The Resting

After two weeks of many conversations with many new people, a week of rest and relaxation was definitely needed. I am continually amazed at how exhausting it can be to talk to people for a majority of the day. This break was also nice because most of the English students we have been spending time with have finished their exams and headed home for the summer. This has been hard for our team because a lot of the people we have spent time with, we will probably never see again. All we can really do now is pray for them, and maybe connect them to the long term CO staff team that is coming in this fall. Anyways, this time of rest was needed. We found out we were going to Germany in May when Larry and Lynn found some pretty cheap plane tickets. I didn’t know much about Germany, but being this has been my first time out of the U.S. I was excited to go, and lets just say we were all blown away.

The Bonding

It was so nice to have the team all in one place. In Sheffield, we stay in different rooms, different hallways, and different buildings and spend most of the day gone, not seeing one another aside from our morning meetings. It was wonderful to have everyone under the same roof, especially because under the roof was a full kitchen, where we were able to cook and eat all of our meals together. I think we all agree in saying we got a lot closer over this trip. With what we are doing in Sheffield, good friends to support and back each other up is very necessary. Eating meals, playing games, and exploring together were, for me, the best part of the trip. I like to think that things are so much more fun when there are people to share in the excitement. We had devotionals led by some of us in the mornings, which were both interesting and challenging to discuss. It’s cool to see how God has worked in each of us differently in our walks with Him. This allows us to see different parts of God through each other and adds a lot of depth to conversation and has been a beautiful picture of what Christian community is like.

The Site Seeing

The first place we stayed when we arrived in Germany on Monday was in the Black Forest. I felt like I was in The Lord of the Rings as we drove through the misty hills covered in trees. It really makes the drive not so bad when you are surrounded by beautiful scenery on all sides. On Tuesday we woke up and drove to the Triberg waterfall. We hiked, had a picnic, and tried to find Black Forest Cake that is so famous (but alas, the bakery’s were either closed or sold out). The evening was spent playing games and hanging out. Wednesday we traveled to our next destination in the south of Germany. I won’t even try to describe how beautiful it was (you will have to look at the pictures below) The village was quaint and seemed almost like we had gone back in time. Thursday we went to see Neuschwanstein, which is a very large castle situated among some beautiful mountains and lakes. It was fun to learn more about the history of Germany, as well as see the inside of the fairy-tale like castle. The last day in Germany was spent hiking on a mountain by the house we were staying in. In the winter it is a huge ski hill, so we were able to take the gondola up to the top and hike across the peaks. Everywhere you turned was a breathtaking view. It made me thankful that I believe in a God who created such beauty. Thankful that I believe in a creator and that life didn’t just happen to work out randomly in a big bang in the universe. Thankful that the same God who created all of these beautiful things around us is a personal God and longs to draw near to us. It was a cool way to see God in the creation all around us. The next day we flew home to Sheffield, and after a little trouble at customs (we almost didn’t get let back into the country) we made it safely back to Sheffield. It was great to have a week away to rest and get to know each other a little better, so I was sad to leave Germany. BUT, excited for the coming weeks as we begin to focus more on working with and meeting international students in Sheffield.