Monday, July 22, 2013

Close, but no Cigar

It is the end of day 3 of the epic family road trip to Texas.
I haven't even been driving, but I am completely exhausted. The rest of the family is pretty dead as well.

We finally made it over the state lines into Texas, but we are still an entire 8-9 hours away from our desired destination. Close, but no cigar!

Oddly enough, I'm still fairly calm about this transition. I say fairly, because I did get a few butterflies once I realized that I was in Texas and that I am actually going through with this.

This is real. Oh boy, let the freak out begin...tomorrow.

Pack, but please leave the baggage behind

I'm sitting in a hotel room here in Wyoming while the rest of my family sleeps, just thinking about the course that my life has taken in the last 2-2.5 years or so.
It has been a whirlwind of pain, loss, horror, heartbreak, but ultimately, victory.

I could entertain you with every single raw detail, and I probably would find some sort of satisfaction in exposing the truths in my life, but I simply don't have the time or energy to relive these moments. This post is not about complaining about my woes or the wrongs that have been done to me. Instead, this post is about leaving all of this baggage behind.

There are very few people outside of my family who know my heart, and who have stood by side during my personal trials. To those of you, I just want to say, I love you and I could've never made it without your prayers and words of encouragement. Without you, I would have lost my mind.

Thank you, Jesus. You are amazing. Thank you for placing these beacons of hope and love in my life. Thank you for speaking to me, and giving me the boldness and strength to keep moving forward. Your mercies are new every morning.
Phillipians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

I find it strange to think that this time a year ago, I was just returning from a youth mission trip to Switzerland/Liechtenstein and now I am embarking on a completely new adventure. I am leaving all of my family and friends behind, and moving to Texas.
For those of you who know me, I am very much a "Type A" personality...or at least I was. I plan everything; I calculate pros and cons, I make charts...I STRESS.
I almost never make a decision that doesn't make logical or financial sense.
For the first time in my life, I do not have a plan.
I have no idea what will happen in Texas.
I am completely trusting in God, and knowing that he has a reason for sending me. I am confidently jumping into the unknown without any contingency plans whatsoever, knowing that I will find a safe landing.

So here I am, sitting in a hotel room in the middle of Wyoming, ending day 2 of the road trip that will inevitably alter the course of the rest of my life.
It's time for a fresh start.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 16th: I'll fly away

Monday, July 16 2012

*Last Switzerland Post*---ONLY a year after the fact....

The time has come for us to all go our separate ways and return to our lands of origin. I found it strange how people who just met a mere 10 days ago could feel so connected. It's weird, there was a sort of sadness that came over me when I realized that it would be a really, really long time before I would ever see any of these people...if ever again. We all played a part in each other's lives, even if it was just for a very small period of time. I know that most of these people will move on and accomplish great things in very influential ministries and that they will bless people's lives. I guess that realization sort of took a bit of the edge off...but only a little.

The morning was severely stressful. Group B (people who are primarily from the East Coast) had to leave earlier than Group A (my group, West Coast) in order to take the tram that would take them to the airport in time.

We went on the trip in two different groups, and that is how we left.
Today was really fuzzy, as we were running this way and that, so I'm hazy on the details, but the tram system was off today, so we had a really difficult time getting to the airport.
We kept getting on, getting off and had to ask many a pedestrian for directions.
Bro. Mann was heading up Group A's return to the airport and somehow managed to get the whole lot of us on and off of the tram each time, which believe you me, was near impossible due to the packed nature of these trams. We were so panicked that we would somehow leave someone behind.
Luckily, we did not.

We did make it to the airport (OBVIOUSLY...I've only been home for a year!). When we arrived, we realized that Group B had only just arrived as well, and they were in the process of checking in.
We said goodbye to them for real and hoped that they all got on their flight successfully (they did, but just barely).
Group A got onto our flight to New York, and instead of sleeping like we should have, we spent most of the time talking with people, getting last minute signatures in our books and just having a good time. Then the rest of the flight was spent watching movies. The great thing about our airline, is that we had access to a ton of movies, new releases too. I spent most of my time, sleep watching a bunch of comedies. It helped pass the time, but not by much. I was like a 5 year old again; too tired to stay awake, but too afraid that I would miss something important if I actually did fall asleep. I think most everyone else felt the same way.

We got into New York, through customs, and then it was time for us to part ways. Since we were all responsible for our own flights home from New York, we all had different flight schedules and pretty much began saying goodbye at the baggage claim.

At first I just sort of wandered aimlessly in an attempt to find my airline and possibly check in, except for the fact that I was hours too early to check in.
So, I just awkwardly found a seat available next to a stranger and found a plug in for my phone, so I could finally call home and check in.
Every communication, every interaction has a purpose.

Long story short, I got to talking to this lady and she told me all about her family and her grandbaby who had a lot of health problems. I asked the lady her name. Her name was Pechy Vara.
She began telling me about some of her personal ailments, and I began to feel this sudden urge to pray for her. Before I could even stop myself, I turned to Pechy and asked her if I could pray for her.
She didn't even hesitate to say, "yes!". So right there, in the middle of the New York airport, I prayed for this perfect stranger. She thanked me and then gave me her contact information. We began to talk about God and the recent trip I went on. You never know when God will present a witnessing opportunity.

Shortly after my interaction with Pechy, I ran into Rachel Kolarovski, a fellow member of the Switzerland AYC trip. She was awaiting her flight back to Canada. Rachel and I decided to pass the time by exploring the airport. We grabbed some lunch, and then we had a wonderful opportunity to get to talk about the differences between Pentecostal churches in Canada and their American counterparts. The conversation was eye opening and just reaffirmed for me that it is completely unacceptable to be judgmental of one another. We need to love each other and support one another in Christ. I was really grateful for the time spent with Rachel, and was sorry that I didn't get the opportunity to hang out with her more on the actual trip itself.

Rachel and I. We were SOOOO tired!
In conclusion, this trip to Switzerland was a blessing to me and a blessing to the churches in the Switzerland area. This awakened a passion for reaching the lost, and a hunger for traveling. I learned so much about myself and about the power and faithfulness of God. I remember questioning if this trip would even be a reality. God provided for me through friends and family.
For all of you who prayed and blessed me financially, I just want to say THANK YOU.
I cannot fully articulate what this experience has meant to me, or how it has affected the entire course of my life. I hope these blog posts, although very spread out, were able to illustrate even just a mere fraction of my experiences, and that they were able to bless your life in some way.

God is good.