Monday, May 7, 2012

You gotta keep me in Czech

//I wrote this post just before coming home, but never got around to posting it. I guess it's time to move the Christmas post down a bit...but anyway, I don't think I'll be using this blog much after this, I've moved everything over to wordpress, so check that out here. So now, enjoy this last post here, and know that I mainly wrote it so I could put a Czech pun in the title. And I guess also to tell you how wonderful my Czech Tour experience was. Ciao, Charlene//

I am really going to miss living in Europe. I mean, all I had to do to get to Prague was hop in a van and 3 hours later I was there. And now, I'm in love with the Czech Republic. Prague is a nice place, it's a lovely city to spend the day in, but I'm so glad that I got to actually visit some of the smaller cities and experience more of the "real" Czech culture.

So to begin with, here's a list of the towns I got to visit: Prague, Kutna Hora, Decin, Tachov, Plzen, Prestice, and Cheb. And that was just in 10 days. This whole going to a lot of different places for short periods of time seems to be a theme in my outreaches so far. But that's not important. What's important is that I, along with 6 others from Herrnhut joined with 3 women from YWAM Cheb, Czech Republic, to visit different churches and youth groups in all of these cities and tell them about our outreach, our DTS experiences, and to promote both DTS in Herrnhut and also the DTS that the women from Cheb are going to be starting up next February.

At first I was not very enthusiastic about the whole tour idea, I mean, we just got back from outreach a few weeks ago, I still feel like I'm recovering in some ways. And I definitely wasn't too keen on giving up my bed again after just getting it back. I didn't want to speak in front of people and I didn't want to spend hours and hours in the vans again. Nonetheless, I woke up at 8am almost every morning  the week before going to pray with the rest of my team, and through lots of prayer, God changed my perspective and I actually feel like I almost enjoyed tour more than outreach. Almost.

The Czech Republic is such a beautiful country, toward the end of the week the weather really started to get nice and I was just blown away by the beauty that is in this country. In Decin some students showed us around the city and they took us to places that have almost been around longer than Europeans knew that the earth was round. I just can't get over the richness of the history. But, like most places in the world, a rich history means that not only are there beautiful cultural monuments to the past, but there is also a lot of hurt and heartbreak that has taken place. I don't know a lot about the history of the Czech Republic, but the Soviet rule has had a huge impact on modern day Czechs, and now it is one of the most atheistic countries in the world. After finding this out, going to the different churches and sharing our testimonies had a much bigger impact to me. I mean, these are strong Christians, to survive in such a spiritual battle zone, and to share my life with them was incredible.

In short, the Holy Spirit showed up in a lot of incredible ways during this time, and I feel so blessed to have been able to experience it. Now I just have to get over the fact that we have less than one week left here at the base. It helps to know that I'll be going home to dear friends and family who I can't wait to see. Not to mention my brother's wedding. It will be an exciting time, I'm just praying that it won't be so exciting that I manage to forget everything that has happened these past wonderful, trying, exhilarating, beautiful, challenging, breathtaking seven months.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from Serbia!

Hello dear friends and family! Christmas greetings from Serbia! I never would have guessed that I'd ever be celebrating Christmas in Serbia when I came here. Actually, I don't think I ever really knew anything about Serbia before we decided to go to South East Europe. But God does funny things, right?

So it's been a little while since I've sent an update, right? I know. Last time I talked to all of you I was still in Herrnhut, cleaning the castle. Well, let me tell you what happened. As you can hopefully see on the map, there are 3 big red spots. The first is Herrnhut, where we started, in Herrnhut we cleaned the castle and did some outreach to people in the town and at the base. We sent a few people out at the beginning of that week (around the 11th or 12th) to go to Nurnberg to prepare for the whole team to come. On the 17th the whoel group piled into our 2 vans, and 5 people took the train, and went Southeast to Nurnberg, Germany. While there we found lodging at a YMCA, who let us stay for free all week, and we did a lot of local outreach. That included caroling and other street music, going into the red light district, and doing general ministry in the Christmas Market, which is one of the biggest in Germany.

The entire group prayed about where to go next, and unanimously got the answer from God to go to Serbia, so we piled up into our vans (now we had 3 of them) at 1:30am last night we prayed and left. After more prayer (a LOT of prayer, especially at the borders) we got to Novi Sad, Serbia. The plan is to stay until the 26th, and so we'll be spending Christmas here. Actually, Germans, Romanians, and Latvians start celebrating Christmas today, so since we have 2 Germans and 1 Romanian and 1 Latvian on our team, the festivities will begin today, starting with tortilla soup for dinner!

