You can find the video of my tour here:
Here follow some excerpts out of my journal.
Abu Dhabi Airport
John 8:12 – I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
This will be my first flight on my Europe tour. 31 days. What a privilege.
Let this tour bring honor to You, Lord.
I haven’t slept at all night, but that is normal for me when something exciting awaits me the next day. I am already on my 2nd cup of coffee at 06:00 in the morning. Maybe Starbucks and Costa will sponsor me after this trip, who knows?
I finished reading through the Bible yesterday and so today my soul feels refreshed and in awe of everything that Christ has done.
1 Tim. 3:16 – Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed in the world, taken up in glory
1 Tim. 6 is reminding me here as I wait at the airport for my next flight, to fight the good fight of faith…
In these early morning hours, I also studied on the book of 1 Corinthians. I came across verse 14 – The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
(Little did I know then how true and revealing this verse would be to me over the next month).
The sun just rose over the airport. It is a new day! Let me rejoice!
I am on a Gulf Airplane now and just listened to the song, Surrender. I talked to the couple next to me. They are from India and are traveling for their summer holiday. We talked about religion and they are not Christians, but it was good to hear their story. I also met a beautiful, young woman from Paraguay with a girl (about 3 years old). I could see she was struggling from traveling so far alone with her daughter, and so I played with the girl on the plane and the mother and I had a good conversation. There is nothing on the plane’s T.V. that would satisfy my soul. And so, I will study on the book of Romans (that is mostly about salvation). I will start now and make notes as I go.
Verse 16 – I am not ashamed of the Gospel. Why not? For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
Verse 20 – For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Verse 28 – And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
Verse 26 – For this reason God gave them up to their passions (their worldly passions and lust of the flesh).
Who are these people? Verse 29 – They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Verse 4 – We should not misuse God’s kindness and goodness; it should rather lead us to repentance.
Verse 6 – He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
It is a rainy morning in Switzerland! What a lovely thunderstorm. This just magnifies how big you are, Lord! You are completely in control. You are Lord and creator of everything. You are showing me that just as you are in control of this mighty thunderstorm.. this tour is also in your hands and that I need not be afraid of anything. Teach me in these weeks to come, Lord, to see that.
Psalm 121 – Swiss Mountains
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Let by this day, Your name be glorified, O Lord.
I just arrived back in Zurich after I spent the day in Luzern.
I am extremely tired, but oh so happy.
Today was one of the best days of my life. How will I ever be able to explain it in words? I am humbled in my pursuit of doing so.
The thunderstorm this morning was too heavy to be able to go outside, so I decided to go to the gym instead and I prayed for the rain to clear up for me to take the train from Zurich to Luzern. The rain did clear up later this morning and God was faithful as always. I met a kind train stranger, Emmanuel, on the train station and he rode with me on the train to Luzern. He is from NY in the US and came to visit his family in Switzerland. He gave me Swiss Francs as a kind gesture and I bought myself a Switzerland shirt on the airport the next day. He is a Christian and it was amazing to hear how God has worked in his life. You are so good, O Lord, please continue to cover him in Your grace and Your mercy and let his life glorify Your name.
Luzern is breathtakingly beautiful. It amazes me beyond words. I am alone, yet so full. Is this even true? What a privilege to be here. I am so thankful for His overflowing goodness in my life. To be able to walk through the streets for hours, seeing everything and talking to God in the utmost admiration. I drank a coffee while enjoying the blissful showers of rain with the sun peeking in through the mountains. The Swiss mountains are so magnificent, the Swiss rolls are classic, the Swiss chocolate needs no comment and even the coffee here tastes better than usual…
One thing I know for sure is that if it’s in the Father’s will, I will be back!
Next stop: Paris
France (CDG) Airport
On the plane to Paris, I met a friendly girl, Iris, from Brazil. She is studying Engineering in Brazil and her fiancée lives in Switzerland, so she only sees him 2 or 3 times a year. It was wonderful to hear her story. We talked about God for a while and at the end of the flight, she gave me some Swiss chocolate. I will always remember her smile. I hope that they will get married soon and that God’s hand will be upon their marriage.
