S: Europe 2011
BC: Psalms 125:1-2 "Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever."
FC: Europe 2011 The Trail Left...
1: As I was preparing for Europe, I was experiencing panic attacks, anxiety and fear. I asked God for a promise that would remind me of his faithfulness and protection for me. This is the verse he gave me: Psalms 125:1-2 "Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever." | Flying over Moscow as I prepare for a layover and my first experience of culture shock--lots of Caucasians.
2: My first stop was Prague, Czech Republic. It was the most beautiful, well preserved city I visited.
3: I spent my first day exploring the castle, ST. Georgia's Cathedral and Charles' bridge.
4: One thing that stood out about Prague was it's love for art and music. Unlike the other cities I visited, it seemed like every corner reflected a love for creativity and music.
5: I | My second day, I took a city tour. I got to learn about the protestant reformations and the beginning of communism, the central clock, the bridge and castle. It was fascinating to see the layers of history built into the walls and streets of this city. I also got to meet some cool people.
6: Budapest, Hungry was one of my favorite stops of the entire trip! I walked across the bridge from Buda to Pest.
7: HAIR AND MAKE UP TIME | I tracked up castle hill to the Matyas Church, the Citadel/Buda Castle, and back down to Vacai Utca (a shopping street). I met some people on the tour, and we set off to the bathes. They were very large, and looked like one was entering a Roman bath. The gardens in which the baths were located had lots of castles, statues and lakes.
8: "TToday was a beautiful day in Vienna. The map seemed confusing, so I set out to simply explore. I walked up the main street and came to the museums. I decided to tour the art museum and was able to see Jan Van Eyck, TItian, | I was able to visit the St. Ann Basiillica, where I tried the potato and raw meat dish. It was awful. It took me a while to figure out the strange taste and bloody potatoes. At some point in the day I went and rested in front of the parliament building in the grass with my starbucks.
9: Ruebens and Rembrandt. I still didn't feel like I had a grasp on the city, so I jumped on Tram 2, which took a loop around the city. As I watched from the window I had a wonderful natellla lunch. | When I arrived at my hostel that evening I discovered that I was going to be kicked out. They over booked. At 10 pm at night, I set out to find a new hostel. My second day I spent visiting 3 palaces (Belvedere, Schonbrunn Palace, and Kariskirche). They all had beautiful gardens. fountains, and architecture.
10: Vienna Art Museum, St. Stephen's Cathedral and Platz,
12: Salzburg, Austria My time in Salzburg was rainy and cloudy. I signed up for the Sound of Music Tour, but I couldn't see any of the beautiful scenery due to the fog and rain. I was so sad. However in one of the last cities we stopped we saw the cathedral in the movie, and got an amazing ice cream apple strudel. | The Barnina Express Train from St. Moritz to Tirano, Italy was amazing. We went through the alps along lakes, waterfalls, bridges, and beautiful towns. It was breath taking.
13: I took an Eagle's Nest tour and it was cloudy. The 360 panoramic view of the Barbarian Mountains was blocked. I was so sad. The thing I loved most about this city was the quaint beautiful setting. The city sat on a hill with a castle looking over it. It was surrounded by mountains, and the roads were narrow and beautifully decorated. I can see how Mozart came from this lovely place. The flowers were in full bloom, and the gardens sang.
14: Nueschwanstein Castle I caught a train to the Neuschwanstein castle for the day. It sat bodily on top of a mountain. It served as the inspiration for Disney. Every room told a different tale, with the same basic stories of Disney. It over looked the valley and sat with it's back against the Balbarian Mountains. At the base of the castle sat a beautiful lake and cascading waterfalls. I had a great time hiking over and around the falls. Munich I didn't love Munich for its beauty or architecture. It was almost completely destroyed in the World Wars. However, I did enjoy the city tours and learning about Hitler and the influence he had on Germany.
15: I met some great people on my tours that kept me company .
16: Zermatt, Switzerland. I arrived in Zermatt after a long day of stressful travel. I took an all night train from Munich to St. Moritz. I had two very late trains that should have caused me to miss connections. I got off at the wrong stop, but God was in control. I made the scenic train. The train and bus ride took me through the alps into Italy and along Lake Como and Lugano. On my way to Zermatt that night, I had two God moments with train connections. I finely arrived in Zermat at 12 am.
17: Zermatt, Switzerland was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I stayed at a bed and breakfast. It was the first time and only time the entire trip I had my own room. It was wonderful to have a big breakfast and clean place. I spent the entire day hiking and enjoying the panoramic views. The Matterhorn was beautiful. I loved every moment of this day. I met some wonderful Kiwis that allowed me to hike with them. We ended up going to France.
19: "B | One of the most peaceful and restful times of the entire trip was sitting and hiking in this magnificent place. There aren't words to describe how it reflected the power of God.
20: Kandern Germany. This summer I lived in Black Forest, Germany for 5 weeks. It was a serene quiet place. I experienced my first culture shock at the grocery store and what it's like to go from over 15,000,000 to 2,000 people. God used this place to give me rest and fellowship.
