Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I must explain something...

The previous 6 posts are random thoughts that I typed into my iPhone through out the days of my trip. I can promise there are misspelled words, bad grammar and weird spell check errors from the iPhone. Please do not judge my writing skills by these post. They are not eloquent or perfect. They do describe in broken sentences my experience of the week. My hope is to put down a summary as I reflect on the on my trip to Switzerland. I did have a great time. I am happy to be at home. I am thankful that I met some great people who God has blessed with the heart of missions. God blessed me with their new friendships.

Day 6...the last day until the trek home

I got up around 9 and found out that it was Karen who had fallen and had abig gash ok her forehead from missing the last step and falling into the doorjam.

I showered and headed out to explore. I walked for a couple hours just taking in the sights and taking pictures. The village is so quaint and cute. The houses are close and the streets are tight. There are orchards and vineyards all around. Vince picked me up as I walked back to the house and we headed out to meet the rest of the group for lunch. We ate at a Greek place called the Olympia. It was wonderful. We walked over to the Campus Crusade office and then we went to the BFA for a tour. We meet lots of great people, what a great educational facility.

We went back and crashed for a while after a little bit of sight seeing and a drive to Basel SBB to buy another train ticket for the trip to the airport.

We headed back and I watched pride and predjudice with Chloe and then met up with the rest of the group for dinner. Dinner was great, we spent a great deal of time sharing our testimonies! I love hearing everyones path to Christ.

We headed home to sleep and prepare for the long day of travel. All of the guys got up at 2 to watch the Buckeyes.

We headed to the train station and that started our journey home. I happen to be traveling with Andy, Christy and Liliana. I totally believe God put us on the same flight. I know what it is like to travel with an infant and all of the gear that comes along with the territory. They are a fantasic couple and I hope our paths cross again. I pray God blesses their lives and their ministry.

I can't wait to get home and see my family. It has been very hard to baway from them this time. It would have been great to share this experience with them. Jen wrote letters for day I was gone, I looked forward to reading them everyday. They kept me close to home. They were very special. I feel horrible that I was not there for Jen's surgery. I could not stop thinking about her and she had many people here in Europe praying for her.

Maddie and Caroline occupied many of my conversations over the last days. My prayer is that they grow up without the fear I have for being brave enough to face change and new environments.

The Purpero's were amazing people. They opened their home and their lives for us to share. They have an incredible ministry. They are building relationships with people all over Europe and now find themselves in an area that has agree need for evangelism, but with a support group to help encourage them and stay focused on their mission to share the love of God with all of Europe. I pray that God lifts them up and blesses them for their obedience and faithfulness. The Purpero's showed me how a family can share in a ministry and be an example of light in the world.

Day 5...the close of EASY and a crazy day of travel

That was fast turn around. I went to the train station after breakfast to buy my train ticket to Basel. I am still a little confused about the trains. I feel good that I have the right ticket. We headed off to camp to close out the morning worship and then send everyone off to go home. It was awesome to pray for the needs of each nation as they each gathered in the middle of the room. There were a lot tears and hugging. It was good to know that hugging is international. These kids were awesome! There were 10 countries represented and 140 students. There plan was for 90 students so the event was a huge success and carries a great amount of momentum for Christ in these countries. We sent the kids on their way and then cleaned up Camp Rock. I spent much time with Pepe' from Finland. We became very good friends over the weekend because he was the sound guy. We had much in common because of our love for worship music and kids. We talked shop about every piece of sound gear imaginable. I think he was impressed that I actually knew what I was talking about. Here are some intersting facts about my new friend Pepe'...

He has worked for Campus Crusade for Christ since 1979.

He was the Finnish Teen Idol (think American idol) back in 1983.

He owns a successful production company and a killer recording studio at his house.

Pepe' has an awesome mullet. All business in the front and a party in the back!

He was great, I have no doubt I will see my brother Pepe' again.

So here is where things start to unravel. We loaded up all of Pepe' gear and time was short so we packed upour gear and headed to back to the hotel to grab the rest of our stuff. We needed to walk to the bus station to catch the 2:30, but at 2:15 we realized that Paul had left his laptop at the camp. We were able to get a hold of Vince to grab Paul's laptop. We has to split our group up, Vince, his family and Christy and 1 yr old Liliana rode in the van to the Purpero's house in Germany. The rest of hurry to the train station to meet them in Basel BAD in a few hours. We arrive Bescheschel Stadt train station a few minutes before the train arrived. We were Nine Americans standing watching incoming train... We all stood and watched door close and wonder if it was our train? YES! The station attendant ran out and stopped the train for us. We all loaded in while Paul helped an elderly women get on the train. Once on the train we could all relax, One change over before we hit Zurich and we were on our way.