I arrived in France today and took the train from the airport to the city of Paris. On the tube, I met a mother who was on her way to the city to look for an apartment for her daughter as she will be studying there in the coming year. She helped me on the next station to jump on the next right tube to where my hotel is. It was quite a mission with my backpack, but I still have 4 weeks to go with it, so I might as well get used to it, right?
I am in Paris now and what can I say… It is the usual, charming, old Paris.
My hotel is located almost right next to the Louvre Museum and so I dropped my bags and headed that way. I met a girl, Hannah from Korea, who is also backpacking and we enjoyed a coffee together next to the Louvre.
Thereafter, I decided to walk to the Eiffel Tower and stay out late, as the sun sets later in Europe anyway. I went for a shower at the adorable hotel where I am staying at and the owner talked to me for a while; he was very friendly and gave me a Paris city map. (Not that I ever use maps; I got lost so many times on this trip, but I always pray and find my way back eventually. I also found that it is the BEST way to explore; to sometimes take the road less travelled by…).
While I took photos by the Eiffel Tower, a guy named Leo came to talk to me and we ended up spending the day together. He is a Frenchman who was at work when he saw me, so I don’t know how he ditched his work for an afternoon to spend time with me, but it was a blessed day anyway. We walked around for a few hours, talking about life and about God. He has never heard the true Gospel, and so it was amazing to hear his story and convictions on certain topics. He bought me a rose, showed me some places and I enjoyed a coffee with him. I then later declined dinner, but he gave me his number instead and I could send him some scripture. I will continue to pray for his salvation and for him to come to know Christ. May he be blessed and find the meaning of life without any doubts thereof. Make his paths straight, Lord, so that his life may honor You.
After meeting Leo, I strolled back to my hotel, which took a few hours through the streets of Paris, while listening to Gospel songs on my headphones. It is 20:00, but it is still light outside, how amazing is this? I walked almost 30 000 steps today. I am so blessed.
I am on the airport again. I went for a run this morning in a lovely park in Paris just across from my hotel. Then I wandered through the streets for hours, watching the people, taking everything in. I bought some fresh fruit for breakfast and took the tube to the airport.
I listened to a sermon of Paul Washer, Not afraid of the scandal, and it allowed me to reflect and ask myself if God is really working in me and if I bear fruit for His Kingdom.
While listening to the sermon, a nice guy whose name is Adil, came to sit next to me on the tube and we talked about what brought us here. He told me about his Christian friend and said I have to meet him. So when he asked for my number, I gave him my blog’s website, where after he emailed me on my website’s email address. He said he read some posts on my blog and so I pray that if God wants to use my words to encourage him, that it may be so. He wanted to show me around in London, but had to go back to work the next day. He said if I ever come to London again, he will gladly show me around.
I am on my way to London now with the Piccadilly route. Getting my British accent on!
Heathrow Airport, London
Romans 3 – No boasting; only grace.
Verse 23 – 25 …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
Verse 27 – Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
Verse 7-8 – Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.
Abraham received this before he was circumcised. God saves, which then will lead to a new life and baptism (which is the seal of the faith of salvation).
Verse 20 – 21 – (Abraham) No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Verse 25 – …Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
I went on a Red Bus Tour in London today. It was so wonderful. I saw the most beautiful and historic places, met so many interesting people, made friends with the awesome tour guides in the buses and I even took a real London taxi to explore a little outside of the city. Of course while I’m in London, I had to dance in London’s rain showers throughout my day, eat cherries on the grass next to Buckingham Palace and enjoy a few Starbucks coffees. I met a couple from the US who were on their way to Ireland and we had a good chat while waiting for the bus. My day was incredible! I love London. One day, I would like to come back when I have a little more time to explore.
Verse 20 – …where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.
Eurostar Train (Inter-rail)
I met my EuroVenture tour group at the Kings Cross station this morning and I am on the Eurostar Train now and on my way to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The members of our tour group are: Catherine (leader), Khanya, Tamara, Tish, Holly, Pearl, Katya, Dione, Dylan, Niall and Oliver. I will be spending the next 4 weeks with them and I believe it will be so fun!
The Eurostar train is amazing with much more space than on an airplane.
