journal entry.

August 15—Black Forest, Germany

3 weeks ago we waved goodby to K Squad in Budapest and escaped for a few days to Prague.  Alone as a couple :-P.
Next week we fly back to the USA.  Just about 2 weeks short of 1 year since we left September 2, 2014.

(By the way, you know that 11 countries, 11 months thing?  Yeah, well it turned out to be more like 22 countries in 11 months or 26 countries in 12 months.)

Crazy that we ever said, “yes” to this thing.
Crazy to think that this season is actually [finally] ending.
Crazy to reflect on the changes we’ve been privileged to be a part of in others through this journey.
Crazy to acknowledge the change/growth in myself.

It has been good.  (Yeah, I know, I can’t believe I’m saying that.)
Unbelievably hard, yes.  Especially as a couple.  Something I’d never want to repeat, yes.  
But still good.
Because You were in it.

Thank you, God, for the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Because You showed up in all of it.  Usually in ways that were not expected.  Often not immediately recognized.
But You were there.

You brought me to a greater place of knowing You.  (My ultimate goal in life.)  Of knowing myself.
Out of that, beginning to live out of overflow, instead of outpour.
Learning more about being led instead of being driven—being led by faith, led by You, instead of being driven by fear, guilt, duty, or others’ expectations.  (Though this is still a tough one for me to live out.)

I'm not sure how to prepare for the transition home.
Home feels like such a foreign concept.
(It has been almost 2 years since we moved out of our houses, quit jobs, etc. to start this adventure, first with YWAM, and then the World Race.)
Transition, change, moving place to place has become, in a strange way, normalcy for us.

How will it be to stay in a single location for more than 1 month?
With no "next place" to go???
That sounds absurd!

It feels like everything is about to change.  
Many of the things that have been difficult will likely become easier.  (We're hoping for the foreseeable future to usually have a bed instead of a floor to sleep on, a room to ourselves instead of sharing it with others, some private space as a couple and individually...)
But also realizing that some of the things that have been easy may also become more difficult.  (Different level of support, understanding, etc. than when living, working, and being with a group of people 24/7.)

Yes, we'll be back to being surrounded by friends and family.  There are certainly many aspects of that which we've missed in our travels.
Yet I'm sure we'll also miss aspects of the communities we've been part of for the past 2 years—the support, energy, and being constantly propelled towards Christ that we've experienced in these contexts.

How do we merge all of this?
How do we integrate the recent past with the more distant past as we look forward to stepping back into our former life [somewhat] and community?
Sometimes it feels an impossible challenge.

But God.
Herein is the constant.

Thanks for being there.  
For being here.

Thanks for being a Friend, a Guide, a Comforter, a Teacher, a Father, a Healer, and so much more over these past 2 years.
I've experienced a reality in living with You that I never thought was possible.
I've prayed for and tasted Ephesians 3:18 (AMP):
[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

Yeah, sometimes the future looks daunting.
Incredibly so, some days.
But You've got it.
I don't have to do anything, but follow.
No unnecessary stressing or trying to work to figure things out, just keeping my eyes on You.

Wherever You want to take me, I'll go.
However You want to take me there, let it be.
Whoever You want to use in my life or me in theirs.

You've captured me.
There's really nothing besides You that I want.

I'm convinced that any life you call me/us to is an adventure.  And I'm excited to step with You into the unknowns of this next phase!

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oceans (Hillsong United)



Dear friends and followers,

PLEASE note that we are transitioning from BlogSpot to http://jasonandsarahurst.theworldrace.org/  We would love to have you subscribe to get our updates if you're interested.  Thank you SO MUCH for showing your interest and support in this way.  It encourages us more than you know!

Jason & Sara



Yep!  We are currently en route to Georgia in the midst of a deluge of rain.  Perhaps the weather forecast of daily rain for Gainesville, GA this week is an answer to Jason’s prayer for cooler-than-average temperatures.  (Somehow he hasn't been too excited about tenting in Georgia for a week in late July :-P.)

Today marks the start of the 8-days of training camp for The World Race.  Our body backpacks are packed; this is a bit of a trial-run for the 11 countries/11 months we will be starting in September.  (My pack weighed in at a record 25 lbs.!  Maybe traveling is finally teaching me to pack light…) We are excited to meet the rest of our team, spend the week together, try out our new camping gear, and participate in team activities (what exactly, we have no idea!).  We are thankful for this upcoming time of preparation and learning more about what to expect in the coming year as it will make the actual packing and final preparation much simpler. 

What’s been happening?  We recently spent a delightful week in Ohio, helping my brother and his wife renovate a home to move into.  We helped with things like stripping and sanding floors, installing lights and doors, a bit of fencing repair and gate installation, and other minor projects.  It was really fun to see progress throughout the week and to give them a boost for their upcoming move.  We returned to PA in time to attend an employee’s wedding Saturday evening.

