Human Art – Part Two

Click Here to Read Part One

The other day I remembered a book I read four years ago called, The Practice of the Presence of God: The Best Rule of a Holy Life by Brother Lawrence.  As I am rediscovering how to live, I thought it would be helpful to read again.  I left my copy in the States, but thankfully Amazon offers the e-book for free!  You can find the free Kindle version here:

The book is about simply living in communion with God in everyday tasks.  Even though Brother Lawrence was a monk in France in the 1600’s, the truths are 100% relevant and relatable today.

I spoke with my roommate about how I would like to simply cook my eggs in the morning while fully being in God’s presence and talking with Him.  Sounds simple enough, although I find this very difficult to maintain as my thoughts tend to wander quickly.  I’m reminded of the grace and love of Jesus who doesn’t condemn me as I struggle to remain in His presence.  Brother Lawrence said,

“…when I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, ‘I am used to do[ing] so: I shall never do otherwise, if I am left to myself.’  [When] I fail not, then I give God thanks, acknowledging the strength comes from Him.”  Page 6, Brother Lawrence.

I need Jesus just to be aware of Him.  I feel Jesus’ love for me more every day.  I recognize condemnation I feel doesn’t come from Him, rather expectations I put on myself.

I’ve also been dwelling in the Psalms, especially Psalm 119 where the author pours out his heart to God and expresses his constant need for God.  I feel the same.

As I am changing, I feel the way I create is drastically changing, leaving me feeling lost in things I used to find carefree.  I started writing about 15 new songs in the past few months but haven’t finished any of them.  My taste in music has significantly changed.  Most of the music in my library doesn’t appeal to me anymore.  Even this blog post has taken me unusually long to write, being two months since my last entry.

I was frustrated because I find a lot satisfaction in writing, both with music and words.  I was sitting on the couch the other night, gazing out the window into the beautiful view of the ski slope across the street.  I felt like I had nothing to do and was totally uninspired.  I talked with Jesus about how I felt.

In that moment, Jesus spoke to me that although I’m not creating like I’d like to be, the creative work I am now taking part in is the new work Jesus is doing inside of me.  I was amazed.  I was trying so hard to make some kind of art that I didn’t realize the art is actually me.  That led me to this thought:

The best piece of art a person can contribute to society is themselves.

Seeing myself as a unique creation helps me see the unique creation God has made in others.  The love and patience God has for me as I struggle to rest in His presence, hear His voice in each moment, and let go of old ways of thinking is really life changing for me.  I am encouraged to keep centered on Jesus in each moment.  My prayer is that each person I meet will be able to experience the love God has for them, too.

Until next time,



Human Art – Part One

The past few weeks have been life changing for me.  After my brother left from visiting my roommate and me for two weeks over Christmas, our days have been quieter than what I am used to.  Our next German course begins in April, leaving my roommate and me with a few months of unstructured time.  Despite not having an 8-hour-something to fill most of the day, God has blessed us with many wonderful friends and we are meeting more people throughout this time. 

Two weeks ago, we went on a hike with some friends and their neighbors.  It was a great opportunity to speak with each other as we walked.  On the walk home after we ate at a restaurant together, our friend passed out torches since it was dark.  It was a cool, new experience!

20180127_181947.jpgThe hike was a beautiful time to get to know our friends better.  My roommate and I shared from our hearts why we are in Germany and how Jesus has called us here.  It’s amazing to see how God has been moving, long before we arrived and to follow where He is leading us now.

We also recently reunited with some friends from our German class that ended in November.  We enjoyed a beautiful day with a former classmate and her husband, walking around Altenberg together.  Another former classmate visited about a week later.  It was great to see them again!

Without a current German class, I am reading German children’s books from the library.  My roommate and I enjoy watching movies in German with English subtitles.  With these things and conversations in German with friends, I am enjoying continuing to learn outside a classroom.     

I’m also learning a lot about myself in these quiet days.  When I am not doing anything, I tend to feel unsettled and anxious.  Jesus has taken away every excuse I have not to be still and receive His love.

Through these quite moments, Jesus has been telling me it’s okay to feel young, weak and homesick; which is what I have been feeling lately.  Allowing myself just to feel what I feel, and feeling totally accepted by Jesus, my roommate, and my pastors in the States, has been transforming for me.

To Be Continued… 



The Longest Bus Ride

I received a text from a classmate that results were in for our final test we took the month prior.  We had to go to the school to find out how we did.  The school is an hour and a half from where my roommate and I live.  I enjoy the scenic view and the bus ride usually passes quickly.