The guys played chess and I took pictures and took in the scenery, it was great time. When we arrived in Basel SBB I realized I did not have the right ticket to go on to Basel BAD, I then purchased a ticket at the kiosk and rushedvto the platform... Train was gone. Most of the group had gone ahead. Paul, Andy and I had missed the train. I look at the ticket I just purchased and it was to Baden. I found the ticket counter and calmly exchanged my ticket. I walked back to the platform and ran into the other group! The train had not left us... Good news!

Bad news! This is when I realized I had forgotten my coat at Camp Rock! In the panic to leave in time to make the train I forgot to grab it.

We called Vince to see how close he was to meeting us. We found our that Vince had broken down and was still in Zurich. They were waiting for friends from Kandren to come pick them up. We found our the Vince's kids Chloe and Anthony were sick with a high fever.

We felt horrible for the Purpero's trouble. I felt helpless and on top of it they have 9 people coming to their house. We decided to bail on the train and grab a meal at an Italian place that was delicious. We hung out there for a few hours waiting. We headed over to catch the train and ran in to Rick and some one from Black Hills Academy. Rick is Karen's Brother and they had room for one person to go with them so we sent Andy so he could meet up with his wife. We headed off the Basel BAD which was just one stop away and waited about an hour for one of Vince' a friends to come pick us up. What a life saver. We finally arrive at the Purpero's around 10:30. We all basically crashed. With all of the adversity the Purpero' were still so gracious to have us. I felt very guilty. Paul, Ryan and I all crashed in the living room and finally fell asleep around 1am.

I awoke to the sounds of Chloe throwing up in the hallway. I felt helpless, everyone was exhausted and there was Karen cleaning up the mess, caring for her family, completly overwhelmed and still has to deal with people sleeping on the floor in her house. Paul said a quick prayer and we were back to sleep oNly to hear Chloe get sick again. We heard a loud crash and though someone had fallen. An hour later we hear Anthony get sick as well. Was a very rough night for the family. Vince had to get up at 4 to take paul and ryan to the airport so they could fly to Rome for 2 days. They tried very hard to find a way to just stay in Bosel and go from there to not trouble Vince any more. What a craZy day. I really think that awesome things were happening at EASY and the attack of today was affirmation of that fact. I am happy that it is over.

Day 4... an afternoon in Zurich

We got up grabbed some breakfast and off to the camp. When we got there the kids were preparing sack lunches for the trip to Zurich. We packed our lunch then jumped on to our session. It was the Americans turn for entertainment and we thought about the Peanutbutter Sandwich Machine Skit but they don't have peanut butter so we went with the roller coaster skit. It went over well. But alas we wee still the stupid Americans.

We shared in worship once again. The Spanish put on a skit about the El Camino. They painted a beautiful picture of how difficult the camino can be, but spiritually can be amazing. They are trying to get at least 100 kids to come and walk. They are in need of adults to help cook, set up camp each day, and many other things other than walking. The Spainish are so passionate about the Camino. It is so exciting to see there love for people.

We loaded up in buses and drove to Zurich for an afternoon of touring and evangelism. We were able to visit a famous chocolate factory and a watchmaker. We went through a cathedral that was once a monastery has the most beautiful modern stained glass I have ever witnessed. You were not allowed to take pictures. This was my highlight of the day for me.

It began to rain as we left the church and went to the main shopping streets of Zurich. This was very cool. It reminded me of shopping along Union Square in San Francisco. The second street was a little different. It was a cobblestone walking street that winds its way above the river side. There many shops that sold everything you could imagine, but mostly clothing and shoes. Everywhere I look....addidas. I walked around with my new friend Ryan. He is the creative pastor at Four Corners Church in Mason, oh. I want that job :)

We have a ton of things in common but we seemed to settle our conversation on music and shared our influences in worship. We were a little concerened that they allowed the kids to try to find the bus station on there own so Ryan and I took a little different route trying to keep an eye on the kids. The city is crowded, it seemed that everyone in SwitZerland was out and about shopping and filling the streets. Our fears were confirmed when we lost 2 teenagers. One of the leaders said... "they are Swiss, they can find there way back to the camp." The American "leave no man behind" mentality won out and we were over an hour late leaving Zurich. We did find them. I felt relieved.

The worship band is from Holland. There website is I got to spend some time talking to the keyboard player about my ideas on worship and our philosophies were very similar. He had sat in on my seminar and had great comments. I really enjoyed sharing with him. We traded info so we can stay in touch. They did a fantastic job all weekend and now are officially the worship bands for campus crusade for Christ in Europe.