21: HAIR AND MAKE UP TIME | These wonderful People taught me what it means to loose my life to gain it. They cried with me, laughed with me, toiled with me and shared life with me. God knew I needed this!
22: A day in Strasbourg and a day in Alsace, France.
24: One Sunday a missionary couple picked us up and took us to a French church and on a tour of the Wine Road.
25: Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Alsace
27: Our class went to Freidburg for an evening. We walked around this beautiful city in the middle of the wine region. We had crepes and coffee that were to die for. The city was full of bright colors and beautiful people.
28: Adelboden, Switzerland. A small group of classmates took a trip to Innsbruck for the weekend. We spent the day hiking in the Alps. They day was clear, crisp, and strenuous. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and escape.
29: Every time we came to a new peak it was just as breath taking. The cow in this picture came after me.
32: Rhine River | Rhine River My first day of adventure after PBU was the Rhine River. It was the first time I felt failure with the trains and an overwhelming feeling of frustration. I missed my boat in the morning, took the wrong train, sat an hour before catching a train back to where I started, and met a wonderful old man. The Rhine ended up being beautiful. It was full of castles, flowers, towers, and small towns. When I finely reached Luxemburg it was getting dark.
33: Luxemburg. Underground tunnels and the slum district/jail that has been turned into upscale neighborhood.
34: Brussels, Belgium Brussels was very different from the other cities I had visited. It was very dirty, and felt unsafe. The buildings were very elaborate, almost Gothic, with the dutch style roofs. I spent the day simply roaming the city. The Central Market Square was one of my favorite places. It was lined with cafés, flower vendors and lots of people. The rest of the day was spent visiting cathedrals, parliaments, and cute streets. My favorite discovery of the day was the Belgium waffles. They were to die for! I had never had something so good.
36: Melechen & Antwerp Today I set out with my new found Austrian friends. We walked around the old city of Melechen. It was famous for it's old cathedral and chocolate. The second half of the day was spent in Antwerp, where we went to an outdoor market. We tried their famous fries and chocolate, and spent the rest of the day looking at castles and architecture.
40: Amsterdam was full of surprises! This town was beautiful, creative, and charming.
41: I started the day by getting lost in the red light district and discovering what "coffee bars" were.
42: The Willets took me into Wales for the weekend to camp and hike in Snowdonia National Park. It seemed like a dream land. The beauty didn't end, and the views were around every corner. It was one of my favorite things
43: I did the whole trip. It was so nice to have friends to enjoy memories with after such a long time traveling alone. It was also a blessing to have the people around me speak English. For the past year and most of the summer I couldn't communicate. I felt like it caused me to miss out on things like guitar sing a longs with our camping neighbors. The man came and played us his songs he wrote, and Then he gave us a pizza as a welcoming gift to Wales.
44: The hike was very steep and scary. We bouldered up the mountain, and crawled along the ridge. | They had a race the day we were hiking. People were flying up and down the mountain. | We met some very friendly people on the trail, like the boy who saved my camera cap.
46: We camped on this lake, with our small tent. It was the middle of the summer, but Europe had an extremely cold summer. I about froze my tush off. I didn't pack winter clothes.
48: Scotland, The Kingdom of FIfe. St. Andrews and fishing villages along the East Coast of Scotland.
49: Lochness, Flencoe & the Highlands I decided to take a tour of the Highlands and the Northern part of Scotland. It was very beautiful, and undeveloped. The mountains were not very big, but one particular spot, was particularly beautiful (pic on left). On the tour I met a Canadian couple . They were so sweet. They bought me coffee, refreshments, and then asked to take me and another girl I met out to dinner. We had wonderful conversations. I was so blessed.
50: It became very comical fast. Every time a person would come up and struggle with the door, the old man and I would look at each other and start dying laughing. By the end of the trip we had become good friends. | One of the funny moments in Edinburgh was on the train ride up. I sat across from an old man and behind the bathroom. As we sat there glaring out the window, there was a consistent line for the bathroom. For some reason no one could figure out how to open the door. I would have to consistently get up and show them how to open the door.
51: Edinburgh, Scotland . This city was saturated in history. It's buildings spoke of royalty, legends, and glamor. Everywhere you turned you saw beauty in landscape, buildings or people. I got to visit the grave site of the famous faithful dog, hear bagpipes, and roam cobble streets,
53: A day visiting London Bridge, London Tower, West Minister Abby, and Big Ben, | LONDON
55: Buckingham Palace and the the Changing of the guard.
56: I decided to go to the Stone Henge at the last minute. It took 3 hours to get there one way. | My last stop of the journey was Heidelburg, Germany. I spent the quiet evening in this small town. I hiked to a castle at the top of the mountain. There was a wonderful birds eye view of the city. Later I wondered the roads trying treats and admiring the old structures. It's hard to believe it's over. God was so faithful and answered so many prayers.