This time, however, was much different.  I tried to distract myself from thinking about my test results and what might or might not happen if I did or did not pass.  I prayed, looked out the window, played a game on my phone, but it only temporarily distracted me from my anticipation.  Then my roommate said to me, “This is the longest bus ride ever!”  I heartily agreed.

The German test we took was divided into three parts: reading and hearing comprehension, writing, and speaking.  I felt confident about the speaking section, but was unsure how I did with the reading.

We finally arrived at the school.  After knocking on the secretary’s door, we waited a few minutes without hearing an answer.  So we went to the library desk and learned that the secretary was there.  We waited in the lobby a few minutes until another classmate arrived.  After chatting with her and waiting a few more minutes, my classmate became tired of waiting, knocked on the door, and after opening it, was told by the secretary to come back in two hours because she was on lunch break.

I was again temporarily distracted from anticipation as I enjoyed delicious chicken for lunch.  We finished eating and returned to the school half an hour early.  “I’ll be with you in a moment,” the secretary said.  I was happy not to wait much longer.  Soon she was back in the office.

The school secretary slowly flipped through numerous folders of students’ reports.  Finding my roommate’s name at the very bottom of the pile, she examined it slowly and said, “You have passed.”  My roommate leaped for joy!  As much as she could leap in a small office.

I waited as papers were signed and my folder found, of course, at the very end of the pile.  Finding my name, she held in her hand the answer if I would continue into the next German course, or have to re-take the course I just completed.  My heart was pumping much faster than I needed it to at the moment.  I felt like I was a finalist on a gameshow, and the winner is… commercial break.

Two days later, my roommate and I were in the home of our hospitable classmate who is from India.  We enjoyed a delicious Indian meal with her family.  While my roommate and classmate were in the kitchen, I enjoyed the company of three lively girls.  Later we played a rousing game of schnik, schnak, schnok (rock, paper, scissors).  All of a sudden toilets and dynamite were added into the game.  It was very fun.

As the evening ended, we said our goodbyes.  Our host invited us to stay the night.  We graciously declined as we were not prepared to do so.  Our classmate’s brother offered to drive us to the bus stop.  His sister joked and said, “Drive slow so they will miss the bus and have to stay overnight!”

Neither of us have been to this bus stop before.  It was near a school in Dresden.  We drove around the area until the time for the bus had passed without finding it.  Later we realized we were on the wrong side of the school!  The next bus didn’t come for another 2 hours, making it about midnight until we would arrive at home.  We were asked again if we would like to sleepover.  This time we said yes.

Our new friend took us around Dresden.  I have been there many times now, but this was my first visit there at night.  He used to work at a restaurant there for a few years and had the night shift.  It was very beautiful.  Everything was lit up.  I saw a Ferris wheel across the river.  We strolled through one of the famous Christmas markets that goes though the streets during this time of year:


After arriving back at our classmate’s house, we drank some wonderfully delicious chai tea, unlike any chai tea I have ever drunken.  It was amazing.  Our classmate’s daughter gave us her room for the night.  I felt so blessed and welcomed to know such a kind hospitable family.

The next morning, we said our goodbyes and walked to a closer bus stop.  The bus schedule we had and the destination we were at did not match, so we hurried to another bus stop.  We waited 10 minutes after the bus was supposed to arrive, but it never came.  We ended up walking about a mile and a half to the bus stop by our school which we are very familiar with.  I began to wonder if we would ever make it home.

During the hour we were waiting for hopefully the final bus, my roommate got a text from our friend, inviting us to a Christmas market in Schellerhau.  If we would have ridden the buses we tried to get earlier, we wouldn’t have gone to this wonderful event.  The bus we were waiting for took us straight to Schellerhau while the other ones did not.  I felt Jesus guiding our whole weekend, especially in that moment.  It was perplexing in the middle until I got to see what a blessing it was we didn’t get home earlier.

The time in at the Christmas market with our friends was beautiful.  I learned how important Stollen is at Christmas time.  The Stollen (a sweet dessert bread) was presented to a crowd eagerly awaiting its arrival.  Six feet of Stollen was delivered on a wagon, driven by a man dressed as Santa-Claus, and carried off by an angel.  It was amazing to watch.  I have never heard of Stollen before, and here I was, listening to a play-by-play of the delicious bread being announced as it made its way to the people with money in hand ready to buy it.  Our friends generously gave us some as a gift.  It was so delicious.


Later we enjoyed another small parade.

Our friends invited us to their home for the next week which marked the second Advent.  Each Sunday in December until Christmas is celebrated with a Christmas market or eating cake and coffee with friends.  Our time together the next week was also beautiful.  We gained new friends with our host’s neighbors.  I was pleased with how easily it’s becoming to speak in German.  It comes more natural to me now, sometimes too natural.

