Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Hello Blog world!
Well, here I find myself at week four. I can’t believe it. It’s almost been a month since I’ve been here. And so much has changed.

Before I got here, I didn’t fully believe in God’s love, his love for me. Today, I can say with so much joy and happiness, that God loves me. I fully believe that he loves me and cares for me more than anyone ever has. I seriously smile every time I think of that. I had always let my past control me as well. It was something that I always let hold me back. That isn’t the case anymore. I am completely free from my past. I’m not saying that I won’t struggle with it anymore but it no longer holds me back from moving forward. There is a lot that I will have to deal with, but I don’t have to deal with it alone. God is always walking with me; he will catch me when I fall. Ahhh I love that!

This week we have the privilege of having Donna Jordan with us. She is amazing; hands down my favorite so far. She is from Canada and says eh a lot. I love it! She is speaking to us about hearing God’s voice. This is also something that I have struggled with. I could never distinguish his voice from my own or the enemies- I think that will always be a struggle, trying to hear his voice and plan for me rather than hearing my wants. God will show me his plan, it will not be on my time but his and it will be in his voice. Yesterday, I felt like I heard some of what he has planned for me. And that makes me so excited! I want God to confirm it though, I’ve asked for signs that this is his voice, and not just what I want to hear in my life. I just need to keep reminding myself that it is all in his time, everything is in his time not mine.

I am ready to hear what God has planned for my life. And I am ready to go where he sends me.

Yesterday was an amazing day of community. I had the best talk with JW, she is amazing and a wonderful strong hold and confidence in my life. We talked about the past, present, and future. It's such a blessing to have someone here I can confide in. Then last night we had apartment worship and prayer. A couple of the girls here (myself included) have had some horrible dreams and trouble sleeping. We prayed against any spiritual warfare that is plaguing our apartment. We then decided to sing and pray for each other. And it was so worth staying up past my bedtime (yes, I go to bed at 10. I am a grandma), we strengthened our community.

I have never been in a place where I am fully surrounded by God. Every aspect of my day is filled with God and his love and his voice. He provides in the craziest ways. I am also surrounded by a community of believers that love me, that want the highest best for me. I love my apartment; it is filled with an amazing community of beautiful women of God. I can't wait to see what God does through each one of them.

God is going to do great things today, I can't wait to encounter him!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Faithful Provider.

That is what God is. He is continually showing himself to me in that way and I love it. Today we started our day with prayer as we do every Thursday. We usually pray for something specific and today we prayed for the Justice DTS teams. The Justice DTS has been in Herrnhut for about 2 months, focusing on injustices and such like that. They are currently finishing up their plans for outreach. One team is leaving this Saturday to go to Kenya and work with the Somalian refugees. We stared out praying for the individual teams and finances were a big part of each team’s prayer requests.

KT then told us we would have a time of quiet reflection and then a time of giving. We were urged to listen for God’s voice and discern if he wanted us to give at all. They had written down all the names of the students who still needed support and how much they needed. Some students still needed to pay for their lecture fees as well. So we all prayed and people started to give. And give, and give, and give some more. There were 16 names on the board, close to 20,000 Euros that were needed to cover everyone’s fees. God provided the full amounts for every student and then some.

Wow. In just an hour God provided these three teams with the full amount of money needed. They are going to bless so many people in Cambodia, Kenya, and Nepal. I am so excited to see the things that God does through them.

This morning was such a great time for me, probably the best way to start my day. It was such a great feeling of love and blessing in that room. So many people were moved to give; it was such a beautiful testament to how faithful God is.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Faith Walk.

This past Wednesday the staff here at Herrnhut sent everyone out on a faith walk. We were put into groups of 4 or 5 (one German in each group) and given 1 euro each. They told us we could go anywhere in Germany or even outside Germany but we were not to stay in Herrnhut.

What a way to start off a Wednesday. So, I freaked out, of course. I was so terrified. I have no idea why, probably because I was scared to sleep outside somewhere not in Herrnhut. And I cried. Yes, I will admit to being the one person to cry. I was that scared. But, after talking with LH and the girls in my group I decided to go. I didn't have peace about staying, I knew I would miss out, so I went.

We packed any warm clothes we had, a sleeping bag, and our cameras. And we stated walking. My group and I decided to go outside of Germany because we all had our passports. We ended up getting a ride from Herrnhut to Zittau. That was our first blessing. If we had not hitchhiked there, we would have been walking for three and a half hours. In Zittau, BN and TM played on the streets for a while, trying to get money. We didn't get much and decided to keep walking so we could get into the Czech Republic before nightfall. From Zittau we walked through Poland into the Czech Republic, ending up in Hradek for the night. By the time we got there everything was closed except for the restaurants and some bars. We walked for an hour trying to find food and place to sleep. By this time it was getting darker and colder and we just wanted to sleep.

