Slightly Belated May 2012 Update: Football & Politics
Fri, June 29, 2012 - Matthew & Amber Price Poland
European relations are too complex for anything just to be what it seems and football (soccer) is no exception. As Poland prepares to co-host EURO 2012, there's a lot more going on than just sports.
EURO 2012, Europe’s major football / soccer championship, has put Poland and Ukraine under the international magnifying glass as they prepare to co-host the event. The games have never strayed this far east before and the signs of last-minute prep are visible in the host cities (fresh coats of paint on everything). Not all of the attention has been positive as Western stereotypes about Central/Eastern Europe (CEE) have mixed with the truth. Just today Poland suffered it’s third train accident in a short period of time, raising legitimate concerns about infrastructure and safety. The real hot topic is sport-related “hooliganism”. Polish soccer matches are often scenes of violence, vandalism and racial intolerance. The recent BBC documentary “Stadiums of Hate” has angered many people in Poland. While concrete statistics might be hard to pinpoint, the reality is that there is an element of racial skepticism and anti-semitism present in CEE. We’ve experienced it personally and cannot count the number of jokes we’ve heard at the expense of Jews and non-whites. You could trace the history of these sentiments through generations (Euro-history includes lots of killing and hate based on racial and religious grounds), but as Christians in this environment we need to be modeling Kingdom inclusiveness whenever, wherever and however we can. We believe God is happy with the diversity in his creation. There is so much in different cultures that we can celebrate and appreciate. A Polish reporter living in the UK said it best: “EURO 2012 is Poland’s chance to leave racism behind”. We as Christians need to be leading the way.
TATTERED TIARAS IN ROMANIA:
Amber was so thrilled to be able to serve with the Tattered Tiaras Global Challenge Team during their time in Romania. They worked alongside fellow Global Worker Jennifer Iacob and had the chance to serve in orphanages, prepare humanitarian supplies and invest into the lives of Roma (gypsy) girls. Around Europe, the stigma associated with Roma people has left them as an isolated community often suffering from higher rates of poverty, fewer educational and employment opportunities and the target of discrimination and crime (as a marginalized group, Roma girls are often targeted by human traffickers). The team worked hard and Jenn’s relational investment into contacts within the Roma community were a real door-opener. Amber was highly involved in planing this trip and so it was great to see it all come to fruition beyound the spreadsheets, e-mails and Skype calls.
Amber and Daxon returned from Romania on May 18th, we had a few days together to plan and pack, and then they flew back to Romania on May 23rd. Matthew continues to gather and submit documents to the state office but we have heard nothing from them. Interestingly, on our last visit there we discovered they lost 16 documents related to our finances. Presently, Amber and Dax are graciously being hosted by Jennifer Iacob and her husband. Romania is the geographically closest they can be while outside of Schengen and with no major visa requirements (see map below: Poland-Green, Romania-orange). Our plan is for Amber and Daxon to remain there until June 15th when the state office should issue a letter stating what happens next. Either they will agree to issue us temporary residency or they may ask for more documents. We will make our summer plans based on what the office asks of us and what our lawyer thinks is probable. Our family is our first ministry and main priority. This will be a season of balancing our passions and priorities.
PRAY WITH US:
-that the state office would be satisfied with our documentation and issue temporary residency
-we’re also asking you to pray for our fellow Global Worker and friend Cathy Martin. She is in Canada receiving radiation treatment but wants to rejoin her husband in Turkey in June.