Pre-European adventure 9 of ten.

I’m in the countdown stage of the trip. All the necessary items are put together, I’m just wondering exactly how much stuff I can sneak through iceland air. For example, what is a “reasonable” amount of reading material? For me or other people? I have several books. I think it’s reasonable. Watch yourself Iceland air.

People have wanted to know some details of the trip, so here it goes:

God willing, I fly out tomorrow and land in London.

I’m in London for 9ish days. 6 days in my friend Tim will meet me Then I head up to Durham to visit with my friends the Johnsons for a weekend.

After that it’s off to Scotland for 12ish days or so, from there I head back to Oxford to see a friend of mine give a lecture. Then off to Ireland. There for a week. Tim heads back to the US.

I take a 19 hour ferry to France. In France I spend the night in Cherbourg I think. Then Paris for 4ish days. Then to a prayer community called Taize on the way south for a week.

After that hopefully I meet up with my best friends Robb and Andrew in Marsailles. Southern France. Then I start Spain. Barcelona, Grenada, Madrid, and whatever else tickles my fancy. On November 3rd I fly home.

That’s the rough outline of the journey. I know where I’m going most of the time. Trusting in Jesus for the rest.


Pre-European Adventure 8 of ten.

Yesterday I was doing weddingy things all day, so there was no real time to continue the trend of blogging daily. My friend Brian Watson got married, and I was included as one of the groomsmen. It was a great honor and privilege to see a man who is basically my brother get married and to have been a part of that. It’s getting more and more easy for me to be able to notice a sort of holy weight that settles on weddings about the time that the happy couple finishes their vows. there’s something happening at that moment that is greater than anyone present really understands. The Lord is at work in a special way, I think that the almost deafening silence is at least one testimony to that fact. The occasion, the company, the food and drink, and the whole experience were great. It was a good day. The best man gave one heck of a speech. Shoot dang Robert Watson. That was some fancy talk.

The Watsons (Brian and Angela) have a tiny dog named Bixby. He’s a popular fellow. Nonetheless he almost get stepped on by me many times in the space of the wedding preparation. Had that happened, he might have died. Small dogs are not a part of my future…as far as I am aware.

I got home from the wedding and the small headache I had been nursing most of the day transformed into a migraine about the time I wanted to go to bed. An excedrin PM later and I was sleeping very well. I blame the tuxedo for the problem, but that might just be one of many factors.

I went to church today at First Presbyterian in Bellingham and on the way visited the church I grew up in (Central Lutheran). It was nice to see a few people I remembered, but at the same time it was a strange sight to see so few people there. The church did a remodel recently and it was a source of some contention. It was nice that they had so much more room, but at the same time…It felt like they had lost  alot of the heart that the building once had. I don’t think shiny new spacious hallways necessarily create a welcoming space. After my guided tour of the new building I went no more than a block away to First Pres and saw an older building that housed a lively congregation…It was nice to know that I have a place that feels like home (church-wise) in Bellingham. It just so happens that it’s moved a block.

While I was at church I noted that I’m going to need to start trying to make certain things happen on my own and just trust the Lord with them. That includes not making out with random European women in favor of trusting that Jesus can make things happen just fine without me making an idiot of myself. I guess that part of growing up inevitably means learning to let go of my own need to be in control and to realize that God has things in hand. That’s not to say that I understand why everything happens or that I ever will, but rather that I give myself space to trust the One who is worthy of my trust. At the end of the day choosing the edifying things over the things that are fun and easy is the shortest path to letting God help me become the person He wants me to become. In other words, I will have to carry my cross. thankfully, I have help in doing that.

I’ve been thinking lately that I’m finding myself in quite a blessed spot in life. In church today the pastor spoke of being a witness. In a sense that being a witness to the Risen Lord Jesus sometimes means just being. Abraham was “Blessed to be a blessing” to the world. Through his children the Lord Jesus came to live among a broken humanity and in dying reconciled it to God. The question I walk away with is how exactly that sort of thing works out for me. I get to go to Europe. I’m blessed. Okay, so how do I bless others with that? I suppose we’ll see. Maybe part of it is this blog.

T-minus 2 days. Buckle up. We’re almost on the road.

Pre-European Adventure 7 of ten…right?

I spent the majority of the day doing one of two things. Wedding stuff (which was pretty great) or cleaning/organizing my room whilst packing…This wasn’t as much fun. There isn’t an astounding amount to say about the trip at this point. Just gearing up. Puttin’ my clothes in a bag tonight. Woot.