In our last ditch effort, we stopped at Camelot, a restaurant in Hradek that was still open. God then provided the best meal I've had since I got to Germany. The woman that was working there called her boss and told us that she had a soup that we could have. We sat down and she brought over sparkling orange juice and a basket FULL of bread. We were all blow away by how generous she was being. Later she brought out the soup and it was fantastic. By the time we were all finished, we were happy and full.

And then we walked outside and realized, we don’t have anywhere to sleep. That night we ended up sleeping in a playground. It was so cold. TP, JC, and I all snuggled together under our sleeping bags and it still wasn't warm enough. I personally was terrified that the police were going to come and take us to jail. (Overreaction, I know) But thankfully they didn't and that morning we woke up and started walking.

We decided not to stay in Hradek and to keep walking. The guys wanted to walk to Liberec but by this time I had the worst blisters ever that I couldn't walk any longer. We stopped by the side of the road to try to get a ride and rest for a bit. TM went off to try to find a ride. After a bit he came back and told us we had a place to stay. IN A CASTLE. No joke, it was a legit castle. It was absolutely beautiful. We were all smiling so big and so thankful that we didn't have to sleep outside. The family that works and stays at the castle said that we could stay there if we wanted to help them out with some work. He even took TP and I to the market to buy food for the two days we were staying there.

God provides in the most unsuspecting ways. He didn't need to provide a castle for us; He could have had us sleep outside. But instead, He provided us with this beautiful place to stay, some amazing food, and some wonderful people to minister to. I keep looking back at our time in the Czech Republic and I’m pretty sure it was a dream. I cannot explain how much this trip restored my faith in God. He provided so much more than any of us needed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week two-ish.

Well, hopefully I will be able to keep up on this blog more now that I feel like I have a schedule. We will have a lot of free time in the afternoon which is great and lame at the same time. Great because I have more time to write and take pictures but bad because if I don’t have anything to do I will just sit around or go to Penny and eat. I’m hoping I can find more stuff to do around here.

So we had our first normal weekend in Herrnhut and we all did our own thing. Saturday I sort of slept in. Around 10:45 a group of us went on a photo adventure. There is an abandoned ware house 15 minutes away from town and it was beautiful. I love that God can create something so beautiful out of something so broken. It was so good to walk around and explore. I spent an hour and half there and then walked back to town to just hang out. I cleaned the room, organized a little bit, and did my laundry. It was such a great feeling to have my laundry done- my refugee camp clothes did not smell too great :) The rest of the day I spent at the apartment and I watched Harry Potter (thank goodness BH loves HP as much as I do!)

Sunday I woke up and hung out with Joyce in the room and listened to a podcast from Mars Hill. I’m glad they have them available even though it makes me miss home. I then walked to the castle and waited patiently for my mom to get on Skype ;) FINALLY she did and even though the connection sucked, it was great to talk to her. I’m hopefully going to get internet at home soon so I can Skype in the comforts of my own room. Here’s to hoping! After skyping I had dinner and walked back home because I was feeling sick. A lot of people at the castle and the apartment are sick. Makes me miss my mom, even though she never made me soup when I was sick ;)

And then starts week two. I can’t believe I’ve only been here for a week, it seems like it’s been forever since I’ve got here. For lecture today we listened to a story from one of our school leaders and a past student. They spoke about their DTS outreach experience in Ethiopia. They and their team went to Ethiopia to help a native tribe leader and his tribe. They practiced an age old custom concerning a ‘witch craft’ practice called mingee. When a child has mingee they are killed. There are three ways a child can have mingee: they were born out of wedlock, their parents didn’t tell the tribe they were trying to have a child and then conceived, and when a toddler’s teeth came in the bottom first, not the top. They then would either throw the baby in the river for the alligators to eat, lock them in a hut until they died, or (in the case of toddlers) tied them to a tree for a wild animal to eat. Wow, what a way to start out a story. My heart immediately broke for the children and their parents. I couldn’t imagine standing by as tribe leaders left kids out in the wild to be eaten. KT told us that more than 300 children were killed in a year. Is your heart broken yet? Because mine crumbled when she said that.

Her and her team then felt the Lord telling them that they needed to go and help this tribe because a child was going to die in the next two days. Long story short, they saved this child from being killed. Along with a total of 5 children just that trip. They also set up an orphanage while they were there for the children rescued from this horrifying practice. In three years 25 children have been saved. Even more wonderful is that the hearts of the tribe have started to change. They are starting to realize that maybe this practice isn’t the best. Unfortunately, a church from California came in for a mission trip and ended up taking over the orphanage the YWAM team started. A lot of things can be accomplished when you have money. The church ended up leaving the orphanage and since then KT and a couple of people from that original team have been trying to re-establish that trust they had.

These stories make me want to go out and do great things. I guess that's what is supposed to happen, right?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Week one.

Well, I’ve been here for almost a week and it seems like it’s been months! I’ll just start from the beginning.

