It is Finished

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Seniors,

It is finished! We started planning for, fundraising for, talking about, dreaming about, and praying for this senior trip since you were in 6th grade. Now it is over.

In a few months you will be graduating high school and Lititz Christian School will be in your past. I want you to remember this trip, remember that even when we make plans and think we are following God there will be obstacles, delays, and cancelled plans, rerouted to new places we hadn’t planned on. This WILL happen as you leave the halls of Lititz Christian. There will be times were you are following God and He will alter, change, or cancel your plans so that His plans can prevail. Just like we did in the Philadelphia Airport, make the best of it. We had not planned to be there for nearly 30 hours, but they were some of the best times. We played games, talked, laughed, told stories and enjoyed each other’s company. Did we plan that? No, but God had a reason for delaying us and you each made the best of it.

In your life when things don’t go as wanted them to, enjoy the moment, make the best of it as you did on this trip.

In life there will be times when others irritate you, offer them grace, understanding and kindness as you did on this trip.

In life you will have moments of exhaustion and you don’t feel like continuing, but remember how tired you were at times and how you pulled through.

Life will have trouble, rain, snow, and many obstacles. I pray that the Lord will send more “Cool Girl Kellys” into your life to help you through the times where you don’t know which way to go – whether you should go forward or back, I pray that God puts those around you to help.

Life will have times of disappointments and times when you feel you missed out on something you wanted, just like the first 2-3 days of our trip. I pray you react as you did, make the most of it, enjoy where you are, and be present even when that is not where you thought you would be.

If I had my wish the trip would have run like clockwork with all the ducks staying in the rows we planned for, but that is not realistic and not real life. As we shared in our testimonies, trials come. We veer off the path we wanted to be on; instead of it being the end of the world, we each have a decision to make. I pray you make the decision to trust God when you don’t understand why. Trust Him when you don’t like the situation you end up in.

In order to have flowers you must have some rain. In order to develop closer relationships with God and trust Him more, He needs to carry you through some valleys. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” These are not if’s, these are when’s. You will have trouble, you will have disappointments, you will have cancelled and changed plans; but take heart, Christ loves you and has overcome the world. If you are going down a path he doesn’t want you on, whether it be a good path or bad path in your eyes, He will put obstacles in place to stop you. Trust Him, turn to Him, seek Him to direct, lead and guide you to go where He wants you to go.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I look forward to hearing from you and staying in touch. I am excited about the future God has planned for you.

This trip has reinforced my thoughts of how talented, kind, loving, compassionate you can be. It brought tears to my eyes when 2 of you bought game controllers for the community center because the ones they had were broken. Another one of you bought food for a homeless person, I had tears each time I read one of you blog posts. I am so proud of each of you! EACH ONE OF YOU! During this trip I watched each of you and prayed over each of you to be God’s hands and feet to others and you were. That is my prayer for you for the future. Keep your eyes open to others around you. Serve as Jesus would, love as He would. Draw close to Him in times of heartache and sorrow, don’t grow bitter when things don’t go as planned grow into better Christians as you did on this trip.

I am proud to have been a small part of your lives these past 7 years. I am sure I can speak for Ross and Mrs. Urquhart as well and say how blessed we are to have been a part of this trip with each of you.

All my love,

Mrs. Beth Hoover

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A Day in Venice

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In Their Own Words: Kristen & Dawson

From Kristen Pontz:

Yesterday I longed for more time in Hungary. It is a beautiful country, and I wished that we could have more time to serve Word of Life and encourage them in the ministry they have there. I thought that a longer stay there would be better than a trip to Venice. I now realize I was wrong. Venice is the most beautiful place I have ever been, and perhaps it will remain so until I leave this earth. I’m so thankful that we were able to spend our time here today. Exploring the city, shopping, and eating great food ensured a wonderful time of cultural experience, and growing in relationships with our classmates and teachers.

One thing that I have learned through this trip is that God is the only one who knows what is best for us, no matter what we may think we know. I have been taught this before, but I never experienced it quite the way I did this week.

From Dawson Bert:

Today we went to Venice. Going to Italy has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. The day started off with a fresh pastry from the local grocery store. We then made our way to the train, which we rode into Venice. When we got into the city, we rode the water taxi to Murano. We got to watch a master craftsmen create beautiful pieces of glass and then had the opportunity to purchase some of the pieces. Our next destination was a highly recommended pizza place in which we all had true Italian pizza.

