Day 1: People are people wherever they are
By Darby Callicutt
Day one. Long day. Tired day. Good day. We landed in Amsterdam at 5 AM and had the whole day ahead of us... literally. We sat in a Dunkin‘ Donuts for a while enjoying each other’s company after walking in the same circle around Amsterdam. A few hours later, we were waiting for our walking tour to start; we were talking about Amsterdam and how we could not believe we were here. I do not remember the conversation exactly but, we segwayed into how the town/country we are in is different. But, people are people wherever they are. There is always the need for community and a need for love. People are the same no matter where one travels.
Today, that was just important to remember, maybe more specifically for me. People are people; we all crave the things only the Father can provide. I hope, I really pray, that through YHM, we can explain who the Father is to someone. Not that we or I can say “you are saved”, but that maybe coming into contact with us, someone’s eyes will be opened just a little bit. Or that a beautiful relationship be formed and nurtured for years.
Something even crazier is that at the Hostel we talked with fellow Christians about relationships this evening. It all started out with selfies and ended with people are people no matter where they live, and that genuine relationships are key in the sharing of the gospel.
Day 2: Amsterdam - Power Made Perfect in Weakness
By Tiffany Stanford
Today I am sore. Let me be slightly improper for a moment. We rented bicycles this morning at 10am. It is now 5pm. We’ve been riding bicycles ALL DAY LONG. Now hear me out. I have enjoyed every second of today, and I love riding bicycles. We saw sights that you can’t see anywhere else. But that last leg of the trip...it hurt me. The only thing getting me through was the power of God. Here’s where the improper joke is coming into play. So beer is a big thing here. Heineken in particular, which is a big, special brand of beer here. Heineken is closely related to the word heinie (hi•nee)*. After bike riding for approximately six or so hours, my heinie was in so much pain. But to be more appropriate, I would yell to my team, “My Heineken hurts!” or “Oh my Heineken!”. So that made it less inappropriate because people had no idea what I was talking about, and it made it funnier to refer to my heinie as a brand of beer.
But I wouldn’t trade the sites we saw today for anything. We saw some beautiful parks, heard pretty music and dodged other bikers all the while.
Oh and here’s the best part of today. I fell off of my bike and hit the sidewalk not even two minutes after we hit the road. If it would happen to anyone, it would be me. I laughed and got up and kept rolling. We also all almost crashed into each other a plethora of times, and we dodged cars and other bikers in the big city. I’m sure people could easily identify us as Americans.
After we turned in our bikes, we walked to the Pancake Bakery where we tasted the most incredible pancakes ever. One pancake was larger than the plate. Imagine that. On the journey back we walked through the Red Light District again.
It has been hard for me to process this part of town. But as I sit here typing this, fighting back tears when I think of the women that are 500 feet from me displaying themselves like pieces of meat, I can’t help but think of the contrast that I have seen in the world today.
We saw some of the most beautiful parts of nature as we biked around. God created that indescribable beauty. God also created the people who I saw in the Red Light District. The people who are partaking in what appears to be inhumane are people created in the image of God. I see it as my responsibility to treat those people with the same love as I do the beauty of nature. Nature and architecture is easy to take in and love. People are not. But God takes us in and loves us, even those of us with the dirtiest of hearts, and He renews us.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
*Heinie: If you’re not from the South, look it up and keep reading after you do so.
Day 3: Community around us
By Abbie McAuley
First off, I'd just like to say how much I love my team. We have spent 14 weeks in preparation and now we are spending every minute of 3 weeks together. Already each team member has been so giving, patient, and kind to one another. There is so much selflessness and genuine joy in each of them. I also have not stopped laughing since we arrived.
Today we traveled to Haarlem; a small city just a short train ride from Amsterdam. The small town is a stark contrast to Amsterdam and has been a breath of fresh air. We had the most perfect weather for exploring the city. Haarlem is home to the Corrie Ten Boom house and "The Hiding Place" which was used as a refuge for those hunted by Nazis during the Second World War. I'm humbled by the examples of Corrie's faith in the most difficult of circumstances.