This past week we were actually home!  I sound surprised, because it was the first few days in the past 3 weeks that weren’t preplanned.  Jason was able to catch up with a few business-related meetings and such, and we finally had time for lots of shopping, packing, and preparing for training camp.  We also got to spend a bit of relaxed time with the Hurst family as well, which was a nice break from prep.
So, that’s the past few weeks in a nutshell, and what we’re moving into this week.  As we transition forward, we will also be changing completely over to our World Race blog site: jasonandsarahurst.theworldrace.org  You will find this post (and others) posted on both blogs, but from now on, we will be updating only one site (yay!).  A shout out to all our readers and followers!  Your support, interest, and care mean so much to us!  THANK YOU!!!



Jason's brother's wedding
The past 10 days have been a flurry of activity.  It’s hard to believe that we celebrated graduation from our 6-month training program with YWAM San Francisco just over a week ago.  Since then we’ve had a family wedding, a week-long “staycation” with the Hurst family, and a trip to Ohio. 
And then there are the transitions:

Eating potatoes instead of pasta.  Trading the cool San Francisco weather for an East Coast summer.  Learning to appreciate American coffee again after 3 months of Italian espresso.  Actually speaking a common language with everyone.  Living with family in rural Lancaster County instead of in community in urban centers in California and Italy.  Shifting from intense focus on personal life/development, ministry, and community living, to busy schedules, demands, checklists, and deadlines.  For Jason, moving into the next decade!

YWAM San Francisco Winter DTS 2014.  Our AMAZING team!!!
And then there’s the team.  Being apart from the dozen or so people we lived with, worked with, learned with, and grew with for the past 6 months.  The people who we shared life with in close proximity, who became like family.  I miss you guys.  You encouraged, fostered growth, challenged, supported well, were incredibly fun to hang out with, and were so full of life, love, and deeply cared for all.  You’re the best team ever!  (You’ve set the bar awfully high for our fellow racers on The World Race in September…)

Now that we’re back, the past 6 months almost feels like a different life entirely.  It is like I have changed, deepened, been challenged, and grown so much, then was plopped back into a former life.  A life that seems SO familiar, despite an extended absence.  So familiar, in fact, that it feels like I too should be unchanged.  Yet I cannot deny what has happened within and around me.  How do I reconcile this tension?  This quandary makes me realize how much I miss my team: those who have walked through the same challenges, experiences, and have grown alongside of me.  At the same time, it makes me SO THANKFUL to have done all this in tandem with Jason and to have one person who is in the same transition period with whom I can process my questions and challenges.

So, there is my attempt to encapsulate these transitions. 

Now it is time to close the YWAM chapter, while retaining what we have learned, and move into the next phase: preparing for World Race and, of course, reconnecting with friends and family while we are home this summer.  Thank you all so much for your interest and support!  We have missed you and look forward to spending time with many of you in the coming weeks and months.


last days in Italy in caption...

music in the main square (aka "piazza")

games at the youth center
working/cleanup at the church
playing with kids at the park
small group in a tiny, hot, crowded apartment (aka "flat")

last dinner with our amazing hosts in Milan...we made and served gourmet burgers!

...and gelato!

Venetian food...
weekend getaway in Venice.


Life, Gelato, and Soccer


Sara looking great drinking her favorite beverage; Coffee
Gelato is something worth getting excited about!
      Our time in Italy is going well and we've been having a good time building relationships with the local church and community here so that's been cool and rewarding.
Classical accordion concert inside a old historic church with some talented performers!
We’ve been going to the local park and on several occasions I have been able to play soccer with a few of the local young guys. I'm terrible compared to them, but they love having me play with them anyhow. I always come away feeling like an old man from all the running and trying to keep up with them (yes, I have scored a goal once or twice J ). Yesterday one of the guys told me that I'm like his adopted brother… which I thought was pretty cool!  I'm hoping to use the relationships I've been building with them to get them connected with the local church and youth group at our upcoming community barbecue which we have planned on the 14th of June.

 We've been spending time together as a team doing some wonderful things such as going to a free concert, getting gelato with our host family, and living life together. This trip has been amazing in large part to the wonderful people we get to spend so much time with and just do life together.
A few of us in Milan at a free outdoor classical music concert!


The Cage, and other fun stuff...

For the past week we have been partnering with a local church in a nearby town (Rozzano) to assist with community events aimed at kids and teenagers.  We will continue with similar activities through the end of this week with more of a focus on young kids in the kids playground area. 

There are numerous activities and treasures we offer for kids such as face painting, balloon animals, dart throwing, soccer in a cage, puppet show, simple English vocabulary, etc.  The Cage [soccer] was the star activity this past weekend: 2-on-2 soccer in a small space for 2 minutes at a time.  Then several times throughout the day we'd have the kids and staff all enter the cage and do a drama, tell a short personal story, etc.  We ended the weekend with a tournament and trophies, which was a lot of fun for those involved. 

It has been a lot of fun getting to know another community here and being able to be involved with the church and their ministry. Keith and his wife Debbie are the leaders at the church in Rozzano and are doing a fantastic job of organizing the daily events for our team.

It's starting to feel like summer here so the afternoons spent outside are pretty warm and we are working on a pretty nice tan the last few weeks :)  Time is flying by with only a little over 4 weeks left here till we return to SF.  It's hard to believe how fast the time has gone.

Love to all,
Jason and Sara -a collaborative effort this time =)