YHM: Europe Summer 2016

Day One: Living in Community

It has been a week since we arrived back in the US. As I reflect back on the trip and all the relationships we built, I can’t help but think about those new friends and how the rest of the world is seeking to find truth, the truth that we find in Christ.

We are all living in a world that is full of pain and suffering. Tragedies are occurring on a weekly basis. Living in a world where violence is everywhere, I believe that because of this increasing it only brings us closer together. Through the pain people seem to become interested in what we believe and how we can stay positive in such a negative world.

Throughout the trip we met so many amazing people. We built relationships with new friends from Hawaii to Taiwan to Australia. They opened my eyes to how others view Americans, what their worries are, and what they want to see in the world. I gained so much perspective, love for others, and compassion on this trip and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Now that it’s all said and done, my hope and prayer is that the seeds we planted in the lives of those we met are cultivated and that God reveals His truth to them. My prayer is that we as Christians will come together to help a hurting world, my prayer is that we will not be afraid to take the gospel to the nations, because we have the answers that people are looking for.

As you read this please continue to pray for Europe, pray for the people we met, and pray for all the team members that went on this trip that we will continue to live missionaly here at home.

Day Two: About the Little Things

My life is defined by big moments: From when I took my first steps and spoke my first words to going to India, playing sports, realizing my great need for a Savior, running a marathon, graduating high school, traveling through Tanzania, learning new languages, graduating college, accepting a position in my first job as a college graduate, etc. The collaboration of these moments have shaped me into who I am. Yes, they’re important, but there’s got to be more to life than just a collaboration of these things…

When traveling in groups, I find it easy to compare myself to those in my group, specifically when it comes to travel experience. My pride quickly creeps up when I can easily navigate through a city or figure out the public transportation. My pride quickly creeps up when thinking about the cities, states, and countries I have visited and the planes and trains I’ve traveled on along the way. Instead of humbly being thankful for the great privilege I’m so undeserving of, I allow myself to let these things define who I am. When I evaluate my heart, the pride in me says: I’m well traveled, I don’t get easily overwhelmed in new cultures, I don’t majorly stand out as an American, I’ve had these huge experiences so I’m better than those who can’t say the same.

However, in the grand scheme of life and eternity, who cares how well traveled I am? What will I be left with when an adventure turns up empty? Throughout this trip, I’ve realized more and more that life is not about the mountains I climb or the countries I travel through, but the little things that happen along the way. Life is about good conversation with people who come from different backgrounds, walks of life, and experiences. Life is about feeling the cool, fresh wind dance through my hair as I listen to the birds sing their melody of praise. Life is about meeting a friend and recognizing the character of God Almighty manifest in their creativity, kindness, and intellect. Life is about taking the simple opportunities to help a young Italian couple push their broken down car out from the middle of the road or holding the door open for someone with a smile on my face. Life is about recognizing the gifts of grace (from salvation to clean water) that God has given me and extending grace to others as they journey through life, wrestle to find truth and seek beauty in the world around them.

Life is about adventure, but not just getting stamps in my passport and climbing mountains. What’s the point if I’m missing God in the process? So, what am I chasing? Big adventure moments that make me look cool or simple joys that I see the grace of God in? My own agenda or a conversation with a stranger? What people think of me or speaking openly of the gospel that has set me free. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize my life turned up empty. No, instead, I want to know that I saw God’s presence in the big things and the little things, and because of that God’s presence is seen in me.

So, whether one person reads this or two hundred and one people read this, I challenge you, reader, to stop and look around at the small things. Whether you believe in a Creator God or not, what are small things that deserve appreciation that go unnoticed in your life everyday? What are you living for? At the end of your life will it turn up empty or full of grace, wonder, and small impactful moments?

My life is defined by big moments, but what are the little things filling those moments?

Blessings, Hannah

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