Before I go, a few praises and prayer requests:

- God's provision has been amazing! We have beds to sleep on while in Serbia, and a kitchen!
- The way that God leads us everywhere

-Finances. We've run into a few unexpected fines on our way to Serbia, and since we didn't have all the money in when we left, cash is still tight. Any donations would be a great Christmas present! ;)
-Good attitudes...traveling like this can bring up a lot of stress and anxiety very easily.
- Good health, the winter season is in full swing and we have a few people here not feeling 100%, myself included.

Thank you so much, I love you all and I will remember you in my prayers!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why I bought a nose ring

“I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey, and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 16:9-14 NIV)

 I began reading Ezekiel at the beginning of the DTS, mainly because I had never read it before. This section is from a vision Ezekiel had of Jerusalem, and how God picked up the Israelites and gave them life. He gave them all these good gifts; food, clothing, jewelry, etc. And then it goes on to say how she was actually unfaithful, the worst of all her sisters (Samaria and Sodom). I saw this passage as a warning for me. I can see how God has saved me in my life, how he has picked me up from "kicking about in [my] blood" (16:6) and given me life. In the passage quoted above, it mentions how God put a ring in her nose, and so I bought myself a nose ring. Now when I look in the mirror, I see it and am reminded of every good gift the Lord has given to me, and also to not be like unfaithful Jerusalem. I am reminded that everything I have is because of God, and that I am valuable to him.

"For you have delivered me from death 
and my feet from stumbling, 
that I may walk before God 
in the light of life." 
Psalm 56:13   

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Outreaches announced!

I'm going to Southeast Europe with a team of over 30 people! We want to get some hippie vans and drive them down toward Moldova, Turkey, and Greece to share with gypsies, women in prostitution, and the like. I'm so excited, but we still don't really have any destinations or plans yet. We just need a lot of prayer in general, for direction, open doors, etc, but also for visas because none of us have our visas yet. Germany changed their visa regulations the day our school started, so it's a new system not only for the people here who process the visas, but also for the German government, which means that everything is just going much slower than anyone anticipated.

So in the visa process, everyone has to take a trip to one of the nearby towns to get fingerprinted, and then after that it takes about 6 weeks to process the visa. As of now, about 10 people have been fingerprinted, and they only do the fingerprinting twice a week in small groups. So there is a possibility that most of us will not have our visas by the time outreach begins. In Germany, foreigners can stay in the country for 90 days before they get their visas. We are allowed to stay in Germany if we are getting our visas processed, but past that 90 day point we will not be able to leave the country until we have the visa. So we basically have two options if God doesn't give us our visas by outreach. One is to stay in Germany until we get our visas, which could take until January, and do outreach in Germany until then. The second is to leave Germany before the 90 day period is up, and then we'd have to stay out of Germany for 90 days before we could return. So we're basically just living on faith that God will give us our visas somehow, the whole base is praying for it. Any other prayers would be very much appreciated as well!

I am so excited about this next part of DTS, with roughly 5 weeks of lecture phase left things are starting to get really real. And it’s going to be really cold for outreach, something I was definitely not expecting. I won’t need the long skirts or the mosquito net which I made sure to pack, and the need for really good snow boots has grown more urgent. But God is good, he will provide everything I need. And probably more. :)

Friday, October 14, 2011


There have been a lot of things going on at the castle lately, a lot of good things. Let’s see if I can sum this up without taking up too much of your time.

One thing that happened this past week was our very first critique night. I’ll explain what it is first. Critique Night is a time when we all get to share our art with the rest of the school and really just fill the castle from the basement to the attic with a lot of great stuff.  Everyone had comment cards or paper next too each of their pieces and it was just a time when we got to tell everyone what we thought about their work. There was a dance by the dance track, performances by the music track all over the castle, photos by the photo track all around the student floor and in the stairwells, a lot of painting and drawings and sculptures made by the fine art track, some really nicely designed stuff by the graphic design track, and finally two full tables bursting with handmade things by our track.

The day leading up to the evening was a little stressful, because we had just one day to prepare everything. That meant finishing off our nearly complete pieces, pricing anything that was meant to be sold, making comment cards, collaborating with the other girls in the track about setting things up, making our display look nice, making a description card about my collection, and more. So the six of us who could worked from after lunch right up to 7pm in our crowded little studio, made a huge mess, but ultimately, set up a great display. If you want to see what it is I am making, I will be posting photos on, which is the blog that I am setting up as a requirement for the track. I just made the account though, so there’s nothing there as of yet. But hopefully soon!

