Wednesday, October 16, 2013

With Mother Teresa's missionary sisters - Catherine from Cornersone

“Two weeks ago a few of us went for our first saturday of volunteering with the Missionary Sisters. The Missionary Sisters are
Mother Teresa's order of nuns. What an adventure it was! We had to go to the next city over from
Klaipeda, called Kretinga. Arriving at Kretinga was not a problem, however once we arrived in Kretinga we got a bit lost. I was the only one who had been to the place we were going before and my sense of direction is not all that up to par, so we spent at least an hour walking around Kretinga looking for the Missionary Sisters. We were all about ready to give up and get the next bus to Klaipeda when we spotted the building with the bright blue roof in the distance. When we finally arrived the sisters laughed and laughed with us as we told our story of going ALL over Kretinga in search for them. We helped clean up from the soup kitchen that we were supposed to help serve at. As we were cleaning we got to talk with the sisters a bit more. I am so inspired by their joyfulness. These ladies are filled with genuine joy and the love of Christ radiates from them. We ended up going to mass with these lovely ladies and even though the entire mass was in Lithuanian it was amazing watching these sisters worship with their whole hearts. Their love for the Lord was evident and you could tell in the way they prayed and worshiped, even though it was in a different language. Love is understood in every language.

Again this past week we went to volunteer with the missionary sisters for the second time. My love for them and their joy just increased. While some of the girls humbly skinned chickens, Gerry and I got to help make things for the children. I made booklets, and Gerry painted little figures. We got to spend time with the head nun and she opened up to us a little bit more about her life, and it astounded me. My respect for these ladies is huge. She speaks multiple languages and has many ministries, she has truly given EVERYTHING for the Lord. It really made me contemplate what I am holding back from God, and why would I do that when true joy is found in Him. While working on our projects this elderly lady walked in the room asking the head nun for help unbuttoning her jacket when she began talking with us. She was 91 years old and told us of how she kept her faith in the communist times by holding classes of catechism in her house for the children. She told us to never lose our faith. When I looked into this lady's eyes I saw a beauty that trumps all earthly beauty. She was glowing with the love of Christ. It was as if each wrinkle on her porcelain face was a story of faith and perseverance. These people of faith are truly Christians who have remained faithful through persecution. We again attended mass and I chose to sit next to this lady. When it came time to kneel, she was the first one on her knees, without hesitation. What a warrior for Christ. Every time I go help these wonderful nuns I feel as though they are helping me more than I can ever help them. We offer a few hours of service, but they give us lessons and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The past two months - Christine from APU

A lot has happened these past two months. I can defiantly say that God has been working in my life and changed me in such a little span of time. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me to learn these next two months. Ever since being abroad, the Lord has changed my perspective on the way I see the world, people, cultures, myself, and most importantly my relationship with Him. I am constantly being reminded by Him to be presentBe present in my life and the time that I am here.
This past weekend, I spent in Stockholm, Sweden I had a huge feeling of being caught in between two different worlds. During the trip, I started to think about everyone at home. I missed my family, friends, dog, school and the comforts of my hometown (including the weather). At the same moment, I started to miss my international roommates and a lot of the students here at LCC whether they are international or other fellow study abroads from America. My heart started to ache at the thought that I have to leave this beautiful place and the people here in just two months. And my heart ached at the same time to return home to my country and my family. It can be confusing being caught in between two different worlds, but at the same time I am sooo thankful that I have had this opportunity to grow as a person, learn from others, and to love others. Although in two months I will leave this wonderful place with a new perspective, relationships, and worldview, it will be bittersweet. I look forward to seeing my family, and friends back at home. I also know I will miss the new relationships I have been blessed with here. But as for now God is reminding me to be present. So far I’ve come to realize that sometimes God asks us to go places in the world and in our lives and we will not understand why but to just trust Him. I know now to just trust that He has a plan and that being in a specific place at a specific time is a part of the plan that I have not fully yet come to see but will come to understand in the future. He works in miraculous ways, and He makes all things work together for our good.  Thank you for reading. 

Isaiah 58:11

The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Trip to Estonia and Latvia! - Catherine from Cornerstone

What a weekend!
My weekend has been a whirlwind, but a GREAT one! Our weekend adventure to Estonia and Latvia began with falling asleep in a bus in Lithuania and waking up in Tallin (the largest city and capitol of Estonia) for breakfast.  There is nothing like waking up to "Guys we are in Estonia, time for an all you can eat breakfast!"  Stepping off the bus I was instantly struck by the beauty of Tallinn.  The buildings were absolutely captivating. 
 While walking around old town I was absolutely breathless.  My favorite part was a look out over the entire city.  We walked over to the edge of this lookout and I was overcome by awe.  I thought about the documentary we had previously watched in our cross cultural seminar about the independence of Estonia.  I could not help but share in the pride the people feel for their Estonia.  

The next day we ventured to the city of Riga in Latvia.  We arrived in the early evening and were able to see the remnants of a festival that had occurred that day and visit a giant market in the town square.  There were pumpkins everywhere which filled my yearning for the fall and made my heart very happy  This city was beautiful as well.  The buildings were colorful and antique.  We walked down to the water and walked along the bridge at sunset.  It was truly as if God took a paint brush and just exploded paints all over the sky.  The clouds were arranged in such a way they instantly provoked wonder and contemplation.  The following day in Riga we went to church.  I was still reminded of the diversity of God.  It seems that every time I go to a different church I'm reminded of how awesome our God is.  There are so many different ways of worship, and God loves all of them and all of us the same.  He has no favorites and He knows the heart of His people, and that is all that matters to Him