Settling In

This past week has been a blur. There’s been so many ups and downs, but right now I’m at a good place. We spent Sunday night through Friday morning in London, and unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. I think it mostly had to do with the fact that I had fallen in love with Edinburgh, and leaving there put a damper on the next five days. Granted, I fully enjoyed seeing all the locations in London that I’ve heard about, but it just didn’t even come close to my experience in Scotland. 


Getting to the hostel was a breeze because we took the train and we had already been to our hostel before to drop off our luggage, so that was one less hassle. We spent Sunday night relaxing and recovering from the past few days. It was nice to have a little bit of time to just not have anywhere to go or to see and to reflect on our time up to that point. The next day we went to all the major attractions in Westminster, including Parliament, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St. Margaret’s Chapel, Big Ben, and Trafalgar Square. I think this was one of my favorite times in London because I had seen so many pictures of these places but never once had thought I would actually get to see them in real life. And boy, are they spectacular! We didn’t pay to go in to Westminster (because it was over $30!) but went back for their Evensong worship service that evening. This was fantastic because we got to see the choir sing, and be a part of worship in the most beautiful church I think I will ever be in. The tradition, that still carries on from hundreds of years ago, was amazing. And to be in a church with that much history: words just cannot describe. The day before in Scotland we had gone to St. Giles church, so that means we went to the Church of Scotland and the Church of England in two days! And not just visiting, but actually being part of a service! Wow. 


On Tuesday we went to Piccadilly Circus and ate lunch at Chinatown. That was quite an experience, because the employees try to make you pay a ‘service charge’, which is actually illegal (we found that out later) so it was way more expensive than we thought! And they charged for tap water, also illegal in the UK. Looking back, if we had known it was illegal we would’ve said something! After that we walked all the way to Buckingham Palace, going the long way through the mall. It was quite cool, as good as I had expected, and even better because the flag was up meaning that the Queen was residing there. We spent a lot of time taking pictures and admiring them (even though the sculptors didn’t seem to care about appropriateness of dress or censorship!) and even threw some 1 pents into the fountain. Actually, Natalie and I did. Stephen thought it was foolishness, even though he provided us with the coins. That night we went back to the hostel and relaxed again, which became our routine. We would be very active during the day and then go to the little Pimlico shop by our hostel for some microwave food and eat it in our kitchen. 


I think once of the reasons that we did not enjoy London as much is because our hostel was not a good experience. It was less friendly than our last one, and there were more people to a room. The staff was not friendly and people came in at all hours of the night. But because of that I’m starting to sleep more soundly, which is a blessing! I now can sleep through doors opening and people snoring, which will make my family very happy to hear about! One good thing that did come out of that hostel experience is that I had the opportunity to meet two guys from Estonia: Kristo and Siim. Embarrassingly enough, I didn’t even know that Estonia was a country when they told me where they were from! Needless to say, I then had to prove how I am not just an ignorant American! But no, they were friendly and I got to ask many questions about their country and their culture and have more deep discussions. Goodness, my therapist/social worker side is really coming out on this trip! But it was great to learn about where they are from and make more relationships with people from across the world. If I ever go back to Europe again, I know I will have places to stay! 


On Wednesday we got a tour done by a guy named Izuna. I had actually met his mom on our bus to Edinburgh, and of course, me being myself (a.k.a friendly and outgoing) absolutely had to make conversation with the lady next to me or I would be bored out of my mind. So I talked to her during the 4 1/2 hour ride to Manchester, and we really hit it off. So she offered her son to us as a tour guide, and we took advantage of that. He took us to Harrod’s, which is an awesome place! I couldn’t believe a store could actually sell that many products! And we went to the Covent Garden Circus, the Natural History Museum, and Piccadilly Circus. The coolest part about the tour was him bringing us to where the youth come to break dance. It was just fantastic to see where real teenagers go to and where only locals know about. I enjoyed being part of something that not many people know about and being able to at least experience for a little bit what people my age do in that city. 


Thursday we went to Oxford, but I felt bad the entire day and it was not a fun trip for me. We spent a lot of time on the bus, and when we got there we realized that visitors were not really allowed inside anywhere. We did get to see where some of the scenes of Harry Potter was filmed (and if you haven’t guessed from my last post, I love Harry Potter) which was awesome! And we also got to go to the pub where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to meet to have their writing club called the Inklings. That was definitely interesting. I wish I had felt better so I could’ve enjoyed that trip more, but it was still cool to see the city and visit the college. 


