April 1, 2022, 5:00 PM

Przemysl puh·sheh·muh·shl

Blog Day 1—From the Kitchen Table, pre-dawn

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15

Of course I can’t sleep. Too much to do. Too much to think about. This afternoon Cheryl and I will hop on a plane in Albany and eventually, after about 18 hours of travel, will hop off the other end in Warsaw, Poland. After two solid years of restriction and isolation, this seems almost fantastical to be able to do this. I can’t even say “I’ve always wanted to go to Poland!” because that wouldn’t be true. I can say that I have always wanted to be where I am most needed, and for now, that is in Przemsyl, at the border of Ukraine.

Looking at the map this morning, I admit that I was sobered. Warsaw, where we fly in, looks so protected and safe in the middle of the country (although I bet the people of Poland don’t feel quite that way!) Przemsyl, where we will be serving, is right on the border of Ukraine. Gulp. I admit it. Gulp. I’m not playing the ‘minister-hero’ card, trust me. This is the gritty work of saying yes to God, and living with the consequences. And just 48 hours ago, I was sitting at this same table, drinking my usual morning coffee, having no idea that, as the sun begins to light up this part of the world today, my heart would already be in another part of the world with people I do not know, wondering about the work we will do with World Central Kitchen (WCK or the Kitchen from now on) wondering about the people we will work with and praying for the refugees we will serve.

Ironically, I had chosen WCK as my Lenten charity. We are filling Generosity Boxes for Lent and we are required to give to a charity we had never given to before. We couldn’t give to any of the church programs either. My choice ended up being the Kitchen. In fact, I said to the congregation one Sunday “If you arrive in church one Sunday, and I’m not here, it’s because I’ve left to volunteer with WCK!!” Ha Ha Ha!! I think God knew something, don’t you?

World Central Kitchen feeds people, lots of people. Go to their website: www.wck.org Everything inspires me about this organization, but the bottom line is that they feed people, and St. John’s is a church that feeds people. It’s actually part of our church mission statement, to nourish our neighbor in body, mind and soul. So I am simply going to go feed people, thanks to Cheryl McGrattan who invited me along on the trip, and who has arranged most of the details. I would not be going if Cheryl were not in charge. I trust her completely.

We will be safe. We will be blessed. We will say our prayers. Will you say prayers on behalf of those ‘lambs’ we are going to serve across the globe? I’m pretty sure the job will be too big for just the two of us, so your prayers will be foundational for everything we do.

Be blessed, and be a blessing to others. This is what happens when you really believe those words!!!