Svea and I first met in Budapest, Hungary. My mom had invited me to attend an annual conference through the missions organization she worked for, and despite not knowing anyone, I decided it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. It was my first time attending (and also my first time overseas), but Svea and many other students around my age had been attending with their families at these Connect Conferences across the globe for years.
My mind was blown getting to know and love this new international group of friends. They immediately welcomed me in as if I’d been a part of these gatherings all along. Every year since, I’ve gone back to Connect, largely due to these strong and wonderful friendships I’ve been so fortunate to build. Though I only get to see them once a year, those weeks are some of my most favorite. In fact, the majority of the first part of my trip is centered around getting to see and stay with these friends.
All that to say, I spent my first five days of this trip in Canterbury, England with Svea, where she attends the University of Kent studying film. She and another friend (that I’ll be visiting in St. Andrews, Scotland next weekend) came to visit me in California, so I had been eager to visit her at the first opportunity I could.
Svea and her family are originally from Germany, but they currently live in Sweden. The two of us immediately bonded over both having two older brothers and have found a million more things in common since we first met. The depth with which she experiences the world challenges me to enter into my own feelings more courageously, and I am constantly inspired by her earnest and authentic desire to know and share Jesus.
I have loved getting a taste of the life Svea’s been living at university. And I am so grateful for this time we’ve had to catch up, debate about trivial topics, and dream about transforming the church. Until next time!