That night started the traveling nightmare. Like I said earlier, I was feeling awful. And we had to lug all of our luggage (6 bags and 3 backpacks) an hour away to Heathrow via tube. For those of you who have not been to London, the tube is full of stairs. I ended up breaking the pull handle off one of my bags on the stairs, and then we had to just carry it the rest of the way. Once we finally got to Heathrow, we go inside and nothing is open. They tell us that the airport is closed till 4 in the morning! We couldn’t believe that the busiest airport in the world was closed at night! But anyways, we found some couches and got around 2 hours of sleep before we could check in. When we were trying to check in they informed us that our bags were too heavy because American planes could hold more weight. And we understood that, but the guy was very rude about it and we ended up having to pay $200 to ship a bag just one way to Tel Aviv! Then we ran to our gate and did make it with time to spare, which was a relief. Once we got to Zurich we ended up getting lost in the airport and arrived at our gate just as it was boarding. By then we were all frustrated and exhausted and waiting to finally arrive. However, Natalie’s bag didn’t come in the baggage claim, so we had to spend time to figure out what was going to happen and get all the documentation needed so that she could get her baggage checked. Finally, we got on the shuttle and arrived at the college, but I will leave the arrival for a different post! 


Looking back, I am very grateful for our time in London. Although it wasn’t all that we expected it to be, it was still spectacular and I have memories that I will always remember. I think the greatest thing I learned there is patience, because there was a lot of times that the normal me would be frustrated and complaining, and I just didn’t allow that to happen. It feels great to not have to have everything go my way to enjoy things, because I was able to enjoy experiences that I might have missed if I had been impatient. It also came into play through the traveling experience because if this had all happened to me a year ago I would have just given up and cried out of frustration. But I stuck with it and saw it through without giving in to my emotions, and I am here safe and enjoying not living out of a backpack. 

Here is the verse that I’ve been looking at this week, it has a lot to do with my experiences that I have had. Romans 12: 12, ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer’. I’ve had a lot of time to pray these past 10 days and it’s been great to spend some alone time with God because He has given me such clarity in my decisions and such joy in all that I have done. I hope all is well back in America! 
 
Cheers, 
Liz 
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Endings & Beginnings

This past week has been a blur. There’s been so many ups and downs, but right now I’m at a good place. We spent Sunday night through Friday morning in London, and unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. I think it mostly had to do with the fact that I had fallen in love with Edinburgh, and leaving there put a damper on the next five days. Granted, I fully enjoyed seeing all the locations in London that I’ve heard about, but it just didn’t even come close to my experience in Scotland. 


Getting to the hostel was a breeze because we took the train and we had already been to our hostel before to drop off our luggage, so that was one less hassle. We spent Sunday night relaxing and recovering from the past few days. It was nice to have a little bit of time to just not have anywhere to go or to see and to reflect on our time up to that point. The next day we went to all the major attractions in Westminster, including Parliament, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, St. Margaret’s Chapel, Big Ben, and Trafalgar Square. I think this was one of my favorite times in London because I had seen so many pictures of these places but never once had thought I would actually get to see them in real life. And boy, are they spectacular! We didn’t pay to go in to Westminster (because it was over $30!) but went back for their Evensong worship service that evening. This was fantastic because we got to see the choir sing, and be a part of worship in the most beautiful church I think I will ever be in. The tradition, that still carries on from hundreds of years ago, was amazing. And to be in a church with that much history: words just cannot describe. The day before in Scotland we had gone to St. Giles church, so that means we went to the Church of Scotland and the Church of England in two days! And not just visiting, but actually being part of a service! Wow. 


On Tuesday we went to Piccadilly Circus and ate lunch at Chinatown. That was quite an experience, because the employees try to make you pay a ‘service charge’, which is actually illegal (we found that out later) so it was way more expensive than we thought! And they charged for tap water, also illegal in the UK. Looking back, if we had known it was illegal we would’ve said something! After that we walked all the way to Buckingham Palace, going the long way through the mall. It was quite cool, as good as I had expected, and even better because the flag was up meaning that the Queen was residing there. We spent a lot of time taking pictures and admiring them (even though the sculptors didn’t seem to care about appropriateness of dress or censorship!) and even threw some 1 pents into the fountain. Actually, Natalie and I did. Stephen thought it was foolishness, even though he provided us with the coins. That night we went back to the hostel and relaxed again, which became our routine. We would be very active during the day and then go to the little Pimlico shop by our hostel for some microwave food and eat it in our kitchen. 