Lord, please walk with me this week. Show me Yourself, Lord. Let Your will be done on this tour. Keep my eyes above the world… above the waves… above the rush of life.
Prince Heerlijk Coffee Shop
(apparently you shouldn’t say coffee shop in Amsterdam..)
But it was a real coffee shop so…
I am in Amsterdam now. We are staying in the St. Christopher’s Inn which is located in the middle of the Red Light District. It was a shock to me to say the least, but I believe that I had to become more aware of these kinds of things, in order to realize how broken and lost this world is and just how intensely salvation is needed, especially in Europe.
I am sitting in a lovely coffee shop and it is still light outside. Even though I mostly walk around on my own, I always feel safe, even at night. Thank you, Lord.
I talked a little to Oliver about the Gospel today and I am looking forward to his questions on the train rides to come. I am excited for what God will still reveal to me on this trip.
Lord, the more places I go and the more people I meet, the more I know that You are real in my life, the more I know that I am saved and filled with an everlasting joy and peace that cannot be found anywhere in the world, but in YOU.
I just received an email from Adil’s (the guy I met in the London tube) friend, Scott. He said we can pray for Adil ‘that the cross would become his central authority and that the eyes of his heart would be enlightened and that he will come to know the hope that is in Christ’. It is amazing how I can talk to someone from across the world and without me even having met him, we can talk about God and His amazing sovereignty and mercy in our lives. What a blessing to email each other now and then. Wow, how God works…
Prince Heerlijk Coffee Shop
This morning the whole group was fast asleep as they went out last night, and although I couldn’t really sleep (our hostel is surrounded by clubs and bars all around), I decided to go for a run and I knew it will make me feel so much better. I also met up with my cousin, Wiaan, who now lives in Amsterdam and it was good to catch up on life. Then I went on a free walking tour in the city, which is so rich in history and everything was such a pleasure to see. After much walking, I took a quick nap along with the others in my room and then I went on a canal cruise on the waters of Amsterdam! It was indescribable. God is so good. I met a young couple from Utah in the US. It was their 2nd wedding anniversary and we had a very good time together. They took a picture of me with their camera, and then they were off again. I think I am getting used to the travel life… Strangers come and go. Like everything in life.
It is night time and as I am sitting outside, I realize that my focus was not on what it should have been today… I didn’t pray as much throughout my day and just felt weak – maybe also because of the lack of sleep. It has been a hard day. It just shows how I need God FIRST every day.
Let it be Jesus, the first Name that I call…
Today is my last day in Amsterdam and it is raining. I love it. I will still be walking through the streets and a sudden rain storm will break out, and I’ll have to run to the closest barista or coffee shop and just enjoy the weather. Total bliss.
It is raining outside while I am sitting in Starbucks now and listening to a video on YouTube – God’s mercy wins every time. How true is that.
I just talked to my brother, Johan , over the phone and it was good to tell him about everything as best I could. He encouraged me, like Paul does in the Scriptures, to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. He reminded me to not be deceived by anything along my path and to not add any value to small, worldly things, no matter where I go. To fix my eyes and my mind on eternity, to keep my faith in the Lord and to know that He is my Father – He will guide me well.
Train to Berlin
God, my successes are the result of Your sovereignty, Your generosity, Your faithfulness and Your grace. You are the Author, Expeditor and Completer of my story. There is nothing that I have done that could be done without You.
There is no reason for me to boast. The account points me here – if I am to boast, I will boast in YOU. (1 Cor. 1:31)
- Desiring God
I have 3 weeks of touring left, Lord. Show me Your way.
I am sitting on the train now, on my way to Berlin in Germany, and I am listening to a sermon of Paul Washer, The modern church worship. For grace to be seen, there should first be painted a pitch-black night, so that men can see who they are; and in seeing who they are, they will see their need for a Savior. You don’t need self-esteem. You need the knowledge of God.
Rom. 3:23 – …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Another sermon I just listened to on the train: The slavery of serving worldliness. After God saved me, this was one of the first ‘longer’ scriptures I memorized:
1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
I still, during the quiet hours of the night have to repent of not serving God as I ought to. Not living in the Spirit as I should. The sermon focused on how we should not be a slave to this world. We can be so enslaved to the things of this world that it so controls us that we cannot serve Christ. It is impossible to serve two masters. What do you think about most? The people of this world are lovers of money… lovers of things…
God tells the pour man to rejoice to glory in his humility, to REJOICE that he has been chosen for the Kingdom if he is in Christ.
