Little Things

Hi everyone, it’s Leah! Sorry we haven’t been able to give you an update yet, but just trust that we have been busy with lots of great things! Our 24+ hour travel day was exhausting, but we made it to Craiova safely and surrounded by old friends, new friends, and lots of laughter. The important thing to get out of this post is that we all made it to our destination safely, but I’ll tell you more about our experience.

Honestly, the whole day went pretty smoothly and I don’t have that many interesting details to share. Personally, the trip started out a bit rough when I had to check my carry-on bag for being too big. It really ended up being fine and not negatively affecting me in any way, but in the moment it was frustrating. We went through security check after that and I was about to walk through the metal detectors when the conveyor belt with our bags on it came to a stop. A man held up my gallon bag full of homemade trail mix and asked “Whose food is this?” I raised my hand in an irritated manner, expecting to lose my only snack I brought for the trip. But instead the man said “This looks goooooood. I’m gonna need the recipe for this!” I laughed and sighed with relief as I realized that my tendency to assume the worst may not be very constructive. Once we got on our plane, we watched movies, ate mediocre food, and did our best to sleep. After 8 hours, we arrived in Zurich where we had a short, uneventful layover and got on our second, luckily shorter flight. As we got off of that flight, many emotions were being felt: fear, excitement, joy, and lots of exhaustion. My biggest fear coming off the flight was losing bags. Now that both of my bags were checked, I felt like I had a lot to lose. But guess what… WE DIDN’T LOSE ANY BAGS!!! With a sigh of relief we got ready to go meet the Romanians.

As some of you know, Lief’s arrival was a surprise for the Romanians, so he stayed by baggage claim while the rest of us went to find the Romanian team. Seeing the team for the first time was easily the highlight of my day. The smiles and laughter we shared were a great reminder of why the long travels are entirely worth it. We chatted and walked together to the bus and loaded everything up and got ready to leave. The driver turned the bus on and began driving away, but we still didn’t have Lief. I looked at the other Americans, confused and slightly concerned that we were leaving Lief behind, but the concerns were eased when Mel suddenly yelled, “WAIT we forgot something”. The doors to the bus opened and there was Lief. The Romanians were ecstatic to see him and he was greeted with many hugs of surprise and excitement. Dan especially was blown away and struggled to speak for the next couple minutes because he was so shocked.  After the excitement died down and we ate with the Romanians at the mall, we got back on the bus and fought sleep for what seemed like forever, but since staying awake is a feat of strength, we did our best to not doze off (but not everyone succeeded @most of the leaders). Our methods to stay up included friendship bracelet making, eating snacks, and telling stories that didn’t really make sense because we hadn’t slept much in 24 hours. When we finally rolled up to Ethos, I felt at home and also very ready for bed. The day was finally over and we went to our host homes and I reflected on the day I had just experienced.

Something that really stuck with me while getting prayed over during our sendoff was said by Elder Lerdahl. He prayed for “the big things and the little things”. I know that it is easy for me to miss seeing the ways that God is working because I get distracted looking for the big things, but I challenged myself during our day of travel to look for the little ways that God might be showing himself to us. And I saw Him all over the place. I saw Him in the man that made me smile in security. I saw Him in the smoothness of our flights and travels. I saw Him when we got all of our bags. I saw Him in the joy that I felt with my Romanian friends and the comfort I felt at Dan and Donnax’s. I learned that God is constantly working in little ways and showing himself to us. All we have to do is keep our eyes open. So I pray that you would help us to keep a lookout for both the big and little ways God is working.

 

Shout outs:

To Jeffrey: Cen I havv 1 macdOnldz brugger plece?

To Videogamedunkey: Umm sup

To Jonah: Just keep swimming. Love you bud <3

To Metzger family: don’t forget to feed Jonah ^^^

To a mom: You are appreciated

To bread: for always being there to fill matt up

To Brock and Hunter: not my siblings lol ~Luke

To Owen: Thanks for coming to the send off :/

To Saffron: We hope you passed your drivers test! ~Ellie and Isabel

To Amy: Hope you’re enjoying your job!

To Christy: No Susan, these are braids

To George: I hope your vacation is going well.

To David: How much time have you spent in the real world since I left? ~Andrew

To Kipp: We are having lots of fun with your brother Jay on this trip

To Bethany: “Shout out to my beautiful gf” ~Brad

 

10 thoughts on “Little Things

  1. Dear Uncle Luke:

    (What do you want to tell Luke?)
    *spits out chewed up cashews* “Noooo.”
    (anything else?)
    “Nooo. Ga Dada!!”
    *runs away*

    Love,
    Adeline

  2. Leah: so sweet to hear from you and all that God has shown you in the first 24 hours! We were grateful to read your words today. Praying you were able to rest well and are enjoying your day today!