We spent the evening at our hostel for a community night with the other guests and staff enjoying dinner and meeting friends (our team also won the geography competition woot woot). Shelter City Hostel is what I consider a very good example of what community should look like. The staff here is inviting and genuine in the way they care for people. Through conversations with people, I have been reminded of how blessed I am to have the gospel community around me. I have had the opportunity to encourage and be encouraged. Isn't that what community should look like?
Day 4: A Unified Body
By: Derrick Sloan
As we leave Amsterdam for Berlin, my mind rests on the inner workings of the train as it quietly roars throughout the countryside. Magnificent really is it’s success. The symmetry of it all creates an exceptional machine designed to be and stay aligned to the track set before it. Its sway back and forth, the hum of its engine, soothes the weary traveler with a comfort like that of a child being rocked in their mother’s arms. There is no question of its destination, all of its wondrous qualities, every component, united and fixated on the check point that lies ahead.
In these past few days God has relentlessly directed my thoughts to the Church of Philippi. In his letter, Paul continuously exhorted the church to practice, exemplify, and to be a unified body. He wrote commanding them to stand “firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” and again he said “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” ( Phil. 1:27&2:2). This unification of the church is only possible by the central message of the gospel. Unified by this, the church grows together more and more into a body that is solely focused on growing in Christ and making him known.
Just from the little moments we have traveled together, this team has exemplified a oneness that is only found in Christ. Each one of us are able to work together by contributing what we can to keep our group a functioning transporter of the gospel. Whether by words of encouragement, keeping each other focused, or deciding who will carry the loaf of bread, we all share to keep this machine rolling. I cannot fully express how humbled I am from these great friends of mine. The character they possess and the love they display to me, each other, and those we meet is both convicting and comforting. I earnestly look forward to these next couple of weeks as this loving friendship built on Christ grows more and more. There is no question to where this unity will lead, Christ will be made known.
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,”
Acts 2:46 ESV
Day Five: The Wall
By Jonathan Harding
As we close on on our final day of Berlin I have had a lot to think about. We went through an immense amount of history that left me feeling overwhelmed (though that could be that we walked 11 miles today). My high point of Day 5 personally was the Berlin Wall. To see the stones in the ground marking where it once stood throughout the city, looking at the paintings on it, and walking along running my hand on it in silence. It just had me thinking of everything that happened during that time. 140 people died trying to cross the wall. For a certain period the U.S. was forced to airdrop food because the Soviets blockaded the city. Then finally, after 28 years, during a Soviet announcement about visitations to West Berlin the announcer misspoke, making the people think the wall was coming down. By the time they caught their mistake civilians from both sides had already started bringing the wall down.
All this happened to people for 28 years and here I was complaining about me being tired. Today put me in my place and reminded me of our goals. To overcome the adversities that will face us in our travel, and to focus on reaching people and sharing the gospel despite being brought down.
Day Six: Allison and Jeff
By Jonathan Harding
So Day 6 was cool. Over the past two night we have been getting to know our other roommate Jeff. He is from Toronto, Canada, he's a freelance writer, and a pretty funny guy. We chit chatted with him some the first day then last night we were talking about places to go and he mentioned he hadn't gone to the museum we were going to this afternoon so he tagged along. I connected with Jeff really well and we discussed movies and writers most of the time. One of my top reasons for coming on this trip was to meet people and I was loving getting to know Jeff.
Jeff went back to our hostel after the museum as we went to another one he had been to. As we were leaving this second one we meet a girl named Allison. She's a middle school pastor at a Methodist Church in Dallas. She is crazy and funny and incredibly energetic. She instantly connected with us and went with us to eat and hang out. It was really cool how quick it felt like she had been apart of our team for months despite only being with us for a few hours.