Only one thing is needed: Devotion to Christ.
St. Christopher’s Inn
Today, we went to the TV Tower Observatory and saw Berlin from the sky. It was amazing.
The universe declares YOUR majesty….
I was walking in a street in Berlin when I man (maybe in his early 30’s) came up to me from across the street and invited me for coffee. He lives in Berlin and is a gym instructor. While talking about our lives over a cup of coffee, he asked me what I do when I don’t teach, and usually then I know that God is opening a door for me to talk about Him. So I told him how I spend my time in devotion to God and His Word, and how God has changed my life. He couldn’t believe what I was telling him, I could see he was interested in what I was saying and so we spent the whole morning walking the streets of Berlin and talking about the Gospel. He asked questions and through the Holy Spirit, I found the words to answer him and give him the Truth. After a few hours, he invited me for dinner, but I declined and gave him my email address for if he would like to keep in contact. He had so many questions and he didn’t want to say goodbye, but I knew that it was more important that God would work in his heart, than for me to spend another few hours with him. I am praying for his eyes to be opened and for him to see that there are only two paths in eternity. One leads to life and the other one leads to death. What a kind gentleman with so many hopes and dreams. If only he understood. God, have mercy on him and reveal Yourself to Him, O Lord…
This afternoon, I went on a free walking tour in Berlin. The city is extremely rich in history and it was a very interesting tour. We went to the Holocaust Memorial from WW2 and saw some wonderful parks and buildings.
I had the chance to share the Gospel with more people in my group. I tried to explain how sinful I am and that the only reason I know anything or do anything right according to the Word, is ONLY by the power of the Holy Spirit in me. All but Grace….
Night time quiet hours:
Romans 6 – You are a slave to what you obey. Sin leads to death; obedience leads to righteousness in God.
Romans 7 – If it had not been for the law, I would not know sin.
Verse 14-15 (War between the flesh and the spirit)
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
(We are constantly in a spiritual war. Any good I do, can only be done by the Holy Spirit inside of me.)
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
I am privileged to share the Gospel with more people in my group tonight. God, give me words when I need to speak and give me silence when needed.
Romans 8 – Life in the Spirit
I started to memorize Romans 8 today. What incredible power is manifested through this book and this chapter!
Verse 4-9 – By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
Galeria Coffee Shop
@Alexander Platz, Berlin
Today I miss my family.
It just started to rain.
Lord, I don’t deserve it, yet You call me.
Train to Budapest
I am on my way to Budapest, Hungary.
I didn’t write much yesterday, but I had a lovely day in Prague. Pretty Prague.
The morning at breakfast, I got to share the Gospel with someone and it was such a humbling event. I loved walking through the streets of Prague yesterday and the vibe was just amazing. I wish I could stay one more day. I saw the most beautiful places, walked very far, took a lot of photos, posted a Prague postcard to someone special, watched some dancers on the streets, enjoyed music with the tourists and discovered a beautiful coffee shop that played Christian music with the words: I’m loved by You, it’s who I am…
We all went on a night river cruise and had some swans swimming next to the boat… the cruise was just incredible. Everything was dark and quiet and we could just enjoy the moments in silence… Whenever a blissful moment is worth sharing with someone, I share it with the Lord instead.
This train is extremely hot today. We sit in compartments like in the Harry Potter movies, which is cool, but we are really struggling to breathe and so I will write to keep my focus on You, Lord…
Thank you, Lord, that I can glorify Your name. I know that only my slightest ability to do so is YOU. Fix my eyes on You during this 6 hour train journey. I need You. I am so weak without You. Guide me in Your ways and show me more of You in this day. I see the green fields through the train’s window and I know You are here, Lord. I know that you are my Savior, my Healer and my Rock. I feel hopeless when I don’t spend enough time with You. It has such a big impact on my day when I don’t submit it to You every morning. Keep me from following my own mind and thoughts and will. I am failing often, but Your grace abounds every day. Thank you for reminding me that You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. God, I feel so privileged, yet so undeserving. I know that I don’t live as I ought to be living for You. I don’t I don’t serve you as I ought to do. I am still learning every day that the Christian life is a process and that I will always be busy climbing until the day that You will come again, Lord. I know You are still cutting at me, cleansing me from all my idols, teaching me Your ways… Let my desires match with Yours, Father. Let Your will be done in my life.