A few days ago, my roommate and I went to Dresden for the afternoon to enjoy the Christmas markets.  Standing by a very large Christmas tree, I noticed three American women talking amongst themselves trying to get a picture together by the tree.  I went to offer to take it for them, but as I did, I started speaking German!  It was the oddest thing.  I knew they were speaking English, but my brain automatically began with German.  After I took the picture, they said, “Thank you!” very loudly and slowly so I could understand because they had no idea I could speak English.  It was a very funny experience.

Back in the secretary’s office, my heart leaped for joy when I heard I passed the test!  My roommate and I will continue to the next German course following the Christmas break.  After picking up our certificates, we visited another classmate.  We laughed as he shared a similar story to ours, saying his certificate was also at the very bottom of the pile.

I am reminded to stay in the moment of waiting to hear what will happen next.  To stay within the walls of the bus I’m sitting in, and to greet the unknown while resting in the peace of Jesus.  Like walking to the next bus stop, the little in between moments of taking the next step requires trust in Jesus as He continues to show us where to go.  I’m reminded to always listen and be ready to be where God wants me right now.

Blessings and Merry Christmas!



Snow and the Beginning of the Universe

Hello and welcome back to All Over the Map!

Even though it’s still autumn here, there have been several falls of snow on the mountain of Altenberg.  I am very grateful that my snow clothing and boots arrived in the mail just in time as I didn’t have room for them in my suitcase.  My morning routine increased in time as I pile on increasingly more clothing.

The snow has completely changed the scenery on my bus ride to school:


When I arrive in the valley where the school is located, I am again in a completely new environment.  It is about 10 degrees warmer with consequently no snow.

The first snowfall was already in October:


Enjoying the First Snow Fall

Right now, my classmates and I are learning about the German government.  At the end of this month, we will take a test with 33 random government questions out of the 310 we studied to prepare for it.  I really struggled with learning the questions and felt discouraged when day after day I wasn’t making progress.  With determination and more studying, I can now say I have greatly improved.

Last week we learned about the different religions here in Germany and Glaubensfreiheit (freedom of religion).  Reading down the list of religions, the discussion dwelled on Atheism.

An explosion of passionate opinions filled the classroom with conflicting beliefs.  A student asked how the universe began if there was no one to make it to which my teacher responded, “If God made the universe, then of what material is God?”

During this exciting crossfire of convictions, I took a moment to ask Jesus how to respond as to not miss an opportunity.  I peacefully heard Him say to just listen.  I was so clearly reminded that the essence of God is love.  Simple as that.  I felt no need to argue the point as class ended.  I am so grateful for the peace and hearing the voice of Jesus.

I am also grateful for the friends we are making.  My roommate and I have been getting more invitations from our classmates and neighbors to spend time together.  I feel blessed to have gotten to know so many people so quickly and feel very welcomed into the German community.  I am reminded again how time plays a big factor into being acclimated into new community.  6 months have gone by already and just now are we beginning to go beneath the surface and making deeper connections.

Two weeks ago, my classmate from Africa invited my roommate and me to a celebration for his friend’s daughter who was baptized.  We were introduced to some of his wonderful friends and ate delicious food.  It was a fun time.

God continues to provide for our needs.  After school, my roommate and I like to walk to the furthest bus stop before the bus comes to see how far we can get.  The other day, we stopped at the bus stop in front of a restaurant where one of our classmates works.  He waved at us and crossed the street with 2 flat breads filled with cheese.  It touched us both so deeply because we were planning on buying bread for dinner.  Jesus provided the second half of our meal.

Every Friday, my roommate and I have the tradition of eating a wonderful food called, Doener.  Instead of our usual spot, I suggested we eat where our classmate works that week.  So after class we visited him and got our usual Doener Boxes with a soda.  After enjoying a delicious meal, we went to pay, only to discover we had just eaten a free meal courtesy of our classmate.  Simple things like that remind me that I am where Jesus wants me to be.  He is taking care of all our needs.  He won’t let us go hungry.

Last week I uploaded a new lyric video on my Music YouTube channel called, Help My Heart Stay.  I wrote the song with my friend Juliana Schnee.  In the video are some scenes I captured from various places I’ve traveled in Germany.  My prayer is to stay where God has me in each moment.  I’ve attached this song below.

Until next time!





A Sermon Under the Couch

Hello and welcome back to All Over the Map!  I had a short vacation from school recently which was really nice to do something out of the normal routine.