I think once of the reasons that we did not enjoy London as much is because our hostel was not a good experience. It was less friendly than our last one, and there were more people to a room. The staff was not friendly and people came in at all hours of the night. But because of that I’m starting to sleep more soundly, which is a blessing! I now can sleep through doors opening and people snoring, which will make my family very happy to hear about! One good thing that did come out of that hostel experience is that I had the opportunity to meet two guys from Estonia: Kristo and Siim. Embarrassingly enough, I didn’t even know that Estonia was a country when they told me where they were from! Needless to say, I then had to prove how I am not just an ignorant American! But no, they were friendly and I got to ask many questions about their country and their culture and have more deep discussions. Goodness, my therapist/social worker side is really coming out on this trip! But it was great to learn about where they are from and make more relationships with people from across the world. If I ever go back to Europe again, I know I will have places to stay! 


On Wednesday we got a tour done by a guy named Izuna. I had actually met his mom on our bus to Edinburgh, and of course, me being myself (a.k.a friendly and outgoing) absolutely had to make conversation with the lady next to me or I would be bored out of my mind. So I talked to her during the 4 1/2 hour ride to Manchester, and we really hit it off. So she offered her son to us as a tour guide, and we took advantage of that. He took us to Harrod’s, which is an awesome place! I couldn’t believe a store could actually sell that many products! And we went to the Covent Garden Circus, the Natural History Museum, and Piccadilly Circus. The coolest part about the tour was him bringing us to where the youth come to break dance. It was just fantastic to see where real teenagers go to and where only locals know about. I enjoyed being part of something that not many people know about and being able to at least experience for a little bit what people my age do in that city. 


Thursday we went to Oxford, but I felt bad the entire day and it was not a fun trip for me. We spent a lot of time on the bus, and when we got there we realized that visitors were not really allowed inside anywhere. We did get to see where some of the scenes of Harry Potter was filmed (and if you haven’t guessed from my last post, I love Harry Potter) which was awesome! And we also got to go to the pub where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to meet to have their writing club called the Inklings. That was definitely interesting. I wish I had felt better so I could’ve enjoyed that trip more, but it was still cool to see the city and visit the college. 


That night started the traveling nightmare. Like I said earlier, I was feeling awful. And we had to lug all of our luggage (6 bags and 3 backpacks) an hour away to Heathrow via tube. For those of you who have not been to London, the tube is full of stairs. I ended up breaking the pull handle off one of my bags on the stairs, and then we had to just carry it the rest of the way. Once we finally got to Heathrow, we go inside and nothing is open. They tell us that the airport is closed till 4 in the morning! We couldn’t believe that the busiest airport in the world was closed at night! But anyways, we found some couches and got around 2 hours of sleep before we could check in. When we were trying to check in they informed us that our bags were too heavy because American planes could hold more weight. And we understood that, but the guy was very rude about it and we ended up having to pay $200 to ship a bag just one way to Tel Aviv! Then we ran to our gate and did make it with time to spare, which was a relief. Once we got to Zurich we ended up getting lost in the airport and arrived at our gate just as it was boarding. By then we were all frustrated and exhausted and waiting to finally arrive. However, Natalie’s bag didn’t come in the baggage claim, so we had to spend time to figure out what was going to happen and get all the documentation needed so that she could get her baggage checked. Finally, we got on the shuttle and arrived at the college, but I will leave the arrival for a different post! 


Looking back, I am very grateful for our time in London. Although it wasn’t all that we expected it to be, it was still spectacular and I have memories that I will always remember. I think the greatest thing I learned there is patience, because there was a lot of times that the normal me would be frustrated and complaining, and I just didn’t allow that to happen. It feels great to not have to have everything go my way to enjoy things, because I was able to enjoy experiences that I might have missed if I had been impatient. It also came into play through the traveling experience because if this had all happened to me a year ago I would have just given up and cried out of frustration. But I stuck with it and saw it through without giving in to my emotions, and I am here safe and enjoying not living out of a backpack. 

Here is the verse that I’ve been looking at this week, it has a lot to do with my experiences that I have had. Romans 12: 12, ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer’. I’ve had a lot of time to pray these past 10 days and it’s been great to spend some alone time with God because He has given me such clarity in my decisions and such joy in all that I have done. I hope all is well back in America! 
 
