August 1, 2018
This past May, a group of five students, two faculty, and three friends went on an a learning and cultural experience in Europe! We were led by Dr. Kayleen Bobbitt, Professor of Worship Arts at Grace. We visited three countries: England, France, and Italy. Three students were on this trip for class credit. In Italy there were certain sites that were required for the students to visit and write about them.
First we went to England where we toured different sites including the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. It was astounding to hear of the history of the library and how it is currently used today. We visited Westminster Abbey in London and attended a morning prayer service. It was fun to experience London including trying different foods and meeting new people. We had a great time maneuvering our way through London’s underground subway system and eating fish and chips at a small restaurant on the side of the street.
We took the the train from London to Paris, France where we rented cars and drove around France. We visited beautiful cathedrals along the country and also went to Omaha Beach in Normandy along with the Normandy American cemetery. Professor Dawn Rodgers-DeFouw’s husband, Everett DeFouw, told us stories about WW II while we were there. Everett’s father was one of the paratroopers in the 101st airborne division during WW II. It was very moving to hear about the people who have served our country and fought for freedom.
From France, we went to Italy. A few of the sites we visited were the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the Duomo in Florence, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, the Vatican and Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, and the Catacombs in Rome. They all were phenomenal, but two of my favorites were the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Catacombs.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa was very unique from other bell towers. We were able to climb up the stairs which was disorientating because the stairs tilted depending on which side of the tower you are walking. The Catacombs were breathtaking. Seeing where Christians are buried put my thoughts into perspective of what earlier Christians did for their faith. We saw different paintings on the walls that were the basis for some of the art that we saw in the cathedrals. It was an incredible experience.
This was a trip of a lifetime. I learned about the differing views of Catholicism and Protestantism. Today, we have direct access to God whenever we please! We do not have to go to a certain place or though a certain person. Ephesians 2:18 says, “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” What a blessing from God! It was an incredible and unforgettable journey across Europe. I am thankful I was able to have such an adventure.
Written by Ben Lange, Student