Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Belgium Waffles and everything in between.

Here's a picture of the beautiful church I was talking about in a post earlier this week. It's absolutely amazing. This picture of Kyle and I with the tractor is the highlight of my week. Today I was really struggling with missing being out in the fields and being around tractors... and what do ya know, God blesses me with the smell of Ammonium Sulfate. We went to a fertilizer distributing plant on the Baltic port here in Klaipeda. We got off the bus and tears of joy started welling up in my eyes. I walked into the warehouse and there in front of me was a tractor and tons, literally thousands of tons of Ammonium Sulfate.The feeling that came over me could be likened to a child finding his long lost puppy. Really though, it was quite refreshing. Oh how I miss Ohio and my "corn poppin up in rows". It is funny how much it lifted my spirits to be around those smells and sights.

The beautiful picture below, of the sky, was taken last night. Chris and I were studying for our exam and all the sudden about 9:30 (yes 9:30 at night, it stays light until like stinkin 11 o'clock!) the clouds split and this beautiful array of colors filled the sky. This photo reminds me of how beautiful and passionate God is. It almost put me in a state of trembling and awe that a God of such magnitude could love me, a fallen man that has let him down time and time again.
I went to the market and decided I wasn't going to be hungry for once in my life over here. Some may say I went a little overboard, I say I'm evolving into a camel/cow like behavior, way of thinking. Yup. I'm going to store it inside of me, somewhere, somehow. Ya it's a new theory I'm coming up with. It's almost like the idea of natural selection I believe... I'm not positive, it's something I'm working on.

Tomorrow we are heading to Russia. To be completely honest it's bitter sweet. I have come to love Lithuania and actually grown accustom to the way they do some things. At the same time I know it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Russia. I'm only the second Powers ever to go to Russia. The first one to ever step foot in Russia was actually a pilot of a U2 spy plane, and he got shot down.. Ya I know pretty bad action. He survived and eventually got sent back to America. Crazy. I feel like a pandsy compared to that... nevertheless I shall go, and I shall conquer. Conquer what you ask? I'm not sure.. but in remembrance of my great uncle, it will be something for the Powers name. Whether that be a Russian waffle, wait that's a Belgium Waffle. Well it'll be something. I'll let you know.

Lithuania was amazing. I've learned a lot here. God has put passion in my life for a lot of things that I can't explain right now. But I'm excited. Be blessed. I miss and love you all.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Dreamin of Big Mac's and LARGE Coke's.

So I decided today that I'm done being dehydrated everyday of my life in Europe. Wow. I don't know how these people do it, they drink less liquid then a 4 yr old child catching rain drops with their mouth. I can't do it. I'm sorry, I'm a greedy American water drinking glutton.

I derived a plan today. I snuck into the teachers lounge at the local college we're staying at and found an old Michigan State Coffee mug. I quickly asked for forgiveness from my OSU forefathers and snatched the mug. I found a small water dispenser, sang praises to the heavens, filled it with water, and inhaled it. 3 times over. Then I decided that I would borrow it for the rest of my stay in Lithuania so I could drink coffee out of it in the mornings as well. Don't get me started on the coffee cups over here. Wow I think I would get more coffee if i filled up my cereal spoon and drank it.

That leads me to the food portion size. My oh my, if anyone wants to lose weight, just come live in Lithuania for a month. I've ate more salads in a week here then I have in my whole life. Now it's all making sense, they eat salad to hydrate themselves! Ohhh. Thank God for salads! But seriously mom your dreams have come true, I am a vegetable eating machine!
The guy in the picture with me above is named Chris. He's from Cali... He's pretty tight. So we decided to go to the mall/market together tonight so we could eat and pick up a few things. I of course needed another carry-on so I could make the weight limit with my luggage when we fly out of Russia in a couple weeks. Our luggage has to be no more than 44 pounds and if you read my blog earlier this week you would understand why I want to take care of this issue now. Anyway, Chris and I sit down at the restaurant and order our drinks. Of course I get a coke because I've been deprived of pop, so if we're out and about I never pass the opportunity for a nice lukewarm coke. (They serve all there beverages "chilled", aka lukewarm.) So they bring out my 4 milliliters of Coke and we order our food.

