Quick Summary: It has already been a week!? Oh, I’m alive, I went to some places and did some stuff.
More in depth: Honestly, I don’t know where to begin with this week. It has been so fast paced. So fast paced. So. Fast. In many regards, this last week has been very tough. Fighting loneliness and sleep deprivation. Also, attempting to resist not just eating a random bunch of food (though I often am failing at that, basically every day).
When I was in Venice, I ended up meeting a guy named Loki. Loki is a Nigerian refugee. We hung out the whole day, we went for lunch and ice cream and just talked about everything. Loki is a very strong believer in God and wants to become a minister. When he was in Nigeria, he owned a furniture building place, but there was this organization who wanted to kill him in a sacrifice, to some sort of god of theirs. when things got bad, to where they were coming to kill him, he fled. Him and some others made a boat with material they could get, and then Loki and about 150 others got on the boat and went across the ocean towards Italy. Then they had to walk many days, once they landed. During the whole process, many of Loki’s friends died. They eventually made it to a refugee camp in Italy, where the camp would hold them for one year, before they are required to leave. Loki had to leave after his year. He is now anxiously awaiting getting a passport and a job. He currently is begging on the streets in Venice, but he is desperately trying to find work. He has a massive heart for helping people and he wants to make something out of himself, so he can really help others in a better way. He is a super sweet guy, he took me around to the main spots in Venice and a few spots that aren’t well known, but are incredible. He made my day in Venice very special, and continually helped me to make sure I don’t judge books by their covers. Some people who are begging truly have some of the most incredible stories. Don’t be afraid to hear their stories. Keep Loki in your prayers.
Then I went to Zurich, Switzerland. There I was tired, I slept on the bus. I grabbed my mandolin and just found a bench overlooking the water to play some music. It was one of my favorite days so far. I just sat there playing music and God just kept bringing to sit by me. Within a couple hours, a few random people came and sat with me, who I told about Jesus and most let me pray with them. Then, a man just a little bit older than myself sat with me, his name is Shleem. He instantly just started talking about his situation. How he came from an African country (I can’t remember which one). That his mom is from Switzerland, and his dad is from that African country, but his mom left him at birth. His dad raised him by himself, while also remarrying multiple times. He now is desperately wanting to show that he can make it on his own, so he got the Swiss passport that he was eligible to get (lucky guy), and had just moved to Switzerland. He is a mechanic looking for work, but is having no luck and is very frustrated. After his story, I was just able to encourage him, then when he said he needed to go, I was telling him that Jesus loves him and I’d love to pray with him. This was the point where he informed me that he is Muslim, where I mentioned Jesus still loves him even though he is Muslim. He surprisingly let me pray with him, and after the prayer he was talking about how he hadn’t gotten that before. A couple hours later, Shleem came back with some of his friends. I got talking with them, and one of them let me pray with him. Then I finally got off the bench and went into town, where I found a music shop. I found a $180,000 piano to play, where I began playing worship songs on it. As I left the room, one of the young workers stopped me and was so excited because I was playing worship songs that her church plays. She told me about how dead the church is there for the younger people, and how many people claim to be Christian, but it means nothing to them. I prayed with her in the store, it was cool. I got on the bus to Paris and slept.
After sleeping on the bus again, I arrived in Paris, France. Paris was super hard for me. Because tourists. I had a hard time understanding why people call it the city of love. Apparently, people’s idea of love is wading through 10s of thousands of people while 100s of people forcibly try to get you to buy something or scam you out of your money in many creative ways. It is a beautiful city, I guess. There is better out there with way less tourists and just way better environments. Also, I am at a point where man-made structures are super overrated. Literally the simplest of God’s creations are far more beautiful than the most amazing man-made structure. I’ll let you in on a secret. Do you know the Eiffel tower? It’s just a tower. Part of my cynicism is due to a massive lack of sleep at that time. What saved my day is this random Paris local who began following me around. He could barely speak English, but it was enough that we were able to have a conversation, which made me happy. Then I got on a bus to Brussels.
In Brussels, Belgium, I slept. I was staying at the YWAM base there, so I didn’t need to get up right away and check out. I slept in, then chilled in the base for a few hours. I had an incredible conversation with a lady who was there translating a book from Flemish to English. We prayed together and prayed for this lady at the house who is an unbeliever (not for long). Then I left the base and saw the city for a few hours before I got on a bus to Amsterdam.
Amsterdam was cool, but it also broke my heart. One of the first things you notice when you get into the Netherlands: it is totally flat. In Amsterdam, the city smells like weed. I went to the YWAM base, then I went to their prayer house. Along the way, I took a wrong turn and walked right through the red- light district. It completely broke my heart. Seeing those women who are just so lost and broken. It made me super sad. I ended up spending a fair amount of money on some of the local foods and was disappointed as usual. When you start traveling around, you start to realize that things really aren’t better elsewhere. Especially at highly tourist infested places, the amount of money you spend is just completely not worth it. At super markets, you can get big loaves of incredible bread for under $1. I then got on another bus to sleep on for the night, to go to Denmark.
Denmark was totally different, firstly it was no surprise that these people descended from the Vikings. Everyone is constantly exercising, it felt like running and biking are requirements to live in the country. They have full bike roads that are elevated, they don’t just have bike lanes, they straight up have their own roads. It is crazy. The people there are beautiful, they are so fit, and they drink so much beer. To me, that combination made a lot of sense coming from descendants of Vikings. Denmark is a cool place, especially if you like to ride bikes. God is really needed there, people are so focused on their money and bodies, that they don’t necessarily even believe they would need God or anything. That’s always dangerous. Later in the day, I got into a good talk with a guy from Japan and a couple girls from England. It was nice. When traveling alone, you must really go out of your way to have a conversation and it is easy to just not talk with people for long periods of time. Then I went to bed and got up very early, to catch an early train, a bus, and a plane to get to Poland (getting my main forms of transportation taken care of all at once).
Now I am in Poland. Sitting in a café, writing this. Tonight, I will take a bus to Berlin, where I will finally be meeting up with friends and then I head to England to hang out with some friends, before making my way back to America. It is strange to think that this time next week I will have been back in America for a few days. It has been an incredible adventure, but it will be nice to stay in one place for more than a day. Even two or three days would be enough. God is needed everywhere and he is moving everywhere.
I think that is all for this week.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time!
God bless you!
Jesus loves you!
- Julius Trotter (AKA AJP)