We ended up meeting back up with Jeff as well and had an awesome hangout time all seven of us playing cards and getting to know each other. It could not have been a cooler day getting to spend so much time with great people. I even had a chance to talk a little with Jeff about his views on Religion and talked to him about what we believed in. It was so great to have a conversation about my belief and be able to tell him what it's like for me, and how it shapes our team.
Day 7: A Process of Restoration
By Abbie McAuley
Berlin is a city that has a history, a past, and a lot of scars. The beauty of Berlin is that it is not afraid to own up to its mistakes and scars (aka literal bullet holes). However big or small, each detail has helped shaped Berlin into the city it is today. My prayer is that this is true of me as a believer - that my brokenness and scars are used to shape and mold me into something that reflects Christ. It's a process. The city of Berlin is still growing and changing and I want the same to be true of me.
Berlin is also the city where we have gone from feeling like a team to a family. We count how many times each person trips; we know how bad each others feet smell; we love ice cream; and we all laugh a lot. I speak for the entire team when I say we cannot believe how fast these three weeks are going by. We've made new friends and had some great conversations.
While in a museum, I met Allison from Dallas. We were instant friends and she joined us for Bratwurst and some souvenir shopping followed by Gelato and several rounds of cards. We cross paths with tons of solo travelers. Allison is one of those people who joined us for a short time and shared later via social media how she was reminded of God's love through the community she found in our group that she didn't know she needed or wanted.
As I look at the community around me, I see the beauty of gospel community and cannot explain how grateful I am for it. We see each other's flaws and still love one another. Each member brings different strengths to the table and I'm humbled by the way they serve one another. I see how much we need one another and community every single day.
Also, I would like to take a moment to brag on one of my teammates. Darby is the gentle and joyful introverted member of our community. She is considerate and kind; never meets a stranger and loves ducks. She has the best laugh and brings a smile to the face of everyone around her. It's been a joy to travel with her and have her lead us so well through the city of Berlin.
Day Eight: Salzburg, Austria
By Tiffany Stanford
I’m sitting in the world’s most beautiful cathedral, and I am just overtaken by the beauty of what I see. We just saw the Fortress Hohensalzburg. It was stunning. It was very cloudy, but nonetheless, it was beautiful. It was full of history, and the view of the city takes your breath away. We’re walking around with two friends we made last night at the hostel, Danish and Nikki. They’re from England, and they’re driving through Europe together. They’re also very young so we’re taking good care of them as we all discover the city together. But as I’m sitting in this cathedral there are people all around me praying. They all get on their knees and pray on their knees. What an act of reverence. Gosh. And these people aren’t exactly young so this is something that would be seen as sacrificial to most people because these people are laying down their hinderances and kneeling before God.
I’m listening to the sound of bells in a church not far from here, and I just can’t help but wonder what life would be like here. The peace here is unexplainable. The reverence of the area I’m in right now. Also the acoustics are INCREDIBLE in this church.
We went to Mozart’s birthplace. It was pretty cool, but I can’t say that I appreciated it as much as I probably should have; however now I can say I toured Mozart’s home. So that’s awesome! We ate at Mozart’s Café, and now we’re on the bus on the way to the Salzburg Zoo! I’m very excited.
The zoo was so much fun. We saw SO many animals and what was incredible is how few barricades were between us and the animals. Some animals had so much freedom that they roamed outside their cage like the peacock. It was also incredible to look up from time to time and see the mountain side right in front of us. I mean wow. All in all, it was an incredible day. Also it was our friend Nikki’s first time ever to see a bear! We made dinner again too. Grilled cheese, tomato soup. I got to watch some of the Sound of Music. So basically it was the best day ever.
I’m so thankful for my incredible team, and I can’t wait for the rest of the trip!
Day Nine: Delayed Opportunities
By: Derrick Sloan
I didn’t think much of Salzburg as we came into the train station Tuesday afternoon. A dreary cold rain swept over the city hiding it with a thick fog. The team and I were exhausted. We had put many miles on our feet from the previous cities of Amsterdam and Berlin, and still had a thirty minute walk to our hostel waiting to welcome us to Salzburg. With the heavy luggage on our backs, talks of using this city to rest began to ensue. If I am to be honest, this transition into our next city did not bring about any great expectations for it, and the fog continued to build.