When we went back to the main part of the island we got to explore the city starting at San Marcos Square where we had gelato…multiple times. Exploring and taking pictures of the city was one of the highlights of my trips. Venice is one of the most unique and glamorous places in the world and I am truly grateful for the opportunity we had today. We ended the day by eating an authentic Italian dinner and taking our closing water bus trip back to the train. Overall it was an indescribable experience that I will remember forever.

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In Their Own Words: Jess & Savannah

From Jess Gehman:

Three days in Hungary was not enough. Our relationships were just starting to grow and friendships being formed. The Hungary Word of Life Bible students are too wonderful to leave so soon. Their genuinely kind hearts and Christ like attitudes inspire me to be better. The wonderful food, tourist spots, people, architecture, and weather so similar to Home make me want to stay. I felt as though I was at home the whole time. I’ve been searching for answers as to what to do after high school and I finally feel closer to what the answer is. The more I think about Hungary the more I crave to be there. I can imagine spending years of my life deepening and strengthening my relationship with not only Christ, but the Word of Life students and leaders.

Yesterday our group was able to experience what the Bible classes and chapel service were like. For 2 hours I took notes on what was taught and learned all about what it takes to be in a marriage. The speaker, I’m not sure of his name, spoke of what is expected from both the man and the woman within a marriage and how they can better apply what the Bible teaches about their relationship. It was amazing to see the WOL students intently listening and questioning what is involved in marriage and other relationships. During the class, the speaker’s words were translated into Hungarian for the Hungarian students to better understand what was being said. The 2 hours of class flew by and I craved more. After class was the WOL chapel service. Two songs were sung, one in Hungarian and the other in English. Listening and singing the Hungarian song was beautiful. I felt a sense of ease and excitement as all of the WOL and many of the LC students sang a song that wasn’t in their first language. I would sing there again with those wonderful people in a heart beat. Sitting through chapel I felt alive and ready to take on whatever would come my way. I have pages of notes between the class and chapel, which I will keep as my own personal souvenir from this Hungary adventure.

Wednesday afternoon was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. WOL maintenance students and LC students worked together to clean out an older dorm room that is being torn down to rebuild another new building. Big bunk beds, mattresses, boxes, chairs, desks, lamps, and a million other items were carried from the dorm into a “tent” where they will later be sorted through and reused or thrown away. It was a beautiful sunny day for a snowball fight, which happened nonstop for all 3 hours of labor. WOL and LC students teamed up against staff and each other, making the day much more fun. Though snow was pelted at my back(the target) many times(*cough* Andrew *cough*), it was all worth it. It was even better when I accidentally on purpose threw an ice ball at Andrews neck and left a red mark. I thought it was hilarious. The hours spent doing work and sitting in class was enjoyable to me and something I would be willing to do often.

Dinner was about 45 minutes away from WOL and consisted of pork, Chicken, and steak that we cooked on our own on a hot rock. Literally. Each person received 3 pieces of meat and a rock so hot you could feel the heat from feet away. We ended the night with the girls, ross, and Mrs U singing in the conservatory(glass room) for an hour. Just being with them made my heart warm and soften towards those around me. I am far from a sappy emotional teenage girl, but I love my class. There are no other people I would rather be on this trip with. I’ve become closer with everyone and loved every minute of it. The two Days we missed in Hungary disappointed many of us, but the three days we had could not have gone any better. Although we could have had a few less raindrops! I see Hungary as a potential Home for me. I wish we had more time and the opportunity to stay longer. I’m so excited for what comes after this crazy experience we’ve had together. We are closer than ever as a class and more supportive than I could have ever imagined. Each one of us love the others and will do whatever it takes to be there for them.

Hungary was a turning point in my life. I’ve come to many realizations as to what I want to do in my life and where I think God is taking me. I know I need to put my trust and faith in God alone so he can direct me towards where he wants me to be. I’m on a journey to be more loving and less selfish, and closer to Christ. My daily devotions and journaling are just the start.

Thank you Hungary for doing more for me than I thought was possible. Thank you for bringing me closer to my class and for introducing me to Word of Life Hungary. Thanks you to the Hungarian students with willing hearts and open minds, which I strive for. I sense a new, better me coming and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.

 

From Savannah Chaboya:

This opportunity that my class had to travel to Hungary for our senior trip is an experience that I’ll never forget in the years to come. Being able to bond so closely with my entire class has given me the ability to create new relationships and build upon ones that I had already developed. I have also been able to grow closer to the teachers that went along with us, which I am so grateful for. Traveling around Budapest for an entire day was one of the highlights of my time in Hungary. I was able to expand my perspective on different aspects and experience the culture and lifestyle of the Hungarians. The other main highlight of my trip was on Wednesday night around 10 pm. I was able to go to a room on the side of the castle with Jen, Jess, AnnE, Mrs. Urquhart, Kristen, and Ross to sing songs and worship together. Being able to bond with my sisters and brother in Christ gave me great joy and love for them and am so excited to spend the following days with them and the rest of my class. Overall, this experience so far has been such a blessing and I am so thankful to be here every passing day.

