Monday, April 17, 2006

well here we are. this is the team that just got back from amsterdam. (plus a few zolder people thrown in for fun) :)
and despite the fact that there aren't words to convey what this trip was like, the writer in me feels compelled to try.
above all else, this trip was God. His hand was so clearly on everything we did. there were so many "chance" encounters and conversations with people who were seeking truth about God. there was also so much spiritual warfare. i've never experienced such tangible, manifest spiritual battles. it was tough. and sometimes scary. but always God prevailed.
one day in particular, we went to the outer edge of the Red Light District and spent some time talking w/people in that area. it seemed that most people we talked to were either drug dealers or addicts. i have never stood on the front lines, fighting to take back God's kingdom in such a tangible way before. it's forever changed me.
this trip was also about getting to the heart of things. the heart of me. the heart of others. God set me free in some areas that have been difficult for me for a long time. it's always been hard for me to truly connect with people. i've always *liked* people, and always love being around them, but something in me always held back a little. i rarely let people really know me. that changed on this trip. for reasons i can't explain, something just opened up. i think in part it was caused by watching some people do the very same thing, and watching others not do it at all. it was like God was saying "you have a choice. 'a' or 'b'. pick one." i pray that i never hide my real self away again.
and, though i need to spend some time in prayer, and some time talking with those who know me best, i think this trip confirmed that it's time to move forward. i went to amsterdam last year, too, and between then and now, dozens of people have asked me if i'd move there. without hesitation, my answer has always been 'yes'. because i hadn't followed through yet, i was beginning to think that i was simply caught up in the romantic notion of living in amsterdam. but during this trip, the people at Zolder shared their vision for planting churches in other parts of the city and in other cities besides just amsterdam. and suddenly i see what purpose i would serve by being there. i want God to use me to fight for that city. i want to walk the streets everyday, praying redemption and freedom over every person i lock eyes with.
this seems like a strange time to throw in comments about our team, but since this is more a 'stream of conciousness' thing than anything, that's what's next :)
our team was incredible. so many people, all so different, and yet all working together to acheive a small part of God's vision for that city and for one another. i'm grateful that i was able to get especially close with a few members of our team, and i hope that closeness keeps growing and deepening.
i've come to terms with the fact that i'm an artist. i feel like i can say that for the first time without any hesitation or doubt. 'till now, i've never considered myself artistic or especially creative. (i know ... this is the part where anyone reading this says "what?!") because that's always how people react when i say that. but it's true. yea, i do creative or artistic things sometimes, but i've never considered myself an artist. on this trip, God used a couple of people - one of my team mates and also someone from Zolder - to... well.. i guess to set me free. their creativity and artistic expression.. it was as though it awakened something in me. the Easter service at Zolder did the same thing because it contained so many creative elements.
consequently, tonight, instead of watching a movie or reading a book, i'm making a video. something short. simple. but suddenly i feel as though i *have* to create in order to effectively express my emotions about this trip and about God.
i feel so different, sitting here, in the same spot i've sat in for hours and days on end. same location, different girl. granted, everyone says that after missions trips. everyone feels "changed". but this feeling goes deeper than emotion or nostalgia. there's a line from the movie "as good as it gets" where jack nicholson's character says "she's evicted me from my life".
that pretty well sums it up.
i've been evicted from my previous life. which is ok, 'cause i wasn't that attached to it anyway. the next step? to get ready for the next step i guess. do some research, ask some questions, do all *kinds* of prayin'. i don't know how it's all gonna work out, or what it will look like, or what the process will be. all i know that i need to find out how possible it is for me to move to amsterdam and what route i take to get there. is it a straight shot from dtw to ams? or should i detour through cali first?
::shoulder shrug:: only He knows. but that's good enough. that's enough.

time to put away the tiny things
that distract from what's to come
time to set aside the trivial things
and fight for an eternal kingdom
time to stop running
time to turn and face what lies ahead
time to stop questioning
the God Who's got me in His hands.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stef, you are totally amazing and I feel completely blessed to have shared the trip with you. I know this sounds cheesy, but I mean it from the bottom of my soul.....

Love you much,

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read your blog for the first time....found it through Stacey H's link. I could feel your emotion and excitement in this entry. I will be praying for God to make things clear and to BLESS you huge! Miss you girl....good to hear about you even if it has to be this way. Much Love in Christ our Savior, Kristi Kurtz

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. well, i know the feeling. funny how a certain piece of earth can grab your heart like that.

follow it. just as everyone told me, so i tell you: we will miss you, but go for it!! what an amazing opportunity.

love you! praying for all the doors to swing wide open!


2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the next step? to get ready for the next step i guess."

This is life, isn't it.......
One journy.......

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Stef

Sounds like an amazing trip with many life changing aspects! its funny I was reading this a week or so ago and listening to a song from the Nathan Nockels and Charlie Hall album " Don't pass us by" the song is Free man. There are many good lryics but it says " I have given you life now so live it freely" " Lord I have a Heart thats forgivin How can I give life back to you cause God I want to" I am not doing this song Justice with these two quotes but I hope you get where I am coming from. If it does not make sense sorry I am not good going from my mind to paper. Its cool to see that God has given you the freedom to do what you love for him and I hope whatever you do He will bless that.

Steve Hoover

10:17 AM  

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