Later that evening, we decided to use the rest of our day to unwind, eat, and do some well needed laundry. The kitchen and laundry room were connected into one with a corner booth table to the side, it was small enough to say the least but the perfect size for conversations to begin. The cubicle sized room soon introduced us to Danysh and Nikki, a young couple from the Southern part of England. Our connection with them was quick and we soon found ourselves planning the next day together. It was clear that the zoo was a must see for everyone and something of Mozart had to be included. In all reality, we could have went anywhere, I was fully content knowing we had new friends to travel with.
As the fog began to slowly clear, the beauty of Salzburg began to be revealed like a rose bud beginning to bloom. The rolling mountains captivated our attention especially when the sun would find a break in the clouds and illumine the countryside to a brighter shade of green. The truly mesmerizing sight to behold however was the love strangers gave to one another. Genuine interest in each other arose as conversations began to break through the surface. What started off as the mundane question and answer conversations, eventually led to the unmasking of cultural differences and the sharing of hometown stories.
While attempts of gospel conversations were made, they never seemed to find a clear opportunity. I was quite disappointed by this, however I believe the Lord is leading these conversations to Munich were our friends Danysh and Nikki plan to meet us. The team and I long for this chance to love them with the wonderful message of the gospel. I pray the fog is fully cleared and the sun shines in Munich
Day 10: The Highs and Lows
By Tiffany Stanford
I had a panic attack. I’ve never had one before. I don’t have anxiety more severe than any person that experiences normal, non-medical anxiety in certain moments of being overwhelmed or panicked. Now let me give the backstory. We got to Neuschwanstein, and I didn’t realize that we were climbing/hiking to the top of the mountain where the castle sits; I thought a bus was taking us all the way to the top. So I was not mentally prepared (nor am I in my best physical shape). When I embark on journeys such as that, I have to be mentally prepared. I do enjoy hiking. In fact, I love it and I’ve been looking forward to it in Europe, but for some reason this mountain didn’t look like a fun climb. I also was already emotionally overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains. Like I cried on the bus when I saw them. So I was already overwhelmed, and then I look at the top of the mountain that we’re about to climb, and I begin to get overwhelmed. Also our team moves quickly, which is not a fault, but it definitely didn’t help in this situation, so I knew I might struggle to keep up. And me being unprepared mentally did not pair well.
We began trekking up, and we were going up a pretty steep walkway, and I was keeping up fine. In fact, I wasn’t incredibly tired for the most part. I didn’t feel tired. Obviously my heart rate was up more than usual but I felt fine, and then all of the sudden it felt like I hit a wall. My breathing pattern was wrecked. I couldn’t control my breathing. I started thinking about how fast we were going and how far we had left, and how in the world am I going to make it breathing like this. I started thinking about how out of shape I am and how much I wished I had run more last semester. A wave of panic and anxiety swept over me. I don’t know how to explain it fully, but it was like I forgot how to breathe correctly. I was trucking along within the team struggling to breathe. I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t muster the words. I didn’t know what to say to anyone, and so I just climbed and cried and struggled to inhale and exhale. I felt like I was absent from my body, and only muscle memory in my legs was keeping me moving. We got to a point at the top and I looked at Abbie and I choked out the words What does a panic attack feel like? and she just said Breathe with me. Breath in and out. In and out. In that moment I realized that I was experiencing a panic attack. It was embarrassing honestly. I didn’t want anyone to look at me or ask me what was wrong because I felt pathetic, and I didn’t want to keep going. But I stopped and looked at the view. The mountains in front of me, and I was reminded of the God who created the mountains that also created me. That alone began to calm my breathing, and I knew that I would be fine. I calmed my breathing alongside Abbie, and I gathered myself, and we continued. I don’t explain all of this for pity, but to say that the view was well-worth it. Also I explain this to be vulnerable and to let people know that pictures are highlights of the good stuff. We didn’t take pictures going up the mountain. I most certainly didn’t take a picture of myself having a panic attack on the way up. It was a reminder to me that we all have to go through hard times to get to the good times. But we don’t publicize the bad times. We don’t let people see or know about our struggles. So I decided to be honest and let people see the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s all a part of the journey to the top of the mountain. And when you get to the top, the struggles are meaningless compared to the glory of the view at the top.
