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Monday, July 22, 2013

God Connections and Traveling


When I was a young child, my sister and I would play with an old fashion brown globe and go on many an adventure. We’d spin it and point to our newest destination, then rock the recliner back and forth and believe we were sailing across the seas. Today I look at a smaller version of that globe that I recently purchased in a Perugina chocolate shop in Perugia, Italy this summer. While I was looking at it perched by my window, it hit me then that God had certainly answered my prayers.

I’ve been able to travel four times to Europe and this was my third trip to Italy, but it wasn’t always this way. For years I was a stay at home Mom and hardly left the county, never mind the state or the country. I longed to dig my toes into foreign soil and in recent years I’ve been able to visit many islands and places that I once dreamed about. I feel richly blessed. But is that all there is to this traveling gene that I most likely inherited from my grandfather who spoke over seven languages? What is it that prompts me to these adventures? Does God have any place in this?

Indeed He does. While some of my trips were specifically geared for missions to Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador, others were simply for enjoyment, or were they? If I look back and trace some of my exploits I can see God connections all over the place—like the time my guardian angel rescued me from a dangerous situation in Spain and the time I prayed for the older women traveling with her grandchildren in Bermuda and my recent trip to Italy.

My sister had a dream that I would show her around Florence and see the amazing basilicas, museums and art treasures. I agreed and helped plan the side trips to Sienna, Perugia, Assisi and Venice. It was on this trip that I discovered the Old World globe. The basilica in Sienna swept me off my feet artistically and I felt God’s presence, but I really saw the hand of God in Venice.
My sister and I had just finished touring one of the sights of la Biennale de Venzia World Art Show. A young lady approached and asked for directions and I gave them to her. He asked if she could join us for a while and we agreed. We discovered that she had been traveling for two months on her own from Australia. We hit it off really well because she was also an artist and teacher like me, so we asked her to join us for lunch. After a few minutes of learning about each other she began to open up about her situation at home. She had been traveling by herself to try to sort out a difficult situation concerning her sister’s daughter who she adopted. I knew immediately that this was a God appointment. Though my sister never adopted any children, she did help raise one of her teenage nephews and was able to give good advice to this young woman.

I was able to encourage her that God had seen her situation and had brought us to her. She agreed. We didn’t part company until exploring more of the art show together and we exchanged names and e-mails. We also learned that both her mother and father had died recently, and she was going to visit her relatives in Italy. I told her I would pray for her and I am. I believe God cares deeply for this young woman and put us in her path. There are more stories of other people we met and were able to encourage because God is always at work, connecting people together, whether we’re at work or on vacation. We just need the eyes to see and be willing to take the time to do as He directs, whether it’s listening to a friend or stranger and being sensitive to their needs. There are God appointments waiting for us in every corner of the earth!