Another thing that happened here was the announcement of the MOTA plans for after outreach ends! So how our school is set up, we have a 12 week lecture phase, a 10-11 week outreach phase, and then we come back to the base around mid-February. I don't graduate from the school until the end of March though, so what is it we're doing for the last month and a half? We will come back to the castle and do some intense art-ing for 3 weeks, and then we split up into small teams and we will take our art and our stories and go on tour around Europe! It'll be a 10 day tour to just tell people about what is happening at YWAM Herrnhut. We don't have any locations nailed down yet, we'll probably do a lot in Germany, but we're definitely not restricted to this country! We also need God to provide us with some money, places to stay, open doors, and about 20 vans to truck us all around.

I guess that's all for now. A few prayer requests beyond those mentioned above would just be for finances, a lot of us still do not have all our money in yet, even though we know it will come, and just for more of Jesus everyday. We've seen a lot of breakthrough, but there's always more space for God to fill in us. Thank you for your prayers! Auf Wiedersehen!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Typical Day in Herrnhut

Aright. So far I've given you things that God has been showing to me. But some have just been asking, what is a normal day like in Germany? Well, there will be no more waiting, my friends. Come with me, let's walk through a day together in Herrnhut.

First I wake up, typically around 7am to get ready for my day. I don't live at the castle where the majority of my day happens, I live in the apartments in town. I have to leave the apartment by no later than 8am to get to the castle in time for morning activities. Since breakfast happens from 7-7:30, I usually don't make it in time, so I will stop at the local bakery to pick up a tasty pastry or bread roll to eat along the way. I get to walk through the forest to the castle every morning, which is absolutely beautiful. Living in town has it's disadvantages, like no internet, 1 washing machine and 2 bathrooms for 40 girls, etc, but some of it's distinct advantages include the forest, being closer to the Penny (the local grocery store), being closer to the Döner (the "hangout" spot in town), and having an excuse to walk off all the carbs we eat at the castle.

So since I'm on the topic, a typical meal at the castle includes either bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes. It's a carbohydrate overload all over the place. According to the Germans here, we're not really eating typical German food. We're eating food that will feed a lot of people for a less money. So sometimes it tastes really great, like when they make us mashed potatoes. And sometime it's not quite so much to my liking, like when they serve mushroom soup. But I'm trying to eat everything, as a practice for outreach where I probably won't have the option of being very picky. So I've eaten more mushrooms int he past 3 weeks than I probably have in my entire life. I still don't like them though...

So back to the normal day. Things start happening at the castle at 8:30am. On Mondays and Fridays we have an hour of worship, on Tuesdays-Thursdays we have times of prayer and intercession. It was during this time that the 15,000 euros were raised for the Justice DTS teams. These times end around 9:30, and then we'll take a 5-10 minute break before we begin lectures. Each day is broken up into chunks for lectures and art tracks and work duties, 9:30-11:00, 11:30-1:00, 2-4, and 4:30-6.

Every week we have a different guest speaker who does lectures. This week we have a woman who our guest speaker last week called the Ninja Grandma. Her name is Donna Jordan and she's teaching us about hearing the voice of God. Normally the speaker will have the floor until 11:00am, and then we'll get a coffee break and then art tracks will begin. However, sometimes the speaker will just have lots to say (like Donna this week) and so at 11:30 we will reconvene to have another session until 1:00 pm. When this happens, all the art tracks meeting that day just meet at the 4:30 time slot instead of some meeting at 11:30.

My art track is the hand-made art track, and we meet at 11:30 when the speaker doesn't take that time slot. We don't meet every day, so far it's been at the beginning and the end of the week. I know I came into this DTS thinking that I would be following the photography track, but I decided to switch about a week in. I just felt very torn between the two, wanting to do both, and so I decided to go with hand-made because I felt it would be more of a challenge for me, and that I could finally have the time to do all the things that I've always wanted to do but never had the time or resources to do. So far I've made a journal, and later today we'll be starting stamp making/linoleum printing.

Lunch begins at 1:30 and is the big meal of the day. When it's warm outside we sit outside the castle, but when it starts to get too cold we'll all eat in the dining hall, which is also where we have lectures. It's not a dining hall with chairs and table though, it's just a big room where we all sit on the floor.

From 2-4 most people have work duties. My work duty is a little different, however. I work in the café here at the castle. That means my work duty is any 2 hour time slot between 11:30 and 6pm every day, some days as late as 8pm. It's more work than most other work duties, but I think it's more fun. I'm starting to get the hang of making the espresso drinks and getting to just sit and talk with people is always a pleasure. Sometimes in the evenings I'm by myself which is great too, because it gives me time to just think and process and talk to God.

