Summer typically means open schedules, vacations, and lazy days. For many, summer is a time when people want to grow in their faith, but it can be hard to continue growing in your faith while on vacation.
But for college ministry intern and leader, author of 40 Ways to Travel Better: Your Complete Guide to Maximize Time, Money, and Energy, and the travel blogger behind Round Trip Kristin Blake has used her love of travel to spread the Gospel and grow in her faith. I sat down with her and asked her a few questions on how she has used her knowledge of the Gospel to maximize her traveling to the fullest:
Q: Where have you traveled to?
A: In addition to traveling throughout America, I’ve been to England, France, Italy, Slovenia and Mexico. My favorite is easily France as I’m majoring in French and did a summer mission trip in Toulouse. But I have so many more places I’d like to go!
Q: How has knowing the Gospel enhanced your travel experience?
A: It’s been incredible to see how the Gospel applies to every single culture and how every culture reflects God in some way. For example, the French understand the art of rest and the importance of relationships. On my mission trip to Toulouse, I attended church, and although I couldn’t understand most of the sermons, I found nourishment through singing. I remember we sang “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord” in French. I already knew the melody, and seeing the words on the screen helped me process the meaning. Looking around the room at all these people worshiping God and I’m over 4000 miles from home is such a cool feeling. The Gospel is not only relevant in America!
Q: Tell me about a time you used your knowledge of the Gospel to impact the lives and people you’ve encountered throughout traveling?
A: Last summer in Toulouse, I wanted to blend in. I wished my French would be perfect, without an American accent. I tried to dress like them and act like the French. And while it is so important to respect the culture where you’re living, there’s beauty in our uniqueness and backgrounds. The Lord used my weakness—not being completely fluent in French—as a ministry tool. I met multiple people who wanted to practice English with me, and the French people helped me with my French. The language barrier became a topic of conversation and growth, not always a setback.
Q: How has traveling impacted the way you view God?
A: Traveling forces me to engage the unknown, and I do that willingly. How exciting to travel to Italy to eat pizza! How fun to sink our toes in the sand in Florida! As humans, we often fear the unknown — Where will I live? Who will I marry? What job will I have? What college will I go to? We’re so quick to equate the unknown with fear, and I am beyond guilty of this! Travel shows me that things I don’t know or understand can be an exciting adventure. And this is God’s story—we don’t always know where we’re going or what our future will look like, but following God’s perfect plan is always best. We have a Friend along for the journey, Who knows the way and provides our each and every need.
Q: Was there a defining moment that impacted the way you view God and the Gospel? If so, tell me about it.
A: I am obsessed with the French language. I find it irresistibly beautiful. I love learning new words and phrases, talking about France, speaking French, meeting French people—you get the idea! But if we stop to think about where foreign language came from, it’s not pretty. In Genesis 11, the people decide to build the Tower of Babel to glorify themselves. Up until this point, everyone spoke the same language, but when the people begin building the tower, God “confused the language of all the earth.” Foreign language came to be because of sin! Yet foreign language can be beautiful and used for His purposes.
(Photos taken and sent by Kristin Blake)