Friday, August 26, 2011

End of DTS, European Travels, and HOME!

The Giant's Causeway.

Hello everyone again!  DTS is officially over now.  I want to share the highlights of what I've learned with you all. 

Some of you may remember during the beginning of these blogs I described a time when God was teaching me that He wants rest for me, to rest in Him, and that I don't have to be anxious about anything.  I sort of knew this in my head, but it really sunk in.  I had gotten to the point where I knew God was healing me and growing me in the area of not having anxiety, but I was struggling quite a bit for the first month or so in N. Ireland:  I don't know if it was God's will that I came here, maybe I just get anxious about making decisions, especially big ones, etc.  So not knowing what else to do I thought at this point medical help may be an avenue to try.  I went to the local doctor, and this never amounted to anything.  Thankfully that meant my health was too good to raise much concern from her.  However, it was maybe the next day that a switch turned on the inside. I recognized this as God, and the switch was Him stepping in to my situation and saying, "It's My turn now."  How I am SOOO greatful for this.

Another wonderful highlight was learning better how to hear God's voice during prayer.  Oftentimes when we sit and listen, the first thing that comes to our mind is Him speaking to us.  This takes discerning and we can all grow here.  We were taught to ask for pictures and words from Scripture.  This is very useful in praying for others.  Often a picture will come or a Scripture verse and it can be really what that person needed.  The neat thing about praying this way is that God can do something supernatural and help us target the real need, instead of us only praying what we know.  (Please do this too!)

I learned a big thing about the way God created me--He placed in me a significance relating to my home environment.  I learned this during a weekend of helping at a youth festival and sleeping in stables.  I go very stir crazy and my mind becomes really disorganized when I don't have "home base" to go back to.  I create in the home--from crafts to jewelry to cooking, and I have God time in my home.  It is such an essential part of me.  I've always been a homebody to some extent.  I've been feeling internally a new season coming representing home and building. 

Another highlight to me was becoming very good friends with a girl from Uganda.  She is absolutely amazing and I've learned so much about how life can be in her country.  Many areas are more current with technology than I would have realized--people have cell phones and internet.  I've also been able to hear her stories of hardships, how both her parents have passed away, and death is a very real part of her life.  She has a great sense of humor and we had lots of laughs together.  She asked me one time about weddings in our country and who pays for them, the bride's family or the groom's family?  She was very surprised to hear that the bride's family pays.  In her culture the groom offers a gift to the bride's family, like livestock, and pays for the wedding.  I love this!!  How did it get turned around?  He he.

On the last evening of DTS, the staff presented us with our graduation and dinner, called the "Love Feast."  It was a wonderful time together.  We each had picked a student's name from a hat and prayed for them that day and wrote what we heard from God and how they impacted the DTS.  The letter for me was very meaningful.  Snippets said, "God says your violin playing sends love like sound waves over the listeners, and that it does wonders in the unseen world; your laugh is infectious and I have a smile that brings happiness; You are a motivator and a hard worker behind the scenes, God sees my hard work and you are storing treasure in heaven; God is going to give you His plan one step at a time, and you don't have to worry about your transition time.  Your family will be important in the transition."  Cool, huh?? 

After the school finished, Michelle and I traveled to Amsterdam, Paris, and Lisbon.  We planned this trip with lots of prayer, and believe we knew the reasons why we were in each place.  We ended up in Amsterdam during the last two days of the Gay Pride Festival.  It so happens we were only staying two days.  The first night we did some prayer walks around the Red Light District.  Lots of people got prayed for whether they knew it or not!  We also enjoyed some great pancakes and a canal cruise.  Paris was next, just a 3 hour train ride south.  We learned how the whole subway system works, and visited the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Champs Elysees, and even a tour of a chocolate museum.  We ran into a friend of her's through her university while climbing up the steps in the Sacre Coeur, crazy!  We believed he was our meaningful connection in Paris.  We got to talk to him all about God and he expressed how he didn't know if there was a God and was wondering how there could only be one God with all the religions out there.  It was some great conversation and we pushed the aspect of how our God is so relational and wouldn't he want to know Him if He could love him so perfectly?  Lisbon was our favorite!  It was truly a couple days of real vacation.  We ate wonderful fish meals and ate some pastries, which are famous there (and every place we went I think, lol).  It was our first time being in hot weather all summer, and we pulled out the bathing suits and sandals.  Portugal is sort of a Spanish Mediterranean type of culture.  Cobblestones everywhere, antique tramways that run through all the small windy roads.  Our hostel was on the tram line, so we got to ride it.  We also went to the beaches, about a 30 minute train ride away, to Estoril and Cascais.  Cascais was so beautiful.  Another monument we visited there was St. Jorge's castle, and watched the sun go down over the city and the water.  We both would love to see more of Portugal another time. 

So now I am at home in Morrow, Ohio.  I am actually loving being near Cincinnati for this season.  The transition "depression" sort of sank in yesterday.  It is hard being in a new place and being somewhat introverted.  Nobody really knows you're here or knows what you have to offer.  The job hunting is somewhat daunting as well.  I just feel like I can't do all the random jobs like I had in high school, that I want to do something related to my gifts, so we'll see how it all goes.  If I could make enough money on my jewelry, that would be ideal, or even to work for a jeweler to learn some new things.  So, please pray for these things:
1. a job that is a good fit
2. a church home and young adult group
3. some good friends

Thank you everyone and I love you!  I will keep posting updates, but may switch to a new approach to blogs now that I'm doing life normally. 

Love and blessings.
  Most of us the night of graduation.

Michelle and I on the plane to Amsterdam.

Streets and canals of the city.
A beautiful park in Amsterdam.
My huge pancake!  It had camembert cheese, raspberry sauce and bacon.