Leipzig Bahnhof

My roommate and I went to Leipzig for two days, taking the train for an hour and a half and then the bus for the same amount of time.  We visited the Leipzig Zoo, Bach Museum, St. Thomas Church, and more.

We arrived at the Leipzig Bahnhof: the largest bus and train station by area in all of Europe.  It has three floors and many shops.

After we arrived we went to…

The Leipzig Zoo:

Screenshot 2017-10-08 15.57.40.png

The Leipzig Zoo was really fun!  Even though it rained most of the time, I still enjoyed it and saw many animals.  I’ve never seen the sky so blue with rain pouring down.  If I hadn’t gotten wet, I wouldn’t have believed it was raining.  The following day we visited the Bach Museum:

Touring the museum and learning about Johann Sebastian Bach’s life inspired me.  While working at the St. Thomas church (pictured below), Bach wrote a new cantata for the choir to perform every Sunday for ten years!  That amazed me.  The tour went on to explain the amount of work involved with writing a cantata with the equipment of the 1700’s.  His dedication to God through his music and work was profound.  I felt honored to be able to learn about Bach.

The St. Thomas Church:Screenshot 2017-10-07 18.10.09.png

I also got to meet my German teacher who taught me over Skype before I moved to Germany.  It was nice to meet her and her Husband in person!  It was a fun, relaxing trip.

Lately I have been learning a lot about trust.  Last week my roommate and I were about to worship together like we do every Sunday.  As I bent down to place my guitarcase on the ground, a yellow piece of paper under the sofa caught my eye.  I wondered what it was as I picked it up, only to discover notes from my pastor that she had left before returning to the U.S.  What were they doing under the couch?

It was titled, The Generosity of God Brings Peace.  I began to read it out loud to my roommate.  It said:

One of the ways [to peace] is through trust.  Trust is on our part.  Peace that sees us through the chaos is from Jesus.  That is something we choose.  It is not something that happens to us, it doesn’t just come as a result of our prayers, fasting, or holy living.  We cannot earn trust.  We must choose it.  

I was blown away.  This message came so timely for us as we have been trusting Jesus for our day-to-day needs.  It was a great reminder to actively choose to trust.  Next on the paper was John 14:1:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me.”  The notes continued:

“The way Jesus says this implies I have a choice.  I can chose to allow my heart to be troubled or not.  Believe – what Jesus says, but also in the miracles you have experienced!!!

Finding those notes felt so comforting.  I am touched by the little ways Jesus reminds me that He is ever present and taking care of me.  I have been praying for more trust only to be reminded that trust is a choice, and the way that prayer is answered is by practicing it.


The following is a conversation with my roommate. Me: “I feel like writing a blogpost.” My roommate: “What did you say? A bratwurst?” “No, a blogpost.” “Oh…a blogpost?” “Yes, that’s it!”

Needless to say, we have both been enjoying the delicious varieties of the bratwurst: a German food-staple. Our neighbor suggested I write a song about bratwurst since we love it so much, so I started writing one for fun. We enjoy tasty bratwurst cookouts with our neighbors every once in a while.

My Pastor went home as her 3 months in Germany came to a close. I miss her very much! We left early in the morning to drop her off at the airport in the Czech Republic. We parked in an area with a ticket booth to pay for parking when we would leave.

I was very hungry by the time my Pastor boarded the flight. We saw a McDonald’s when we came in the airport, so we stopped there before we left. I didn’t have any Koruna so I paid for my meal with 10 Euros. The change I got back was the exact amount we needed for our parking ticket!

It was a blessing because we didn’t have any Koruna which can’t be used anywhere else besides the Czech. The fact that the change was the exact amount we needed made everything so much easier. It was a great reminder how God uses little things, even hunger to take care of us.

The First Koruna Bill I’ve Ever Seen

Besides eating bratwurst and getting to use different currency, I’m settled into a new routine. There are times when the monotony of my schedule really gets

capture (2)
Every Weekday I…

to me. I yearn for the weekend to do something different. I realized what a great learning opportunity it is to learn perseverance and sticking with it till the end. Doing that has been very rewarding. I can concentrate on homework for longer periods of time and feel less frustrated while doing it.

I’ve been challenged by not being around as many people my age with whom I can fluently communicate. Although I Skype with friends from the States, I desire more friends locally. So I prayed for a friend close to my age. I prayed intensely for about a week because it was very heavy on my heart. Around this same time, I read John 15, the passage where Jesus says He is the vine and we are the branches. It reads:

1) I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2) He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 6) If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (NIV)

I suggest reading the whole chapter for context.

