Sunday, 23 June 2013

Today's the day...

It seems like a long time now since I left England on this crazy adventure. The last few weeks have been great visiting old friends and meeting new ones here in Germany.  Spending time here in Krogis at the Steiger base has been really special, I have so many great friends here who are such a gift to me. 
The last week I spent helping out with the children's activities and spent many hours, playing games, doing tricks, making mess, and learning circus skills with the kids here from Brazil, America, Poland, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and Lebanon... It was quite fun even learning to say hello. It was so good to see them make their show on Friday night, working together, introducing each other, laughing, clapping and enjoying their new found skills... I will be very sad to leave them.

But today is the day when this crazy adventure really begins and I must set off in my journey to Macedonia. 2500km, many counties and mountains; months of rough nights, camp fires, and hopefully many new faces and friends and great shows! I wouldn't say that i'm nervous, but I think that's more because I'm in denial than because of any great faith or confidence. Maybe when I start to peddle down the hill the reality will start to sink in. But once again my bike is packed up to overflowing and even with out the unicycle and my drum it still looks ridiculous. I have said Goodbye too many times already and still i have more people to squeeze before I hit the road.

So anyway must phone the parents, pack the last few things and then... First stop Dresden!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Back to the beginning.

In 1727 in a small village in the very east of Germany a broken community of Moravian Christians began to pray, they prayed day and night for what turned out to be over 100 years...
Although I had never been there before this small place has influenced my life in ways i would have never thought of, and set me off on crazy adventures from dancing on the rooftops of clubs in Ibiza to clearing up sick and praying in an old pub - come monetary in Reading.
As I sit at the foot of the watch tower in this little town with my friend Luke, whispering prayers to God i feel strange sense of symmetry. It was 10years ago that I got caught up in this crazy movement called 24-7 prayer, where young Christians around the world inspired by the Moravians started to pray 24-7-365 setting up communities and sharing the love of God in some of the most (un)likely places. 
10 years later after university, life, love disappointment, faith, lack of faith, and many other stories I find myself to have in many ways come full circle, strangely, back at the beginning. The same questions, the same hopes still pump through my veins, my face just looks a little older and the bleached blond hair has gone. 

Sometimes these moments can be disheartening and you think 'what was that all about? Am I really just back where I started?' I guess the answer is no, and also yes. But even if we do find ourselves back at the start, we can never be the same. And often the 'start' isn't either.

So yes I do find myself 'back at the start' at another one of those points when the options and possibilities are vast and you have no idea in what direction you should run. Some might say 'into the arms of God' but if He holds the whole world in his hands then where do I find his arms?

In a week today I set off on my big ride. 2500km from here to Macedonia. I still have no idea how, why, or what this is all about but I'm excited. I have my eyes and heart wide open. My legs and back are still not convinced but I'll give them a few kind days to ease them in. Until then I am staying here with my friends in Krogis, running more circus projects with the kids here, and sorting out all of the things I should have done last week.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Friends, floods, flats... And finally summer.

I am sat out on the balcony on the 10th floor at my friends flat in Neubrandenburg. With the sun in my face I squint to see the endless expanse of fields and forests. Windmills break up the skyline in the distance and too my left a great lake is glistening in the sun. It is hard to imagine now that the glorious summer has arrived that only on Monday I was helping my friends evacuate their homes and their church as the heavy rains threatened to burst the banks of the River. Prague had already been flooded by then and it was only a matter of time before the water would flow down stream and flood Meissen too. The whole town was busy with people preparing sandbags and moving furniture to higher ground. Some people didn't even bother to block their doors when they realised the water was likely to over head hight flooding entire first floor.
I couldn't help but notice though that even with the prospect of so much loss and damage, there was a sense of excitement and togetherness as everyone pulled together to help. By evening as the last sandbags were put in place, crowds of people gathered in doorways beers in hand admiring their work. As I got to my tricycle to peddle home I discovered my front tyre was completely flat and my pump broken so what should have been a 20 min ride turned into a 2 hour walk pulling my trike behind me. Fortunately though the rain had stopped and I even saw the sun for the first time in days as is dipped below the horizon turning the whole sky pink.

I have been in Neubrandenburg now since Tuesday and have been staying with Some friends from a community called 'polilux'. They live here in an estate at the top of the hill that is dominated by 3 high rise flats. The idea is really simple... Doing life together, loving God and loving their neighbours. Many of them are also involved in a community centre at the bottom of the flats too. I have been here making circus shows and running workshops with the children for the last 3 days. It has been such a privilege to share in a small part of what God is doing here, it has been so much fun getting to know some of the children, they have been so gracious with me as I try to explain what to do in very bad German. And this afternoon we watched them make a performance to show off their new skills. 
Tonight we are heading off to the lake to relax, swim, make fire and drink wine, then on Sunday I make my way back south for a quick stop in Berlin and then onto Meissen to get my tricycle ready for the big ride.
I will be sad to leave this place though, there are no platforms or pulpits, no celebrities or big names, just a group of friends loving God and sharing their lives with others... and it's beautiful.