When the food comes out, on the side of the plate there was two giant cloves of garlic. Chris quickly pulls them off the plate and says, "dude, I'm saving these. We gotta eat them after our meal." I said are you serious. He said, ya. you won't do it. So obviously I scarf down my food b/c I'm so hungry (with no snacks in between meals and all salads you eat anything that is in front of you and fast). I drink my coke in one gulp and look up at Chris.

It's time. We counted to 3 and threw them into our mouth. O my I'm an idiot. Why, oh why do I do this kind of stuff to myself. Needless to say Chris and I cause a scene screaming like little school girls all the way to the Wash Closet, aka bathroom. I put my mouth under the facet and let the water run for 5 minutes. We walked around the mall pushing people out of the way with our breath. It was nothing short of the power that came when Moses parted the Red Sea. Okay, I don't want to blaspheme but you get the point.

I hope you all know Europe is not a bad place at all. I'm just being dramatic. I actually love a lot of parts about Europe. This has been an incredible experience thus far and I am so blessed to have this opportunity. The food is a lot different, but it is really cool to experience all of this. I do however still have dreams at night of Big Mac's and LARGE Coke's. I miss and love you all.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Once upon an attic

The Church in Europe. Where to start. I guess I didn’t have a clue really about the Church in Europe, I thought it was just like the United States. We’re staying in Western Lithuania and there is a beautiful church down the road that is absolutely massive. I mean I thought it was the Sistine Chapel or something right?... yaa to bad I’m a stupid American and that’s in Italy. Anyway the point is it’s the biggest most well put together building in the whole town of Klaipeda. But guess what.. It’s vacant! They don’t even use it. NO ONE meets there! What the..?

The Reason I’m getting all up in my feelings about this is because I went to church this morning here in Klaipeda. I thought without a shadow of doubt in my mind that we were going to go to that church. I was getting excited when we were driving up the road toward that magnificent building of a “church”, and then we passed it.

We soon arrived to our destination and got off the bus. I looked around for the church and couldn’t find it anywhere. All I saw was a teenager walking into an old hotel with a Nike sweatshirt on. Well one minute later I found myself walking through the same door as the teenager to go to church.

We were greeted by a friendly smile and sent upstairs. Not one, not two, but three flight of stairs and we were there. We made it to the attic of the building. I walked through the “doorway” (a small opening in the wall), and found about 40 people sitting there in their makeshift sanctuary. Our group alone being there this morning doubled the size of their church.

A funny thing happened. That place became more of a sanctuary than any other sanctuary I’ve ever been in my life. We started worshiping in Lithuanian and it almost brought tears to my eyes. These 40 people were meeting with their Lord and Savior. Nothing else mattered to them then to stand at the foot of the cross and cry out to Jesus. There wasn’t a nice piano or huge sound system… just a couple guitars, drums, and broken people praising the Lord.

The local missionary was speaking today. Wow he was something to look at. He was straight from Cali, he had hair to the middle of his back, a foot long goatee, and tattoo’s. He spoke in English and it was translated to Lithuanian which was nice for us so we could understand the service. But my oh my… this guy is bringing the word to these people. Wow he spoke with passion and zeal that only comes from a heart for the Lord. He’ll admit he doesn’t know why or how he is even over here but all he knows is we have to become less so God can become greater. Truly. Have we ever really thought about that concept? Fear. Worry. Does that come from wanting to guide our own lives and make our own decisions? I propose this to you:

If he truly becomes greater in our lives and we become less; then will he not lead us the way he wants us to go? You say “Travis I’m not worried I just don’t want to miss an opportunity God has for me.” I say bless your heart because that’s how I feel… but guess what if God truly becomes greater in your life and you become less that means he will fill you with his passion and love for what needs to happen in your life and/or he will put an opportunity for you to use that in your life. It truly isn’t complicated. Each day look to God and he’ll look to your future. Live one day at a time. Lord knows I can’t handle more.

