Snippets and Pieces
SO I have not got all written that I wanted to have written. But here are some of the random entries I have.
I am working slowly but surely at filling in all the gaps, and I will continue to do so even when I get home so you all can know what all happened to me on my adventures.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Tuesday was my birthday. I actually share a birthday with a kid on the team named Alec, and Dr. Mom paid for us to go to the Transportation Museum in Sinsheim. We were both (especially Alec) very excited. The museum was so very interesting. It had really nice old cars, and army tanks and Nazi planes (one plane had a shark-ish head painted on the nose to look like an open mouth with a row of white teeth. I can remember sitting on the living room floor with Matt a long time ago, looking at pictures of these planes in his cutaway book, and talking about how we wanted to see one so much). There was also an IMAX theater and I watched a 3D movie about how planes were made. It was really interesting, although
Sunday, June 10, 2012
The church we were at Sunday kept us very busy. After our morning service we took a hike around the lake.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Monday I saw the ruins of an old monastery. Seeing it was fun, but it made me think about how everything Earthly grows old, and how “moth and rust corrupt” it. It really blows my mind to think about how in heaven moth and rust do not corrupt, and thieves do not break in and steal. I can hardly imagine how perfect everything will be when nothing shows sign of age.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Wednesday was absolutely amazing. We had two concerts–One at 8:00 AM and one at 7:00 PM. In between I had absolutely nothing. So in the AM I had money exchanged, cleaned out the vans with Kelly and Reba, played Monopoly Deal and Speed with Elias, caught up (almost) on emails, and uploaded pictures to Facebook.
Lunch was served outside with all the school kids. I sat with Alicia for a little, and when she turned to talk to one of the hosts, I sat and thought awhile. Then Ryan Martin sat down next to me and kindly asked me if I had tried to talk to any of the children. I had to say that no, I hadn’t. Most of them had seemed busy, and they already had someone to talk to. Really, I was tired that day and I pretty much was just waiting for someone to come up to talk to me. No,t really trying to reach out to anyone, like I knew I should.
When I was little, Mom used to tell me that there were two kinds of people: a “Here I Am” person and a “There You Are” person. The Here-I-Ams always wait for other people to come to them, and they aren’t mature enough to break into groups of people and join in the conversation. They think the world revolves around them (although they would never say that) and they are surprised or disappointed when no one walks up to them to give them a hug or say something nice. Often they will enter a room mouth-first, not caring who they might be disturbing or simply not thinking about it at all. Sometimes Here-I-Ams are up-in-your-face, because what they have to say is always of highest importance. Really they are selfish, only doing or saying or thinking of no one but themselves. The other kind of people, the There-You-Ares, are the exact opposite of Here-I-Ams. They are the mature ones, the ones who realize that what they have to say can wait if it’s necessary, and who are always looking for someone else to encourage–someone they can give a hug to, say something kind to, and leave an encouraging note for. I was thankful when Ryan pointed out that I should try talking to some of them, because I knew he was right. I was not being a There-You-Are. I was being a Here-I-Am. After that short exchange, I walked over to a group of little girls (about Holly’s age) and talked with them. A few minutes went by, and most of the school girls began playing a game where they all stood in a circle, with rules something like Duck-Duck-Goose. The girls I was talking to ran over to play. Then one of them ran back and grabbed me by the hand and said, “Play with us?” So I did, and so did a few other MMT girls. We had a really good time.
Afterwards, we exchanged addresses with promises to write to each other.
I was also able to Skype home, and it was such a blessing. I was able to talk to my whole family (except Matt) and also with Nani, who was visiting at the time. God timed everything so right that day (as usual, of course. There are always days you know it better than others, though).
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Thursday we had a long drive to Gotha. That morning, we posed for a picture with the school kids. When the picture was taken, we sang the American national anthem for them. As I was saying goodbye to the children in Euskirchen, and to one little girl in particular, I felt for the first time that I really wanted to come back on the team.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Friday was our first day with no official performances. We had two wonderful tours–one tour at the Bachhaus (the house that Bach was born) and another tour at the Wurtberg castle, where Martin Luther lived.
