May
10
2008

Switzerland (Ashley)

So here I am, sitting on a little wooden bench by a stream, just yards away from the 450-year-old house that we’ve been staying in for the past few days. I’m wearing short sleeves but I can see snow on the mountains nearby. I can hear my laptop keys clicking, the stream trickling over the rocks, and the cowbells ringing on the mountains. This is a combination of old and new that I have never experienced before.It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago, I finished my master’s degree. After graduation on Saturday and church on Sunday we had team rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday. During the breaks we were running errands and trying to take care of everything before leaving for nine weeks.

On Wednesday morning we finished packing our bags, loaded the bus, and just after lunch, we loaded the bus. The Musical Mission Team was headed for Europe. During the drive to Atlanta, we were praying that everything would go well at the airport. Our team has lots of equipment-luggage, of course, and instruments, risers, tracts, cds, and other supplies for the summer. We were praying that there would not be any problems with the airline (Air France) or getting through security. We’re very thankful that the Lord made things easy for us at the airport. We had to shift things around a little bit so that we did not go over the weight limits for individual pieces, but everything made it through.

Our flight actually took off around 9 pm. I took Dramamine (because I usually get motion sickness on planes), so I was able to get lots of sleep. We arrived in Paris around 6 am our time, but it was noon there (I think). We had to go quickly to make it to our next flight (out of Paris, to Geneva), but we made it. In Geneva, we got our four vans and drove to the hostel for the night. We were exhausted, and all looking forward to a shower.

The hostel was a beautiful Swiss chalet on the shores of a lake. The rooms were like bedrooms except that they had sinks in them, and there was one large bathroom on each floor. The view from the house was amazing. The next day we drove to Ebnat Kappel.

We’ve been here ever since, singing for a conference they had this weekend to celebrate Pentecost. Tim and Dr. Kielmeyer have been the preachers for the services. We had one service each on Friday and Saturday, three on Sunday, and two today. Tomorrow we’re leaving to go to another village nearby.

Dr. McCauley has been telling us that it is a big encouragement to European believers just to see a group of young people singing and trying to serve the Lord. It was hard to imagine that, especially after having been at Bob Jones. But we’ve gotten to experience that during the last few days. After the services we talk to as many people as we can. In my case, I talk to whoever speaks English. One man said that there is no [Christian] choir like ours in all of Switzerland. He said that he wished he could sing in a choir, but there wasn’t one. He also talked about the young people he knows, and how they are not serving God. It’s nice to know that we can be an encouragement to people, even though we don’t think we’re doing anything special. I just sing and smile at people!

On Saturday morning, we drove to see Ulrich Zwingli’s house, which was about half an hour away. He was a Swiss Reformer, contemporary with Martin Luther. The team has never gotten to see the inside of the house before, but a lady came along this time who had the key, and she let us in. It was very different from touring a house in America. The whole house was open, except for a few rooms. We even went up to the second story, climbing very small, very steep stairs. The house made me (and everyone on the team) feel very tall. Apparently people were shorter back then, because even I had to stoop to go through the doors. The chairs were small, and the beds were about five feet long.

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