Two small bags sit at my feet. One bag is slung around my shoulder. Filled with postcards, museum receipts, and dirty clothes- these bags represent my pride as a European tourist. I’ve become a skilled world traveler. The free sweet roll that I am consuming on the steps of the Badischer Bahnhoff reminds me that happiness in traveling is about getting by inexpensively. I’m reflecting on my time in the drei länder area while I wait for my bus back to the small town that I have called home these last three years.
The company I chose for this trip to Amsterdam was particular and well chosen. Many terms could be used to describe our relationship. Teacher to student, small group leader to teenager, mentor to pupil, or even artist to artist. I prefer the latter. We are just two artists, of different stages in life, learning from each other. It was Michaella, in fact, that inspired a huge art project that I intend to kick off before 2015. A beautiful sunset over the Amstel provided the perfect backdrop for a conversation about how to make this new art project happen. I will share more details about said project when the time is right.
This trip just reminded me of everything I love about young adult ministries. I didn’t have a special sermon or conversation planned for my time with Michaella. We were simply living life together. I’m not sure how she felt about it, but this time brought me joy. God has blessed me with relationships like the one I have with Michaella. She is one of many. My heart is full. This trip was just once chance to say goodbye to one student. I wish that I could have a trip with EVERY student that I have spent time with at BFA. I still have so much to say and do.
As I look to the future, I continue to pray about the next group of young women that God will place me in the lives of. Walking through the Red Light District of Amsterdam really got me thinking. At the time, I just felt gross and wanted to walk to my safe hostel very quickly. Since then, I have had time to process. My heart is broken for the lives of the women who give their bodies freely (seemingly). They won’t be reached by a street evangelist. They need relationships with women who love them and can show them Jesus. Western Europe is beautiful, but it is such a dark place spiritually.
I’m not done with the people of Europe yet. God has used this trip to grow my longing to be a part of a relational ministry that reaches out to people who don’t know the Gospel. I don’t know if Amsterdam is where I am headed, but I continue to feel called to Europe. It is hard to admit that in a post that follows a seemingly braggy Facebook album about my recent 2 day European vacation. I assure you that nothing is wasted. God uses it all. My interest in art and European culture only fuels my fire for wanting to see the lost sheep of Europe find Him. What a complicated history. My heart breaks for Europe.