Something amazing that happened today: the tour guide today at the Bach hause asked for a volunteer to pump this small organ for him while he played it. It was built about 1650, which meant, as far as we can tell, that Bach himself would have had to play on it by law to test it out and make sure it was good enough to be used in church. When he asked for a volunteer to pump it, I shot my hand up and he picked me! So now I can say I used one of the organs that Bach used.
In the Wurtberg castle we sang in a hall that Lizt played in.
Friday night in my devotions God really convicted me as I was reading through Changed Into His Image (Jim Berg). It was good for me to see my sin in a different way–through God’s eyes. It was interesting, because I had prayed that morning that God would show me where I was wrong and show me how to be transformed into Christ’s image. I was reading a description of a person with a certain kind of pride when I realized I was reading an exact description of myself. I think my jaw dropped open as I continued to read on, reading exactly about myself. Thankfully I was alone in the room at the time, because I think it brought a tear to my eye. Something new I learned (and I am ashamed to say that I haven’t learned this yet): difficulties in life need to be handled with humility. Yes, I knew that I was always supposed to be humble, but I guess when I face difficulties, I tend to have the “I’m going to push through this” attitude. I suddenly saw (surprisingly clearly) that God gives us difficulties because he wants us to lean on him. It wasn’t like I was totally leaving God out of the picture. I had the attitude of “I’m gonna push through this–God, are you coming with me?” Instead, I should see difficulties as totally out of my control. I should be humbled when I see how little control I really have (none). My humility should then point me to God. I need to focus on God instead of the problem, and realize even more that he has total control over everything and that he is giving me one step at a time, moment by moment.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Something different about being on team and having meetings almost every day is that weekends don’t feel like weekends at all. At first, it was like every day was a weekend because we arrived on a weekend and everything after that felt the same. But now, it just feels like the regular routine, and I am not sure what that feels like (only it doesn’t feel like any day in particular). I am not in any way getting tired of it. Each place is new and exciting with more people to meet and new experiences and friendships to be made. Please pray that I will be deliberately pushing myself to be more outgoing and friendly at each service.
Something I love about Germany: so much open green land. Everything is wicked clean. There’s no trash anywhere and the fields are well cared for. The world is so green in Germany. Hate to say it, but I could only picture Germany in black and white before I came here. With big grey buildings everywhere and dirty old cement streets and sidewalks. That may exist somewhere, but from what I have seen, Germany has the most beautiful landscapes I believe I have ever seen. And when I say landscape I can’t really cover it because the whole thing is like one big gorgeous storybook picture.
Now let me tell you what God has been doing for me. First, he has given me boldness that I have never had before. Speaking my one sentence of French on the streets of Bordeaux was probably the first hard thing I had to do. There was always a fear that they might talk back and then you would have to politely say you couldn’t speak French (in English). God Gave me boldness when we were at the Mediterranean Sea to hand out tracts to many different kinds of people, some of whom were slightly scary. I have found (and I think this is true) that for some reason people tend to take tracts from me more readily, and this seems to be true of me more than the others in the group (for the most part). In Heidelburg he gave me boldness to give Arabic tracts to two Muslim men. Also in Heidelburg he gave me boldness to talk for a half hour to an American Mormon man and to politely tell him that he believed (and was teaching) exactly the opposite of what the Bible said (maybe I’ll write a blog entry about him sometime).
The Guetli was definitely one of the most beautiful places I have been, and God was really looking out for me there. I had been having headaches in the days leading up to the Guetli, and when I arrived, I was in one of the two hotel rooms that were given to team members. Most of the other girls slept in one big room in the dormitory. When we went to Cologne that day, I had a very bad headache and I got permission from Dr. Mom to skip dinner. So it turned out to be a huge blessing that God gave me my own room, because I was able to relax in the quiet during the day.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
So today I about had an emotional breakdown. An elderly man, one of the church members, had previously told me he was going to bring one of his handmade violins to show me. He ended up bringing two, one of which I noticed was especially nice. I offered to play one of them in the service, thinking that he would like to hear his instrument being played. Turns out that he sells his violins to Christian people.
And he sold one to me. I am so very thankful.
