Mission is fruitful. Mission is hard. Mission is learning how to serve and to be served. Over ten-day break, I was on a team that went and ministered to high school students in Budapest, Hungary. The Austria program had five Eastern European mission locations this semester: two in Slovakia, two in Romania, and one in Hungary. Each mission varied in its experiences and ministry but all benefited from the raw experience of the Lord’s love and His ability to work through each missionary individually.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: a modern witness to the hope that springs from the Gospel. A young Italian whose faith and way of life were harmoniously fused. A man who prayed through the night and climbed a mountain in the morning to hear the voice of God clearer. A man whose life was full of constant joy and self-giving.
In New Hampshire, my backyard has a shed, a pool, a large grassy area, a tree with a swing…things that are ordinary for a backyard to have. So far, the places I’ve stayed in Europe have had extraordinary backyards, with astounding nature and famous historical sights to replace the ordinary.
My friends and I took advantage of our first free weekend. We spontaneously planned a trip in two days and ended up spending time in 4 countries: Austria, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia. It sounds like a lot, and hectic, and not worth it, but it was totally doable and a great asset to our Europe experiences.
The Carthusian monastery I’m currently living and studying in has steep, slick roofs and Austria has snow built up on every surface from recent storms: the perfect equation for an “avalanche.” At any time of day, heavy snow will unexpectedly slide off the roof and crash to the ground, disturbing the silence and even waking people from their sleep in the midst of the night.
A common thing for students to do before beginning their semester in Austria is to visit a country a week before classes start. A popular destination is Ireland where students are surrounded by the Cliffs of Moher, beautiful countryside, and Irish culture. Four of my friends and I decided to break this tradition and take a riskier trip: explore the beautiful country of Iceland.