We spent the evening in worship and prayer for all of the countries represented at EASY. We closed the evening with a variety of alternative worship opportunities. Communion, foot washing, prayer stations, etc were available to the kids. I helped Deb from Orlando to pray with any of the Americans who wanted prayer for specific things. We were able to pray for Anthony and Vince Purpero. That was very special. We prayed for my new friends Adam and Chandler, they are expecting a child. Chandler specificly requested we pray for he so she can relax and enjoy being pregnant. She is so worried about the health if the child that it is wearing her out. After our conversation, I am positive she will be a wonderful mother!

It was a very long day but a great day. I am finishing this around 2 am. ... More to come..

Day 3...Life at Camp Rock

I got up this morning and showered
in the sink... Looking forward to a shower later today. I went down to the tavern for breakfast and grabbed some orange juice and a granola bar. We headed to the camp and the drive is awesome. I am taking pictures. The camp house is very busy, kids everywhere. We opened with worship and then went into small groups.

I prepared for my seminar this morning during small group session. I hope it goes well.

I sat in on Vince's boys session. It was great. A tough talk with boys, but reminded me of singles talk question session on a chrysalis flight. Vince was very real and did not pull any punches.
Talking about sexual purity with boys is always a tough subject.
My seminar was tough. There were mostly Swiss kids who did not speak English so I had a translator. Annette did a great job helping me bring across that worship is way more than just the music. I had decided to not take a guitar to Switzerland, but in that moment I really wish I had my acoustic guitar. The Kidd really wanted to talk about worship music and I could have saved it from disaster. I prayed for a little help and the door opened and a guy walked in with an acoustic guitar. Wow! So we worshipped. Was crazy...

After lunch we ventured outside and completed a bunch of team building exercises. There was a rope bridge, faith fall, blindman course, balance log, climbing wall and other things. The kids not only had to work together but they had to work through the language barrier. I had kids from Spain and Portugal in my group. They were amazing.

We came back to the hotel for dinner and a meeting with Vince. We discussed more ways we could possibly partner with the other Student Venture groups scattered out across Weatern Europe. There is a tremendous need of support and Vince and his staff are really heading a revival in the youth across Europe.

We went back to the camp for the evening worship service. Each country had to demonstrate Gods love in their native language. We Americans gave out Hershy's chocolates and sang God Bless America. I have met some great people through this trip. They have such great love for kids and God, it makes the trip much easier.

It was Spain's night for entertainment and we played a great group game similar to thumb wrestling. The worship band closed the night with a fantastic version of "David Danced ". The kids went crazy it was very Spanish in style. Julie P needs to learn the keyboard part, it is rocking! It was like a great big party! Everyone was singing and dancing! So much fun! So much love for God in one room.

I returned to the hotel and was able to shower! I feel pretty good, but I have another long day Saturday, we are going to Zurich for some evangelism.

More to come...

Day 2... in Zurich and traveling to Bischofszel

Well... I am not sure of the start of my trip. I did not sleep on the plane so I crashed on a bench in the airport arrival area where I was to meet up with Daniel who was picking us up. I slept for 3 hours! I think I have missed them so now I find the train I am suppose to be on. I honestly have never felt so ignorant in my life as I do in this moment... More to come...
Jen just called... Yes someone to talk to! She was able to keep me calm and get me to think straight. I was having some serious culture shock.

I just hung up the phone and I found someone holding an "easy on the road" sign! Amen! Now it looks like a 12:15 train to Bischofszel stadt with Tom and Yohanna who is working for Campus Crusade.
I am now happy and feeling much better with a little bit of sleep and not feeling lost.

Tom and I rode the train to Winterthur, changed trains in Weinfelden and final destination of Sitterdorf where we were meet by Daniel. Daniel drove us to the hotel and explained that there are basically 2 churches in Switzerland. The catholic church and the reform church.

Upon arrival at the hotel, I dropped my bags and hit the streets with camera in hand. I probably would have taken a nap, but I will find sleep later. I think I got some great pictures of Bischofszel. I will find out once I get back.

Vince met with team at the restaurant in our hotel and we had dinner. I sat with Ava from Spain, Annette from Germany and Deb from Orlando. We had great conversation about what types of ministries are going on in each others countries and about our families.

We set off for the 10 minute drive for Camp Rock. When we arrived the kids were in the midst of worship. The band is great. Everything was in English. It was a good night. I am worn out. I crashed hard at around 11:30. I missed a phone call from Jen... Slept right through it. Sorry. Love you all, thank you for your prayers. There have already been a few hand of God moments so I know your prayers are important. Nathan from Florida that came up to me and had ties to Waverly Ohio! Wow! It was at a moment where I was not fitting in, and the connection brought great comfort.

In Christ hands,


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Here is the picture...

Here is the picture for the post below...

a great start to the trip...

I came across a fellow Jeep owner in need this morning. Yes, that is a Jeep Wrangler on its side. This little mishap costs me a bit of time on my way to the airport. What a way to start my trip. It could be worse, it could have been my wrangler. So the adventure begins.