I used to think this passage sounded harsh…being cut off and throw into a fire does not sound very pleasant. The more I read, the clearer picture I saw of God’s love. When we hurt, He hurts. I thought of how it might feel for a branch to be cut off from me if I were a vine. It is not just painful for the branches, it’s painful for the vine too. I tend to think of my own pain and not how Jesus may feel as well.

Verse 9 reads: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

Jesus hurts when we decide to be disconnected from Him. He feels our pain because we are connected to Him. As I prayed for a friend, I was reminded of this and the pain Jesus feels when I am distant, like the pain I feel when I’m far from friends and family I love. I felt Jesus understood my heart. Then I set it aside and waited.

A few days later, our class went on a field trip to the Saechsische Schweis:

There is a woman in our class who has lived in Germany for 19 years and has three children. They all came on the fieldtrip. Her eldest daughter is about a year younger than me. Between the little German I was able to speak and some English she knew, we were able to have a great conversation! I felt very blessed to meet her.

Talking with her was great German speaking practice for me. I learned the occupation she is training for in college requires her to speak English well. I felt glad I could also be a help to her. We exchanged numbers and chatted about doing something together soon. I was very enthused and grateful for that!

Two weeks later, we went to Dresden with her boyfriend and met her best friend in Dresden where she works. It was a lot of fun and we ate pizza and enjoyed the beautiful city.

I’m learning that living constantly connected to the vine of Jesus can make even the mundane times feel rewarding. Jesus loves, hurts and has joy when we do. He knows our hearts and what we long for, feels our pain, and has pain if we decide to leave. Even though it can be easy in care-free times, it is peaceful to feel that in the quiet moments, He is also present.

Jesus in a Pub

“Do you snorkel in the night?”  My Swiss friend asked me before going to bed the first night I stayed at her house.  I tried not to laugh, but that’s what I ended up doing.  Then I had to explain the word was “snore,” not “snorkel,”.  The image of me sneaking out of the house to go snorkeling in the night struck me in the funniest way.  But my German is much worse than her English so I controlled my laughter after that.

She kept me busy.  We visited Europa-Park in Germany, about 2 hours from her house.  It has a section for each country in Europe, hence the name.  Looking at the crazy roller coasters, I was feeling very dubious.  But I rode them anyway.



Before we rode the last roller coaster, my friend looked at me and said, ” I just want you to enjoy it.”  My nerves were so tense throughout the day I think they could be felt from a mile away.

By the time we got to the biggest coaster, (bigger than the one pictured) I figured there was no point in being nervous anymore.  We already went on a roller coaster completely in the dark and one where I was sitting backwards, down a hill of unexpected twists and turns…and possibly death.

As I anticipated climbing a seemingly never-ending mountain into the sky, I figured I have nothing to lose.   Waiting for the ride to start, I thought about everything I went through to even be sitting in a roller coaster in Germany.  Even though it was the biggest coaster in the park, it was the most enjoyable for me because I felt free and unafraid. Amazing what you can learn from riding a roller coaster.

I got to see the Alps!  I was so blown away by the beauty.



The day before I left we rode Electric-Bikes 40 kilometers to a cookie factory.  We ate a bunch of free cookies then went back to the bike rental place.

The E-Bike:20170613_104837

My E-Biker tan:IMG-20170613-WA0002 (2)

After I came back to Germany, our neighbors invited my roommates and me to a cookout with them below our apartment.  We enjoyed a variety of deliciously grilled bratwurst and talked for awhile.

After some time passed our neighbor asked me, “Kristina, please, can you play your guitar for us, bitte?”  I said okay and played a few original songs that everyone enjoyed.

Our neighbor’s husband said his friend owns a pub that is closing soon.  That night there was a band playing at the pub.  He offered to call the owner and see if I could play when the band was taking a break.  I was lost for words, but felt peace about going.

He couldn’t get ahold of the owner, so he rode his bike to the pub.  Huffing and puffing, he came back and said, “We can go!”  I felt nervous and felt grateful for the hour we had before we left so I could quickly go over some songs.

Then my two roommates and two neighbors and I went down the street where we could hear the music blasting before we got to the building.  We entered the pub and waited for the break.

I played three songs then stopped because I didn’t know how much time I had.  Applause broke out after each song.  My neighbor was amazed and said that never happens…people don’t pay attention during the break and don’t clap.  He said I really play from the heart and have a power that draws people in.  I told him I don’t have any power, it’s Jesus who draws the people.  “That’s Jesus!” he said.  I was blown away.  One lady came up to me and hugged me about 4 times, saying she felt so touched and was in tears.