Mr. Luscher said he chooses all his wood from trees high up in the mountains, where the summer growing season is very short and the wood takes 10 times longer to grow than the ones lower down on the mountain. This makes the wood denser and sturdier. He has his trees cut with an axe so that the wood splits along the natural grain instead of using a saw and cutting through the grain. He lets his wood age for a year, typically. He showed us a thin board from one such tree and he held it up. When he knocked on it, instead of sounding like a knock on a door it rang with a pitch like a bell. That was cool. He has extra parts inside the body to enhance the ringing. I thought that he said he makes his violins out of pine, but mine is some sort of white wood, so it could be white pine, maple, or ash. I can’t believe now that I asked so few questions about the exact violin.
I love the sound of my new violin, which is clear and sweet. Every time I play it I like it more and more. No buyer’s remorse now–I’m very happy:)
I don’t really know as much about the individual violin as I’d like to, and now I’m kicking myself for asking like no questions about it individually. I was on a wicked tight time budget because of the team and I was super stressed out about making the decision. Now I wish I had stayed calmer.:) It is not very old–made in 2009. So it’s a little younger than my other one. The age was probably the biggest hesitation factor of all. I know they change when they get older. But I decided that I really liked the sound right now, better than my other violin’s, and that it would probably be better for college, and that for the price I was paying it was worth the risk. The pictures of it are on Facebook in the album called What I’m Up To:) It’s made in Bertschikon, Switzerland from mountain wood.
Monday, July 2
Our hostess in Wetterstadt was Rebecca Kelly, a former team member. She was wonderful for the team. She knew exactly what we wanted and needed, and she somehow managed to stay completely calm and fun while having a grill-out for the whole team at her house and also housing 14 of the team members. She reminded me a lot of my mother.
Thursday, July 5
Thursday was difficult for me. After I got to my room so late, I sat on my bed and cried and talked to the Lord. I told Him exactly how I was feeling–how I wanted to serve Him and how I wanted to be Christlike but that it was so hard to always be being a good example, always greeting people with a smile and being the friendly person I was supposed to be. I told Him that I felt hypocritical, like I was a totally fake person because I was so sick of smiling all the time and being outgoing was so taxing on my mind. I began to wonder if all the effort I put in (even the little things that no one saw) mattered at all.
But earlier that day, God had let me find a little piece of paper that someone had dropped in my violin case pocket a few weeks earlier. It had a bible verse on one side, and a handwritten note on the other. An anonymous person had written in boxy letters a message that was very encouraging to me. It seems they had been watching me and were encouraged by my testimony. God again brought my eyes to where it was lying on the nightstand. God again used it to encourage me. Then I turned to many passages in the Bible where God talked about rest, and about my future in heaven. It brought me peace on Earth to read about the final peace that God has waiting for me in heaven. The passage that spoke about finding “rest for your souls” in the Lord spoke to my weary spirit. God also brought me to 1 Peter, because I wanted to read the passage about casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. I had never really noticed much of the context of that passage before, but it all seemed to tie in well with what I was feeling. In fact, the passage first said that I needed to humble myself under God’s mighty hand, and that he would exalt me when the time was right. I saw then that no one needed to know all the effort I was putting in–the little things I was doing, it was okay that no one knew about them. In God’s timing, He will exalt me. I thought of the passage in Matthew that talks about the Pharisees doing things so others would see them. But Christ said that when I do something even seemingly small, like giving money to God, my left hand doesn’t even need to know what my right hand is doing. God sees in secret, and He said that he rewards even secret acts openly. The Pharisees wanted the approval of the people, they got it. But that is all they got. The Bible says that “they have their reward” already. What they pursued is what they got. But someone who does secret, quiet work for God, even when no one else will ever know, will be rewarded openly by God. These people are perceptive enough to understand that the honor of people is temporary, but the honor and glorification of God is eternal.
In fact, the next day in the vans the passage was from Hebrew 11. I had just finished A. W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, and I was reading from a totally new point of view. God showed me that all his faith-filled servants, despite their failures and short-comings (to put it bluntly, their sin), were focused on the spiritual things of life, not the temporary, fleeting things of Earth. No matter if it made sense or not, they followed God’s promises feverishly. That night, I decided to focus on heavenly things, and it made all the difference.
Sunday was a good day. We had a service in the morning and in the evening and both seemed to go well. Kristin and I had a lovely talk in the afternoon. Then Hector and I had a good chat at the volleyball court. In the evening there was a testimony service. I shared my testimony of how God had been changing me and my attitude over the summer, and as others gave similar testimonies I shivered to think how God had so obviously been at work.