Yesterday my fellow YAGMs and I were invited, along with our supervisors, to a Christmas party with the diaconal team and the Bishop at the Lutheran Church Office in Budapest.  While there we heard a presentation about the amazing life of Lutheran Pastor Sztehlo Gábor, checked-in with each other to see how everyone was doing, and ate delicious food.  After our presentation we went to the statue of Sztehlo Gábor where we met the Bavarian Bishop and watched as he placed a beautiful wreath at the base of the statue of the man who saved 2,000 Jewish people during the Holocaust.  We too had the honor to place a wreath at the base of the statue and say a few words about the man we learned about just a short while before, but whose actions touched so many lives and created a community of safety during such a horrific time.

As I stood there with my community of YAGMs, I felt safe in the fact that I know them all so well and, though our experiences differ greatly, we have gone through the same ups and downs, and can therefore connect on an even deeper level.  When I am with them, I understand the full importance of community and the need to have others close to you in your life.  Our shared difficulties with the language make us laugh when we are together because we always say that if we combine our four vocabularies, we may form a semi-functional Hungarian.  It’s true, though, some days I need three other people to help me function properly.  I am happy that Kristen, Dave, and Matt have my back.

It’s important to be part of a community wherein people feel safe and are willing to help each other in times of danger or utter confusion.  There have been days when I have reached out to my other YAGMs to help me simply function—Kirsten and I have had multiple conversations about the Post Office and have even compared notes about our various Post Office experiences.  Just yesterday Kristen was saying that it took about month for her letters to get to the US whereas my letters took only six days.  Neither of us knows why one set of letters got to the States so much faster than the other; the only difference is that Kristen said ‘nem’ [no] and I said ‘igen’ [yes] when the person at the Office asked a question…we don’t know what the question was, though.

Even if it’s something as seemingly simple as sending letters, the help you get from your community is significant because asking for and offering a helping hand brings everyone closer together.  My community is wonderful; we are always there to help each other function on the hard days or create a safe space in the shared confusion over a new and completely foreign task.  People need each other—some days more than others, but all the same, we need to be in community with each other.

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