Freakstock 2012: Pt. 1
On Wednesday, August 1st, my roommate, Paul, and I headed off in our rented Fiat Panda from Bratislava, Slovakia all the way to Borgentreich, Germany.
Our drive, at around nine hours long, was awesome. Windows down, driving with no set speed limit on the Autobahn, music blasting. The scenery was beautiful; there were seemingly endless fields of corn, sunflowers, and massive walls of forested areas. Beauty was as abundant as the ecstasy of driving with no speed limit.
Once our nine hour drive was up, we arrived at Freakstock and set up the tent some fellow missionaries lent us. At this, I failed miserably. I was rescued by two friendly German ladies living in Zurich, Switzerland. They were awesome. Paul and I quickly became friends with them. They also came to Freakstock far more prepared than we did. They had eating utensils, a stove, plates and cups. All around, those girls showed us up. To their credit, they saved us with their generosity. Sure, Paul and I brought groceries and water, but these girls fed us, gave us things to drink, and let us share their plates, silverware, and cups. They were such a blessing to us, even if it was embarrassing for me.
At the festival, I also met up with several of my old Dutch friends from years ago. It was extremely good to see them, catch up, and see what God is doing in their lives. It was so good for my heart to hear the Dutch language spoken, as I have a strange affection for it and the people that speak it.
Paul and I were sent there to gather video interviews from different people about the issue of reconciliation. What is reconciliation? What does it mean to you? Have you experienced reconciliation with God, yourself, or others? What is necessary in order for forgiveness to happen?
The purpose for these interviews is to create a video or series of videos that expound[s] upon the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation. This video is to be used next year for a massive partner’s conference in which a vast majority of our European partner ministries will attend to discuss the theme of reconciliation. Our part in this is to help give them a look into the differing views on reconciliation. This is a pretty huge task, but a very important one, one that I am so glad to be able to help with.
The video interviews were especially difficult to shoot for a number of reasons. We were at an alternative Christian festival in Germany, with the vast majority of attendees being German. Finding English speakers was difficult, let alone English speakers that would be able to understand and answer our questions in a coherent manner. This was a lot tougher than I had predicted.
After a few failed attempts to interview some Germans, sure enough, true to form, my Dutch friends came in to help. As the Dutch are well-known for being adept with understanding and adapting to other cultures, most of the Dutch people I know are very comfortable with the English language. From personal observation, the Dutch people I’ve encountered are fluent inasmuch as to start incorporating slang and accents into their English-speaking. They are an impressive group of people to be sure.
They quickly introduced me to other Dutchmen and women to help with the interviews. This made my job a lot easier, as they felt fairly comfortable expressing themselves. That being said, the nature of the question meant that every single person I interviewed would struggle for a while to find an appropriate, honest, and relevant answer to our questions. We were asking them questions about an abstract concept in English, a second, third, or fourth language, and asking them to give a genuine answer. Pretty tall order, I’d say. But, nonetheless, they did a fantastic job. We got some eclectic answers.
We were also massively helped out by our Swiss-Germans (or German-Swiss?). Sure enough, they were willing to help answer some questions for us. We obviously didn’t want to pressure them into answering in a foreign language, so German was their language of choice. We work with a fair amount of Germans, so someone speaking in German is not an issue. Subtitles are an easy solution. What was most important in this situation, though, was hearing their original thoughts in an original way. They really did such great jobs with answering our questions. It’s been a few years since I’ve used my German, but I could lightly follow along with what they were saying. I am so thankful to God for those two girls. They were such blessings to Paul and me. Here’s a picture of them with Paul:
Pt. 2 will be continued in a separate blog post