TRAVEL WITH YHM
Leaving Switzerland was hard to say goodbye to our friends, but we
also felt reenergized and encouraged to continue our travels on
mission! We arrived in Florence around 5 pm Saturday night.
Immediately could tell that Florence is a decorative and cultured
city. That night we were able to meet up with some of our friends
from Auburn that were studying abroad and exchange stories of
our European adventures!
Our time in Florence was divided between seeing all we could see
of Florence in one day and then taking a day trip to Cinque Terre
the second day. We are continually amazed by the Lord's
craftsmanship and beautiful creation!!
The first night in the hostel, we met Mahal. Mahal is 28 from Australia and is traveling for 2+ years by herself. She has a captivating personality and we were so intrigued to hear all about her travel plans. Talking to Mahal felt like we were talking to one of our best friends, easy and entertaining. When I told Mahal that we were traveling the five of us, she was shocked and asked how we are able to travel together and if we are able to ever have alone time. I was able to respond that our quiet time in the Word every morning is where we find our rest and rejuvenate ourselves. Mahal was receptive to hearing that we are Christians and asked about church, but she never completely opened up about her beliefs.
We got to continually hang out with Mahal during our stay. We went to dinner, walked to watch the sunset and the girls even had two movie nights in the hostel with her! During all these activities we spoke about how God has moved in our lives and the hope we have in Him! We still communicate with her and hope to keep this friendship that was built! Join us in praying for Mahal that the Lord will continue to work on her heart and that this friendship we have built with her can lead to more fruitful conversations!
We are headed to the last stop of our adventure, Vienna!! We ask for prayers that in our last city, we stay focused and present on where our feet are! It is easy to focus on going home so soon and the comfort that our bodies seek there, but we know that the Lord has great plans for the people in Vienna and we are excited to share the Good news with them!!
I feel really confident in speaking for both parts of the team that
Switzerland was a much needed time for us. We had been on the
move for around two weeks going into Switzerland. It was really
great to catch up with friends that we haven’t seen since school let
out and come together to share the gospel in a new town.
The two parts of the team arrived in Switzerland at different times
but were able to meet up and eat dinner together on
Wednesday night. We were able to meet a girl named Juliana from
Germany in the hostel on the first night and invite her on our hike
the next morning in Grindelwald. Through the seven-mile hike,
multiple people were able to have gospel conversations with her.
She informed us that she doesn’t believe in God but was really
intrigued by our loving relationship with each other, and how committed we were to reading the Bible.
The second day was a mixture of rest and excitement, while half the group played cards and spent majority of the day resting at the hostel. The other half went paragliding. We constantly ran into a guy named Bryan from California in our hostel and through an invite to walk with us to town to grab some groceries, John Jeter was able to really get to know Bryan and share the gospel with him.
We were truly blessed the past few days with each other's company and the beauty of God's creation in Switzerland. Please be praying for Juliana and Bryan that they will seek Christ and pray for us that we can continue to share the gospel with the people we encounter on our trip.
Paris was a whirlwind of a 3 days, as we hit the ground running
right off our train from Amsterdam. We walked for hours at a time,
getting to see much of the city in a short amount of time. There’s a
lot to see in Paris, and so it was easy to fill our time wondering
around little bakery’s and seeing the historical architecture. One
night, as we were watching the Eiffel Tower twinkle, we found one
of our bags had been taken. Running through the streets of Paris,
we found the person who stole the bag by tracking AirPods inside!
Paris was riveting, filled with many adventures and different types
of people we encountered while we were there.
We met a few groups of travelers in our time here, people from all
over the world. Mainly, we encountered a man named Daniel, from
Brazil. He was staying in our hostel with us, and was a quick friend to everyone in our group. He’s a 37 year old biologist, and he took a month off of work to travel this side of Europe. Daniel grew up Catholic, and though still believes in God, struggles to find time to go to church because he lacks transportation. He joined us for different outings in our time in Paris, and was with us when we chased down our stolen bag in the middle of the night. The event was a little scary to say the least, and Daniel could definitely feel the weight of the evil that was in the world when things like that happen. Though it was an unfortunate circumstance, it was a cool example of the real brokenness that surrounds us everyday. We will continue to pray for Daniel, as we don’t know exactly where his faith lies currently, that our encounter made him face the music on the urgency of the gospel.