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Work Day

Today the group attended 2 classes and chapel in the morning. In the afternoon we went to work cleaning out a dorm that is set to be renovated (among other projects). Then we took our hosts, Attila and Kati and their children, out to dinner.

Now to pack and prepare to leave for Venice tomorrow!

 

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In Their Own Words: Nate & AnnE

From Nate Madeira:

During our ministry to 5th graders in an elementary school Tuesday, I quickly observed one thing I have never been able to observe before: The power of communicating through laughter.
The after-school program is an optional class, that only a few kids come to. The classes start with a worship song, that the BI students teach to the kids. Then there are a few English games played that teach the kids English words.
When language barriers are present, like they are for our group (and the BI students, in some cases), laughter and emotion conveys what is wanted to be said, when it simply cannot be said. Not knowing much Hungarian, the only things we were able to understand was how much fun everyone was having because of the kids constant energy and laughter. We also shared the joy they were experiencing. One thing I learned is that one of the most important things is to try and get the kids to keep coming back to the ministry, because they are not forced to be there. One way to do that is to have fun and speak in the universal language of laughter.

Job 8:21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.”

——  ——

From AnnE VanBuskirk:

Going into the senior trip, I was more than hesitant. Leading up to March 2nd, I was scared that my whole world could fall apart at home, and I simply wanted to stay home with my family. But, after over 50 hours of travel, I guess that feeling of being scared began to fall away. Travel situations that tend to be not-so-ideal are apparently my forte. And God has clearly communicated what he wanted to teach me in this journey so far. In general, I tend to crave control, along with the idealization that everything has to go according to plan. But, being with these 18 people every minute for 50+ hours I realized I have some of the most amazing peers to lean on when that doesn’t happen.

Towards the end of our time in Philly, during part of our free time I was reading John 15 and suddenly I felt so at peace with our situation. Although I wasn’t happy about it by any means, I felt okay with being two days late. John 15:4 says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me”. This verse hit me like a truck. The first thing I saw in this verse was the priority of placing God first and foremost. Then, I saw the priority of remaining in fellowship with other believers. Without the encouragement, friendship, and learning from other believers, we can’t bear fruit. In other words, without the other believers by my side, I can’t display my talents and they cannot display theirs. Again, that hit me like a truck. Suddenly, I was okay with leaving my baggage at home (figuratively). I felt at piece being gone, leaving the country at a not-so-ideal time, and being stuck in a not-so-ideal situation.

Another time I finally decided to let go of my fears, was on the bus on the way home from touring Budapest. On the bus as Jess and I were listening to “wait and see” by Brandon Heath I started to really be okay with letting go of my fears. The end of the song talks about the continual struggle to understand fears, while also learning how to point everything to God. I struggle with this immensely. This stuck out to me like a sore thumb, and I was reminded that even though I continue to struggle, I have the creator of the universe to guard my heart, and I have the most amazing classmates and advisors reminding me of who I am and how I can show the love of Christ. This trip has been unforgettable and I very much am enjoying the ministry opportunities, and opportunities to grow in Christ with my class.

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A Day in Budapest

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Service Day Pics #2

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Service Day Pics

Today we started the day with a brief orientation. Then it was right into a full day of serving. We broke up into 2 teams – both teams going to different locations to teach english and work with children’s programs. One team returned early and did a prayer walk through Toalmas. The other is currently wrapping up their activities and will be returning to campus shortly – so there will be more pictures to come!

Tomorrow we are spending the day in Budapest, seeing the parliament building and Castle Hill and sampling some fine Hungarian cuisine. Prepare for a deluge of pictures from that, as well as a post by a few students about their experience so far.

 

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Arrived! (Finally!)

We’ve arrived! After landing in Budapest, Dawson led us in a sweet prayer, giving thanks for bringing us safely here and asking for rest so that we can dive right into tomorrow’s activities. We did lose our 2 large suitcases that they located in London, and they should be delivered to us tomorrow. Our hosts/drivers met us without any trouble and we are now in Toalmas, in the castle, settled into our rooms and eager to be asleep. Thank you all so much for praying us through. See you tomorrow!

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