Paris, London and Edinburgh in 1 week!! It was crazy but yet so awesome.
I never really planned to do this but for some reason all the puzzle pieces landed exactly in the right place. I always wanted to go to the Frenzy Festival in Edinburgh. As a matter of fact, we were planning to go last year. For some reason we didn't go. So I decided last November that it would be cool to go to Edinburgh for the Frenzy Festival in June. Fiona and I decided to book our hotel room in advance, just to be sure of a place to stay near the event. A week after this I got an e-mail about a Passion meeting at the Hammersmith Apollo. I decided to go and asked Fiona if she wanted to join me (while she lives in London). So we went and we got to hear everything about the Passion world tour. We were fired up! The only thing that crossed our minds was: Passion London is happening 1 day before we leave for Frenzy..oh no…
When I returned home I told the Passion news to all my friends, it was because of them I got to know Passion in the first place. I still remember that they played the “How Great is our God”-cd a lot. Of course they were all very excited but London is quite expensive so they asked: why not go to Paris instead? WOW…three gatherings in one week? Wouldn't that be crazy stupid? Wouldn't that be ridiculous? Am I out of my mind? I prayed a lot about it and for some reason it all came together.
So the first stop was Paris. We arrived in Paris on the Sunday evening by bus. It’s quite the trip from The Hague to Paris: 8 hours by bus. Very dreadful. We spend the Monday in downtown Paris. Shopping, sightseeing, relaxing…everything. In the evening we visited Montmartre, a very beautiful place in Paris. I love this place not to mention it’s the most beautiful place in Paris. Just the light and the surroundings are perfect! It’s very romantic as well.
Tuesday was Passion day! The morning we met up with a few Dutchies at Starbucks! Then my boyfriend Jeroen came in at Gare du Nord at around 1pm. I promised to get him from the train station but never expected that the actual train station would be so big. How on earth would I be able to go from platform 44 to platform 8? My French is very basic and because most French people don’t speak English I tried to ask around. Needles to say that I overlooked this huge Thalys and Eurostar sign. After I desperately phoned Jeroen I noticed it. To make a long story short I got him off the train, brought him to the hotel and in the afternoon we had some time alone in Paris. Which was really nice :-)
We met up with the whole group at 4pm again. Not everyone showed up because it so happened to be that two people got a fine because they lost their metro card. Anyways they arrived half an hour later and we headed off for Passion. We were all pretty much fired up about it and couldn’t wait to get there. Waiting in line for the venue to open we got to meet some amazing people. We knew that our friends from Italy were around: Daniela & Davide and so we met up with them. Then standing behind us in line there were two guys from Atlanta, Georgia and Magdalena from Austria. One of the guys of our group, Joel, got a hold of David Crowder and gave him this Heineken promotion hat. It was a weird hat and you could drum on it. At first we convinced Joel not to take the hat with him to Passion. Well he could take it with him but we were so not going to stand next to him. Despite this he brought it with him to Passion and gave it to Crowder. Later on in Edinburgh I got to ask David about it and he said the hat was a big hit and that they still had it.
Before Passion Paris we prayed with around 8 people in a circle prayer. It was truly a powerful moment. All of us were from different nations but God brought us safely to Paris. Amazing! It was an amazing evening of worship. Just hearing all the songs sung by everyone was so powerful. I love Roland Garros and was excited that I was in Paris, during Roland Garros. Unfortunately i couldn't afford a ticket so when Mr. Louie Giglio (founder and Passion speaker) said that they had a tennis player coming, I was excited! I was wishing that my favourite tennis player would come but knowing he’s a Muslim, I didn’t expect him to have seen the light! (Still praying ;-)) But unfortunately nope…I guess Marat Safin was still at Roland Garros that day but it turned out to be Mary Piece and she told everyone her testimony of faith. It was all about to deny yourself (Matthew 16:24) and Louie’s talk continued on Pierce’s testimony. Louie’s talk made me think. He also talked about that we should shine in our profession or in whatever we do. He encouraged us to finish college. To be honest I'm struggling to finish college...as a matter of fact I'm already in college studying journalism for 6 years!!!! The problem is... I dislike college...I don't know why but it's just something I can't set my mind to it. I absolutely love working in journalism. I loved my job in tv and I absolutely love doing some work as a publicist. But I struggle to finish college, I even thought about quitting...but that would be a waiste of money and studentloans. I feel and know that God wants me to finish college so that he can use me to the max....and what Louie said in Paris encouraged me a lot. I felt I heard God's voice saying it again to me.
Around noon on Wednesday we got on the Eurostar to London. My first ever Eurostar ride, so I was excited. I must admit that being in a tunnel under the sea is a bit of a scary thought. So I had to calm myself a bit…what if the tunnel collapsed? But looking at my best friend I already knew what her answer would be because she said it before to me. “If you die, you know where you are going”. Good answer but so not helping me to overcome my fears. Mmm…maybe I need to work on that! Haha. Anyway when we arrived in London we jumped on to the tube and stalled our bags at Victoria Station, then we hopped back on the tube and went straight to Covent Garden. There I met my friend Donna from North-Carolina. Her family is originally from Italy but she was born in the USA. She was on holiday in Europe and so happened to be in Paris and London during the same time I was there. It was great to see her. She’s an amazing woman and so fun to hang around with. She told me a funny story about her trip to Barcelona and said that she was thinking of opening a massage salon in Spain, is that correct Donna;-) haha. Just kidding. For some reason some there are people who offer massages at the beach in Spain.