We also got to meet with local missionaries that work with the Islamic communities in Paris, and were encouraged by their faith and ministry. They work day in and day out with lost people in Paris, and do it while managing marriages, young kids, and international relationships with their friends and family back home. Watching believers walk in obedience was inspiring to me, to see a kind of faith that rejects worldly comfort, or even American comforts. They are counter cultural, and you know that they must believe in something so important to be able to live so passionately. We are so humbled to get to learn a little bit from them, and are excited about the feet planted here permanently as we were in and out so quickly.
As a team, we worked through a lot of the internal conflict that starts to creep up on you when you are in ministry. We prayed against comparison, against selfishness, and that the Lord was continuing to use us where are feet are. We can feel us being more tired than we were even a few days ago, and have to ask for endurance and patience to continue each day. We are continually looking forward to what is next, as we head to Switzerland to meet up with the rest of the team! Pray that the Lord will use these next few days to refresh, encourage, and spur one another on. Christ has been so generous with us, and we are excited to see what is in store for us next!
I think I speak for the whole of us when I say that we had the most
wonderful time in Marseilles. We came into this leg of the trip
praying specifically for connections within our hostels. Very quickly,
the Lord put a lot of people in our paths to organically develop
relationships. Before we knew it, we were rushing from one part of
town to the other to meet up with our new friends all day- it was
AWESOME! I’d love to share a few of the specifics with you
Anna from Germany is Catholic “by the book”, meaning that she is
legally subscribed to Catholicism and therefore pays more in taxes
to support the church. Due in part to this, she is relatively
disenchanted from the concept of faith because of the correlation
between corruption and the church. This led to some conversations
about the distinction between the goodness of God and the goodness of the Church (or lack thereof).
Yacir is a small shop owner on the streets of Marseille. John went in to buy some snacks and felt an urging of the Spirit to share with him. John asked him if he knew Jesus and he said “he is a prophet” and shared that he is a non-practicing Muslim. John then got to share the gospel with him and he asked “how can this be?! How can I be saved if I do bad things? Can I continue to drink, smoke, and sleep around?” John told him that Jesus came to save the lost and that once he is saved and develops his relationship with Jesus that he will no longer desire things of this world. He called his friend Jasmine to come translate and told John he was crazy and said,”How can this be?” She helped John translate the whole gospel to him and called John crazy too! He said he wasn’t ready to make a decision, but thanked John for sharing this good news with him and for pointing him in the right direction. Jasmine also thanked him and then I prayed over them. They both were smiling after the prayer and told him they enjoyed talking!
We got breakfast with Sabrina and Gabi, who are are university students from Canada we met within our hostel room. Getting to spend the morning with them was lovely. Anna and Emma were able to compare the difference between growing up in the states and other countries across the world. In our conversation, we were able to ask them about their beliefs. They said they grew up Catholic but “weren’t as attached to it as they used to be.” They both believe in God but said they don’t know if they believe everything in the Bible to be true. Anna and Emma were able to tell them about Jesus and how we allow the Bible and our faith in God to shape everything aspect of our lives. Please pray that the spirit continues to work in their lives and draw them closer to truth!
Truly getting to connect with dozens of people from all over the world within this hostel has been a treat. Traveling is fun, don’t get us wrong, but there’s something special about fulfilling the purpose which God has given us (loving Him and therefore loving people). There’s a pretty palpable relational drought here, especially amongst the hostel-goers. On multiple occasions they have expressed the shock they experience when people actually want to connect with them, and how refreshing it is to have people they feel like care for them. It’s been a couple of days of dinner parties, dance battles, challenging hikes, and organic Gospel oriented conversations, and we’re so grateful. Please pray for our new friends’ minds to continue to be stirred towards the Gospel, and for them to recognize their yearning their hearts have for God. Continue praying for our team’s endurance, boldness, and having eyes to see how we can better orient ourselves more towards others than ourselves. We’re learning the value of availability and prayer.
- Jake, Emma, and John
When we got into Paris, we were so excited and expectant of what
the Lord was going to do. We were very tired from our first city,
London, and the next thing we knew we were on our way to another
big city in a completely different country. It was a bit surreal just
because of the fact that we were in one country one morning and
then in France a few hours later! Crazy stuff!
