Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Brits are coming!

Enjoying a cafe in La Plaza Reina with friends :)

Ok, so they aren't really coming. But I'm going to them. This friday I'll travel to London for 5 weeks. My second week there I'll spend with my Diaspora team for a few days of training. The rest of my time there I'll be training some of the other Ms on how to do field research. (the M-abbreviation is for my friends in high security zones. Otherwise known as "workers" if that helps). I'm so excited about getting to a place where I can totally comprehend the language around me! It'll be a nice refresher. Luckily, there as a few Ms already in London. They've been kind enough to open their homes to me while I'm camped out there. Taryn won't be joining me on this trip. She'll continue some therapy here, and possibly making a few more contacts in Madrid. Please continue for the healing of her legs. She still has to deal with discomfort and pain everyday, but she's working hard and getting along with little complaint. Praise the Father for her perseverance!

Speaking of understanding the language. Today I got to go to the international Fellowship here where the service is in English. It was such a blessing to be around so many different cultures, but still be able to understand them in my own heart language. Praising our Father in a language in which I can really express gratitude is so refreshing sometimes. Now I just need to find a place where I can watch the Hogs play on Sundays!

Miss you all! Please tell me what's been going on in your part of the world! I'd love to hear what's going on in your life :) I may be half a world away, but luckily it's not as far as it use to be with technology as it is today.

Taryn and I waiting for the metro in Valencia. She's my family over here!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Mercat. Valencia's oldest market.

The trip got off to a rought start with arriving just in time to the gate because I had a person at check-in who didn't want to take my ID. Luckily my friend was kind enough (after he had just taken us to the airport) to go back to my apt. and pick up my passport and bring it to me! So I made it to Valencia and it's my job to collect all of this demographic information and document it. Getting started can be really difficult, but the Lord provided! There is no one difinitive way to do all this. So we get started by looking on the internet where restaurants, stores, government groups and churches that may have the information we're looking for. Just showing up at their doors, and asking a lot of personal questions can seem pretty strange. And it is. That's why we do a lot of praying before and during this scavenger hunt! The first thing we did when we arrived was go to a neighborhood that was known for having a high population of Latino immigrants and walked around asking for a restaurant that is in the area. The first people we asked spoke some English! (this never happens in Spain!) A passer-by heard us and asked if we needed help finding something. This girl was just a lil older than I, and had spent some time living in Australia, so she spoke perfect English! We never found out about a restaurant, but after carrying on a short conversation and sharing with this girl why we are here, she gave us some information that helped us get started on this adventure! Her mother went to a protestant church, and so she called her mother and gave us the address of it right there on the spot. "L" (the girl on the street) is 7 months pregnant with a baby boy and waiting on the father to move to the city with her and get to know her family. L says she no longer attends church b/c she's been to "naughty". So please prayer for L. Before I leave I'm going to write a letter to her thanking her for her help and to encourage her to find her way back to the church and Christ.The information she gave us lead to us meeting some missionaries who then introduced us to another pastor and some other nationals, and basically all the of the information that we've collected. So the Lord used this girl, who felt she wasn't good enough to go to church, to facilitate all the work we've done here. Hopefully the information we found will lead to other missionaries coming here and spreading the Truth to the city of Valencia! This is a beautiful city, and I'll hate to leave, but I'll be glad to be home for atleast a little while! Thank you for your prayers and your messages. It's so encouraging to here from you!

The science center. This is one of Valencia's major attractions b/c of the architecture, this picture really doesn't do it justice, though. It poured rain 2 min. after I took this!

Monday, August 9, 2010

It may have been a while since I've posted, but I found myself in a state of conflict as to whether I was really busy, or doing nothing. But I think I figured out how to explain it.... I've been busy doing nothing (a lot of internet research and planning for this trip). With the exception of the World Cup, I didn't find anything that I would really want to write to you. However, the page has turned! It's 10:13p.m. here. Tomorrow at 2:30 in the afternoon I will be on my way to Valencia, the east coast of Spain for the next 22 days. "Wow", you might say,"that's a lot of vacation time!". And you're right it is, which is why I am going for work. This will be my first excursion for interviews and gathering information from organizations, churches, and individuals. (I'm sure I'll find some of those interviews to be on the beach, though ;). So please pray! I'm actually pretty nervous. I need to be able to understand and communicate well in Spanish, and I have to know what I'm doing in this new job. At one point I thought a friend of mine would be going who is a native speaker, but that didn't work out. I think this will be a big learning experience for me on how to trust God with EVERYTHING. If things turn out well, and like we planned, then praise God. And if things don't turn out like we planned, but totally different, the praise God. But he will be the Rock on which I stand in every moment. Would you also please be praying for Taryn. She's been getting better and better, and so is her walking, but it's is still difficult and uncomfortable. Pray for the Lord to heal her legs and give them a rest. We've been preparing ourselves for roadblocks that may come along the way due to spiritual warfare, but the last thing we want is to allow these roadblocks to steal glory from God. So here's my top 5 things you can be praying for us this month! 1)Taryn's legs 2)Ability to communicate well 3)Taryn & I to love a serve one another. We'll be sharing everything (room, work, play, meals... air). It's easy to become selfish! 4)The Lord to prepare the hearts of people so they will be open to the Gospel, and he will receive glory! So until the next time I write (which I hope to be much sooner) I hope you enjoy these pics! The crowd waiting to welcome home the champions! There were over 2 million on this street alone. And there they are! I could literally touch the bus they were on! Check out more on my facebook page.
This was the madness downtown at one of the viewing spots. I could see millions of people in the streets celebrating! No burning cars, just maybe some broken street signs from people climbing to see the view....