We were going to leave because it was getting late.  As we were about to go, the band leader grabbed my neighbor and said, “She must  play another song!”  So we stayed another hour.  I asked my pastor what I should play and she encouraged me to just play what I feel.  My neighbor said to me, “You can play whatever you want,” just as I was hearing Jesus say to sing Give Me Jesus.

So I played Give me Jesus in a pub.  People were listening intently.  I felt so blessed to be there and blown away by how Jesus can use anyone, even me, who was nervous, shaky, and recovering from a sore throat that by the grace of God didn’t give out during any of the songs.  Jesus changes hearts.  All we have to do is show up, listen, and be obedient.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Peddling To Germany

I’M IN GERMANY!! Wooooha.  I am so, so blessed to be writing this from Altenberg, Saxony.  The reality of that blows me away.  Anything I type right now doesn’t seem to capture how wonderful I feel about living here.  Jesus is so personal and plops us right where we ought to be.  It’s truly marvelous.  When you’re lost for words, share pictures so they say…so here they are!

The day after the team and I arrived, we walked around Altenberg are found a beautiful park:20170514_180140

Altenberg means “Old Mountain,”.  which is what it used to be before the mineshaft collapsed creating the Große Pinge (Great Pinge).  It is considered to be one out of 77 of the most important geotopes in Germany. 


When the ground collapsed, a few houses and a church went down with it. 


This is the street we are living on:untitled (2)

We have the most loveliest neighbors and I love it here!  The weather is usually cool, and the winters are very intense.  Right now it’s been in the 60’s and 70’s.

We live below a ski-resort.  Leah and I took a walk near the top the other day.  I’m pointing to where we live…roughly.


We started German class two days after we arrived.  I’m standing between the two ladies I’m with, Pastor Barb and Leah.  It is such a fun, interactive class.  My fellow classmates are from all over the world.


We did a lot of touring in the first two weeks and had intensive training with Dr. Nilson.  We visited a friend in Switzerland and stayed the night in Zürich.

Me sticking my head out the Grossmuenster church tower:18926442_1922581587979119_315445161_o (2)

It is here where the Anabaptist movement began with Huldrych Zwingli who became the pastor in 1519.


If you don’t already know, I highly recommend reading about Zwingli and the commitment to Jesus many had who lost their lives.

I’ve been experiencing what it means to stay centered and focused in Jesus everyday.  When I pray, I feel like I’m riding a bike.  I peddle to get started and it’s a honest conversation until I become tired.  I coast till I come to a stop and the bike falls over because I’m not peddling anymore.

It hurts to fall with a bike which catches my attention, so I start peddling again until I get distracted and hit over the head with a tree branch.  I pray for endurance so I can keep peddling and enjoy the scenery as I go.  To constantly feel the love of Jesus takes concentrated work.

My favorite verse is in the Bible 2 Timothy 1:7:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (KJ21)

Having a sound mind is freeing, no mental clutter, worry, or fear.  How cool is that?

The other day it hit me that having a sound mind requires self-discipline.  The NIV version says, “self-discipline,” instead of, “sound mind,”.  I think self-discipline and a sound mind go together.  When you have self-discipline, you have a sound mind and you need self-discipline to get a sound mind.  That requires work; lots of bike peddling and building muscles required.

I’m reminded of my own laziness.  I have more then I’d like to admit.  I realize that I am as strong as my weakest link.  If I have generosity, but am fearful, I can’t be generous.  If I stick with my strengths, and recognize that God has put a lot of kindness in my heart, that overpowers the fear.

We visited what used to be the concentration camp in Auschwitz , Poland during World War II.  It was a very sobering and eye-opening experience.


This path was called “the walk of death,”.  Seeing all the belongings and pictures that represented the people whom were murdered made me feel sick.

In the mist of a place of evil, I was reminded that love cannot be destroyed.  The flowers still bloom in a place of death and kindness meets fear with a smile.

18869722_1922769581293653_1035025856_o (3)

Some are trapped in prisons camps in their own hearts.  The simple act of loving people without fear is what leads to freedom.  Which requires perseverance and self-discipline to remain in the moment with Jesus 24 / 7.

Bonus Picture: Can you find the people? 😀 18901816_1923117497925528_540919561_o   Taken atop Geisingberg tower.


Important Updates

Welcome back to All Over the Map! As I mentioned in my first post, two of my pastors went to Germany earlier this month to prepare for the team to live in Germany. Some things will be different than what we originally thought. Here are the updates:

Instead of going to Germany for two years straight, I’ll be there for one year on a student visa taking German classes. I may go back after that, but starting with one year instead of two.