Cheers, 
Liz 

Blessings & Cheers

Goodness! I have so much on my mind, I don’t even know where to begin! Please bear with me, I have a lot of ground to cover. These past 5 days have been some of the best in my life, not only because of the amazing place that we have visited, but because of how much God has taught me. I sit here full of pure joy and happiness, which is quite a blessing. I have been blessed with so much, and this experience has humbled me because I take for granted so much in my life, and even the opportunity that God has given me to take this trip. When I read over my last post, I realize how much has changed since last week. Actually, it’s been less than a week! Well, let’s just start at the beginning. 


Goodbyes were hard, as expected, but once I got through security and was waiting for my train I started to get excited. I just had to get past the fear of leaving my family/Gerrit and I finally got the excitement and anticipation that I was expecting. The flight was actually on time (thank you Delta) and we landed in London an hour early at 6:30am London time. Unfortunately, the three of us only got around 2 hours of sleep on the plane and had to get through that whole next day until we could actually sleep again. Trouble started right away, because we got to the place we were going to leave our luggage and they had misinformed us about the prices. So we decided to leave it there anyway and made our way to our hostel in Victoria. This is about an hour journey, using both the tube and having about a 20 minute walk. When we got to the hostel, they informed us that we could leave our luggage in their storage area, so we made the hour journey back to Heathrow, retrieved our luggage and dragged all our bags (about 7 suitcases and 3 backpacks between us) through the tube and back to the hostel! Boy, that was not a good start to our day! After we got it there, we proceeded to the coach station where we hopped on a coach bus for 8 1/2 hours and finally arrived in the capital city of Scotland (Edinburgh) at around 2am.  


As you can see, this wasn’t a fantastic start to our trip. We were overtired, stressed out, and frustrated. But God came through for us, and it was so amazing to see how quickly God provided solutions. I did a lot of praying that first day, mostly because I was scared about what was ahead and I knew that I didn’t want to start the trip with a negative attitude. And after that, something changed. I became calm, collected, and patient! Which for me is very abnormal! But this attitude kept up for the rest of this past week, and it has been such a blessing! I am able to be still and listen to what God has been teaching me! No stress, no fear, just an amazing location where I heard God speak to me! Not hear as in I directly heard His voice, but heard as in seeing Him in everything that I did, all that I saw, and everyone I talked to. I have really enjoyed this new attitude and outlook on life, and I’m planning on keeping it. I was listening to Be Still My Soul today, and it just hit me how that’s what I did this week, I allowed my soul to still so that I could focus on my relationship with Jesus,and boy has it done wonders! I will talk later about some of those lessons I’ve learned, but for now, back to what I’ve been up to! 


On our first day we just wandered around Edinburgh, taking in all the sights and marveling in the beauty and history of the city. I seriously walked around with my mouth wide open muttering, ‘, I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love with this town and I don’t care who knows it!’. Well, something to that effect. It’s just so mesmerizing! The whole time I walked around I felt like I was walking through a movie, and the only one I could relate it to was the Harry Potter movies. That might be because J.K.Rowling actually got a lot of inspiration for her books from Edinburgh, and wrote the 1st, 2nd, and last book there, but it’s also just because I could actually imagine people with capes walking around the city and fitting in! There’s just something magical about the history and the architecture. We visited the castle (although we didn’t go in), went in some of the shops, visited the Scotland Museum and just took in our surroundings for the rest of the day. 


That night we spent some time at the hostel, and we were pleasantly surprised with the caliber of people that we met there. Not only were people friendly and inviting, but they were willing to talk about where they were from and their culture and just about themselves in general. I think my favorite part of this whole trip so far was how much I have learned just from talking to people from around the world. I have met people from Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, and so many more, and to hear about their outlook on life and what they believe in has been so intriguing! I have had the opportunity to share my faith with multiple people, whether through casual talk about the Bible classes I’m going to take at JUC or why I am going to Israel. It has been amazing to have the chance to make connections with people and have them ask questions about my faith and why I believe what I do. Not only has it allowed me to share about Jesus, but it, in a weird way, helped strengthen my own faith. When I was talking about why I believe in Christianity instead of any other world religions, I had kind of an AHA moment. Those don’t happen very often, and when they do, they change my life. And at that moment I realized and thought to myself, ‘You know what? I actually believe what I’m saying!’ And not just because it’s what I’ve been taught my whole life or because it’s what everyone back homes expects me to believe, but I really do believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior! It’s hard to explain what was going on in my head, but for the first time I felt like my faith was finally becoming my own. And ever since then, I’ve had this inner peace about everything, like I have finally surrendered my life fully to God and that He has me completely under his control. I don’t need to worry or fear about the unexpected, because God knows how many hairs are on my head, and he full well knows what I have ahead of me in Jerusalem! I can’t even begin to express the joy I have felt after that time, and I have been praising God for everything ever since! 


