#RachelTakesEurope | 3 weeks' time

Monday, July 18, 2016

three weeks’ time

first off, i would like to say, HOW ARE YOU ALL DOING? because throughout all my adventures and travels and conversations, one of the underlying threads that has constantly been on my mind is HOW IS EVERYONE DOING? I NEED TO TAKE PICTURES OF THIS FOR THEM! I NEED TO MAKE A GREAT VIDEO FOR THEM! I NEED TO WRITE GOOD POSTS FOR THEM!
i’ve lived with more joy in these past three weeks than i have in the past school year, and even though i’m tired and i miss my bedroom and i miss not feeling the pressure to do things all day, every day, i’ve loved my trip here in Europe so freaking much. it’s been one of the best trips i’ve ever had, for several reasons.

number one, the people. i met a lot of people on this trip, particularly in the first two weeks when i was on my missions trip in the czech republic. there were three churches partnering together to help local missionaries run an english camp (that has been going on for 11+ years!!), and my family was privileged enough to be able to join in on it. 

meeting people from the other two churches was fantastic. it was amazing to see how likeminded we all were in Christ, how focused and serious and fun they were, etc. 

and the conversations i had on this trip were so good—so much more purposeful and intentional than i’m used to, and it was so encouraging for me to take them as examples for how my own speech and attitude should be in my everyday life. the way everyone treated one another—the way we spoke to one another—the way we prayed with one another, talked with others—it was a huge blessing, and even though that’s a clichĂ©, it honestly was. the czech missions trip was a great first missions trip for me, and because of it, i look forward to many more in the future.

pictures from that are coming as soon as i get home, and then i’ll be able to sort through all the memories and figure out which ones i want to put on the internet and how to format them. 

number two, the culture difference. my family + i were transplanted out of our suburban SoCal lifestyle to a different culture, one we had heard about for a long time but never actually experienced. we lived out of our suitcases, attended devotionals every morning, interacted with unbelievers, ate food we’d never eaten before, talked to people we’d never known existed before. even here in london, it’s different. + i appreciate it. i so wanted to be out of the suburban American bubble, and the three weeks here showed me—showed us—how people elsewhere live. it’s different. and even though there are adjustment bumps, i love it. + now i’m refreshed and ready to go back home.

number three, the lessons. God taught me so much on this trip, and evidences of Himself were revealed through so much in Czech. the green was unbelievable, His creation, works of His hand. how much i need Him, how much the entire world needs Him. there were some emotional instances on this trip, and i definitely made missteps that only served to draw me closer to Him, and for those i’m truly thankful. days that started out feeling great ended in sadness, and days that began sadly ended with joy and fruit. i’m thankful that there were so many older, more mature, wiser people around me who shepherded me and guided me through my struggles.

number four, the environment. both england + czech are BEAUTIFUL. like honestly, i’ve never seen so much green. the views were wondrous. the photo opportunities were beautiful. prague looked so stereotypically european that it was wonderful. and london! there’s so much construction going around, but the alleyways and random triangular streets are so characteristic and unique. + the countryside is to die for. i LOVE the english countryside.

i am glad to be going home, but there’s a nice, even-keeled balance—i’ve learned so much here. i’m not aching or longing to go home; i’m just glad that i am. the suburban lifestyle will be the same. but i hope—i pray—that i will be different when i go back: my countenance, the way i interact with the same people i’ve known all my life, the way i interact with God. 

no matter how many missions trips i go on, or other European trips that might possibly be in my future, this one in 2016 will always hold a special place in my heart. it’s my first. and, hopefully, not last.

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