Monday, April 12, 2010

I had promised this picture a long time ago and decided to go ahead a post it now. Notice that my seat was layed all the way back, with it sitting upright, my face met the collapsed roof. The dashboard was in my lap, but just that, my legs didn't have an ounce of pressure on them. The car was a perfect mold for my body. Praise the Lord for his goodness and grace.

I know I'm a missionary, but the thrill of taking this illegal picture was worth the cause. This is one of the chambers in the old palace in Madrid. The embellishments were incredible!

This is the symbol for Madrid, and I don't know why. But this bear is everywhere, even in finely carved chocolate. mmmmmmmm

It was worth the long beautiful drive, good company and good food. Madrid has it all! The mountain was a little sparse for skiing, though.

We found a nice creek bend and I crossed a shakey bridge just to capture this picture for ya'll!

We went up on the mountain side and had a (very) nice lunch at a garden restaurant, and Gary was the chef.

I got to go to the private concert, because on of my roommates is friends with a network lady. If any of you recognize her, help me out. She's an award winning Mexican singer.

And the metro can get pretty crowded at night if you want to get around. So hold on to your purse!

These are some of the fun things I've had the opportunity to do since I've been here. It's been SO much fun... now if only I could fully understand what people are saying to me....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ok.. so I know it's been 2 months since I've had a post, and I'm sorry. But the adventures have added up! Every where I go is an opportunity to witness, and there are some pretty great stories to tell! Last week I moved out of the apartment I was in, and into a temporary one so that I can be closer to my team, and the center of town! So instead of having an hour and 20 min commute, I now have a 10 min commute! I am only missing an internet connection. Luckily I don't have to travel far to get one. I've been doing a lot of apartment hunting, and I think we finally found one. I HAVE WONDERFUL NEWS!!! Taryn has gotten her medical release and will be here in the middle of this month! Praise the Lord! I just have to make one minor detour to the US at the same time she will be arriving :( My visa still isn't ready, and my 90 days are up on my passport. I'll be so glad to have the chance to see family for a little bit. I'm hoping that I won't be stateside for more than a week or 2, though. It seems like really bad timing with Taryn's arrival, my language studies, and trying to close on an apartment... but I've decided to not worry about it all and pray for the Lord to work out the details. After all, I don't have any control over them anyways. :)

I have finished my language class, and begun with a tutor (who was my profesora as well). It has been so great and such a blessing! My time with her is all conversational and so I talk a lot about my day, my past and my future.... and you better believe not a day goes by that we don't talk about the Lord. I want so badly for her to see the goodness and peace that comes with having a relationship with God. She's a great girl, and it is my prayer that she give her life to Christ. Here in Spain, people celebrated Holy Week with absolutely no understanding of why. Mary has been made into such an idol, that all they know is that she performed the miracled of the virgin birth. But we all know that this isn't true, right? God performed that miracle and so many others that we are told about in Scripture. It wasn't until in recent years that the catholic church permitted people to read the Word! So even then, most people have never read the Good Book and have never read truth for themselves. On the other hand here, people have no religion or belief system at all. Only to find what makes that person happy.... The very idea of individual truth contradicts itself. So here I am with the opportunity to tell people about Christ and what love and forgiveness is for the first time in their lives. You can imagine what a struggle it is to say all this in Spanish for a beginner life me! So please continue to pray for my language developement and the quick arrival of my visa!

I'll make another post soon full of pictures for you to see! Please keep in touch with me and let me know how I can be praying for you! Love you all so much

In Him

Monday, February 22, 2010

This is Spain

Ironic, or just confused? America is everywhere here! In stores, all I here is the US top 40 (including those from the 90s). This was taken at the flee market where you can find anything from clothes and accessories to instruments and home decor and tools.

I had a little bit of some cultural frustration today. As I went to the supermarket, which is about 2 mile's walk, and grocery shopped for nearly an hour. I went to pay. I had been to this store many times before, but his particular lady checking me out gave me a hard time. I gave her my credit card, and she asked for identification (which they check anytime you use one). When she noticed that my liscence wasn't from around here she asked for my passport, which I gave her a copy of. After checking it out for a while she asked where I was from. I told her the States, and she says, "oh sorry, we can't take your card".
This was the most absurd things since I have paid with this card at this store many times before. After explaining all this to her, she says, "oh sorry, they must have been new employees". ugh...... luckily I BARELY had enough cash to cover what I had shopped for, and walked that nearly 2 miles back home, carrying all of my groceries. It was aparent this lady wasn't particularly impressed with the fact that I'm an American.

