Goer blogs

Education in the Time of Corona

By Abby on March 15, 2020 Track: University Outreach Region: Europe

There is a scene in the classic claymation film Chicken Run, where Ginger, the lead chicken says “Let’s not lose our heads” to which the other chickens say “Lose our heads?!” and run screaming. That’s basically the state of things at the moment. In the shop the other day as people were bulk-buying, an elderly French woman whispered: “It’s like the war.” People are acting like corona is akin to the nazis. That qualifies as losing our heads. We can approach things in a better way. It is a serious situation, and we shouldn’t rub our faces on one another, but panic and indulging in misinformation... Read more

Work to be Done

By Anna on March 12, 2020 Track: Youth Development Region: Europe

"Anka is a six-year-old Roma girl, whose whimsical smile and toothless grin immediately win you over. But Anka is at a disadvantage- she does not attend preschool and will be starting first grade this fall. She doesn’t know how to hold a pencil; when asked to color, she produces a scribbled page. She only speaks Roma, unable to understand more than basic Bulgarian sentences.” Anka’s situation is not unique- many Roma families lack resources to send their children to preschool. But what if there was a play group Anka could attend, led by other Roma women, who could introduce her to Bulgarian,... Read more

UNO: The Minority Game

By Diamond on February 9, 2020 Track: Youth Development Region: Europe

Ignorance. Lack of knowledge or information. Cultural Appropriation.The unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of elements - customs, practices, ideas - of a minority culture by members of a more dominant culture.  Frustration. A common emotion that results from the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something. In other words: a result of the above. Situations like these are inevitable. For all minorities - both men and women. It’s something that we’re used to dealing with. It’s something we’re used to seeing in our daily lives, whether that’s... Read more

Arabian What? and Breaking Bread

By Abby on February 2, 2020 Track: University Outreach Region: Europe

What do you get when you take a British-American and Egyptian and put them in a French grocery store? This sounds like the opening to a joke; in reality, it was the start of a nearly nine-hour struggle to bake feeter, a kind of Arabic bread, pastry, or pie (depending on who you ask).  This past Thursday’s theme for our English event at the university center was Arabian Night (cue the song from Aladdin). The day before, I met with Saher, my teammate who lead the event, at the grocery store to buy the supplies. One hour later we were still languishing in Geant, the larger of the two grocery... Read more

Practicing Presence

By Carissa on January 20, 2020 Track: Media - Arts Region: Europe

One thing that I appreciate about Spanish culture is the value it places on relationship. For Spaniards, seeing an event through to its natural completion is generally considered more important than constraining the event within set time limits. In America, for example, it would be rude to show up late to a meeting because it would imply that you don’t respect the other person’s time. In Spain showing up late is completely acceptable, but it would be offensive to leave early because it would suggest that you don’t value the time you’re spending with that person. In other words, relationship... Read more

Lessons from Disney World

By Caitlyn on December 19, 2019 Track: Media - Arts Region: Europe

As a former Disney Cast Member, I LOVE Disney! However, one thing I dislike about Disney World is the lines. I hate to wait. If I ever went to the parks by myself, you could see me with a book and some snacks in every line **true story**.  I don’t like waiting. Does anyone? We live in a culture where instant gratification is king and our attention spans are waning. What happens when we start expecting God to do things instantly or within our plan?  God is rarely early, but never late. Life can feel like fighting an uphill battle. No matter the amount of effort and time it takes, it feels as... Read more

"And I was the Lion"

By Anna on December 12, 2019 Track: Youth Development Region: Europe

One of my favorite passages in all of literature is the scene in “The Horse and His Boy” where Shasta is going over the mountains between Archenland and Narnia. He’s weary, he’s alone, he feels like he has been left behind. And as he travels through the fog and clouds something begins to walk alongside him. The reader, of course, knows this is Aslan. Shasta begins to talk to him and tell all his troubles. Finally he says, “Don’t you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?” (158). Aslan goes on to tell Shasta that there was only one lion. One lion throughout all his life and every... Read more

Good Shepherd

By Abby on December 5, 2019 Track: University Outreach Region: Europe

Over the last week, I've had very little sleep. I've been the bergère (shepherd) for the DEFI Bible students. This means that I am responsible for the various needs of the students, I make sure people are where they need to be, I pray at meals, I have daily things prepared, and I plan a special event for the group. My theme has been gifts of the magi, so I've had a seeking the star game going, I been making gifts for each student, and I wrote a riddle-driven city-wide scavenger hunt. In short, I need a nap.              Instead, when we went down to town from the mountains, there was a sharp... Read more

Now what?

By Carissa on November 21, 2019 Track: Media - Arts Region: Europe

Remember that fish tank scene at the end of Finding Nemo? The tank gang has finally carried out their elaborate plan of escaping from the dentist office.  As they find themselves sitting in the harbor just like they’d imagined, still in their plastic bags, the blowfish asks, “now what?” That’s kind of what coming to Spain felt like. There was so much preparation and anticipation. Most of my focus was on the actual act of getting myself over here in the midst of visa drama, packing, and keeping my guitar from getting smashed on the airplane. And once I arrived, the first few weeks went by in a... Read more

Half-Way There - Being Faithfully Active

By Anni on November 12, 2019 Track: Youth Development Region: Europe

This process of support raising has been such a crazy and amazing adventure. Little did I realize just how much of a wild ride it would be - a roller coaster of emotions. It has been so incredibly good and stretching in my life already and it is only half-way over. One big way that it has been stretching me is spiritually as God has been teaching me what this new season entails.  For the last 4-6 years, I have felt like I have been in a "waiting" and preparing period. I felt like I was being told to actively wait and prepare for an opportunity that the Lord had for me in the future. Today as... Read more