Romans 8: 18-19 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Budapest @ The Hive
We are now in Budapest, Hungary.
Budapest is such an interesting city! Today we went to a pool resort and it was amazing to just swim, relax and soak up the wonderful Europe sun. We all like our Budapest hostel so much and the rooftop bar has swings, where we enjoyed welcome drinks and met a few new people.
The sun is starting to set and I found a dog park near our hostel to spent some time in the Word. I also found a vegan market on my way here, with vegan food and drinks and everything was so good. It is calm and peaceful here in the park; to think and reflect and to be still. I am still learning every day to “slip away” from my daily life to spend some quiet time with God, even in my busiest of days, because it is then when I need Him most. Previously in my life, I was always so busy (I wrote about that before on my blog) and I am so grateful for God’s overruling peace in my life.
I lost my only traveling credit card today and I just walked around in the streets and I found Wi-Fi after a few hours, where I could sort something out. God always keeps me calm in the storms. He knows that I don’t even have any cash on me for the day of tomorrow and in His sovereignty, He always gives me an outcome. But He demands trust FIRST, and usually then the outcome follows, which ALWAYS brings Him glory. It took a few days, but He delivered me. I am always reminded that money is just money and that nothing comes close to the refuge that is to be found under His wings.
Psalm 121 – From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD…
Lord, you have answered 100’s of prayers throughout my tour so far. You are so, so faithful.
@ The Bridge
I am at a food market in Budapest. I crossed the big bridge and there are 100’s of people here! I love the water, the markets, and the music -it really feels like holiday and I like to experience this on my own and find my way through the places and the crowd of people. I cannot remember a day in my life where it was this hot; maybe the heat makes me forget, I don’t know. I tried to find shade under a tree and this is where I am writing in my journal now… I know that in tougher days, You are still with me, Lord. Thank you that I can find my peace and joy in You.
Tonight, we will be attending a festive firework show in Budapest! I know it will be amazing!
Unfailing Father. What compares to His love? My soul should know his Savior.
The fireworks went on for almost an hour and I could just think of how I want to set the world ablaze for Jesus like that… set the world on fire for Him.
I read an article today about being obedient to God’s word and it reminded me of some things we all have to battle through in our lives…
Will it hurt? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.
Train to Vienna
I am on my way to Vienna, Austria. I am watching the people on the train and it is astonishing to see how everyone is trying to fill up their time with worldly things, trying to keep themselves busy in the flesh. I was also like that. I still am sometimes. Thank you for opening my eyes, Lord, for giving me the desire to do the things that please You. I will never be worthy of this.
God – You have sent a person every day now that I can share the Gospel with. You work in the most wonderful of ways.
I am not worthy, yet You call me…
Verse 17-18 – 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills
Verse 22-24 – 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory
EVERYTHING IS DESIGNED AND PURPOSED FOR HIS GLORY.
We arrived at Wombats Hostel in Vienna. I ate dinner with the group and now I am sitting in the lounge area of the hostel. It was a great day – I explored the streets with Tamara, and I really grew very fond of her. She is from the UK and we get along so well. God, bless her in all her ways… may her life bring glory to You.
Tamara and I went to the famous Schőnbrum Palace in Vienna and we walked around in the amazing garden, enjoyed some Lemonade and Ginger Ale and shared more about our families and our lives back at home with each other.
I am reminded today: Christ is not something that makes your life better; He IS your life.
I am sitting in a lovely park in Prague. Here are so many trees and birds and wonderful hammocks. It is still early in the morning and the others are still asleep, but I need this time with the Lord. It is a 30minute walk to the park, the morning air is refreshing here and I could pray over my prayer list while enjoying the morning wind and sunrise. I trust in Him.
