As promised, here is a recap of our family’s first overseas Ride Nature trip! It’s not a long post, just lots of amazing pictures to share. We weren’t for sure if the trip was going to happen until the Lord wove everything together and we purchased our tickets to Dusseldorf, Germany 1.5 months before our departure date. Our destinations included Germany, Switzerland and Amsterdam. The vision behind the trip was mainly a scouting trip for future trips and partnerships.
1st Stop: Germany 8/25-8/30
Germany was a big draw to us because we wanted to go visit and encourage a former intern, Theo, who went through our program last fall-spring. He lives with his family just outside of Cologne in west Germany and they graciously opened up their beautiful home to us while we were there. Theo left Ride Nature matured and excited about his faith in Jesus. He was even more pumped to return home and share his fiery love for Christ with his family and friends. Since being home, he has started a house church of young people and ignited a spark of authentic love for Jesus too. While we were in Germany, we got to hold a skate contest and orchestrate a worship, encouragement, training night for the youth of Theo’s hometown. It was held at his home at their barn that him and his brother turned into a skate bowl. It was so awesome to see youth gathered from another culture (a culture that is less Christian than ours) worshiping the same Lord we do. This was so encouraging to see fruit in action! Ride Nature hopes to return in 2017 and do a more focused trip partnering with the Christian skatepark, Bone Yard, we held the contest at. While there, we did get to do some sightseeing of a few castles, churches and the beautiful German countryside on our drive to Switzerland. Another big highlight, was that Ethan’s sister, who is living overseas, was able to join us and meet Seder for the first time! We felt so welcomed and blessed by Theo’s family and sweet church community!
Worship/Training Night at Theo’s
Burg Castle tour near Theo’s hometown
Group photo after the Skate Contest at the Christian run skatepark Bone Yard
Toured Cologne City and Cathedral
Stopped for some “Rodelbahn” (alpine coaster) fun on our drive through Germany to Switzerland.
Explored the Altes Schloss castle ruins near Baden-Baden, Germany
2nd Stop: Switzerland 8/31-9/3
Ride Nature was invited to help run a contest in Estavayer-le-Lac, Switzerland on September 3rd. This was the 2nd year the contest has been held and the day’s events included the skate/scooter contest, gospel message, prize give away and concerts at the end of the night. The event was thrown by a local church that we had the privilege of working with by holding a worship/training night the day before the contest. It is so interesting to see the similarities and differences of a European church and hear challenges they face in reaching their culture that has mostly written off Christianity a long time ago. We were so blessed to meet awesome people who love Jesus and have a passion for action sports! We tried to equip and encourage them in how to use their passions as a tool to build relationships and tell others about Jesus! We got to do a bit of touring in Switzerland too, to the breathtaking Alps and their beautiful capital city of Bern.
Found a cable park at the local lake just around the corner from the church and skatepark we did the contest at!
Worship/Training night at local church
Skate contest/event in Estavayer-le-Lac
Future site of a RN skate outreach in the middle of Switzerland’s capital Bern. There we met up with Damien, he invited RN to come, and he showed us the amazing city of Bern.
For our day in the Alps, we took a cable car up to what we thought was a suspension bridge. Little did we know since it was lost in translational , it was an hour and a half hike after the ride to the bridge. Tough to do with babies and when you weren’t prepared for a hike. Regardless, we were awe-stuck by the beauty around us.
We ended our day in the Alps in the picturesque city of Grindelwald.
3rd (mini) Stop: Amsterdam 9/4-9/5
Amsterdam was a little bonus stop because our flight was leaving from there. There is a pilot who volunteers with RN and the company he works for sends a few planes over to Amsterdam for the summer’s busy season. When it is time to come back, the plane just has employees on it, so the company allows them to invite friends and family to catch the flight back. We were so blessed by this! We only had a day in Amsterdam, but the one thing to do on a beautiful day is to see the city by bike. We were amazed by the thousands of bikers we saw all over the city; business men, moms with barrels of kids, and hipsters all commuting by bike. We had a blast exploring he city this way! It was a sweet topper to a great trip!
The trip was a great blend of ministry, outreach, fellowship, and enjoying the beauty and culture around us! It was a much different kind of RN trip since our team was two young families. But like other RN trips, we had people to meet up and stay with at every location we went. Also, we had a lot of traveling/driving to do which was a challenge with two little ones but they were troopers.
We praise God for the awesome opportunity to travel to these places and be a part of the work He is doing there! We pray this trip and the partnerships we made leads to many RN trips in the future! I will share our current prayer requests and praises soon in a short October update. Happy Fall!
– Ethan and Sandra