Thursday, October 4, 2012

July 14th: The End is Near

It's been way too long since I have written, but I have just been so distracted by events that have taken place since my return home. Life can at times be so all consuming that you can really lose yourself.
This trip changed me. It altered my perspective on the world around me, and those who live in it. Those who I have allowed to frequent my world.
Without this experience, the life that I returned to would have completely decimated me.

With all of that being said, I think it's high time that I finish telling the rest of my adventures from the last half of my adventure in Switzerland.

Saturday, July 14
Things are taking on a completely different vibe now that the trip is winding down. It's an eerie feeling, really. At the beginning of the trip we were homesick and ready to go home, but now we are really resistant to leave. We have really only been here a short time, and I can only speak for myself; but I feel so insanely comfortable here. It really feels like a home away from home and part of my heart will stay behind when I leave this place. There's something special about this location and I feel like we are on the cusp of a real break through. I know we are doing something really important and even if we don't see the results during our time here, I know that things will just explode. Switzerland is ready for a revival. There are laborers in the field who have been praying and working on this place for some time now, and I believe that things will begin to form and take shape here in the very near future.

Today was a fairly relaxing and laid-back day in context to the rest of the trip.
We first congregated as one giant group and then we were told that we were allowed to explore the area as long as we used the "buddy system" and took someone with us from our initial "mini-group".
Rebekah Stearns and I decided to buddy up. We had an allotted amount of time to wander and then get ourselves some lunch before we were required to meet up again with the rest of our mini-group to continue passing out tracks and ministering in public places.
Bekah and I were determined to find something a little more outside-of-the-box for lunch, as neither of us could even process the idea of ingesting another sandwich. So we wandered....and wandered....and wandered some more. Pretty soon we only had half-an-hour left until we had to meet up with the others. The only food places we had spotted along the way were either sandwich shops (DIE sandwich, DIE) or they were way over and beyond our price range.
We enjoyed our mini-adventures and had a great time chatting, but we still needed to find some food.
At this point, we had no choice but to eat at McDonalds.
And you know what? That's exactly what we did.
Rebekah Stearns enjoying her McDee's below:

Ok, so maybe we weren't too exhilarated about eating McDonald's over and over again whilst in a foreign country, but it ended up working out. Cassie, who wasn't feeling well, was there with her aunt and uncle (Bro. and Sis, Kelley). We had the opportunity to chat with them for a little bit and get to know them. We heard all sorts of great stories about Cassie's grandma and how she is the "linchpin" of the family. She must be a truly amazing lady.

After lunch we met up with the rest of the group in front of Starbucks, from there we walked to a park where the Grass Clock is located. We stood in front of the Grass Clock and sang for a while.

After some singing, Rebekah and I wandered off to see about some souvenir shopping at a nearby shop. We also had the opportunity to get to know Cassie better, as she had been sitting alone by herself in the shade. Poor girl was feeling super sick. It didn't help that it was super HOT that day. Rebekah had sun blisters all over the back of her neck. She wasn't the only one. People who didn't tan, were insanely red and some were even peeling. Tanner went off and got a ton of cold water bottles and handed the chilled bottles out to those who looked like they needed it most. How sweet, right?
Then somehow the group ended back in a park with a beautiful water fountain. Rebekah and I were so done with passing out fliers, so we decided to hang out with Aaron Hopkins instead and just talk, goof off, and wander the park. Is that bad? Maybe it is. I honestly don't care. It was nice to just talk and have fun. We talked about some pretty awkward things, and then Hector joined our group, but hey--we are in Europe and we have seen some pretty outrageous things here that are not as generally accepted in States. Get where I am going with this?
Amazing water fountain
Rebekah (left) and Aaron (Middle)

 Anyways, we wandered around for a while and Rebekah and I started pointing out all of the amazingly beautiful men and how unfortunate it was that they were probably all gay. Aaron laughed at us and mocked us for "lusting". Rebekah and I pointed out that we were definitely not "lusting", but that we weren't blind either. Was there a point in my sharing this with you all? Uh, probably not...
ignore those previous sentences.
Eventually, we ended up getting some pretty legit souvenir shopping done in a group including Zach, Michaela, Naomi and a bunch of others. I dropped like $103 American Dollars on gourmet chocolate. I am not remorseful at all, not one bit. In fact, if I had to go back, I would spend more $ on more chocolate, so that I could have enjoyed more for myself. The problem is that I could barely carry all of the things I bought. My gift bags were tearing in the corners and I had no idea how I would get everything back to the hotel. Plus, I didn't realize how annoying it would be to carry around a heavy bag full of souvenirs on top of my already heavy purse all over Switzerland for the rest of the evening. I probably should've thought ahead on that front.
Anyways, then we ended up in the dining hall again for dinner which was...interesting. Actually, I'm lying. It was actually a pretty good dinner except for the tomato. I'm not sure what was up with that tomato. From the looks of it, it looked like a breaded/stuffed tomato, which I was quite excited about. Instead, it was a full tomato that was still hot from being stewed and it just had some random breadcrumbs on top. I burned my mouth and the hot tomato juice ended up everywhere!
What a deceptive tomato.
Dinner of salmon, bread, rice and the evil, deceptive tomato
After dinner Sarah, Amanda, and myself went outside to practice a special that Sarah felt a burden on her heart for us to sing during service tonight. It's a totally new song for me, but a beautiful and powerful one. The name of the song is: "Awesome". I literally learned it in one day, which was nerve-wrecking and it's hard to figure out how to harmonize on a song that you never heard.
Ok let's fast forward to service. I was asked by Sis. Kelley to praise sing during service, because she heard me sing during our concert in the park earlier and asked if i would do the alto part. I was so suprised and so honored! I got to praise sing the alto part w/my buddy Melinda (who is a giant).
Then shortly after, our group (Sarah, me, Amanda, Linsey, and Michaela) got up and sang "Awesome" which was....wait for it.....awesome. I mean, there were a few glitches in the program, but I suppose it wouldn't be as entertaining if it all went perfectly.
Then after that, the choir performed, which literally meant that I sang the entire service. Talk about giving the vocal chords a serious workout. It was awesome. I was honored to do it. If my singing could help bless someone, then amen I'll hop to it.
The AYC Choir
Service was awesome. The best part of course, was prayer. God moved so mightily.
I don't think words can describe it accurately and since a picture is worth a thousand words:

Hopefully that gives you a feel for things. Guess what we did after church? If you guessed McDonald's, you'd be right. I can't tell you how sick I am of McDonald's. I never had this much McDee's in one day in America, but here I am in Switzerland eating it all day, every day. The irony is (quite literally) sickening.
The fellowship with the other youth was worth it though. I guess I better not complain too much.
Back: Hanna Stinemann (far left), me, Rebekah Stearns,
Front: Michal Pickard (left), Natalie Moore (right)
We got back to the hotel at a late time and then just lounged around with a bunch of friends. I think...
*To whoever is reading this: I apologize to you. I should NOT have waited this long to blog. I regret it more than you know. I wish I remembered where I went or what I said, but in retrospect, all of these things are an insane blur of awesomeness. I can't separate the minutia anymore like I once could. Hopefully, you still enjoy reading what I could remember! :-)*