We had a bittersweet last day in Antwerp as we enjoyed play time together before we had to say see you later to our friends. Some of our girls had a blast doing Body and Soul with Carol, while the rest of us went to the park to play soccer and other games we taught them. That night we prepared to set off to Ardennen Bijbelkamp, near Spa. We will miss our new friends in Antwerp dearly, but we are excited about the second half our journey!
Monday was a wet day in Antwerp. While we were playing at the park with the neighborhood kids, it started to rain, but rain didn't bother us so we played for a little while longer. When It started to pour we started back to the church to play some inside games.
By dinner time the rain had stopped so, instead of cooking at the church, we took a picnic dinner and enjoyed watching people and a little shopping. Kelsey was in charge of locking the building when we were done for the day and missed the tram. He ended up waiting at the tram stop for more than half an hour for the next one. But he stayed calm and collected and eventually made it back to the hotel in one piece. We sure were relieved that this happened to him instead of one of the kids!
The main form of transportation for our group in Antwerp is walking and we are averaging about 4 miles of walking a day. Some of us are noticing new muscles as a result! As you can see in the picture below, we were especially tired yesterday. Many of the people in Belgium use bicycles to get around. The streets are full of bicycles and cyclists have their own lane on the street and their parking garages. We have learned that it is important to stay out of their way.
The kids we have met have been so much fun and very hospitable to our group. We have Vonch, Kassidy, Isaiah, Thomas, Sammy, and Muhammad (we have no idea if we are spelling their names correctly!). Ezra's loves Isaiah because he is a little bundle of joy and he is always ready to play the games. Erin and Madelyne are especially fond of Kassidy because she is very funny, willing to try everything, and she LOVES to give hugs. Joel's likes to hang with Vonch he is very determined to get back up and try again. After he fell off of his scooter and bloodied up his knee and got right back up and started riding it again.
Yesterday was a challenging day, because we were tired and it was raining, but God continues to bless our time with our new friends.
Yesterday was Sunday, so first thing was church. It was absolutely amazing! We got to experience several different cultures all in one service and it was AWESOME to feel the togetherness we all have with God regardless of where we are from or what language we speak.
After eating a delicious potluck lunch with our new friends we met Paul, Carol, & Jesse in downtown Antwerp to do some sight-seeing. They showed us the beautiful cathedral, a really cool castle, and the river. After that we split up into smaller groups for a nice dinner and did a little more exploring.
Antwerp is so beautiful! We are so grateful to have the opportunity to do and witness God's work in such a pretty place.
Keep praying as we go back to the neighborhood to reconnect with the friends we made last week!
Yesterday was an exciting day, because we got to meet even more Belgian young people. As they joined us, and others who were with us on Thursday, we got silly singing the "Chicky-Chicky" song, and playing fun guessing game. Then we were off the the park and joined by teenage boys we met on Thursday to play futbol. In the US we call it soccer.
We were also joined by a mother and daughter who come to Carol Brazle's Body and Soul class. While the kids played in the field, the adults enjoyed getting to know one another.
While some of us enjoyed some down-time before dinner, a couple of our boys helped Paul, clean out the baptistry to prepare for baptisms that are to happen this afternoon with the Hispanic group that meets on Sunday afternoons.
After dinner we all worked to do some extra cleaning at the church building. And once we got to the hotel, we were glad to have time to connect with family at home.
Keep praying for the relationships that are developing. God is doing great things!
Yesterday, we were well rested and ready to GO. The picture above, is of our group meeting to prepare and pray. The day's activities included, preparing meals, games and activities, and communicating with YOU.
The highlight of our day was the answered prayer for shared hospitality. Sharing our meals with the Brazles, the LST team from Harding, and members of the Antwerp church was so encouraging.
We began with some "get-to-know-you" games at the church building, and then took our games to a local park. We were so surprised at how easy it was to include local kids who were at the park in our games. We had a blast playing with them and hope that we will see them again today!
Our day ended with Dutch lessons, so that we can be perceived as polite Americans. Our attempts at saying "please" (alstubieft) and "thank you" (dank u) in Dutch have been received with kind smiles and patience.
We cannot wait to share what God does today as we return to the neighborhood to continue building on the relationships that began yesterday. Please pray today for the gifts of togetherness and thankfulness.
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 12:20
Thank you so much for your prayers for our safe travel. We arrived in Antwerp without any major complications! Paul Brazle was waiting to receive us at Antwerp Central Station. We were immediately in love with its beauty.
We spent all of Thursday trying to stay active and awake. Paul made sure we know how to travel in the city and we experienced first hand what it feel like to be in a "fish bowl." Our large group attracted attention as Paul led us in our explorations. Our group's favorite quote for the day was "We were up for 30 hours, so we are ready for a 30 hour nap." - Emily
The Antwerp church had a banner waiting to greet us at Gemeente van Christus and we begin our mission of hospitality today! Please pray as we seek to begin building relationships.
The Youth Mission group to Antwerp, Belgium met this morning at the North Side building to do one last quick check on passports, travel docs, etc., and a group prayer, before heading to Will Rogers Airport for a 12:30 p.m. flight to Atlanta, then Belgium!
The Springs Youth Trip to Antwerp Belgium, 2017, takes off July 5th! All of the hard work and anticipation is about to be put into motion. Join us in praying for the 13 high school students and 5 adults that will be traveling to Antwerp to join Paul and Carol Brazle for two weeks. It will be a nonstop time of getting to know people and sharing God's love.
Check back here for updates and photos of the daily events that take place!