Follow Jeremie’s trip day after day.
• DAY 0 : Leaving Mallorca
I close my eyes. The sun is blue, the sky is yellow (or maybe it’s just the other way round)… The amazing noise of the turquoise waves lulls my mind, sailing on the burning sand. Oh ! Come on ! Wake up ! Holidays ended up 2 days ago !
Well ok, two days ago, with an (almost) ideal temperature I was playing the sea star, floating on the transparente water, saying « Hi ! » to Nemo and his colleagues (I mean the fish, not the captain) and today I am filling my suitcase with real wool of synthetic sheeps sweaters. Equipped with my dear aubergine parka, offered by Mario BOISCLAIR, a good friend of mine from Quebec (always trust a friend from Quebec when you deal with aubergine parka) and I feel ready. Yes, because even if I’ll miss the temperature above zero, the fact that I’m going to Minsk in Belarus (Bela…what ??) to teach for 3 days the students at YFM (Year For Mission, an American bible school for english and russian speaking students) get me highly motivated. Ok I’ll be alone, the other half of Heroic Nation can’t tour because she’s too pregnant (yeah what an excuse…) but it’s such a privilege to be able to travel and serve God this way ! I would never had imagined such a thing some years ago…
I feel really honored and completely decided not to blow it totally ! For sure I used to teach in France, Canada or even Israel, but it will be the very first time in english. To preach in english is one thing, but teaching with technical words about cinema, editing and creative media in general in David Beckham’s langage (or Shakespeare’s, depending on the side of your culture) is something else. It won’t be the same lemonade…as we are saying in French !
And I do really like lemonade !!
• DAY 1 : Niet visa…
I close my eyes. Stay calm, Stay calm. Think about the sea star and about the happiness you have wearing this aubergine parka.
The lady in front of me is trying to explain what the situation is really, in a clumsy russian tinted french, but I hardly understand why I found myself stuck in Paris airport because of a visa issue. Let’s replace everything in its context : to go to Minsk (where I don’t need any visa as I am staying there only 4 days) I have to transit via Moscow for 1h. And as I am staying in the same airport in Moscow, I don’t need any transit visa for any international destination ! Unfortunately, yes you do my little chicken in aubergine parka, only because there is one exception : Belarus !! (Bela…what ?) Da da ! Niet visa transit, niet flying ticket, niet plane !
I am really trying to explain to her that usually, I never have any transit problems, I really felt like she didn’t appreciate my humor at its fair value… niet visa, niet billet, niet yourself in your (aubergine !) parka. But what I really don’t understand at all, is that it isn’t mentioned anywhere that Belarus is the only exception !
⁃Sorry Sir, it’s true that we are facing this situation quite often !
⁃So don’t you think it should be useful to mention it somewhere ?
⁃…probably ! ?
⁃So what about me now ?
-< em>-Niet visa, niet flying ticket, niet…< em>
– Thank you, have a nice day ! ?
Then after almost 4 hours, searching through at least 25 websites and apps (thank you Manue, my wonderful wife for your precious help) I found a new flight for tomorrow morning 5:35am through Kiev! With a 10h transit in Kiev, I’ll maybe have some time to see some friends there !
The situation solved, I’ve met Michael, my brother in law also in Paris for transit before flying to Argentina, and together we took the train to Paris where we’ve met Roland, a Caledonian friend from our church in Pau, who’s also in a kind of transit situation in Paris. (It’s winter time so it’s normal, with gastrointestinal disorders, to have so much transit…ok I go out !). We’ve spent a wonderful time together at the Starbucks Opera and I’m back here in Charles de Gaulle airport.
Rejoice, I found my free five stars hotel for the night:
And with my knees pressed against the cold radiator, I’m writing down those few lines.
God is turning bad things into good things, tells me my father through a text message.
Finally it was a good day ! But still… can’t wait to be tomorrow morning !
• See you tomorrow for DAY 2 -> #ivlogheroic
I close my eyes and I think oh not again.. at first it was 20 minutes and now 40 in the Ukrainian cold… after 2 traveling days to get to Minsk including a sleepless night in the cold Parisian airport ( did y’all know they cut down the heating at 12 pshh rude). I suppose the 40 extra waiting minutes to get the last flight from kiev to Minsk were the cherry on top…
Anyways as I finally arrived in Minsk at 10.15pm after two travelling days I ended up meeting Bruce and Deborah Crowe and their 8 kids ( we had met them in Ukrain in April and in Canada). as hockey lovers we were able to get on to that topic again haha. okay now tomorrow real work begins!
- third day : Movie anatomy
I close my eyes and think ” okay make a French joke, yeah those are cool..make a french joke… the half Russian half canadian half american students are in front of me! ( and yes a mixt of three!)
As Bruce would say “Minsk looks like the accumulation of alot of different identities. like big buildings with a thouusand windows. but in a good way they mae this building something majestic and beautiful.