After our meeting with Donna we headed for Fiona’s place, where we would stay the next couple of days.
Thursday morning was quite relaxing, we slept in a bit. At least we tried until my phone rang. A Norwegian friend called if we could pick up his group tickets for Passion. No problem. First we decided to get some real English breakfast. I love bacon, eggs, toast, beans…mmmm… There was this old English lady sitting next to us asking if we could really eat it! She couldn’t. After we had our breakfast we did some shopping and headed to the Hammersmith Apollo to get our tickets and meet another Dutch girl. We decided to stay near the Apollo and hung around a bit. We got to talk to a guy from South-Africa and to a bunch of people from Belfast. During the evening we sat next to these wonderful ladies from Scotland. They were excited about being front row, because this was actually there first time front row. I was amazed by the 3000 people that showed up. I still remember praying in the venue back in November at the Passion meeting and now God brought all these people to Passion London. I could only say WOW. Passion London was an amazing night too. It was so amazing to worship with so many people from different nations. We come from different backgrounds, different cultures but yet we all have one thing in common and that is Jesus. Louie read some passages from Ashley’s diary. You might not know Ashley’s story and if you don’t, please go and read it here: http://268blog.blogspot.com/2007/05/ashleys-home.html
Ashley’s life has been so short but crucial. God has been using Ashley to the fullest and will continue to use her story. She’s living on in everyone’s heart. Not to mention that we will all see her when we go to heaven. When Louie read passages from her diary it was one of those moments that you will never forget. This girl, Ashley, was just a normal girl. She had her own struggles in life, relationship problems etc. She thought her roommate was a fruitcake because she believed in Jesus. Ashley could writes he explained how she felt and what she was going through. Eventually she got to see that Jesus is alive! So amazing, so powerful! It’s hard because sometimes I wish she was still around just to say to her: hey girl, your story has encouraged me so much! Thank you! The passages from her diary brought tears to my eyes. Not just from laughing, I must admit Ashley’s writing is humorous, but her story is incredible.
On Friday afternoon we left for Edinburgh!! I was excited about it because it was my first time in Scotland. We flew with British Airways so we got to see the new terminal at London Heathrow. Wow, it looks really nice! Fiona told me that all together is cost a fortune to build this thing. We landed in Edinburgh in the afternoon and headed directly to our hotel: the Quality hotel. We were a bit bumped at first that the WiFi didn’t work, but the hotel staff ensured us that they were working on it. We decided to head to the city centre! I really wanted to see the castle. So we decided to do the royal mile, she the castle and have dinner afterwards at some pub. The castle is amazing!! So beautiful. Not only the castle is so beautiful but Edinburgh is! Paris and London are great but Edinburgh tops them all (in my opinion) I bought some Scottish souvenirs. Also a small kilt for my little niece (it’s so cute!) and then for dinner we met up with some amazing people from Dallas, Texas we met earlier that week!! The pub we ate in was really nice, very Scottish but I just ordered fish and chips and of course a good pint of beer.
After dinner the Texas girls went up to the castle and Fiona and I did a little bit of walking in Edinburgh. Around 9:30pm we wanted to go back to the hotel but couldn’t find our bus stop so we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel. I love the taxi’s there, they are so cute!
Saturday was Frenzy time!! Our hotel was next to the venue, which was really good. Our Norwegian friends asked if they could put their luggage in our room, so our room was quite busy but we didn’t mind. The Frenzy Festival was great as well. So many young people from all over Scotland coming in for this particular festival and they were loud!! I also heard that the Frenzy people don’t profit from this festival and that all the artists come and perform for free… I don’t know if this is true but if so: wow.
We tried to go to as many concerts as possible. We got to see Phil Wickham. Who is a very talented and gifted worshipleader. I’m impressed by his music. We got to hear Leeland, amazing as well. David Crowder band, Chris Tomlin and Delirious? WOW!! Hearing Chris sing “God of this city” was just amazing. Especially after we just came from Paris and London. It gives so much more meaning to that song. Chris also explained how the band Bluetree wrote the song, which was amazing too. Bluetree wrote it in Thailand when they were playing there at a local bar in an area full of prostitutes. God truly put this song in their mouths while playing. Isn’t that amazing??
So Frenzy rocked!! The next morning we left early to go to the city centre again. Our flights were scheduled to depart in the afternoon so we had some time left. It was great to walk around again and I bought some last things. Also Fiona and I did this typical tourist thing: a photographer took a picture of us in Scottish clothes. We just wanted to have fun. The guy had a southern US accent so I asked if he was from the States and what he did in Scotland. He told us that he married a Scottish girl and that he was indeed from Arkansas. Turns out he is a Christian as well and was pretty bumped to hear that he missed Frenzy. He told us that he played guitar with Chris Tomlin when he was about 15 at a camp back home and he did lighting for Rebecca st. James. How funny is that? It was really great meeting him.
Anyway we headed back to the hotel to get our stuff and headed to the airport. Fiona's flight went back to London and my flight went back to Amsterdam. It’s good to be home, but it was an amazing week. I got to meet so many amazing people! I loved talking to and seeing all the familiar faces of people I actually know from the States and from all over Europe. Most of all it was incredible to see God move in every city!! (And He is still moving) "For greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city" Thanks to Fiona for everything!! And to everyone else: I hope to see you all soon!!