Well, that was quite a tangent. I guess I should explain what else we did, huh? That night we went on a pub crawl, which is basically where an employee of the hostel takes us to pubs around the area and we get to meet other travelers and enjoy discounted drinks. I thoroughly enjoyed that night because I got to have so many meaningful conversations with many different people from different backgrounds. It was so interesting to learn about the different customs and politics of different countries! That night I made connections with multiple travelers, but significant ones with Tim (from the Netherlands) and Lindsay (from Canada).The next day Stephen didn’t feel good, so I ended up walking around the town with Lindsay. She had been to Edinburgh before, so she was able to show me around and bring me to pubs around the area. I got to do some shopping for my family and see some of the parts of Edinburgh that I hadn’t seen in my wanderings the day before. It was cool just to experience the city as a normal day, and spend it with someone new. By the next day Stephen was feeling better, so we went on a walking tour for 3 1/2 hours (in the freezing rain, no less!) which was very informative. We got to learn a lot about the Scottish history and some interesting facts we wouldn’t have known just by visiting the tourist attractions. That night the three of us climbed Arthur’s Seat, which sits on the outskirts of the town. It was quite dangerous, and I was a bit perturbed at Stephen for making us go up the dangerous way, but it turned out to be quite an adrenaline rush. It was an amazing view of the city, and well worth the exhausting 800 ft climb up! That night we finished up with eating at The Sheep’s Heid Inn, which was been serving food for 700 years! 


This morning we went to church at St. Giles Cathedral, which is a gorgeous cathedral that has been around since the 1600’s. It was a very interesting service, complete with a traditional communion (served with real wine from a goblet that is passed along in a circle) and a choir. It was cool to be in such an old church and to experience the traditions that are still being used today. Finally, we walked around a bit to take more pictures and then took the train through the Scottish countryside (we even got to see the ocean) back to London, and that is where I am now, sitting in the pub beneath our hostel taking full advantage of the free wifi and reflecting on my experiences the past few days. 


A Few Last Notes: 
– I love the calm, slow culture of the Scots! They take in things as they come every day and I have such a great desire to try to mimic that in my own life! 
– I am so thankful for my travel mates! The three of us have been able to navigate in unknown places and find solutions for problems between ideas between us, and I am so happy that I am traveling with the two of them! We are getting along…at least for now! 🙂 Nah, it’s been good, and our friendships are growing much deeper as a result of our travels. 
– We have been so pleasantly surprised with the hostels! I would recommend them to anyone who wants to meet people from around the world and have opportunities to get to know them. Many people told me I was crazy for staying in hostels, but staying in them has been one of the best decisions we made because they have been clean, safe, and I have felt at home, unlike a hotel. 
– I am going to start saying cheers because I think it is such a cool way to say goodbye! 
– I have really been coming into my own, because besides Stephen and Natalie, I’m pretty much on my own with money and traveling and getting places. It’s awesome to see that I can actually stand up on my own two feet and finally feel like an adult. People are pretty surprised that I’m traveling abroad at only 18, but I am finding that it is maturing me in my faith and my responsibility, and those are priceless lessons that I would never want to pass up! 


I’m going to leave you all with a verse that I have been meditating on today. It comes out of Colossians 1: 28-29, 
‘ He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.’ I came across this verse today and it really struck me when I was thinking about my conversations I had had with people about Christ. It is something that I need to do with great energy, and it’s possible because Christ works in me! 


Cheers! 

Liz
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On The Eve

I get on a plane tomorrow. Even writing that doesn’t seem to be real. I’m sitting in my living room watching KU with my family, and how can it be that I will be on a different continent tomorrow? I guess that’s why it’s so hard to be excited, or nervous, or really to feel anything at all right now. It just doesn’t seem like it’s really happening. I’ve been asked over and over again how excited I am, and I almost feel guilty to not say that I’m stoked and can’t wait to leave, because truth is, I’m not. I guess it might just be that I don’t know what to expect, but I find myself in denial that I’m really going. Maybe getting on that plane will reassure me that it’s not real, but I’m wishing that I could muster up some excitement that would get me through saying goodbye. 