On a good note, I've been doing well in my language class. It's coming along, but I'm still practically a baby trying to figure out how to communicate all that I want to. I've only had one language blunder so far, and it was pretty epic.... I'll leave it at that. :) I have a small class, so it has been easy to make friends and talk to folks. 2 people in particular I've been getting to know, and as they get to know me more, they ask a lot of questions because they see how differently I live. It has been a blessing to be able to share with these 2 why I am different. Henrik, has asked me to explain to him why Christ was murdered. (if that's not direct, I don't know what is!)And Elise has really been searching for truth and substance in her life, in all the wrong places. It's been my prayer that she'll the joy and happiness as a result of the decision I made to trust Christ.

This is what my daily life is centered around. Cafe, and the Bread. I don't know if I could live without either. The coffee here is so good!

This is the ceiling of a dome of one of the many cathedrals in Spain. This one happened to be Mosaic, and absolutely beautiful. This church was mild compared to some others than I've been to; ornate in gold and idols of pseudo-Marys and countless saints. They pay for every prayer here as they light a candle under their saint-of-choice. How sad, that they would rather pray to one of the Lord's workers than God himself. Christ said, "NO ONE comes to the Father, but through ME." Often I feel so sad it hurts, to think about how people are living their lives based on a lie, that feeds them nothing but grief. The Truth is so much more simple, and it puts peace in the midst of all the chaos!

And just incase you left your ornamented priest's robe at home, you can get it here. For no more, no less than an arm and leg. Also all of your crusifixes of every kind, and holy cups and candles can be found here. haha!

One more thing... the greatest thing happened right before my eyes as I was walking to class. In front of me I see an old man with his 2 sons at the bottom of some scaffolding that is against one of the sky-rises yelling up, "Come down! Come down here, now!" As I look up I see a man climbing the scaffolding with the policia following closely behind. Hah! Such a great moment.

It's always good to hear from ya'll! I miss everyone so much! If you know someone who would like to be on my email list, let me know and I would be happy to add them. Please continue to pray for me as I'm in language school and building relationships :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

You know Benni Hen??

The whole way home today, I couldn't stop rejoicing! Today was the last day of the first week of my Spanish class. And no, I wasn't so happy JUST for the weekend :) I'll start this one from the beginning...

On the first day of class, during our cafe break, one girl was making conversation with me. I found out she (Ezechielle) is from the Congo, but no lives in Brussels. She found out I am from the States, and her first reaction was to ask me if I am a Christian. This was very strange because in Europe people rarely open up about, or want to discuss spirituality. Of course I told her yes, and waited for her reaction. Her response surprised me. "Oh, you know who Benni Hen is?!" I actually let a little chuckle out loud.

-yes, I know who he is.
-Do you like him?
-Um, not really.
-Why not, he is a Christian, no?

To keep it light hearted but truthful, I said "Yes, I've seen him on TV. He is showbiz".

Later that week as we were learning descriptive adverbs and phrases, we played a game where we wrote about ourselves, and as our profesora read them we had to guess who they were describing. Ezechielle wrote about herself saying that in her spare time she likes to read the Word of God. It was apparent that she herself, is a Believer. Next we played a game in which each person had the name of someone famous on their forheads and we all had to describe, or ask questions so that we could guess who it was. On Ezechielle's forhead was written "JesuCristo". As she asked questions she came to one that sparked some disagreement among the group. "Is he real?" she asked. There was some "No" and "uh..." and a single "yes came from me. Our profesora then clarified, "No, he is not real". I looked at Ezechielle and said, "he is real, and he is real to you". "Jesus Christ" she said, and a very sad look came on her face. After class I caught up with her and explained that I am a Believer and I am here as a missionary to share Him with others. The joy that came from her is something I wish I could see more of among other Followers, and myself. "That is wonderful! Jesus, my Love! Praise God!". Ezechielle is 20 now, and was told about Christ from her cousin when she was 16. With no one to ever disciple her or show her what is expected of a Christian she told me "You know that reading the Bible and praying to God everyday is so important. Everyday you must read and pray. You are doing a good work for the Lord. You know, in class today I cried when they said that He is not real. After what he has done for them!" As our hearts broke for them, she and I mourned over the lost, but then rejoiced for the fellowship we had found in another sister.

Today Ezechielle took me aside during or break and told me she needed to talk to me. "I just want to talk to you about my love, Jesus". She was so hungry to have fellowship and someone else to rejoice with! She leaves tomorrow to go back home for school, with no other Believers around to ever be an encourager, or to just talk to and have someone understand her.

What an encouragement and example to me! The kind of strength it takes to walk so closely with the Lord is something I have taken for granted because it has always come so easly to me with a family that believes and supports, and having always grown up knowing who he is, and what he has done.

Please praise the Lord with me today for Ezechielle and her faith. Pray for her unbelieving family, and for a fellowship of believers that can be near her.