I flew out of Grand Rapids on Thursday and the flights went ok. We were delayed in Chicago and had to rush to get boarding tickets in Munich and made it 6 minutes before the plane was boarding. I was so glad KC was with me. She has been such a blessing this whole trip. So we got to Dresden and then had to take a train to Lobau. We met up with BN and KL which was SO good. We all had no idea where we were going and got lost. Yup, one day in Germany (not even) and this girl was lost. BUT good news, I made it. We arrived in Herrnhut around 3ish. We went to the castle and met some of the staff and found out where we were going to live. KC, KL, and I are all in the apartments, even though I’m on another floor. I’m in a room with only one other girl which I thought would annoy me but now I’m really happy for it. I was alone the first night which was kind of overwhelming. I had just traveled for almost 24 hours, I was out of my element, and all alone (JC wasn’t there yet). Looking back I know that is a God send. I needed time to myself to relax and just breathe for a second.

And that was good considering what was ahead of me. I had read blogs from the past MOTA and had seen that they slept in boxes the first official night of DTS. So, when they told us to pack warm clothes I had expected the same thing. I’ll get to that later. So we had a welcome bbq (Peg, here’s the menu: Chicken, pasta, and potatoes. Nothing too exciting :) ) And then we had a welcome ceremony where they presented all the staff and all the tracks. It was cool to see what we would be doing in the next coming months. OH and I met my roommate. She’s wonderful; crazy, but still so wonderful :)

Here is where the warm clothes come in. We found out that we would be building a refugee camp. There has been a lot of unrest and Somalia and all the citizens are moving to Kenya. There are more than 400,000 thousand people living in one refugee camp in Kenya. We were provided 2 posts, a couple of sticks, and a tarp to build our selves and tent for the night. Thank goodness JW was in my tent, it was nice to have someone that I knew with me. We decided to nix the idea on building a tent and just wrap ourselves in the tarp. And that was good. We were warm with all our layers and the tarp; until we woke up during the night. It was FREEZING. Oh my goodness it was so cold. I didn’t sleep well at all that night but finally the sun came up.

The rest of the morning we didn’t really know what was going. That afternoon we all gathered together and were told we were going for a walk. Great, its 100 degrees out and we’re going for a walk. SUPER. I had a horrible attitude about it but looking back I had nothing to complain about. We were walking to experience what it is like to walk to get the water you need. I can’t imagine walking in weather that is much hotter than it was, without shoes, and with no idea if there is even water there. God has been showing me how much I truly have. It’s been such a blessing to be able to experience a “refugee camp”. So we continued on with the simulation and had to share a food bowl which was fine; the no utensil thing, not the greatest. It’s hard to eat past and salad without a fork. But again, we have so much to be thankful for. We had an opportunity to discuss our thoughts about the refugees and that was a good time to think and pray for those that are actually going through the things we are but to an whole other extent. Earlier that day we had a chance to rebuild out tent so that night we went home to a much better equipped tent. But that didn’t matter considering it started storming half way through the night. I woke up around who knows when to our tent thrashing in the wind. It was lightening like crazy!! It was around 4 in the morning when they let us come inside. I think everyone was pretty thankful for that.

Monday was filled with orientation and rules and such. We found out that night that we were going to stop the simulation because rain was predicted the rest of the week. Honestly, I was a little sad. DH told us everything that was going to happen and I think that it would have been a great learning experience to encounter all the challenges that he had planned. I was mentally prepared to face another night of rain. I was ready. But I can understand where they were coming from. They didn’t want to endanger our health or mental well being. So, some girls that live in the apartment and I walked pack to our home. In the dark. And the rain. And the mud. I was so dirty and tired that I just wanted to go home. Oh, I forgot to mention that this whole time we didn’t have showers. Yup, I didn’t shower from Thursday to Monday night.

I know this is a long post but just hang in there; it’s worth it I promise. J

So Tuesday we walked back up to the castle for our first days of lecture. We started the day with a time for prayer. Every Tuesday and Thursday we will have a half an hour or an hour (I can’t remember) to pray. We prayed for the refugees. We got into groups of three and had to pray out loud. I don’t really like praying out loud but when the time came it wasn't bad at all. I’m really learning how important it is to talk with God on a regular basis. After prayer we had fruit break- my favorite part of the day! And then we started lecture. Our speaker this week is Mike, he and his wife have been involved with YWAM for 31 years. They have such a great story, I loved hearing about all the things he has done. He then spoke about the father heart of God. He made so many points where I was like, yup, that applies to me. One thing that stood out to be that our God is a faithful God. He will never leave us. He knows we are guilty yet He stands by our side. I can’t wait to hear him speak again.

The rest of the day was pretty free- which was unusual. We just had out work duties (I’m working with hospitality- cleaning up the guest rooms and such) and then we had the rest of the day free. I hung out in the cafĂ© for a bit with some of my friends which was great just to be able to hang out. Then I went back to the apartment and watched a movie and spent some time by myself. AND that concludes my first (almost) week.

I will write more when I have the chance!

PS Peg if you’re reading this: I haven’t had the opportunity to eat authentic German food. We pretty much have sandwiches for breakfast, cereal in the morning, and potatoes at night. I know, super exciting J