want to know one of the best ways to feel like a local
when traveling in a new place? go to church. no matter
what religion you are or which church you choose to visit,
it is an amazing experience to attend church in new places.
it puts you with locals attending their weekly meeting, lets
you experience the culture and language of the place, and for
us – strengthens our beliefs to see our church in all different areas.
while backpacking europe this summer, we made it a goal to
get to church every sunday that we could. sometimes while
traveling on shorter trips we want to use our time to see a new
place and we don’t always make it to church, but we knew that
we would really need to prioritize tracking down chapels and
planning ahead for sundays so we could be somewhere to attend
church. in the past 5 months since we left, we only missed church
4 times…and each sunday when we stepped into a new church
building in a new country with the message in a new language,
we felt so grateful for the chance to pause, sit down, soak in the
spirit, and feel something normal in our very out-of-comfort-zone
life. i can’t tell you how amazing our different experiences have
been at church throughout europe – meeting amazing members,
getting dinner invites, talking with missionaries and making
connections from home, listening to translations in headsets,
and most of all…feeling that exact same spirit every time.
we feel lucky to be part of a pretty unique church that is
the same wherever you go on earth. yes, the languages and
the building and the people are beautiful and different everywhere,
but the gospel itself is constant and familiar and feels like stepping
into a hug every time you cross the threshold of a church. sorry to
go on about it, but i’ve never appreciated it more than these last
months and i had to write it down. over the past 5 months i snapped
a few pictures of church signs in different languages and little
glimpses of some special memories as we cabbed, trained,
bussed, metro-ed, ran, and walked to find church each week.
our life ^^ always with translating headsets on for sacrament meeting!
^^ church in italy. benvenuti!
church in french ^^ (always my favorite :)
dutch book of mormon ^^ taken at our new amsterdam ward!
german church sign in vienna, austria ^^
a funny memory here: all of our church’s meeting times are
listed online, so we had planned a train into vienna on
sunday morning specifically to make it to church since
we had been in the countryside. it was unusually hot that
week, and after we rode the metro all the way out there…
we arrived to find that the bishop had changed the sacrament
meeting time due to the heat, and it was over. we were sweaty
and frustrated and then the young men’s president organized
a blessing of the sacrament just for us. it was such a special
memory and made it so worth it to change our plans that day.
all of the time on the road also gave me time to really
study and use guides for the BOM and bible. along
with reading lots of regular books, it was such an
amazing time to focus more on the important things
and truly have time to soak them in while traveling.
i followed a 100 day scripture study guide on the road
and finished it one of our final days! best feeling.
we lived in london this fall after our travels, so we
loved having the beautiful hyde park chapel as our
ward for a little over a month. now being down in
south africa we’re getting to attend wards in little
villages and johannesburg neighborhoods and see
even more diverse settings where the feeling is still the
same. we can’t wait to be back living in amsterdam soon &
(finally) actually be members of one ward with callings again!
i am so grateful for the perspective, goodness and hope
that our church brings to our lives. i truly cannot
imagine life without it. through europe we saw so
much beauty and experienced so much that God
has created, so it was fitting to be able to worship
each week through that experience. thanks for
letting me share these things that are special to
me! i hope no matter what religion or church
you choose, that you go anywhere you can.
it was our favorite thing about being on the road.