More art tracks happen from 4:30-6, I usually get some time to get on the internet or work in the studio or just hang out with people around the castle. And then at 6pm we get dinner, which is more like an American lunch during the week. It's almost always the same, bread, cold-cut turkey, cheese, and salad. It's not very exciting, but I try not to complain.

There's usually people to hang out with and talk to for a few hours after dinner, so I'll normally leave the castle to head back to the apartment between 8 and 9pm. Then it usually takes a long time to get ready for bed just because there's always someone in the bathroom and someone to talk to. But eventually things quiet down and we go to sleep, ready for a new day.

On weekends things look a little different, there are no lectures or art tracks, and breakfast runs a little later. You pack your lunch at breakfast, bread and cold cuts and cheese, and then dinner happens at 6pm, and it's a hot meal, vegetarian on Saturday, meat on Sunday. Other than that, the day is yours to do whatever.

So that's a day in Herrnhut. I'll leave you with a few photos.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nothing is ever too big.

The past week has just been one giant testament to God’s faithfulness and provision here in Herrnhut. We began a journey of faith on Wednesday evening of last week. We called it a Faith Walk, where we split into lots of small teams of four or five people and left Herrnhut with one euro each. Myself and 4 others hitch hiked to the small nearby town of Bautzen and started looking for people to bless in whatever way we could. Logically, we should have expected to spend every night out in parks and under trees, with one person watching to make sure no one stole any of our stuff. But no, God led us to a roof over our heads and food in our stomaches every single night of the walk.

Some of the highlights from the trip included...
-Spending the 3 nights at 3 different places: a youth hostel, an “attenheim” or elderly home, and a church.
-Meeting Khalid, the Pakistani restaurant owner who gave us not one, but two meals, dinner the first night and lunch the next day, for absolutely nothing.
-Getting to know the different people on my team, two other Americans, one guy from England, and one girl from Germany
-Blessing the people at the attenheim by joining in at their autumn festival, serving them dinner, making strawberry banana mush, and taking them on a walk
-Meeting Kaas and his wonderful family. Kaas and his wife are the leaders of the church we stayed in the last night. They are originally from Holland and are tri-lingual, which means we could actually converse with them in English (the rest of the trip was spent saying things to our one German speaker and having her translate for us). Their whole family lives together, three generations all under one roof.
-Handing out fliers to young people all over Bautzen advertising a youth service at the church
-Little comforts such as coffee every morning, showers every morning, safe places to store our backpacks/sleeping bags/passports, and beds on our last night.

Everyone came back together on Saturday around dinner time and we had a time of just sharing all the ways that we saw God moving throughout the country. Some people went as far as Berlin, others left the country completely and went to the Czech Republic and Poland. We saw a few other teams around Bautzen, a lot of teams ended up spending their first night together at the train station in Löbau under a tree. Some really cool things happened like miracle Nutella, and some not so fun things happened, like sleeping outside and being chased away by the police. But I didn’t hear a single person who came back wishing that they hadn’t gone.

We got some real sleep over the weekend, have been having some really awesome lectures with Andy Byrd, our guest speaker. Right now he’s working at the YWAM base in Kona, Hawaii, but I found out that he was one of the instrumental people in getting the YWAM base up and running in Lebanon, PA, so he used to live there. It’s a small world.

But the best part of the week happened this morning during our time of intercession ands prayer. The Justice DTS is preparing to leave for outreach in just one week. There are three teams going to Nepal, Cambodia, and Kenya, and none of them had enough money. Some people hadn’t even paid off their lecture fees yet, so we had a time just to pray for them and ask God to provide. And then they invited anyone who felt called to give money to them to come and do so. They wrote on the white board how much each person needed, and the total was well over 15,000 euros. Which is well over $20,000. In one hour, as we praised God for the money we all knew He would provide we raised the entire amount, plus a few hundred dollars. Every single team had all the money that they needed to go on outreach, from 150 missionaries. Missionaries blessing missionaries. It was so beautiful.

When I saw all the thousands of euros needed on that white board, I never thought that we would be able to raise it all, I mean we all have our own lecture and outreach fees to pay yet. But suddenly people who had close to 2,000 euros of debt had a surplus of 1,600, enough to pay for all the other members of their team. By the end of the hour every cent was paid off, which almost never happens for any DTS that leaves the Herrnhut base.

God is real and He wants us to know that. He is faithful and he will provide. We have been so blessed, and now that blessing becomes our gift to the world. We are blessed to be a blessing.

If you have any questions or want to hear more about the faith walk please e-mail me, I would love to give more details!

Until next time!