In front of these students (that obvi don’t look like buildings) I feel impressed by them! they are beautiful and are thirsty to learn about how to serve Jesus. so together we analyse parts of movies , we also start a writtng project and I finish my first day saying:
“When I started working in video making, everything was so expensive! today we have everything we want easily. God gives us creativity to share his love and the tools are available for free. so what is our excuse?”
And then when I think about this last sentence I feel old!
fourth day: MIHCK
I close my eyes and I smile when I think about this grey, dark, heavy sky that is the ceiling of over 2 million people in Gotham City ( this is how Bruce calls this city Minsk or MIHCK in Russian) it’s like this 52 weeks per year.
Deborah and Bruce Crowe are two missionaries that live in Ukraine, in a village in the southeast near Dniepr. (by the way, the pronunciation is pretty much impossible ahah). try pronouncing: RZHYSHCHIV. so they opened a project that is pretty creative to take care of people, and they bring them to Jesus as they raise their kids. I met them when Lydie and I sang at our first concert in Ukraine for an HN tour in April.
This village ( also named RZ because it’s cooler) is the starting point of an HN tour that impacted the HN ministry. A beautiful friendship is then built with Bruce as he was leading an association in Gotham City, he was implanting a bible school for Russian et English students, as he left his city ( RZ) and Ukraine with his whole family these few months ( yes that’s called courage) he asked me to come and teach the cinema language. (aka editing, writing,) everything to make movies and videos.
So I am here in front of these students today and I can measure the privilege.
After 3 days of teaching classes, the students, in two groups, wrote two video projects that I hope give them the confidence to make even better ones in the future.
Towards the end of the classes, Bruce asked me to share my testimony and to talk about HN came to be and what is our message for Lydie and I and of course all our family. And every time I talk about our testimony, there is a part that brings back a lot of emotion, a moment that today shows a lot of importance.
So I open my watery eyes ( probably because of the air conditioning) and I see some students are very touched by what I am saying. and as we eat all together after, he describes his situation that is very similar to ours. So I encourage him as best as I can and tell him to trust God about his future, I tell him that maybe (apart from the classes) I came to Gotham for him.
And too bad if I didn’t meet batman.
Fifth day : Steak and ninety’s concert
As I close my eyes I listen to the music band ” Pilgrim”, a very know worship group in France in the 90s. In this very strict country, going to a concert in the Philharmonic auditorium in the town carries a bit of stories.
On stage, in the shadow, there is a young guy playing his acoustic guitar his name is Colin. Colin is a young American he came to Bielorussia as he follows God’s voice. earlier in the afternoon we both talked and I was shocked by a song he showed me ( a song he wrote with his voice his guitar and his iPhone). “Abide” is a song that was so well made that it touched my heart. So I encouraged him and told him he must continue writing and composing because I knew God had great things for him.
And if I close my eyes it’s because the more I travel the more I am wowed by how God acts in the world. The connections that he makes to encourage each other, the “coincidences” that bring people in the middle of nowhere in Bielorussia to meet.. crazy… in the middle of nowhere these people opened a bible school in this small village where Manue and I spent all our summers. this builds your faith an encourages us.
As for me, meeting Bruce, Deborah, Colin etc encourages me and makes me want to find new things in God, to go forward in my faith and to not hesitate and be ambitious! It’s also why I love travelling and seeing God work’s throughout the world! And of course also to try some good food like steaks. Deborah invited me after the concert ( Bruce was very excited for this moment and had been waiting for it). We all went out to eat in Minsk at a restaurant and the server tried to say a few words in french for me haha. all these awesome moments, with these people, the concerts, the steaks (with pepper duahh) I am so thankful! I am also thankful to be coming home and to find my wife Manue and my three kids! it’s getting harder and harder to leave my family and it’s not ganna change any time soon… goood thing!
Day 6 : And now…
If I open my eyes in my bed at home, in this cold autumn morning, under my warm blanket, it’s because of my three kids who came and jumped on the bed screaming ” salut biloute!” I need to have a conversation with the grandparents because they had our kids watch this French movie called ” Bienvenue chez les ch’tits and it was so funny” says Maxime.
I came home late the day before after my “Minsk Paris” flight and train ride from Paris to Bordeaux/pau. Jeremie Del Zotto picked me up and despite our friendship, he would probably have rathered be sleeping haha. So I come home so happy to see my wife (but I was a little sick) in my arms. I would only see the kids the next morning as they were sleeping.
But what is sure is that after everything I experienced there and what Lydie and I have gone through last year, the signs from God the directions, the encouragements, the trials, the joy, and tensions ( yes also between brother and sister haha) we can see this is really our call. And now what we want is to experience things with God but with our family in it. To go further to make the HN ministry grow even more, sometimes Lydie and I have so much to do with God in the middle of our ministry. But today we decided to pray like this:
Father, our ministry isn’t complete without our spouses and kids living these things with us. We don’t want a ministry far from each other but as a family and to live everything by faith. And it’s okay if this brings along more sacrifices ( comfort etc) it’s like a dream for us and we want to fight for this dream that you lord have put into our hearts”.
Psalm 37 v4