October 05, 2011

Student Blog: Ken Edge: "First Travel-Reading Week"

It’s good to finally be able to sit down and write a post! This last week has been a unique experience for sure. The program I am studying with, called AMBEX, has one two-week class at a time, and then every third week is a free week to travel and study while we study & read ahead for the next class. Originally I had planned on spending each of these weeks as short-term mission trips helping out local missionaries. I was excited about that because I am hoping to myself do some sort of missions work in Europe (or somewhere) after I graduate from CIU, but as I emailed missionaries from around here, the general reply was that a week was just too short. One missionary in particular advised me to just use the travel weeks as a fun time to experience the culture and places in Europe. Hearing that really relieved my conscience about not needing to do missions work all the time, and so this week, being my first travel week, experience Europe I did! On a side note, I was very blessed to have an opportunity to minister to gypsies in Romania for my second travel week, so I’ll still be able to do a bit of ministry while I’m here.
Last friday, me and two other guys started out on a road trip across Europe. The plan was to go to France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and then back to Germany, while seeing a bunch of stuff on the way. It’s been quite the trip!

Our main route

We started our trip Friday afternoon heading out towards Paris. We ended up making it near a town called Dormans and pulled over to spend the night in the car. It ended up being freezing that night, but we were still able to sleep a few hours!

This is where we car-camped the first night in France.

Saturday morning we started towards a town called Balleau to see the American cemetery and monument from WWI there. One of the guys, David, is currently training in the marine core, so he was particularly interested in it. I really enjoyed seeing it as well. Here are a couple pictures of the monument and the cemetery:

Belleau Wood WWI Monument (1930)


Belleau Wood Cemetery

God blessed us so much on this trip. Just one of the many ways we were blessed was Saturday night. We had no clue where we were going to sleep, especially since we wanted to be somewhere close to Paris so that we could take a cheap train into it the next morning. We ended up talking a long while to the receptionist at the cemetery (a super nice French girl) and she offered to look for a place that we could stay. She found a perfect hotel just 45 km outside of Paris that was only 15 euros a night! So we stayed there for two nights.
We spent all of Sunday in Paris. Paris-in-a-day is not an easy task, but after a good 10 miles of walking and many metros and trains we made it happen. We got to see Arch De Triumph, the Eiffel Tower, the Basilique du Sacre Coeur, Mary Magdalene’s Church, the Louvre and its art, Notre Dame Church, Nicholas Flamel’s house, and a bit more. We were so exhausted, but it was an incredible day!
The next day we toured around the Palace of Versailles in the morning. I still cannot believe how big that thing is! His gardens cover something like 2,000 acres – absolutely gorgeous. From there we drove to Mont St. Michel, an island fortress/cathedral on the coast of France. It was a famous catholic pilgrimage city. Both places were beautiful, but unfortunately I accidentally erased all of my pictures from that day.
The next day we saw the Normandy beaches and the American cemeteries there. We first went to Utah beach, then Omaha beach, and then we saw Pointe De Hoc, an important Germany fortification point at Germany. Pointe De Hoc was the first place American soldiers attacked on D-Day. Specialized troops called Rangers scaled these cliffs and assaulted the German bunkers and artillery. It was a very sobering and breath-taking day.

The French coast at Pointe De Hoc

We drove the following morning to Belgium and got some school work done at a McDonalds there (free wifi!). That evening we explored Brussels, got some delicious Belgian waffles, and then headed to Amsterdam.
We got to Amsterdam at about 12AM so we decided to check out the night life there. It certainly was a city that never sleeps! There were crowds of people and many shops still open in the middle of the night. It was an unforgettable experience for me, but not in a good way. It’s the sin city of the world.  It was hard to see a place that was so strongly influenced by the Devil as Amsterdam is.
The next day we headed to Luxembourg, a small country sandwiched in between Belgium and Germany. On the way we stopped in Cologne, an important historical city in Germany. After walking around for a bit and seeing the high cathedral of St. Peter and Mary, we continued towards Luxembourg City.
Luxembourg City was the European opposite to Amsterdam. It was clean, safe, and not nearly as explicit in its advertisements! After walking around the city for a bit, we drove to a random hotel’s back parking lot where we pitched our tent on a nice grassy patch. The whole night we were a bit nervous, hoping that no one would find us and start yelling at us in french! Thankfully we slept without any incidents. Check out our sweet camping spot:

That day we saw some more of the beautiful Luxembourg countryside, complete with miles and miles of vineyards. We stopped in a few quaint towns, and then last night drove to Strasbourg, France, where I am currently writing. There’s a lot to process from this trip! I can hardly bring myself to understand all that we have seen. God has blessed us so much to be able to do it, and I give him all of the thanks.
It’s been challenging to stay in the word and spend time in prayer with all of the busyness of the last week. That’s been the hardest part of the trip for sure. I am looking forward to a more consistent schedule this next week to hopefully spend more time with God. I’ve been reading through Luke, and it’s always so convicting how often Jesus spent away in prayer, relying on the Father. And if Jesus needed to rely on the Father, how much more do we, who are the created beings, need the Father!
I hope this wasn’t too packed, but there was a lot to cover! Thanks so much for your prayers, I highly prize them.
In Christ,
Ken

1 comment:

kLr said...

This is so good! I loved reading about Ken's trip! Car camping...that sounds like such an adventure! And just road tripping around!

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