As we began to explore the city and see all the iconic spots that you
dream of experiencing, it was easy to get caught up in the grandeur
and beauty, the tourism and just the feeling like you’re living in a
dream, as none of us had been to Paris before. But one thing we
had to focus on was staying in the word and maintaining an eternal
perspective, as we were also trying to be intentional with the people
we met in the hostel and in the train stations. Right when we got on the train before we arrived to Paris a few of us met 2 BYU (Brigham Young University) students and we quickly made friends with them, finding out we would be traveling to the same places in the next couple of weeks. We kept in contact and were able to meet more of them, and we made plans to hang out. We had several conversations with a few of the students about their faith, as they are Mormon, specifically learning about our friend Sam who was sent on mission to Kansas City. We asked questions about what their view on mission is and got to know their beliefs as they are are firmly Mormon, and we got to share why we go on mission.
The next day we hung out with our hostel roommates Abby and Brendan, walking around the Eiffel Tower as we got to know each other. We found out they will also be in the same cities as us at the same time in a week or so! I was able to hear Abby’s story and shared mine with her also, and found out we have similar life experiences and passions. She isn’t religious at all but said she was curious about learning more about religion. The Lord was so kind to speak through me as I shared the gospel with her, and it was also her first time hearing it. She was very intrigued and receptive when I shared with her and seemed very interested. Thinking back on it, how incredible of the Lord to bring us to the City of Love for the purpose of sharing about his love, the true love that is greater than anything in this world, better than any love that a city can bring.
Please pray for Abby that the seed that was planted would grow and that she would come to know the Lord, and that as we meet up with her and the BYU students in the next few cities that we will overlap in that we would continue conversations to share the gospel! We are so excited and expectant for the next cities we will be going to, and continue to pray for more opportunities to share!
We arrived in Amsterdam close to midnight Thursday night and
got off the train where, within minutes, almost got ran over by some
bikers. We quickly realized that bikers have the right away and there
are a lot of them. Taking a ferry across the river to get to our hostel
was a new experience and a really cool one. Amsterdam was full of
great experiences and meeting some really cool people with a lot of
The streets of Amsterdam are very chaotic to say the least,
especially around lunch. The hostel had a great environment to
meet people and get to learn their story and how they got here, and
for us to share with them the good news that we were eager to tell!
The girls got to meet a girl named Heva who is from Brazil and is
currently in school in D.C. She did not grow up religious at all and really didn’t have any interest in religion either. Although she hasn’t been interested in it, she is not against it either which is good. Heva and her girlfriend have both have some scars from the church in the past and have always felt very judged. We got to share the gospel with her and explain what we believe and why we believe it and she was very open to listening to what we had to say. We got to explain to her that God comes into our lives when we accept His gospel and change us from the inside out, not the other way around. Pray for her salvation, and that she would understand who God really is along with the deep love that God gives us. We got to play some games with Heva and some other people we met that night and have a fun time!
The guys got to meet and talk to some really cool dudes who live in the U.S. which is so cool. Hayden was from Arizona and grew up Mormon, but doesn’t practice it anymore because he just isn’t interested in it. He was very open to listening to what we had to say about our experience in the Church as a Christian and why we believe what we believe, but he was not very open to talking about his thoughts and feelings towards Christians. Pray for him that he would see the Lord in his life and his salvation! Zeshaun was from Sacramento, California and works as an ICU Nurse there in Sacramento. He is very outgoing and was a lot of fun to hangout with, but he was not really open to talk about religion with us at all. Pray for him that the Lord would open his eyes as well as Hayden and for his salvation.
Our second day in Amsterdam was very eventful to say the least. We rented some bikes and rode around the city and needless to say, we will not be renting bikes anymore because it was way too chaotic and may have had a few falls on the bike haha. We got to get dinner with some friends that the girls met in the hostel named Tia and Susan. Tia was from Sweden and now lives in Berlin and wants to see the world and experience great adventures. Susan was from Costa Rica and also lives in Berlin in the workforce right now. They were very open to expressing their views and opinions on life itself which was very neat getting to hear their thoughts. The conversation starting with Tia talking about gay marriage and abortion and how she was okay with it. She expressed how she did not want to be confined to one thing and that if people feel a certain way about something, that’s great and if they feel a different way then that’s great as well. We got to share our opinions on these things as well and share the gospel with them and what we believe. We also got to tell our testimony and how God literally turned out lives around despite being in the lowest of lows. She was very interested in what we had to say and asked a lot of questions about God. She definitely believed in a higher power but didn’t know if it was God or what. She didn’t know if He is actually a He and what to call it and seemed very confused on the concept of God. She asked a lot of questions about the church and marriage and how a loving God could send people to hell. All of these questions were really good ones, and we got the opportunity to point back to scripture and reveal the Word that we know is truth. The conversation lasted a good while, but at the end of it she was very open to looking more into it and was glad we talked and shared our opinions on God. I ask that you pray with us for Tia and Susan that they would see Christ and understand why Jesus died on the cross and for their salvation.