More than anything, I’m just really nervous. I am definitely a plan-everything-out, structure my life person who needs order to keep me sane, and this trip is going to stretch my patience and flexibility more than I think it ever has been tested. It’s not a different country or being without my parents that scares me the most, it’s the unexpected. There’s so many things that could go wrong, and I find myself dwelling on them. My parents keep telling me how I need to learn to be flexible to make this trip enjoyable, but that is one tall order. I’m a worrier, and I’m going to worry. But this is the time that I need to give it all to God, because there is no way I can control every detail, and if I allow the road blocks to get in the way of my happiness and enjoyment, then I am going to lose out on the greatest opportunity of my life thus far. I guess it’s time to swallow my pride and my instincts and learn to go with the flow. 


This week I’ve been meditating on John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” It’s given me great comfort to know that no matter how scared the world makes me or how I can’t imagine leaving everything familiar, I have a God who gives me peace. There’s a lot of uncertainty in Israel both politically and religiously, and I have heard my fair share of warnings from people. But I gain peace from knowing that God is in complete control of whatever is happening in this world, and nothing there happens that is not in His will. 


Welp, that’s my griping about my travel jitters. Please don’t think that I am not looking forward to these next 4 months, because I have been anticipating this for over a year. I guess it’s just been an emotional week, and once I get past the goodbyes and actually arrive in these places, I will be able to fully enjoy this amazing opportunity I have before me. I’m still working on being content, but I know that this will be a process, and it’s only the beginning. 


Since I won’t have access to my computer while in Europe, I will write about London and Edinburgh once I get settled into JUC (Jerusalem University College) and have time to upload pictures! Please pray for safe travels, flexibility in my attitude, and as few as possible issues during the next few weeks. My flight leaves at 3:30pm tomorrow, so if you would pray a little prayer then, I would appreciate it! 


Shalom, 
Liz

Beginnings

Well, I officially leave in 5 days. It still doesn’t feel real yet. I think I’ve lived in the ‘I’m going to Jerusalem’ la la land for the past few months, and haven’t really paused to think that it’s actually almost here. No matter how close it gets though, I don’t think it will feel like reality till I get onto that plane. That is, after all the goodbyes I’m dreading are done. 

 
So, I get on a plane on Tuesday afternoon. I will be traveling with Stephen Eising and Natalie Cooper, two fellow students of Kuyper College who will be spending the semester in Jerusalem as well. We are making a trip out of the first leg of travel by spending 10 days in Europe. We are splitting that time between Edinburgh, Scotland and London, England. It will be quite the experience for me because we will be living out of our backpacks and staying in hostels for the entirety of our time there. After that, it’s on to Tel Aviv, and then a sherut to Jerusalem will bring me to my home for the next 4 months. 
 
Even talking about it, it doesn’t seem like that’s what I’m going to be doing next week! Since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to go to London, and it’s crazy to think that I’m going to be there in less than a week. It amazes me that God has given me this opportunity to see these places and have this experience, and I am grateful for a God that knows the desires of my heart and provides the funds for this dream to actually be feasible! I think what I am most excited for is the chance to learn the Bible and about God in a completely different place; a location that is filled with history of God’s people. To learn the Old Testament and then take field trips to where it happened is going to be magnificent. I strive to absorb as much information as I can and return home with a different perspective not only of the world but of my faith. 
 
I’m really dreading saying goodbye, but you know what, it’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later. These 4 months are going to fly by, and before I know it I’ll be back home in the States. But I want to make sure that I don’t let the experience be tainted by homesickness or worry. I made a  New Years Resolution to revolve my year around one word: content. That means I will be content to be away from the people I love, because I am in for the experience of my life. I will be content to be in a culture that I am unfamiliar with, a place that is constantly in the news and can be a bit scary, and a place where I know no one besides the two that I am traveling with. 
 
So I ask for you all to keep me in your prayers, not only for safety but that I would have open eyes and ears to what God is going to teach me and show me while I am there, and that my heart and attitude will be forever changed by the people I meet, places I see, and experiences I have. 
 
More posts will be coming once I actually arrive, and I will be sure to post pictures of my travels! 
 
Shalom, 
Liz