Day 11: The Camp
By: Jonathan Harding
The day started well. We got up on time, got groceries, then headed for our train. We make it to the train and head to our destination. We miss our stop because I thought it was the wrong one so we got off at the next one and got a train back. We get to the correct station and take a bus to the entrance of our destination for the day... Dachau.
Dachau was the very first Concentration Camp of World War 2 built in 1939. It originally was meant for political prisoners until it expanded to take in all kinds of people deemed worthless to the Nazis. Over 200,000 people went through the camp and around 43,000 we're reported dead after it's 12 year run.
I am a major History nerd and know all about WW2 and what the camps were about, but nothing prepres you for this. I am going be straight with y'all. I bawled the moment I stepped through the gates. I paced out front for 10 minutes terrified to go in because I knew I wouldn't be able to hold it in. Words can not begin to explain the emotions I felt in the courtyard there. It was 3am central time when I was there and I still called my Mom, woke her up, and attempted to talk to her through my tears. I waited my whole life to stand in this place and I am so thankful to have experienced it.
I was going to try to explain what was going through my head to the people reading this, but then my Grandfather texted me and said it perfectly,
"I'm very proud of you and your team, and we continue praying for you. I'm reminded of a truth that 'Those who choose to forget or to ignore the mistakes of History are doomed to repeat them.' It is difficult to realize that 'man's inhumanity to man' never will cease on this earth and that the crimes of the past all too quickly becomes the crimes of the present." - Brother Dave
He helped me at the perfect time with the words I needed. It's important to remember what happened so we can prevent it from happening again. It's our job to do at least that much.
Day 12: Munich, Germany
By Tiffany Stanford
We woke up and met two friends for breakfast at this awesome café. The team wanted to share with them our purpose of the trip before we departed from them. So three team members went and go groceries while two stayed behind to talk with them. It ended up being myself and Jonathan. The conversation transitioned perfectly. I was able to share my story about my little brother with them after one of them asked how a good God can let bad things happen. But before I shared my story, I explained the fall of man that brought sin into the world. Then I explained how our trails with my little brother’s disease have given so much glory to God. I talked about Job, and I referred to James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I saw the dots connecting in their eyes. It was really awesome. They then asked how you know someone is really a Christian. So we explained how you know someone by their fruits, but we also touched on the fact that we are not the judges. We are called to love and minister. Not to judge.
We then discussed how Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. So we are forgiven eternally when we pray to receive Christ. They didn’t seem to get the spirituality of all of it so they didn’t ask questions regarding that, but it was such an awesome experience regardless. They were very curious; they also mentioned that they could spot a difference in us as a team.
This moment has been my favorite from the whole trip.
Day 13: Something Happened in There
By Darby Callicutt
Woah. Today we saw much beauty. We spent roughly seven hours hiking through the forest of Grindelwald. Honestly, right now, my dogs are barking, my face is stinging, and my lips are chapped; but, I would not have traded this day for anything. Or the people I hiked with. I am not going to lie, it took me a while to get used to traveling with four people I was still getting to know. Now that we are all broken in and totally weird, I would not trade this team for the world. Today we laughed A LOT, marveled together at the majesty of the mountains, and then again at the glory of the Lord. It was a really good day.