In other news I think I’m developing a sense of clarity about what I’d like to be doing in life as far as a vocation goes…I might like to be a pastor. For some of you I imagine its a “oh…that’s dumb.” sort of thing, well…I disagree. I think that there isn’t really anything I would like more than having my job be talking to people about the Lord Jesus and participating in His work for money. Not that the money is the point, just that I wouldn’t really have to be doing other things to make money while I do it.

This isn’t set in stone though. Lots of it depends on what the Lord says regarding it all and what his plans are for me. He has complicated plans that I don’t know about ahead of time. So assuming He’s up for it, I am too. For some people being a pastor is just getting a job as one, but if I’m going to be a pastor I want to be an ordainded one.

There are quite a few people who don’t see the value in ordination of pastors these days and for me that is a strange thing. The tradition of the Church is a big deal. Fact. It matters how you do things. It matters how you say things. If I’m going to be participating in the Lord’s shepherding of a group of people, I want it done right. I want to live into a tradition of leadership that puts myself under authority of tradition, scripture, and the church in the process.

That’s about it for that topic. Iceland air is only letting me take 50 pounds of clothes. SIGH.

Pre-European Adventure 5 and 6 of ten.

I went to Seattle for a couple days. It was generally a great time. I saw lots of people I love and had lots of tasty food and in general was blessed by the hospitality of others. That being said, I drove to seattle and the experience was a freeing one. Having a car there for the first time in 5 years was really wonderful. Cowboy birthday party in the U district? Why yes. I shall attend. No ride necessary, I have a car. Stay with my good friend Dan in Edmonds? Indeed. I shall drive there after my days activities have drawn to a close.

I did stay up too late most of the time, so the 5 and 6 both being blogged today were the result of not wanting to be up at 1:30am blogging. Think of my time in Seattle as a great blessing to me and there you have it. Upon my return to Whatcom County I went to Blaine and got lunch with a friend. The artichoke dip was great.

As of about 10 minutes from now I will be starting the next three days worth of my friend Brian’s wedding things. I’m a groomsman and it will be lots of fun. Bachelor party today, rehearsal dinner tomorrow, wedding saturday. Well, my ride is here. I’m really ready to head to Europe these days…Oh man T-minus 5 days. Get ready other continent. Here I come.

Pre-European Adventure part 4 of ten

To quote my friend Aaron McConkey I slept “tough” last night. I got absurdly tired around 10pm and promptly went to bed. It turns out that 3 hours of walking really takes it out of a person. I slept until about 8am this morning. I slept boldly. Hopefully, the European adventure to come will facilitate me sleeping boldlier…if that happens to be a word.

I got up this morning and after moderate amounts of preparation I got in the ’94 dodge Caravan (AKA “The white stallion”) and drove to Seattle. My plans being moderately laid out were as follows: See people I want to see. As it happened it worked out pretty darn well. I have some good plans in order for the rest of the evening and tomorrow and I’m pretty jazzed up about the people I get to see. Some of the people I hoped to see might have been helped by a preemptive email…maybe most of them. I suppose I can’t beat myself up about it too much.

I ate lots of Asian food today. Thai for lunch at the old Thai truck by SPU and teriyaki at the classy establishment I’ve been going to for the past few years since the old establishment betrayed me. Whether they give you lots of food or not, getting your grilled chicken from a drawer of pre-grilled chicken does not mean that it will be good later when the food-borne illness leads an assault on your stomach causing you to projectile vomit into a bathroom you’ve just cleaned. In case you were wondering…

Downside of wandering around in the heat all day is that when you get to your friend’s house he asks the “who is it that smells bad?” question, and while you may try to dodge it the reality is that you already know the answer. I was the smelly person. Usually I do a good job of showering and using the appropriate deodorant, but two hours of sweaty car, plus sweaty outside, tend to result in a smelly Chauncey.

Oh, btw my parents got blueberries while they were out earlier. Blueberries are delightful. Guess what went in my oatmeal this morning besides the customary yog…That’s right. It was blueberries. You’re a good guesser.

Otherwise, while I’m still ready to go to Europe, it’s also one of those things where I really have no idea inside that I’m going. I’m sure that it will come eventually, probably when I’m on the plane. That’s what usually happens at least. I get a little sad that I’m leaving and a little worried that I will get there and the country will be filled with people who hate me, then I get over it and land and surprise! Those things aren’t the case, last time I discovered some new things that I loved (in Costa Rica the fruit was INCREDIBLE) and some things that I just hated (working on a farm for example. You can read the blog posts from November of 2009 for more clarification).

