Saturday, November 18, 2006

Whirlwinds, Encouragements, and Prague

Wow! So much has has been one big whirlwind. I finally have a moment to breathe and reflect back. But even that moment seems too brief- go figure.

So that week that was split between october and november...I pretty much thought I was going to die. I had to get so much done that week before I left for Prague, and it was just unreal the amount of things there were. To put it in perspective- I was a CL for 2 years and had a few meltdowns during that time because of how overwhelming that job is when you are trying to be a student, attend church, and keep up with friends. I can say that week (and the one after Prague) was far worse than any of the meltdown times I had as a CL. That's saying a lot. Without exaggeration- I literally had more to do that week than I had hours in the day to do it. I got so little sleep that week- haha. It was pretty scary there for awhile...I definitely didn't even sleep the night before we left for Prague, simply because I hadn't had the time to pack. Oh dear...

But God was GOOD and pulled me through it (of course), and I spent the next week in Prague. But before I get to that, I have to praise God for some encouragement I received the night before I left...

So I called my parents the night before I left for Prague (I had to get the parent speech about not going anywhere by myself, making sure I took the right measures not to get pick know, the usual). To my surprise, my brother was home and wanted to talk to me (2 things that haven't occurred in a long time- and especially not at the same time). So he got on the phone...and oh my gosh, I am starting to cry just typing this. Haha- I am such a sap. I just really haven’t had the time to really let it sink in. I guess it’s finally hitting me and I am just so overwhelmed with joy. Anyway, God is doing His work, and I think my brother is back! Talking to him, I could hear a difference in his voice. The attitude was gone. There was genuine joy in his voice. And he couldn’t tell me fast enough about all that God has been doing. There is a renewed excitement in him about His relationship with God. He literally cannot get enough of Him. He literally has come to a point where nothing else matters to him except God. He literally aches for God. Which was exactly my prayer. I can’t even express in words how this makes me feel. This is something for which I have been praying for over a year. He and my parents actually met me at the airport in Austin when I got back from Prague (basically because they are amazing and really cute). Seeing him with this new air about him, getting a real hug from him…I don’t think I could ask for anything more. That made my entire semester. So thank you to everyone who have been praying with me for my brother. Please continue to pray for God’s work in his life, that Satan would not find any footholds.

And now Prague…I got to spend a week in the Czech Republic and didn’t have to pay for it. This makes me very happy. It was part of the B.E.S.T. program that I am in at the b-school. While we were there, we met with local business leaders to discuss the experiences they have had in the international arena (that was the "class" part of the trip). We met with the new US ambassador, which was really cool. And the rest of the time, we just got a tour of the city. It was amazing. It was pretty much a vacation. Which is just one of those sweet blessings that God planned ahead of time. The city was was like stepping back in time. Amazing architecture, cobblestone streets, intersting history...

We visited Prague Castle, St. Vitus' Cathedral, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, Skoda Automobile Plant, Terezin (a work camp during Nazi Germany time), the Jewish synagogue, the John Lennon peace was such a great experience. It was interesting to learn the history of the Czech people- it really is a sad and dark history. Which explains a lot about our experience. People weren't very friendly, they hardly ever smiled, they do not talk on public transportation (not like us loud Americans)...they are wary of foreigners and still have reminders around of the old regime. I learned a lot and definitely got bitten by the travel bug. I wanted to travel before...and this trip makes me want to even more. I want to go everywhere, learn everything. I really hope that that is part of God's plan for me somehow in my future. Parts of the trip were difficult...I was constantly on my knees asking for His wisdom, grace, and love. Just some expectations that were not met, some disappointments, some challenges of living out my faith in a world where it is not valued. He is good, and I just praise Him for the opportunities I was given. Here are some of my favorite pics from the trip:

St. Vitus' Cathedral

View of the city from the top of 287-step tower

Jewish cemetary

Path to Terezin

Walls of Terezin

A view from inside the corridor

Charles Bridge at sunrise

Astronimcal clock in Old Town Square

ITBS- where we stayed during the week

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