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.
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