While the mission house in Oberbaerenburg is being renovated, the team will be living in an apartment in Altenberg, starting June 1st, 2017. We have connections with a businessman, Alexander. His mother-in-law owns the apartment. Alexander’s mother-in-law also owns the building where we will have a business.

We are bringing Getz Fire Protection and Security Ministry (based in Ephrata, PA) to Germany.  I’ll be involved in some way with the company. A team from Getz will be going over in October. Please keep them in your prayers.

We are the first missionaries to be going to this part of Germany.  My pastor met with government officials to work through all the details.  Jesus is taking us there one step at a time and is beautifully guiding us. Every roadblock in the meetings was overcome.

I’m doing a fund raiser right now until September 30th with some friends who have their own businesses. Please consider purchasing their products as a portion of the sales will go towards my trip.

Jamie sells personalized bracelets with KEEP Collective. You can order them here:

:// with/jamiemasselink

Samantha is selling Usborne Books: UsborneBooksAndMore/#/shop/ fromParty/3bd9db6b-54e0-42a3- 8833-501fb27aaba7/byRep/J5543

Jennifer has Jamberry nails:

https://jenniferireneturner. home/4c71c9fc-01f8-4dd6-b041- ef258f0d9fa3

And Gloria sells Thirty One products: 577133/shop/Party/EventDetail/ 9385472

The fundraiser ends September 30th. Please consider taking a moment to browse through their products. If you prefer to send a donation without purchasing a product, that is fine too.

Jesus is doing many things in my life. I am continually grateful for how He is changing me and showing me His limitless Grace. I’m grateful for the peace He is giving me through the process as I continue to rely on Jesus every day.

Thanks for reading! I’d be happy to answer your questions in the comment section or you can e-mail me at


God Bless you,


Changing Gears 

Well, I’m 20 now.  Woo whoo! I was so excited to no longer be a teenager that before my birthday, I asked a bunch of friends for suggestions how to celebrate.  I wanted to do something immature I could blame on being a teenager before I went into my 20s.  Boy, my perspective of being an adult has changed just from natural experiences around my birthday.  I didn’t even need to plan anything exceptional.  It was naturally memorable.

I grabbed two friends, (“Suzy” and “Ashley”) and headed to the beach. Sadly, my car decided to act more like a paralyzed hippopotamus than a car, so we took Suzy’s car.  The trip there was great.  It took three hours like it should then we changed into our swimsuits and were also paralyzed hippopotamus on the beach…until Ashley needed to blow her nose and left in search of a napkin.  I was so engrossed in the conversation with Suzy that I forgot Ashley left. Until Suzy thought we should go look for her.  So we did.

At this point, we needed to put more money in our car meter which had a 2-hour parking limit.  Suzy didn’t want to go alone in case she would become lost like we thought Ashley was….so we both went to add money to the meter.

Suzy and I couldn’t find a parking space so I left her to look for Ashley.  I went back to our beach spot only to find myself in a near panic when she wasn’t there. A good hour passed since she left. I thought through the situation as clearly as I could which ended up with me seeing horrific images of my innocent, napkin needing, companion being stuffed into a truck and being taking away to Canada.  CANADA!!

The most logical thing I came up with at this point was talking to a lifeguard.  So I did and described her the best I could and he radioed some guy that spread it down the chain and said he’d let me know if they found her.  I walked back to my beach towel aaaand there she was.  Right there.  On the towel, calm as a clam, like nothing happened.

Apparently Ashley told us that she was also going for a walk, not just getting a napkin for her nose.  But neither Suzy or I heard her say that and she didn’t say it very clearly. And she didn’t take her phone with her.  So I was calm until I thought Suzy wasn’t calm, so I started getting concerned…apparently Suzy and I both thought the other was more upset than we were and we fed off each other’s nervous energy until both of us were incredibly anxious.

When Ashley was on her stroll and I was talking to the lifeguard, Suzy was still going in circles searching for a spot.  She called her fiancé. “We lost someone, I can’t find a parking spot…please pray!” So he did.  Right at that moment is when I called her saying Ashley was no longer lost.  I was also praying as all of this was happening.  The prayers of a fiancé are effective.  (Also non fiancés since I am not a fiancé).

We de-stressed after that by eating at Subway then shopped around, enjoyed some more waves and went home…or at least tried to…

So there we were, in the car again, about to leave for home.  Ashley started off driving for the journey which went pretty smoothly.  After a while she wanted a break so I took the wheel.