We are back at Wombats Hostel. It is night time and we leave in 1 hour with the night train to go to Venice. Today has been a good day. Tamara and I explored the city of Vienna, we walked through so many streets, then we went to a small, green park and enjoyed lunch together.
Father, you are so good to me.
Night Train to Venice
We didn’t get much sleep in the train, but it was still good to experience a night train.
I received Psalm 103 to read tonight.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Island of Venice
I am in Venice, baby! I have been here for two days now.
Yesterday, I walked all around the island and saw the most amazing places. Here are so many people and the vibe and scenery are indescribable. There is a reason why people love Venice so much. It is just so lovely. Everything is beautiful. We rode on a bungalow and it was peaceful and beautiful. We also had a group dinner last night, where we all ordered real Italian pizza! We said goodbye to some of our group members who left early this morning.
I am at a pasta place on the island now and I just ordered my first pasta ever at a restaurant. I guess I will never be a pasta girl, but it sure was worth a try! I probably had ice cream every day since I arrived in Italy though! The sun is starting to set outside and I should catch the boat back now.
Everything in this world will fade… I’m pressing on ‘till I see Your face…
Train to Rome
We went to two other islands yesterday. The island of Burano is amazing. It was so hot, but o, so beautiful. It was like a fairy tale. I would love to go back one day.
We are on our way to Rome now. The ride will be about 3-4 hours.
I need you, Lord, to give me peace as I open Your Word now.
Verse 2 – …they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Verse 17 made me think of the lyrics of a song I listened to; it says: Faith makes a fool of what makes sense (in the human mind).
It was a wonderful day in Rome!
We went to the historic Coliseum and I felt so small in between those walls, while I tried to imagine in my mind all that has happened there. We also went to the majestic Roman Forum and I threw my coins in the iconic Trevi Fountain. It was a very good day. I got lost for a few hours in the streets of Rome, without any Wi-Fi or maps, but as I said before, that is how I can ask for help and meet wonderful strangers along the way. Eventually after finding Wi-Fi in the area outside the busy center of the city, I typed my hostel’s name into Google Maps, but it turned out that there are two hostels with the same names and I was on the opposite side and on my way to the wrong hostel. Regardless of feeling hot and tired, I could just laugh at myself.
These things happen, right?
I went out for dinner with the group tonight. It was a lovely restaurant and by now we are a closer group and are enjoying all of Italy so very much!
On the train to Florence
I feel so refreshed today. I am on my way to Florence! Everything outside the train’s windows is beautiful and green. It makes me think of the Western Cape back in South Africa…
We are staying at a wonderful hostel in Florence, Plus Hostel. We have a lovely balcony with a big swimming pool and this is by far the best vibe we have had on this trip. The moment we arrived, we dropped out bags and took the train to the town of Pisa. We took photos by the Leaning Tower of Pisa and drank some fresh Lemonade in one of the local restaurants. I am alone in the room now as the others went out for the night. This is the best part of my day, to reflect and spend time with the Lord. I am listening to the song, New Wine:
When I trust you, I don’t need to understand.
This morning, I went to eat breakfast downstairs and then went up to the terrace, found an amazing hammock, read the Word and listened to a few worship songs.
From up there, you can see the top of the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It was the most amazing day in Florence! I absolutely love the streets, the buildings, the markets, the people… I had the best white chocolate and coconut ice cream here. Thank you, Tamara, for being my ice cream friend, travel mate, train partner (every single time!), for being a castles & gardens explorer, pizza taster, photo taker and the best travel partner with me.
Train to Nice
On the rails again! I am on my way to Nice, France.
What a privilege! I love long train rides; it means time for Bible study while enjoying the moving scenery outside the train.
2 Cor. 4: 16 – 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[d] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”
Thank you, Lord, for opening my ears and my eyes at Your appointed time.
I read in the book, Trusting God, by Jerry Bridges how God’s sovereign hand controls absolutely everything. A passage that stood out to me:
Nothing therefor, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen: He either permits it to happen, or brings it about himself.
He even chooses whose eyes to open to the Truth… which should make us see again and again that it is ALL by grace if we are of the chosen ones for His Kingdom.
