Writing this feels surreal. Being completely focused on packing and to-do lists for the last five days, I haven’t had much time to process all that is about to happen. I spent practically all of yesterday and today packing the next four months of my life into a medium suitcase and a backpack; packing what I thought I would be bringing, weighing it, taking “essentials” out, repacking, weighing, etc. At the end of the day, with mom’s help, I’m in pretty good shape. Don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have her to help me!
I have a sleepy and snoring Ellie pup next to me. She’ll be doing much more sleeping than me tonight! I’ve spend the majority of the last six months praying and hoping I’ll be going on this journey…and I am. I am spending 1/4 of 2015 out of the U.S. I am going to walk where Jesus walked. I am studying the Scripture in the Holy Land. I am spending a month backpacking through Europe with two of my favorite people; something I’ve dreamed about for awhile.
It’s hard to wrap my head around all of this. A few weeks ago as I lay in bed trying to sleep, my mind was racing about this upcoming season. “Would I be safe? Will we find people to stay with in Europe? Will we run out of money? Will I get homesick?” And then I was reminded of something so subtle but so spectacular. Two years ago I was at Passion conference for the second year in a row. With 20,000 other college students, I had a lot on my heart. I knew that in about two weeks I would be receiving an acceptance or denial letter from Moody Bible Institute. I was anxious, nervous and restless. It was then, as I lay in my bed, mind racing, that I realized, exactly two years later from that very date I will be getting on a plane to Israel to study abroad with Moody Bible Institute. I sort of chuckled as I lay there…God sure has a sense of humor and He most definitely is involved in the detail.
As I remember God’s faithfulness through the seasons I am overwhelmed by His still, small voice saying, “Look. Trust me. Do not be afraid.” His faithfulness is great and He is my protector. He is going to stretch me, change me, shape me, mold me more than I could ever imagine. I think what I’m most excited for is how much this is going to truly change my life and my relationship with the Lord. I know the Scriptures are going to come alive like never before. I am speechless. I am expectant. I am ready.
At the end of every post I’ll be posting prayer requests. I have seen the absolute need for prayer during this upcoming season and am pleading with you to pray for me and for the people I will be traveling with. Your prayers and needed and SO appreciated.
- Safety. We’ve all seen the news lately. When I’ve told people about where I’m going, I’ve gotten pretty mixed reviews. Although our group is not right “in the action” and in a dangerous spot, there is still always some danger and caution to take in any circumstance. Pray for our safety and wisdom as individuals and a group. Also pray that we would not face any lost or stolen items. Pray specifically for myself, Lavinia and Andreea as we travel around Europe. Honestly, I have a bit of fear that we will be robbed or lose something while there. Pray that I wouldn’t have that fear and that it wouldn’t happen. Pray we would be wise with locations, people, etc.
- Travels. Pray that our flights would go smoothly. No delays, just the right layover times, no missed flights, etc. Pray that our luggage would all get there safely. It’s never fun to miss a flight or wait for a plane for multiple hours…especially internationally.
- Group dynamics. I am very thankful to have very close friends on this trip. However, that’s not the case for everyone. Pray specifically for those that don’t know anyone and are second-guessing going because of the lack of connections. Pray for those that have friendships, that they would open their eyes to those that are not included. Pray for everyone to be welcoming. Although it seems inevitable, pray that cliques would not form. Being with the same 35+ people for over three months can be interesting. So, pray for grace and that tensions would cease and annoyances would be at a minimum 😉
- Health. As we’re in a new country with new foods, new illnesses, etc. it’s easy to catch a cold. Pray for those with specific illnesses or diseases that they would not face difficulty.
- Spiritual. Pray that we would experience Jesus like never before. Pray for diligence and urgency to do our class work while there. Pray for increased dependency on the Lord, understanding of what we are seeing/experiencing and faith. Pray that God would reveal Himself to each person in a unique way.
[Original Post Date: January 5, 2015)