block, with a message on the door. The message went something like this: Welcome to your new home!Little did we know this would actually feel like home in a very short while. And as we entered this amazing building, we were greeted by our lovely new Dutch housemates who welcomed us and showed us to our temporary rooms. My door had a new message, which I would like to quote word for word as the handmade drawing collage with the welcoming message is still there after the first few weeks: “Dear new roomie, welcome in our church-house! We hope you feel welcome very soon, that you will take your rest when you need it and find laughter and togetherness with us! Warm greetings from us!” For people who have left wives, children, brothers and sisters, congregations and friends behind to move to the Netherlands to study, a warm community makes the distance bearable. And this is how our adoption story began. We got greeted, and we felt loved from the first day. The rooms were spacious, with all the commodities suited for a comfortable life and for individual study. The house gives us both the opportunity to have our privacy as well as the chance to feel a part of a community. The house evenings and even the chores we are set to do in bigger or smaller groups, the common cooking, the meals, and singing, even listening to music together, have all become activities to strengthen our bond as members of a community. This community adopted us with no prejudice whether we were big or small, short or tall, regardless of gender, faith, occupation, plans or our past. We all took part on this journey of acceptance learning how to deal with the expectations of the community, and learning how to become useful members of this house group we can call our home away from home. We might not all make the adjustment easily, we might even have to struggle for a bit, but we all feel that a sense of responsibility toward each other is leading us in the right way and with a hint of humor we see this even our wireless network’s name “we zijn er bijna”. We may never be sure if we can fully be a blessing to those around us, but we are surely on our way to at least trying to do so. We can take our rest when we need it, and we do find laughter and togetherness with our mates. So cheers to those who made this happen, and may God bless this community for the years to come!
Rád13th of September, 2014