Amsterdam was short and long at the same time, we met some amazing people with a lot of different backgrounds. We got to experience a very different culture there where a lot of things that are illegal in the states are legal there. All we can do is share what God has done in our lives and the love that was poured out for us on the cross through our savior Jesus Christ. Sharing with people is not measured on successful salvations because it’s not up to us if someone receives salvation. Our job is to tell others about Him, and is obedience because it is what we are called to do as Christians!
A sweet, sweet few days in Edinburgh, Scotland.
From first arriving off the train and seeing a glimpse of a
thousand stairs lying in front of us - with our thirty-pound
backpacks on my team walked up the hill to our hostel. And the
view was so worth it.
I’m so incredibly proud of these students with me - they have
made such good relationships in our hostels and have been
representing the Gospel through the way they love the stranger,
they serve their teammates and the way they encourage one
Our girls got to have a conversation with a girl named Rika one
night in the hostel. It was honestly a very discouraging conversation, we listened for what felt like hours as Rika poured out her life story, and when we got a chance to speak the Gospel into her story we were immediately rejected. I left discouraged, frustrated and honestly felt hopeless for her. But the Lord reminded me of this verse the next day Acts 2:39 “For this promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whose the Lord our God calls to himself.” The promise of the Gospel can be offered to Rika too, we all were once far off and the Lord saved us. He can also save Rika.
Meanwhile, our boys were able to meet Jillian, they were able to share the Gospel with him & read scripture alongside him. And what a beautiful thing! He had grown up Catholic but didn’t understand why Jesus died for him! It was so encouraging for our team to get to tell him who Jesus was!
We also were able to meet several other people in our hostel hangout nights and hear their stories, where they came from, and what they’re doing!
Personally, I have been so humbled this year. I am pregnant, and older than I used to be. And I normally like to be at the front of the group, always wanting to walk further or run in the mornings. And the Lord has humbled me tremendously because I’ve been the one everyone has had to wait on. But it’s been so sweet to watch my team care for me & my son. It has been a sweet first week so far & I ask for your continued prayers for our team's personal stamina, and for us to build relationships in our next hostel. We would love to have someone join us for the day if possible! Be praying that through the discouraging conversations, God would be glorified. Be praying that through the encouraging conversations, God would be magnified. Thank you for your prayers- we love having you a part of our team too :)
Our team got to London the morning of
the coronation of King Charles,
launching us into a crazy whirlwind of a weekend.
As we touched down, the streets of the city were
busy with excitement, and we were buzzing with
eagerness to be in Europe. This is most of our first
experience with a trip like this, and so the days we
experienced here have taken us by surprise. We’ve
touched every part of the city by foot, walking miles
and seeing incredible sites, and encountering many different types of people. The normality of life in America is quite a transition to England, but through these first few days, we’ve learned a lot.
We quickly had to adapt to new levels of comfort while living in a hostle and out of a backpack. We have little time to rest and feel our bodies growing weary. We are learning in our beginning days here, that the Lord is the ultimate provider of all things. That He is the one is will give us the energy to continue. He is the one who will provide us with people to meet, and the words to say. He will give us all things, and abundantly more than we can hope for. Even the handful of people and conversations we had in London have pointed to the one who provided it for us, and we were encouraged by opportunities to be a witness for Him.
We met a woman named Candy on our first night in the hostel, from Taiwan, and though there was an extensive language barrier, we were able to know her story and benefit from her generosity and kindness. We shared who Jesus was to us, and though she claims Buddhism, was intrigued by our lifestyle and willingness to stop and talk to a woman we didn’t know. The next night, the boys got to know the local bartender, Joe, who worked in the pub below our hostel. Originally from Australia, he moved to England to be closer to his family. He isn’t religious but has a Catholic background. The boys shared their own stories on how they found Jesus in the midst of their lives, and Joe was curious and grateful for their willingness to share. We as a team do not take these encounters lightly. The people in our hostels are waiting for something more, and there is a clear and desperate need for sharing the good news of Christ.
We are so expectant to see what the Lord has for us in Edinburgh, Scotland, over the next 3 days, but we know that it will be full of purpose. Continue to pray for us, for endurance, and for opportunity, as we continue our travels!