This year the question, “where in the world are you?” has been a very appropriate one, and not just due to my complete inability to navigate and incredible gift for getting lost…even in places I have been hundreds of other times. It’s a gift, really, it is.
For the past two weeks, I have been in Germany. As a college student, German was my major. No, there was no double major for me and no minor, though I do have an emphasis in Children’s Literature. People often ask me why I chose German. I don’t have a very good answer to that. It allowed me to study abroad, which was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, it was the only subject I truly enjoyed studying, I was good at it, I was already at senior status and everyone was desperate for me to just pick something, so I chose that. Honestly, learning German felt more like something I had to do. Before declaring German as my major, I had the opportunity to spend a month in Germany’s capitol city, Berlin. It was the first time I had ever spent more than a weekend away from home, I had never been out of the country before, I had hardly ever spent any time in cities, and I was going to have to find my way around Europe’s second largest city alone. It was terrifying, but within two hours of landing, I fell completely in love with the dizzying, bustling city. That was January of 2008. I also spent the fall semester of 2008 and January of 2009 in Berlin. During that time, I not only learned to speak German pretty well (something that kind of slipped during my 4 years at home, but I will lament about that soon), but I made a lot of amazing friends. It’s amazing how God leads us to just the right place at exactly the right time. In my attempt to find a church, I visited one on the day of it’s ministry fair and was invited to join a house group. In that group, some incredibly deep and long-lasting friendships were formed. Isn’t amazing how being with other believers is like instantly being with family?
Leaving Germany at the end of January 2009 was not easy and I think I began searching for a way to return the moment my feet hit the ground at home. The door remained tightly shut until last fall when I was in Thailand. It was a Facebook status that lead to a comment, that lead to a bunch of contacts, prayers, conversations, organizations, and ultimately, here I am, back in Europe. A couple years ago, I was asked to consider coming here to work with YoungLife. At the time, it didn’t work out, but the opportunity came up again while I was in Thailand and this time the door opened. I will be with YoungLife at summer camps this year. I also get to go to Ireland to help a friend with a special project. I’m excited to see what is ahead of me. I have no doubt that I will be stretched this summer.
If you’re wondering when I’m coming home, don’t worry, so am I! The opportunity to serve for more than just the summer is a possibility and I am praying about what the right direction for me will be.
So far, my days have been filled with visiting friends and trying to relearn how to speak German (I can read and understand it better than ever before, but when I try to talk it all leaves my head…goodbye sentence structure, word order, verb conjugation…).