I’m hoping that on this trip I love more things than the things I hate, but I’m learning that the things I hate often give me a better perspective through the Lord Jesus anyway. He’s got plans in my favor to start with. The goal is choosing to live into those plans, His work, and the life of the Trinity on a daily. I think that’s definitely a place I didn’t focus on while I was studying abroad the last time…some of the necessity is learned to be sure, but on the other hand I am looking forward to a different experience than the last time I left the country…although I will miss coconuts, mamochinos, and pineapples on the cheap…Oh man…just a quarter for a coconut with a straw in it…

Pre-European Adventure 3 of ten.

I took a 3 hour walk today in the hiking shoes that I bought for the trip. I also wore smart wool socks and exofficio briefs. Green light. I walked from my house to the bank to deposit a check and then I walked to Zuanich Park and sat on a rock and read the introduction to a book. Then I walked home.

It was some good thinking time to be sure, I drank 2 water bottles worth of H2O and strolled around town for awhile. It’s interesting to see Bellingham from the walking about perspective. I haven’t done that in a long time. The sun was bold today and it was a nice strangely peaceful change of pace.

Although, I think that I need to be around other people more often. The walking around living in my own head for three hours routine got old really fast. My folks are coming home from a trip they went on today and I’m excited for someone else to talk with during the day…Even if it means playing less Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Though, that might not be such a bad thing anyway. Videogames get really tiresome when you’re by yourself.

Pre-European adventure 2 of ten.

I’m going to be trying to get myself in the habit of blogging everyday prior to my leaving so I can do it the whole time I’m there. I may not have a whole lot to blog about at this point, but get ready. I fly out on the 31st. BOOM!

I just finished working for 2 weeks as a guest Leadership Personnel person at Camp Firwood. It was a definitively huge blessing. I got to spend time with people I love lots, I got to drive boat lots, I got more tan, and I met new and wonderful people. It was lovely to be somewhere where I didn’t feel spiritually, emotionally, and mentally worn down everyday. I was physically exhausted, but that is SO MUCH better than any other sort of exhausted.

There was this one day that I blobbed ( Look at the campers section and pick blob) 40 kids and felt like I had been hit by a truck or given a minor concussion. The blob tower is 15 feet high and I went off it 40 times…I fell a grand total of 600 feet that day–two space needles–and then I took a nap. I planned on wobbling (oh yes. I said what I meant) to my bed and taking a 20 minute nap…well it turned out to be an hour and a half. But it felt great.

Another highlight was that a kid came to camp FROM SPAIN! I got to sit in on bible study with him everyday and interpret what the kids were talking about, being a good catholic lad he knew a good deal of the answers, but overall I loved being able to connect with him. It was such a cool thing to be the only person on staff that week that he could actually talk to. Not that I didn’t want him to make friends, but rather that he got to know me and I him better than most other people at camp. Such a great kid. The Spanish I got to use was so much more fun than the Spanish I used at work all year. I got to have a conversation, not argue, explain rules, or explain math or english. I got to get to know another person in their language. Could this be the reason I like languages? Yes. It is.

I was also one of the blessed individuals who gets to go on the second staff break to the Firs Chalet on Mt.Baker. Oh man. So great. Highlights include jumping into glacial water 7 times, having a snowball fight, going sledding, and making up songs with Rachel Vanderwerff and Meghan Watson. The seventh time hurt the most, snowballs and sledding are always a plus, and I make up songs every now and again with Robb Watson and Keaton Vanderwerff. It was nice to let our little sisters share in a fun tradition. Rachel has great lyrics.

That being said, I will summarize with the following: good times, lots of good times.

Trip to Europe preparations are still underway. I found a place to stay in London which I’m pumped about and I think at this point I have everything I need to have on the journey. I’m not really sure what to think about it all, especially because at this point I have no idea what to expect. All the better I figure. The Lord is indeed mysterious. It doesn’t feel like I’m leaving yet…that might be because of how much Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess I’ve been playing….or it might not.

I’m glad that I went to camp (found out I might have another summer left in me afterall) and the Lord showed Himself to be faithful as usual. I think it’s safe to expect the same faithfulness in this next stage of the journey. That’s the plan.

PS: Shout out to John Fisher and Allie Mullen. Great CITs. Way to go guys.