In the area we were driving, there were many on and off-ramps and I drove on many different highways and this and that and some of the roads weren’t marked very clearly…In the middle of this tangled knot, the check engine light decided to come on.  Suzy, who owns the car, immediately called her mechanical coworker.  He suggested taking it to an auto parts shop to discover the problem.

We rerouted to an auto parts store, but had a hard time getting there.  At one point, we went under this shady bridge where two guys were walking towards us on the opposite sides of the road.  It was just really weird.

When we finally got to the auto shop, Suzy went in and asked if they could run a test on the check engine light.  Apparently they don’t do that anymore.  We lifted the hood of the car to check it out…I’m pretty sure none of us knew what we were looking at, but Suzy pulled out the dipstick and dried it on her shirt.  I’m like, “Seriously??  On your nice white shirt?  We could have used a tissue!” (Or one of Ashley’s napkins).

It didn’t seem to bother her and the oil was fine, so we prayed and went on our way.
It took me a couple attempts to find the right highway…We went over a ginormous bridge. When we got to the bottom of the bridge, the GPS said to turn around and go back over it. WhAt?! We had to pay an unnecessary $4 toll just for that.  Thanks GPS.

Long story short, it took us 5 hours instead of 3 to get home.  We were all happy to be alive when we arrived at my house.  Suzy had another 45-minute drive from my house to get home.  My dad was at my house at the time, so he looked over the car before she left and said she should be ok to drive home.  Ashley stayed overnight.  It was crazy, but definitely a fun, memorable, beach adventure.

The next morning, Ashley took me to Shady Maple for my birthday!  That was so sweet of her.  We had a great time.  Then while at work, a friend from my childhood, (the longest friend I’ve ever had whom I haven’t seen in two years) randomly called me up and was like, “Yo, what are you doing tonight??” And I was like, “Going bowling with my bro and the friend who took me out to breakfast.”  And she’s like, “How far away to do live?” (I’ve moved so much, it’s hard to keep track of me :p ) She ended up driving an hour just to make me happy on my birthday.  Reunited Childhood Friend for the win!

We bowled and enjoyed ourselves then went to the grocery store and bought some milk.  Then we went to my house and watched the Olympics. My Childhood- Blast-From-The-Past-Friend slept over and made us pancakes for breakfast.  It was an awesome birthday.

Through these experiences I discovered there was really no need to jump out of an airplane or do one more childish thing before my 20th.  I’ve learned the importance of staying calm under any circumstance like when you lose a friend or can’t find a parking space or can’t drive….

Speaking of not driving, my car is finally on the road again after being a paralyzed hippopotamus for 2 weeks.  While my car was out of commission, my brother lent me his car, which is stick shift.  I was very nervous about driving it since I never drove stick before, but I needed to drive to work, so I took the risk.

My bro taught me how to drive it the day before I needed it…It went ok.  At the end of the driving session, my brother jumped out of the car and kissed the ground.

Friday came around like Friday always does and I faced the unknown and drove down the highway, until it was time to get off the highway.  So I did and it went great.  Then I had to stop at a red light…that was not great.

So I’m sitting at the intersection until the green-light smiles at me, so naturally I try to go…except I didn’t go.  I stalled.  “Not a problem,” I thought.  “I’ll just try again.”  So I did.  Again and again.  I tried to restart at least 5 times over the course of 3 rotations of the green-light.  Thankfully I was the only one turning left and no other cars were behind me.

The light turned green again.  I let go of the clutch and tried to smoothly pass my left foot with my right on the the gas.  Except I didn’t.  I stalled in the middle of the intersection.  The other light turns green. I’m screwed.

At this point I’m starting to panic a…”MOM??” All of a sudden my mom is waving at me like, “GO, TINA GO!!” She’s coming from the other side of the intersection where the cars were starting to blow past me.  She stops in her big white van so no one else can get past her which gave me enough time to putts into the bank parking lot, which was where I was trying to go anyway.

I’ve never been so happy to see my mom in all my life.  We just stared at each other and laughed for a solid 2 minutes before we said anything.  She lent me her van and I got safely to work.

I’m changing gears.  I’m 20.  That’s a big gear change for me.  But I already went through 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and all the other gears I needed to get where I’m at.  I’m thankful I don’t have to go from 1st to 5th, it doesn’t work that way.  Small steps and some leaps of faith are all that’s required for this crazy journey we call life.  I’m grateful for the numerous times God fills in those gaps I can’t reach yet.  And for helping me at a literal crossroad in life.  I’m learning fear really has no place when Jesus always carries me the rest of the way when I stall out.

If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading!

More updates about Germany to come, this was just some real life learning experiences in the meantime.

God Bless,