And now, as I sit on the porch of our hostel, writing and looking at the mountains, I am still blown away. The Lord who created these mountains created me as well — which is crazy insane to me. Something I continually struggle with is seeing what people love about me in myself. Sitting here, staring at these mountains really makes me wonder and gawk at the Lord. He created these mountains and called them good. Then, he created man and called him good. But, God took man and made him after something even better than the mountains. God made man is HIS OWN IMAGE. I think this is a good reminder for all of us. Out of all the things we do not like about ourselves, God loved and He created us like Him. Let’s all just rest and sit in that beauty, just like I am sitting and resting staring at the Lord’s mountains.
Day 14: The Beauty of the Creator
By: Derrick Sloan
Today was a gift like no other. Hiking by far is one of my favorite past times and to do it in the Swiss Alps is a dream come true. The time alone was well needed to clear my mind and enjoy some personal rest. The trek up the mountain was for the longest time straight up on a trail covered in jagged rocks and intertwined roots. While my body was exhausted, the scenery overwhelmed me with peace. Every twist and turn on the trail unveiled a new picture of beauty. Wild flowers grew along the path which straddled the edge of the mountain. A slight lean to the right provided a view of the melted snow that created a stream which stretched into the valley of Grindelwald. At the end, the picturesque hike crescendoed with an up close encounter of the blinding white snow laying across the mountains peak.
While these mountains were a wondrous sight to behold, I could not help but think of the eternal beauty that I have not yet seen with my own eyes, the beauty of the Lord Himself. I pondered what it must be like to finally behold the one who is clothed with splendor and majesty, the one who covers Himself with light as with a garment (Psalm 104:2). Yet, I could not fully comprehend. However, this experience graciously reminded me that the beauty of this creation fails to compare to the Creator. While it points us back to the Lord, it cannot fully reflect Him whose eyes are like a flame of fire, whose feet are like burnished bronze, and whose voice is like the roar of many waters (Rev. 1:4&5). Oh how I long for the day when my faith is turned into sight.
Day 15: Mountains and Valleys
By Abbie McAuley
I spent this travel day on a train looping through the beautiful mountains of Switzerland headed for Florence. As I look back on the past few days spent in Grindelwald, I've loved every minute of it. We explored the most beautiful mountains, picnicked, played in a stream, washed laundry, and cooked dinner together. Everyone on our team is fully present and the community is so so good. Something I've realized is I want this sense of present community more in my everyday life. I want to be so present that it's as if I have nowhere else to be.
Yesterday morning we each rested in our own way and for me that consisted of a latte on the balcony admiring the view and some time with the Lord. I needed this morning to take time to rest, be still, and sit in awe of creation. I spent a lot of this time overwhelmed with gratitude.
I've always found it is easier to seek the Lord in the valleys of life; that's when I'm most dependent on him. However, I've been reminded that He is the one who has placed me on the mountaintops and I'm satisfied in Him. As I reflect on life, I look around at the beauty of creation, the amazing family I'm traveling with, and the community I love back home. I'm extremely grateful. I'm reminded again that he has ordained the places I am so that I may seek after Him. I could ramble for a really long time but I'll leave it at this: I'm grateful to be right where I am and don't want to be anywhere else. I'm satisfied here but it's not because I'm in Switzerland. I'm satisfied because I am in Christ and he is all that I need.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of Man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Day 16: Unseemingly Small
By Darby Callicutt
Something that has been hard for me while in Europe has been to differentiate between it being Europe and it feeling like home. Yes, the buildings and architecture and history are all different and older but the people are the same. Like I have said and written earlier, people are people no matter where we go. Everyone is searching for something. We all turn to something for comfort. We all travel (or try to) to find something — ourselves, God, peace, knowledge, whatever. The brokeness I see in Europe is the same brokeness in America. I wonder why it took me traveling to Europe to realize that. I hope after this trip I am more open to strangers, to talking and engaging and listening in order to love well and shine a light. I want to be a better person who loves all people.
