Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: OVERSEAS VACATION (08/13/15)
TITLE: Sunburnt country to winter wonderland
By Nicki Jeffery
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Have you ever taken a vacation without a destination? No accommodation booked, and limited savings? Have you flown halfway across the world not knowing a soul?
Our once only working holiday visas to Canada from Down Under landed us in this situation. We began in the east of North America, and then flew by night to the west. Two Aussie sisters from an isolated sheep and wheat farm. Naive. Trusting. Hoping. Adventuring. Believing. Could our great, big God make a way for us?
We arrived at Kelowna International Hostel, bought groceries and a newspaper, and settled in for the night. I looked up jobs and apartments in the paper, and found that Big White Ski Resort was holding a hospitality job fair the next day. Right place, right time.
The shuttle bus to the mountain was all booked. We couldn’t afford the $85 taxi fare. Our only hope was a cancellation. At 7:30am the next morning, no one had pulled out. But at 8:15am when I phoned back, two guys had decided to go shopping instead.
As we neared the ski resort, the trees were more heavily dusted with snow, like icing sugar. Fresh powder blanketed the hills. The rooves of the houses were sharply angled so the heavy dumps would slide off. Mounds of freshly fallen snow surrounded them.
Growing up in swimmers enjoying the backyard pool, and wearing a couple of layers in winter, was a far cry from spending four months living at the snow. My sister, Michelle, and I had never been to the Australian ski fields. From a sunburnt country to a winter wonderland, we were ecstatic.
The excitement wore off as I trudged through the wet, white substance in my Sorrell boots early every morning for my breakfast shift at a restaurant. Uphill I exhaled, clouds of puffy white air escaping my mouth. Sometimes a shriek and a slide and I was on my backside on a sheet of ice. No fall was more painful than when I slipped down the Mini Mart steps and landed hard on my backside on the stair, slush on my boots.
Michelle and I were learning;
“A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NKJV 
All those breakfasts serving over-easy eggs and crispy bacon to fussy Americans paid off, when God’s networking brought an unexpected blessing. Frank, a polite, elderly man, was my customer a couple of mornings. Over the course of a few conversations, I discovered he was a Christian. He and his wife, Marlene, lived on the Hawaiian island, Maui. Frank invited my sister and me to visit.
Finally, our ticket back to a warmer climate. A snowy vacation for non-skiers/snowboarders wasn’t paradise.
At dusk on the last night, sunset gave the pine trees majestic silhouettes. Purples, pinks and yellows painted the sky. I would not forget my season in the winter wonderland. I listened to Amy Grant’s “Lover of my soul” for the umpteenth time and smiled.
That pang for the familiar hits at some point in an overseas vacation. So south we journeyed to the tropical paradise, leaving our jobs and the freezing climate behind. Winding our hire car around the 30 mile road to Hana, we relished our freedom and breathed deeply. We swam in the ocean and admired the black sand beaches and caves.
God continued to write our travel story as Frank and Marlene gave us contacts of faith-filled friends in California. More free accommodation awaited us. We didn’t actually travel without a destination or accommodation. Our Father planned it all and His family is all over the world!
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 A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
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