    Luke: Grandpa and I (Emily) went down Scorpion’s Tail in your honor. Black Anaconda was closed and everyone (especially Brock) was very sad. Also, Rocky’s is permanently closed in the Dells so we called an audible and got UNOs. Dad (and everyone else) was really pleased even though it was a change. Tottenham lost to MU this morning so Zack is currently grieving that. Noah taught Adeline how to say “BOO!” so be prepared for a scare when you get back. We can’t wait to keep hearing from you and your teammates these upcoming weeks! Love you, buddy!

    E+Z

  3. Thanks Leah for a great first blog entry! I read it aloud to all the Stevens fam in the cabin at the Dells. 🙂 I love that you paid attention and heard God speaking to you (and us all) through Jeff Lerdahl’s prayer. What a sweet thing for you. We are so happy to know that all went well for your long travel day! I sure hope someone was taking a video when Lief surprised the Romanians!

    Luke-great shout out! It successfully frustrated your siblings! Lol! And Hunter and Brock high fived to add to their irritation! We had a good day at Noah’s Ark—-no worries, Brock didn’t do every ride again this year. Maybe you can join him next year in earning money from G’pa Scott with that feat. We love ya pal!

    Praying for you all! May you see God in the little things because they always turn out to be the big things.

  4. Yaaaasssss! Love the update and so pumped that y’all had a good travel day. I know how long and exhausting it is. Make sure you’re supporting each other and loving one another well as you transition to the new normal over there, especially while you’re so tired. His whole experience, for all of you, will be so much more impactful if you selflessly serve one another.

    Ps. There BETTER be a video somewhere of the moment you unveiled Lief to the Romanians. I want to see their reaction to his beautiful little face.

    Double ps. Say hi to all the Romanians for us.

    <3 Jimmy & Brianna

  5. You made it! And with all of your bags! That’s huge news. AND so many WeMad friends on this trip- way to represent! Love you all and can’t wait to hear more. (insert prayer hands emoji here).
    -Franny

  6. Hey team!! Glad to hear your travels went well and hoping your “trains” are running on time as well. 😉 It’s making me smile so much to think about Dan’s shock upon seeing Lief. I really hope somebody got a video of that! It just might have passed up his shock after seeing Andrew complete a Rubix cube for the first time.

    Some advice for y’all in your first days…
    To the first-timers: These first few days can be super overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like an outsider as you watch the returners interact with the Romanians as if they are old friends. Remember that even if it seems intimidating at first, the Romanians want to get to know you. You have the capability to build strong relationships just like the the returners have, but it sometimes takes boldness and intentionality to get there.

    To the returners: Year 2 is so exciting but can also feel weird. It’s hard to not compare everything that happens to how it went the previous year. Come in with an open mind and open heart. God has different plans for this year than he did for last year so CHILL. He’s got it.

    Love you guys a lot! Please tell Iazmin (or anyone with a sense of humor) “its da o palma de nu te vez.” He’ll tell you what it means.

    Leah: I’m taking it very personally that your fish got a shoutout and my shoutout was just a reminder to feed your fish…I am feeding Jonah but might need to consider resigning as “fish feeder” if I don’t get a real shoutout in the future.

  7. Thanks for these updates and insightful reflections! It is so fun to imagine Daniel speechless after the Lief surprise. I hope you can all sense the concept of God’s spiritual family from seeing and developing bonds like that.
    Shout out to the leaders!
    Kristen Emerson
    Leader on ’11

  8. Hey Leah!

    Sorry I’m only just now writing. Stevens family, thanks for being there for Leah in the blog response department while we’ve been MIA. You’re better parents than us!

    Leah, great job on the post…we loved it! Weird that your bag was too big when it’s the same one you brought last year.🤔 As has been mentioned, would love to see a video of Lief’s big reveal…sounds like you guys played it perfectly! Also, gotta love that Elder Lerdahl…he’s good people. ❤️

    We are up at the Moores’ cabin. We brought Jonah and have him in a cage off the side of the boat so he can enjoy the lake with us. He loves it. Maybe tomorrow we’ll let him out of the cage so he can roam free in the lake for awhile. Don’t worry…I’ll tell him to come back the end of the week when it’s time to go.

    Love you and we’re praying daily for you and the whole team!😘

    Love,
    Momma Metzger

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