we came, we saw, we will conquer

We Came.  In Rome, the original groups from Berlin returned, but Dr. P emphasized that these groups were not the same groups as they were before.  To reflect this, my team, Team Charlie, received the new name Venimus meaning “We came.”  The name was adapted from the classic statement by Julius Caesar “veni, vidi, vici” meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered.”  The change from “I” to “we” reflects an important change.  Towards the beginning of CR, the group came in as 16 individuals.  Many people knew each other and even were good friends, but over the course of the trip, the 16 individuals transformed into one cohesive group.

As I mentioned, the teams from Berlin returned for Rome.  Team Charlie had become Venimus and the other two teams became Vidimus and Vicimus.  I remember walking away when the teams were announced feeling overly excited to get back with this group.  I definitely would have been happy to be with any of the 15 other people, but I felt like the people I was put with were some of the people who I had grown closest to in the last couple weeks.

When the teams separated to start exploring the city, we tossed around the idea that we thought the team wasn’t any different in comparison to the Berlin team like Dr. P had suggested.  After all, we were still the same 5 individuals and only a couple weeks had passed since we were last all together.  The next day in the afternoon, we visited a couple churches around Rome.  During this exploration, Team Venimus realized that we really weren’t the same group as Team Charlie.  Despite having the same people, growth appeared to have occurred during the time we had spent apart.

After we exited one of the churches, we sat down on one of the benches out front and began discussing some aspects of the Bible.  This conversation led into potential differences and tensions that have and still exist between different religious groups.  When talking about such topics, politics had to enter the conversation too.  Before we knew it, we had talked about and connected topics of Christianity, other religions, politics, and even world peace.  In Berlin, I don’t think we would ever have mulled over such controversial and complex topics.  As we grew closer over the trip, our comfort with each other allowed us to dive head first into conversations that might even be forbidden at the family dinner table for fear of high tensions.  I felt like my comments and thoughts, however controversial or wrong, were accepted by all members of Team Venimus with an open mind.  

In the last couple days, the conversations that once felt unique to Team Venimus started happening between any and all of the 15 other individuals.  As a large group, we could freely ask stupid questions, share interesting opinions, and let our curiosities roam.  The environment developed into a place where ideas could be shared freely.  The potential to change the world existed in the environment that is CR.  And that is what we will do.  We might not have the solution to poverty or world peace, but I have no doubt that CR will change the world in more ways than one.

– Christian