Adventuring

Hello friends! It has been over a week since I last posted, but that is because I’ve been on an adventure! I live in the the South, where Summer is sticky and sweet tea flows freely. But my family lives in the Southwest, land of dry heat and exquisite sunsets. Consequently, I don’t get to see them often, and this makes me sad. I just spent the last week and a half with my family, soaking in the sun’s rays, and packing up most of the stuff I left behind when I moved to where I am now. Then my brother and I drove a small moving truck back here (since he’s moving here, too). Let me tell you, driving those things is hard! But my adventure over the last 2 weeks reminds me of my adventure last summer when I went to Europe. I’ve never been more than just barely proficient with technology, so I didn’t figure out how to blog from my Kindle until the summer was almost over. But I think the time has now come to share my experiences from my summer in Europe. So over this summer I will be periodically posting journal entries from a year ago, sharing my thoughts and observations from a foreign culture.

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A Journal of Impossible Things: My journal is so called because this summer I will watch God do things that seem utterly impossible.
River wrote in her journal, the original Journal of Impossible Things, of her adventures. All the strange people and places and things she encountered. These things all together were so improbable as to be impossible. But that description applies to God’s work, too. People don’t believe in God, don’t believe in miracles, but God is alive and well and working constantly. He is the One who makes truly impossible things possible.

May 22
All our bills have been paid. There are 26 of us, and the cost is $5,000 each.Two of our members needed $2500 each just a few days ago. God is so good to provide for us.

May 23
Landed safely in Frankfurt and then Geneva. Didn’t sleep much on the flight, and we are all very tired. The poor drivers have to drive on little sleep. Through a miscommunication we ended up putting gas into a diesel engine. Thank the Lord we caught it before we turned the engine on. The repairs were minimal – both in scale and cost. God gave us a safe trip to Grindelwald despite fatigue and weather conditions. We stayed in a youth hostel in the Swiss Alps. When we got up in the morning it had snowed and the scenery was so beautiful! Thank God for the beauty of His world!

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May 24
Woke to snow in the Alps. Drove to Gummersbach – a 6 hour trip. Hopefully one of the longest drives of the summer.
The church in Gummersbach is Russian-German. Hundreds of years ago the Czar offered German people land in Russia if they would come farm it. Many went and were then caught behind the Iron Curtain. When it was lifted they came back to Germany – still German because they had formed their own communities in Russia – but they had picked up the Russian language and customs. Most of these churches are very conservative. This church has a huge split in culture between the older and younger generations. The culture split works here much better than in America. Or maybe they just put their best foot forward for their American guests.

May 26
Today we started our trip to Austria. We stayed in a youth hostel in Bavaria – a fortress, actually.
Yesterday 9 of us went with our hosts to a history museum in Bonn. It detailed Germany’s history since WWII. They don’t want to forget the Holocaust and how many people died without cause.

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May 27
Last night we stayed at a castle in Bavaria! When we got to the church in Linz we ate wonderful food – including the most amazing schnitzel!

May 28
Before we left Linz we visited a baroque church in Pöstlingberg which had a view of the whole city. Inside the church we sang “God so loved the world” in German. I love singing that text in places like that. We can give them the truth from their own scriptures.
I am staying with a missionary family, and the missionary wife and I had a wonderful conversation over evening tea – sharing our experiences and what God has taught us. When I told her about how my dad and brother had died she said she remembered hearing about our family and that she prayed for us. God has chosen to use our testimony all over the world. After another team member gave his testimony yesterday I realized the power that telling a story can have. I realized that I need to tell my story. My conversation with the missionary wife confirmed that.

The Man with a Plan

Today was my first day of work. Well, technically it was yesterday, but I haven’t slept yet, so it still counts as today. It’s always hard starting a new job, but it will get easier. I am a server in the dining room at a nursing home. The residents are so sweet and my coworkers are really good to work with.

You know, this summer I went traipsing off to Europe with no plan for when I came back. Sure, I intended to stay near my university, but I had no definite plans. Where was I going to live? Was I going to have a job? Would I be able to make ends meet? I worried about these and other problems all summer. But I didn’t need to. Because my God has a plan for my life. Halfway through the summer I got word that my housing problem was solved. I was going to share an apartment with 2 school friends. Praise God for providing! But I still didn’t have a job. Or a car. I have a job now. I am poorer as a result of living with no income for a month, but I’ll earn it back. I still don’t have a car, but God has a plan for that, too.

