Wieliczka and Auschwitz
Today, our plans changed a lot. But, turns out God’s plan is always better than the plans we make. We acted like true American tourists today. We started the day by traveling to Wieliczka’s salt mine. Our tour started with walking down 55 flights of stairs…. For those of us afraid of heights, looking over the rail was not a wise decision. However, the trip through the mine made it worth it. Our tour was three hours long and we walked roughly 5 miles underground. Shockingly enough, we covered less than 1% of the total underground mine. (WOWWW!)
Fun fact about the mine: if you licked the walls of the tunnels (which to those of you who are thinking ‘why would you do that and share germs?’ salt kills microbes!! Therefore, it was a completely healthy choice to do so.) they tasted like pure salt!!! God’s creations are truly amazing.
The next part of our journey today took us to Auschwitz Concentration camp. To say this experience was indescribable is an understatement. The moment each of us walked through the gate, the world felt different. Although the sun was shining bright in the sky, the place we experienced was extremely dark. Today, we got to empathize with the families of the 1.1 million individuals who lost their lives during their time at Auschwitz. Despite all the sadness, harsh realities, and heartache each of us experienced today, God still showed himself to us. As we were leaving Birkenau (Auschwitz II), the sunset was truly breathtaking. Even in the midst of the worst time, God is still there with us. At our nightly debriefing, we discussed that we believe that God used this as a sign to show us that even in the middle of the worst situations, He is still walking through the struggles with us.
Also tonight during our daily reflection, we all shared tears, emotions, and interpretations of our time at Auschwitz. We are all still processing our experience, however having the opportunity to do it together with such an amazing group of God-fearing people is allowing us to grow as men and women of Christ.