Romans 12 (The marks of a true Christian)
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Lord, thank you for this day, for experiencing your perfect creation in the most wonderful of ways. Let my thoughts and my words today bring glory to You.
Today was incredible! I scuba dived for the very first time and I am feeling so thankful.
You made this world so beautiful, Lord.
Nice is wonderful. I would love to live here. I like the beach, the buildings and the French vibes. What a joy to experience this! To just walk through the streets for hours, to wander along the beach, to see God in everything that He made so perfectly. In these blissful moments, still my heart to hear Your voice.
I breathe you in, I lean into Your love, Your face is all I seek, You are my everything.
2 Cor. 12
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
1 September means Spring has sprung in South Africa. It is a day full of flowers, and so my soul is blossoming of joy today and also of the longing for my people.
I listened to a new song just now:
From the love of my own comfort, from the fear of having nothing, from a life of worthy, deliver me, O God. From the need to be understood, from the need to be accepted, from the fear of being lonely, deliver me, O God. From the fear of serving others, from the fear of death or triumph, from the fear of humility, deliver me, O God. And I shall not want, no I shall not want, when I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.
And then I read this from a wonderful book:
The very moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so, all day.. That voice tells us: I shall not want. As we entrust ourselves to the Shepard, He takes his rod and his staff and trains our feelings to follow Him. He teaches us, day by day, that as long as we are near him, we shall not want. Even in discomfort, even I rejection, even in the valley of the shadow of death. – Mere Christianity
I had a lovely day in Monaco, France.
Tamara and I took the train there and it was lovely to walk the steps up to the Pink Palace, to enjoy some seafood and to see the incredible view of the harbour and sunset over the ocean.
I am so humbled by this tour, so thankful for this day, this life.
I read Psalms tonight.
Deliver me – Ps.120
Show me – Ps. 123
Teach me – Ps. 125
Train to Barcelona
I am on the train and on my way to my last city – Barcelona, Spain.
This is my last day on tour. What a journey it has been.
I just traveled to 10 countries this passed month. WHAT IS LIFE?
Behind the clamor of our desires, we hear the voice of a Sheperd who invites us to green pastures and still waters… – C.S. Lewis.
I enjoyed my last dinner with the group in Spain. Spain is beautiful and I would have loved to have more time here, but I have to head back to be at school tomorrow. I said goodbye the group and ended an amazing tour with them. I am on the airport now and will be having an eight hour layover in Athens…
I haven’t slept in more than 26 hours, but after this tour, I think I am trained pretty well! I am on the airport in Greece now, and enjoying the time I have for reflection before moving into the rush of reality again.
I feel so privileged. This trip was one of the best things I have ever done.
Thank you, Lord. For all of this.
Prepare me, Lord, for what is to come in this new school year at work. Give me patience and a gentle heart for my new class students and the people around me. Shape me to become more like You, Lord, transform me more to the image of Christ. I know that I am still so young and small in faith and in wisdom. Teach me, Lord, to walk the way You walk. To follow You no matter the cost. I am so different from a year or two ago. I am wiser now, and stronger in You. Thank you for growth, Father.
One last stretch and I will be in Abu Dhabi again. I look back over this month- long tour and I am even more in awe of God and His majesty. I learned and experienced so much on this trip, but if nothing else, I grew in Him. It is impossible to describe my tour – words fail me every time…
Through this month, I have seen the most amazing places, I went to 10 countries and 16 cities, I met people from all over the world, I made new friends, I tasted different food, swam in different waters, seen 30 amazing sunrises, I heard wonderful life stories, I experienced a lot of things for the first time, I fell in love with so many moments, I laughed the most of all, I slept way too little, I danced and had a musical sing-off with new friends, I had my heart broken in this lost world we live in, I came to love souls more, I threw some things out of my life, I embraced the little things more, I walked an average of 25 000 steps per day, I got lost in foreign countries more than a few times, I felt pain when it came around, I learned how to have more mercy, I was humbled by every encounter I had with strangers, I learned how to take it one day at a time, to live more in the moment and to always be joyful.
But above all, I saw God in absolutely everything.
When I am lost
You pursue me
Lift my head
To see Your glory
You can find the video of my tour here: