Ok, most people that know me; know how much I like my last name! Some might say that it’s no real name, but I love it. It’s short, it makes people wonder how to write it, it’s pronounced the same in most languages (well, at least I never met someone having difficulties to pronounce it) and it just fits great with my first name: Cornelia Epp
This weekend there was a meeting of the Epp family: The siblings of my grandfather (if still alive), children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Of course I did know only a small number of people, but it was still a fascinating meeting.
My great-grandparents died in 1940 within 10 days leaving 6 orphans (the youngest one was just a month old) behind. An aunt decided to take care of the family, but living during World War II as Germans in Russia was not a easy situation to grow up.
The oldest brother soon married and was as well suffering from sickness. The aunt and the oldest daughter had to leave for working camp (all girls from 16 to 40 had to go, unless they where having a baby to feed). The baby was adopted by a family in the neighbourhood. My grandfather was working (he was about 15 years old) in a stable. One night a horse was stolen and knowing he would be the one to pay for it, he runs away. This left 2 kids by their selves.
So where did my grandfather go? He went to look for a young girl he fell in love with in school. He finds her as well in a working camp and changed since their last meeting. Through the bible studies of an older Russian man a number of girls in the camp had become Christians, one of them being Maria Pries, my grandmother to be. Following her to church meetings Peter is converted and being baptised. Some years past and they are finally allowed to marry (my grandmother was still a captive). My aunt Anni was born on the grounds of this working camp, my dad the day they where permitted to return home (after 11 years working camp for Maria).
With this I will end for now. I have been told many more stories about the live of my grandparents. I really sorry I never met Peter Epp, as he died 2 years before I was born. My grandmother died when I was nine and I was too young to ask many questions. Still she has been a person with a big impact on my life.
Meeting the family of my father this Saturday was exciting. Though most of those 6 orphans got to now Jesus personally, there are few Christians among their descendants. My dad was able to speak about his faith and the truth and fulfilment we can only find in Jesus. I’m praying that hearts where touched and that God will continue speaking to these people that share the same past as I do. I hope we will share as well the future!