Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2nd Half...

Wow! Time flys! I can't believe I just spent 8 of the past 10 weeks bobsledding in Europe. I apologize on the lack of updates from the last 3 weeks on tour. Here is an attempt to sum all the adventures up.

Swiss Army Knives:
We arrived back in Europe on New Years Eve and then headed off to train in St. Moritz Switzerland for a week. Our coach sent two drivers and 3 brakemen there to learn the track for next years World Championships. St. Moritz is home of the only natural bobsled track in the world. Which means that they create it out of snow every year from the ground up. This is also where bobsledding was supposidly invented!  I absolutely love the atmoshphere that this track creates, not to mention it is just plain fun to slide there.

Operation Snow Leopard:
Our coach wanted to name it Operation Spider Pig (ridiculous we know).
We ironically came across a spider pig poster later that day!
After training in St. Moritz we met back up with the rest of our team in K√∂nigssee, Germany for a World Cup race. While in Germany we got some top secret information about the selection process of the sleds that will be invited to go to Russia this spring to test out the new track for the next Olympics in Sochi. It turns out it was possible to get our sleds in the selected spots if they raced well that weekend in a Europacup race back in St.Moritz. It all sounded to good to be true! So after training in Germany we drove through the night to get our qualifying training runs in Switzerland for the Europacup race. Then we headed back to Germany where our drivers raced in the World Cup race the and then drove back to Switzerland for the Europacup race all within a couple of days. I know this sounds confusing... but the adventure was a success! Elana and Emily are going to Russia to homologate the track this spring! USA is now one step closer to Olympic medals!

Toboggan Adventure in the Swiss Alps

Adventures in Narnia:
I couldn't believe how much St. Moritz looked like Narnia! I decided to sneak away one day and go on a little adventure one day. It started off  by taking a historic train ride through the Swiss Alps to a little town called Preda. When I arrived in Preda I rented a sled. Then I went on a sled run that was over 6 kilometers long all the way to the town of Bergun. The Preda-Bergun run in the longest sledding trail in Europe and it was awesome. 

Jesus came to serve:
Most people have been wondering why I haven't been racing. To make a long story short, I'm an alternate. I'm not going to lie, almost everything about being an alternate completely stinks. I am told I simply don't weigh enough to race. But when I try to put it in perspective it doesn't seem so bad. After all it's my rookie season and  I'm still on the US National Team. There are tons of bobsledders and people who would love to live one day in my shoes. So, heck, I'll take it! The reality of this whole experience is that if my sole purpose here is to win medals I will be missing the point. Oh trust me, God willing, I will be winning some medals in the future. But there is a much bigger picture and purpose in all of this. Christ came to earth not to be served but to serve, and if I'm supposed to attempt to live like Him then I cant think of a better place to be than in my current position. And while I'm attempting to serve I'll be getting better and better at bobsledding everyday so that when my opportunity comes I can seize it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year. More Slavery. One God.

I battled some jetlag and brought in the New Year from Frankfurt, Germany then headed to St. Moritz, Switzerland (Narnia) for a week of training. Apparently they don't have the same firework regulations in Europe as the U.S. because I felt like I was in the middle of WWIII at several points over the past few days.

I'm not big on setting new years resolutions, in fact, I don't know if I've ever even set one. I'm more of a fan of setting life resolutions. So I made a new life resolution that I'm going to start during 2012. I decided to help spread awareness about modern day slavery and eventually do something about it. It's only fitting considering that my sister will be leaving for a far off country to fight the slavery battle later this year.

The crazy thing is most of us don't even realize that slavery is a bigger problem now than it has ever been in the history of man kind. It exists in forms of concentration camps, human trafficking, forced labor, ect. It is currently the second largest criminal activity in the world (after drugs) and it is the fastest growing (US Department of Health and Human Services).

I don't know exactly what my role in the slavery battle will be yet. But I'm starting off by trying to educate myself and others on the problem. And saying that I have had some interesting conversations about it with my teammates this past week is an understatement. But through these conversations about slavery I have learned something: I can't expect people to have a passion about ending slavery or expect them to understand my motives when they don't have a passion for serving Jesus.

All this has led to another tough reminder that most non-believers don't want anything to do with serving Christ because us Christians and so called christians have done some serious damage to them in their past. One of my favorite quotes sums it up:
"The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyles. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." - Brennan Manning

So if you are a Christian let's simply love others and join together to fight for justice on behalf of the voiceless as we are called to do. If you aren't a Christian, Im greatly sorry for every negative experience you have had with "christians" and even me. We could still use your help to end the slavery battle, but start by seeking after Christ and I guarantee you that He will rock your world.

Click here to see my sisters blog

Click here to see more of Team USA's resolutions