This also falls into my next thought of the day. I've never taken a class about following. I've taken countless leadership classes.. and how to be a successful leader. But never following. I realized that I get so caught up in leading that I didn't realize I'm missing the whole point. I need to submit to the Lord and to others and follow. Only then will I truly know how to lead. Love you all more than you know.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

When it rains, it pours.

Well I made it to Copenhagen. Not without an extravaganza of course. Long story short I puked on myself. Yes you heard me right… good ol’ fashion upchuck. It went something like this:

I eat a huge meal and have an upset stomach, I'm offered stomach medicine but… of course I say “no thank you I’m really fine.”

Twenty minutes later we’re in the car filling up with gas and I realize that my stomach is turning like the Santa Maria on the Deadliest Catch. I think “Ah it’s just because I ate the most amazing pork tenderloin sandwich of my life, it’ll settle!”

I arrive at the airport and go through the process of them telling me “sir your bag is 13 pounds overweight you need to remove some items”… “sir your bag is still 5 pounds overweight you need to remove some items”…”sir your bag is still a pound overweight but since you’re a pathetic imbecile that wears big clothes and shoes that weigh a lot we’ll let it slide by…” gee thanks. Anyway I say all that to say somehow my stomach ache slipped my mind when I came into the airport and dealt with the sweet (oh so sweet) lady at the check-in counter. Oh and then I still didn’t notice it while I was getting cut off by a 60 yr old woman and her small family of ten in the security line.

Finally I get to my gate and meet up with my long lost classmates that I haven’t seen for two weeks… the teary eyed dramatic reunion eased the pain of the commotion in the pit of my stomach.

Soon after we boarded the plane and I was quickly star struck by my glorious middle seat and a small Chinese man that needs twenty feet of leg room behind me. If I ever dreamed before the trip that I would be able to slightly recline my chair, those dreams were quickly laid to rest by his loud clearing of the throat and accidental kicking of my seat when I would tilt it further than 1.63cm. (Yeah I’m in Europe now I have to try to switch to metric…)

So we take off and of course I’m in my glory when the touch screen in front of me comes on and I can watch any movie I want…if it is Sherlock Holmes. Anyway dinner is served shortly after and I’m heading towards the heavens… literally and figuratively.
The meal was actually very delectable but just as soon as I put the first bite of beef stew in my mouth I remembered “wow, I don’t feel well.” Of course the next thought was “ah I’m not going to get to eat for 6 hours I’ll just go ahead and eat it. It’ll settle…”

With all the strength left in my aching body I scooped up the last bite of cheese cake and almost didn’t keep it down. I quickly reclined my chair, got a very loud clearing of the throat and a swift kick to the back of the chair by an angry Chinese man, and fell asleep.

Thirty minutes later I woke up a HOT MESS. Wow I never had to puke so bad in my life… well that’s a lie… the 1 gallon milk challenge pre-gamed with cottage cheese was probably a little worse. I pushed Kyle Walker out of seat and sprinted to the bathroom.

Luckily it was empty so as I locked the door behind me a beautiful disaster started raining from my mouth. HOLY PUKE. Wow. I had no less than 5 sessions of spewing then realized I missed the toilet with half of it. I thought about ditching it and sneaking back to my seat but don’t worry Mom I didn’t. I stayed in the bathroom the next half an hour cleaning up the whole mess.

I got back to my seat and the Chinese man was sleeping. Justice. I laid my chair back as far as I could and passed out. Yes there was a weird aroma in the air but I was so tired I didn’t even care.
When I woke up I found out what the Aroma was…

(A picture of my pants soon to come)

Yup you got it… puke on my pants. I slept for six hours with puke on my pants. Let me tell you the people around me were thrilled to be in my presence. Anybody that knows me, also obviously knows that the puke is still on my pants as I write this during our layover in Copenhagen. Yeah, seriously it’s dry and it doesn’t smell anymore it’s not a big deal! I miss you all more than you can imagine all ready.


p.s. Just just left Eastern Lithuania to go to Western Lithuania. This country is amazing. I didn't expect any of this... we stayed in an old monastery that was absolutely beautiful. We also went through a former KGB prison and it rocked my world. Wow. More to come later. I miss you all and love you so so much. Be blessed.