58: This summer has been about facing fears, and trusting God to be my covenant partner. Before the trip began, I was having anxiety attacks over traveling alone and starting my grad program. My dream had always been to backpack Europe, but I had failed from fear. I felt strongly that God was leading me to pursue a Masters of Education, for I had seen him answer specific prayer request and provide the money. I decided that I must trust him to take care of me. And he did that and more! Answered Prayer Request: 1. Trains in Europe- lined up, caught connections that were running up to an hour late (Munich, Chur, Lake Lagano, Zermatt) 2. Delayed trains (3x)- I was running late and they were the last train to depart of the day, and I caught it. 3. Directions- I have the worst since of direction, but I felt a peace and confidence walking around by myself. I seemed to find all my hostels and attractions with no problems. 4. UK- It was cold and nasty all summer, the days I was there were the first warm clear days of the summer.. 5. Edinburgh Train- I missed my train, jumped on another one that ended up being the last and only train connecting to London. I would have been stranded if I waited. I arrived in London past 1pm and the hostel was able to help me get a taxi. 6. I asked God for some company to travel with and people to share Him with- 2 boys, N. Zealand couple, Willets, Canadian couple, Austrian girls, classmates. 7. Face fears with traveling and school- peace, protection, aligning 8. Mainz- Old man. Had a really bad day, and the old man was an answer to prayer. 9. London- asked for clothes, low prices, right store in one hour, and I walked into the right store, with right prices. I received my wardrobe for teaching. 10. Chrystal's emails, encouragement and money 11. Provided a scholarship to pay the 50% my school was not covering. This is the letter I wrote my Sponsor, who provided me with my scholarship. It was a summary of how I saw God lead me and provide for me this summer: Dear Sponsor & Friend, My name is Kathryn Ragsdale, and I live in Suwon, South Korea. This is my second year working at Gyeonggi-Suwon International School (GSIS). Last year I worked full time in the dorm program, and substituted at the school. My role was to do discipleship and character developing with the kids living on campus. Although GSIS is an international school probably 90% of the kids is Korean, and although it is a Christian school probably 80% of the kids are nonbelievers. Last year I had one Christian in my discipleship group of girls. The kids who attend our school come from very wealthy prestigious families, who send their kids to the international school for the education, not the Christian foundation. I have found GSIS to be a huge mission field.
59: I want to thank you for contributing to my education, and would like to share with you how God used your donation to confirm several things in my life. A little over a year ago when I decided to make the move to Korea, I took a two-week training class in preparation for cross-cultural work. It was there that I learned about PBU and their Masters of International Education. I took a six-hour credit course from them in cross-cultural communication, and learned a lot about the “Third Cultural Kid”. God used this to plant a seed in my heart. As the semester progressed last year, I continually felt like God was pressing on my heart to continue in PBU’s Master of International Education. For me this was a very scary thing. You see, I told God that I would do anything for him but teach and work in a church. Growing up teaching was associated with fear, hard work, and stress. At a young age I was told my spiritual gift was teaching, and I tended to be put in teaching roles. After I graduated college I saw God lead me to work at a church as a Youth Assistant and Middle School Director, and then here to GSIS. When I felt like God was pressing on my heart to go back to school for education, I felt like it was very ironic. However, I wanted to always be willing to do whatever God calls me to do, so I told God I would go if he provided me with a scholarship. A month and a half before classes were to start this summer, I still hadn’t heard back from the school about any scholarships. I started to plan my trip home. I figured I had escaped teaching once again. However, as you know, our plans are rarely His plans. During this same time I received an email from the school telling me I was award a scholarship. At the time I didn’t understand why God was leading me down this path, but I was excited about giving him an area I as never willing to surrender. This summer was a very challenging, enriching and stretching time. Before returning to Korea I stopped over in England. I wanted to try to go shopping for some casual wear. In Korea, they don’t have my clothes size, because everyone is so petite. I had one hour till the stores closed and as you know the pound is very strong, so I prayed, “God you know my limited time, and you know my limited funds. I need you to help me to walk into the perfect store, where I can find the perfect fits, with a very cheap price I can afford.” Well as you can guess, I walked into a store that was having a huge sale (3-15 pound items). I got three dresses, three slacks, four matching tops, a matching suite top, a cardigan, two undershirts, and shoes for a hundred pounds. I called my mom the next night and said, “Mom, I asked God to provide for me the clothes I needed and He did, but they weren’t the type of clothes I that had in mind. They are very formal. He must be preparing me for something, I just don’t know what!” The day after returning to Korea I discovered I was the new 6th grade Bible teacher. God had not only provided the tools to equip me to teach, but the wardrobe to do it in:) As I look back, I can see how God was directing, equipping, and providing for everything I would need to face this next year. I’m so excited I get to teach 6th graders the foundations of Bible! I know if it wasn’t for my classes from PBU I would not be prepared for what God has called me to do. Thank you so much for being God’s instrument and hands in my life. For helping provide a way for me to be equipped to do what God has called me to do here in S. Korea. I know that this is an eternal investment! Love, Kathryn Ragsdale