It’s amazing to me how all different people travel to see the same things that I do. Like Michelaneglo’s David today and the leather market. We saw someone wearing a Fairhope shirt in the Leather Market of Florence, Italy. The world is so big and filled with so many people. But we all want to learn and grow and see things that we never have before. Today, I am amazed at people. I love that the one thing we want and need most, we all crave. But, I am also saddened because some search and try to find it not in the One who could give it.
PS. These thoughts came to mind after a quiet afternoon in our hostel. Derrick and Abbie went to the market while Jonathan and Tiffany and I stayed behind to rest. We were talking about the trip so far and how we feel like the places we have gone are similar to home.
Day 17: Cornerstone
By Jonathan Harding
We took a day trip to Venice today. 2 hour train ride from Florence. It is cool to see that cars don't exist here, only boats. Also, it blows my mind while walking these streets, realizing that the entire city is on wooden stilts. The city is centuries old yet is still held up by the stilts.
I started to think of the song Cornerstone.
As we rode back to Florence I told myself I need to remember God's support more often, and remember that I'm not alone.
We had time to reflect and write what we got from the passage and share what we had written down. I thought about how Amsterdam is known for its prostitution and drugs and how easily it can be seen as a place of darkness. Yet, this is exactly what God calls us too. We are not meant to think ourselves superior to others, but show them the love of Christ. Normally people are not drawn to Christ by theological debates but by a loving community. “The demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest in the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” show the love of Christ before trying to speak the wisdom of the world. This is a very important lesson that I have learned throughout my own life. The love of Christ overflowing through me to those around me, all for His glory.
Review: The Importance of Hospitality
By Darby Callicutt
In thinking back (relatively soon) I think one of the main things the Lord was and has been teaching me about is hospitality. Hospitality and its importance to the gospel; the gospel and its importance to relationships and people. Genuine and intentional hospitality has everything to do with the gospel and to people. Which is a big thing in my life. One thing I remember questioning days ago in Florence was why it took me going to Europe to realize that people are broken no matter where I go. I am mad and disappointed in myself for that realization to take so long to come to mind. Just because Europe is no longer the capital of religion, does not mean it is more broken than America. America has the same amount of brokenness and hurt that Europe has. I am very convicted of the fact that I had not seen or realized this earlier in my life. My constant prayer for the rest of my life (hopefully) is that I will always be convicted and aware of people’s brokenness (and my own). And I pray that this realization will create a want and need to really talk about the gospel. I need that to start NOW. Today, at home; tomorrow, at Soul; weeks in the future, on campus. Because if it doesn’t, then did my heart really change at all? Right now, I feel as though my heart did change. But time will tell if it truly did. Time will show if it did by the conversations I have with my family, with people I have coffee with, with the questions I ask. I need to be intentional in checking in on people’s souls. Not just asking how they are but genuinely asking how they are spiritually and being ready for the hard conversations. And thinking about that right now, I am already convicted. My feelings are already hurt because I know that I have not been doing that. I pray that I become comfortable and brave in talking and welcoming these conversations. Because PEOPLE MATTER. if these conversation don’t occur, then this anthem I have been breathing over my life isn’t true. And I want it to be true so badly.
Review: Crazy Whirlwind
By Tiffany Stanford
We’ve wrapped up our trip, and it was a crazy whirlwind. I’ve taken some time to rest and reflect on everything we experienced. It’s been a crazy adventure, and we definitely came back closer than when we left. I will forever remember the laughs and memories that we hold as a team. But more importantly, I will forever carry with me the fact that people are people no matter where you go. The Lord used this trip to show me that people are just the same as me and everyone else I know, no matter where I am. All people are in need of love, community and most importantly, they are all in need of the Lord. I’ve seen many different perspectives in many different cities, and I’ve met many different people, but we are all the same in the sense that we all need a Savior. It was a joy to provide a sense of community for people who were traveling alone or in a pair, but it was even more of a joy to tell people about my faith or show them the love of Christ through my actions. This trip will forever hold a special place in my heart as well as the people we that we grew to know and the cities that left imprints on our hearts.