Seeing God provide for me has been a theme for me this past year or so. I have seen Him make the impossible possible, whether it was returning for school for my senior year, going on a fantastic and eye-opening tour of Europe, or starting life on my own. God is always there for me, and even when life doesn’t make sense I know I can trust Him.

And the World Goes On

Last night I sang my first and only Senior Recital. As a Voice Performance major, this is the capstone of my undergraduate education. I can’t believe it’s over! My song selection was thus:

Vivaldi: In furore iustissimae irae (consisting of 3 arias and a recit)

Faure: 4 Songs, Op. 51 – Larmes, Au Cimetiere, Spleen

Verdi: Addio del passato from La Traviata

Whitacre: 5 Hebrew Love Songs – Temuna, Kala Kalla, Larov, Eyse Sheleg, Rakut

Hoiby: Jabberwocky, always it’s Spring, The Serpent

It went really well. I made mistakes, of course. We always do, but no one in my audience could tell, which is a miracle. My friends described it as fantastic, exquisite, invigorating, wonderfully eclectic, brava.

But the real hero of my recital is not me. It is my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. There were so many things that could have gone wrong. I could have gotten sick (a visitor staying in my room recently had a cold). I could have totally forgotten my music (it’s happened in rehearsal…). And when I made mistakes they could have been big, fat, and ugly (but no one even caught my mistakes). I was really hoping for a good crowd, and lo and behold, God allowed me to have a decent-sized (and very responsive) audience. There are so many other things that God prepared in advance so my recital could go well – my voice teacher, my accompanist, my formal, giving me a voice in the first place. God is so good. 

Competition

Every year my university holds a contest in several fields of the fine arts, including music, visual art, speech, and writing. This year I entered the music competition. Thankfully, the contest is divided up into several categories, so I don’t have to compete against some crazy piano major. 😛 Well, first round of women’s voice was held Monday, and, guess what! I made 2nd round, which is also semifinals. The poor dear judges sat in a room all night and listened to approximately 25 girls sing in an effort to whittle that number down to a small, more manageable group. 9 of us were selected to go on, and the 2nd round is held Saturday. That’s great, right? I’m excited!

One problem: I have a cold now. :/

But you know what, it’s gonna be ok. Because God knew this was gonna happen, and He has a plan for this. So maybe I’ll go on, and maybe I won’t (not gonna lie, it might be nice to be done with it…), but it’s not really that big of a deal. Right?

Once Upon a Time, Bob…

Last night a group of us girls got together to pray and think about our God. One of the girls had an interesting idea: what if we wrote a story together. Each of us would write a sentence of the story, and at the end we would read it aloud. But there was a catch: none of us could see what the previous people had written. So here is our finished masterpiece:

 

Bob was on his way to the fair when his car broke down. Bob was eating corn flakes while combing his hair. Bob ate a cheeseburger at Wendy’s, and then he got a milkshake at McDonald’s. THEN a pterodactyl came and picked up Bob, flew 1,000 feet in the air when it dropped him, BUT Bob married Suzie and had 3 kids. Bob’s girlfriend broke up with him today. Bob loves cookies. He had his secret cookie jar hidden in the refrigerator. Bob likes preaching in front of many children every weekend. After eating a nutritious (and therefore tasteless) supper, Bob juggled knives and flamethrowers while standing in a pool of gasoline until bedtime. Then he went to sleep.

The End

Ok, so besides the humor it provides (and the evidence that food seemed to be on the brain), you are probably wondering what this could possibly have to do with God or prayer. The girl who had the idea of the story in the first place explained it: the Christian Bible is written by about 45 people over a period of up to 2,000 years. Now, our story was random. It was written by 10(ish) people in about 10 minutes. But when you read and examine the Bible you find an incredible amount of thematic unity. The Bible never contradicts itself (like our story did when mentioning Bob’s wife and his girlfriend…awkward!) because even though 45 human authors were involved, they each were guided and directed by the same Author through the whole process. The Bible is God’s book. And it is incredible evidence to the fact that He never changes.