Thursday, May 31, 2018

Racing Through Bratislava

Morning dawned bright and beautiful in Bratislava for Day Two of the JV Amazing Race with 28 summer intern teams, and a lot of JV staff!

Claire and I took public transportation into the city from the hostel we spent the night in, finding our way into Old Town Bratislava.

The original plan was for everyone, summer interns and JV staff, to stay in the same hostel here. But two days before the race, the hostel contacted our team to say they had bed bugs and were shutting down. YIKES!

A different sort of amazing race was on for our JV staff women who arrange accommodations for events, to find new places for 150 people to stay in. No small task!

Praise the Lord, the day before we were due to arrive, they were able to secure rooms for everyone. However, they were in four separate locations all across the city.

Claire and I came from our hostel, a half hour away, to Old Town where we got some breakfast.

 And met up with some of our teammates!

Our location for the challenge that we were tasked to serve at today was up at the Bratislava castle.

What a location to spend our day at!

Another one of our JV teammates, Regina from Estonia, joined us to serve at this station where we would soon see all 28 intern teams.

Soon the first teams arrived. And do you know what their challenge was?

This challenge was to spend 45 minutes in prayer together!

I wish you could have seen their faces when we told them that's what they were to do. Relief, shock, joy and delight crossed their faces as they headed off to a quiet spot up here to talk together to the Lord.

Little did they know that this was the last challenge of the day! When they came back to get what they thought was their next clue, it was so fun to tell them they were finished, and that they had the rest of the day to spend with each other.

This team of European interns serving in Ukraine this summer finished first for the day, receiving a little reward of cash to go get ice cream!

More teams began to make their way here to pray, including one with our nephew, Blake, on it! He's serving with the Fusion International team, who will travel Europe this summer to serve with various Fusion music ministries.

Blake is second from the right, making the peace sign!

Team after team came in, refreshed after their time of prayer.

And happy to find out that they had some free time before another day of Amazing Race tomorrow!

Towards the end, Zuzi, the creator of this year's Amazing Race, and her husband came to visit.

What she created in this year's Amazing Race has, so far, been simply stunning! It has been so thoughtful and purposeful, with reason and meaning behind so many of the challenges. Her love, care and passion to see the teams bond as they work through the challenges is already occurring because of her careful work. And she's done all of this while pregnant! She's due in August, yet here she is with us, keeping track of so much and encouraging all of us.

The last team finally arrived, hours after the first one had finished. But is this epic or what?!

That's one of the intern teams, praying up next to the castle!

When they finished, I asked if I could take a picture to remember the joy of having watched 109 interns pray over the course of several hours today; surely their investment will reap a harvest as God answers their prayers for the summer.

What an absolutely delightful day, in every way! It couldn't have been a sweeter day, serving at the prayer challenge from this beautiful spot.

Alongside the wall on the right side, there were gorgeous roses in every little alcove. We wanted to remember them!

Claire is wearing the camp t-shirt for this year, and I'm a walking advertisement for JV! 😉

Claire, Regina and I wandered through the castle grounds, down through the old Jewish section, and then back to Old Town where we enjoyed dinner together at the end of a wonderful day.

Then it was back on our tram for the ride to our hostel. Ten stops and a half hour later, we made it.

It kind of felt like it was in the middle of nowhere!

Tomorrow we'll be up bright and early to head out on the last day of the JV Amazing Race.

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