The First Time You Ride a Bus It’s Unfamiliar

By Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1 0

It feels like two lifetimes ago that we were in Spain for our survey trip. Since then, we’ve done cross-country trips, vacations, and had two babies. But the memories are imprinted on my mind, and today I was inspired to capture one in writing by my blogging friend, Deidra Riggs.

After our week of serving at the church plant in Madrid, Chris and I spent four days of vacation in the south of Spain – Sevilla and Granada. We tried to pack light for our short stint and left everything in Madrid for our return home except a few outfits and one pair of shoes. For me, a pair of high quality flip flops (ok and a pair of dressy shoes just in case). Our plan included train rides: high-speed to Sevilla and… not-so-high-speed to Granada and back to Madrid. The high-speed to Sevilla was distinctly European: on-time, air-conditioned, and fast. The train to Granada was none of those things. So it was with sore feet from trekking Sevilla in sandals and now sore bums from our Greyhound of a train-ride, we arrived in Granada for the last leg of our amazing trip. And we began to explore, on foot of course. Although we were enjoying Granada’s gelato, its Spanish food with Middle East flair, and the unmatched Alhambra, we were dreading our last, long day that was to end on another “train” ride north. We knew we’d be dead on our feet and our wallets, already checked out of our hotel with nowhere to be.

So we had a brilliant idea. We would take a trip back to the train station to book an earlier train. Eager to save money we didn’t plan to spend on a taxi, we decided to take a bus. Everyone in Granada was taking buses. We could too.

So we grabbed our city map and asked our hotelier to help us get to the train station by bus. We should have known a taxi would be easier by the look on his face, but he outlined the route with a red pen and wrote the bus number down.

We waited at the wrong stop, took the wrong bus which turned out to be the right bus, lost our confidence and got off way too early and walked the long way through the business district to get to the train station, where, in broken Spanish we exchanged our late night tickets – fingers crossed – for ones that left mid-morning the next day. And then we made our way back for a snack and a siesta.

In spite of weariness that set in somewhere between the wrong stop and the long walk, along the way I had looked in Chris’s face and seen our future and I liked what I saw.

Not two days earlier we’d been laying in the world’s squeakiest bed, debriefing after a whirlwind week in Madrid doing missionary work. Now we were making the transition from mission trip to vacation and so we had one thing to discuss: did we want to come back to do this work forever? And if our answers were different, what would the next four days look like? What would the next 40 years look like?

We did, unanimously, passionately, unequivocally. God had spoken to us in Madrid and He used the same words: “come back here. Do my work, build my church. It will be hard (he used a 16 year old mk who told us her parents worked so hard for so little return to remind us of this). It will be so hard; but I will be with you.”

So, standing in an unfamiliar bus in a strange country with a task to accomplish in an unfamiliar tongue, I looked at my husband and I saw many similar events in our future and I was ok with that. Weariness and confusion mix with excitement and passion and God is in it all.

New World Foods – 50/50 Fact 10

By Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2 0

It’s amazing the amount of food the New World provided the Old. Corn, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, different types of beans, sweet potatoes, chocolate, peanuts, and many other things. There were also items like sugar, which most Europeans weren’t able to afford until it began to be produced in mass quantities in the Americas. In the end, this may have been the biggest transfer of food in world history. Many of the things we think of as ordinary food on both sides of the Atlantic emerged from this encounter. And if you don’t believe me, think of Italy without tomato sauce, Belgium without chocolate, Spain without gazpacho, and France—and everyone else—without French fries.  – James Amelang, historian (source)

food-del-mundo

Can you tell which foods are native to Spain?

Spaniards brought boatloads (literally) of food back to Europe after Cristóbal Colón  “discovered” America. Because of Spaniards, we have Italian tomato sauce, French pastries, and Spanish tortilla (an egg and potato dish you’ll find at every potluck).

Their missionary tactics are certainly questionable, but for all they took back to Spain and Europe, Spanish explorers brought one very important thing to the Americas: the Gospel. For better or for worse and with the help of the Puritans so many years later, the Gospel spread in America and took root.

It’s ironic and unfortunate that now we must set sail ourselves to return the Gospel to Europe. It is our prayer that God will inspire Spaniards to hear and respond to the Word of God; that the Holy Spirit would ignite a fire that spreads throughout Europe and returns Europe to the Gospel.

We have this opportunity to return the Gospel to Spain and see it spread throughout Europe. Can the American church sacrifice from within to see a revived faith in Christ in Europe? It is more needed than we can imagine.

Please help us get to Spain and pray that Spanish hearts would be {re}open{ed} to the Gospel.

*This is fact #10 in our 50/50 challenge (50 new partners at $50 per month will enable us to attend Field Prep Seminar).

**As part of the Prefield Prayer Initiative, we are praying specifically for 6 bunches of oranges (totally native to Spain) in May. Will you pray and consider joining our partnership team?

Real Madrid – 50/50 Fact 9

By Saturday, February 22, 2014 0 0

Real Madrid is the most popular soccer club in the world, with over 228 million supporters.

Include me as supporter number 228 million and 1.

I realize that most people in the US aren’t big soccer fans and that is just fine. I do enjoy soccer however and, because Madrid will be my new home soon, I have started to become a fan of Real Madrid.

Many people talk about how Europeans treat soccer like a religion, and to a degree that is very true. People spend a lot of time praying before games and supporting their team as though their very way of life depended on it. Don’t let’s be too friendly to our own attitudes on sports though! In America, the NFL is a big business (though for some reason it has nonprofit status!) and has followers who are just as entrenched into their fandom as anyone in Europe.

When Rose and I are located near Madrid and I begin to watch Real on TV and occasionally go to games, I need to remember, just as I do here, that this is all just entertainment and it bears no weight on anything.

Let’s enjoy sports and have fun with them, but let us also remember that they aren’t the most important thing, and that a great season or a really bad one are minor things that give us opportunity to learn a bit about ourselves.

Go Seahawks!

¡Ir Blancos!

Valencia Oranges – 50/50 fact #8

By Saturday, February 15, 2014 0 0

It has been said that it is legal to pick the oranges from the trees in the streets, providing that you eat the whole orange without leaving the shade of the tree.

The Spanish know what they are talking about, don’t they? This proverb is a good reminder to take a moment to experience joyful moments right when they present themselves. A Spanish twist on the classic “stop and smell the roses.”

May God grant you joyful moments to rest today.

We appreciate your prayers as Chris delivers the message at Eastgate Bible Fellowship tomorrow at 11 am.

5050-orange-tree

We’ve developed a little graphic to help you see how far we’ve come in our 50/50 challenge, and how far we have to go. When the orange tree is full of oranges, we’ll be ready to attend our Field Prep training.

Love Stories

By Friday, February 14, 2014 0 0

My friend Ally at Sweet Like Honey featured us during her blog series on love this week. Ally loves love, and she had a guest writer sharing her heart each day on a different element of love. She asked me to share about our love for Spain. Visit her blog to read honest thoughts on marriage, motherhood, friendship and the most adorable little gal I know, Maggie Pearl.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s what I wrote when I was asked to describe my love for Spain.

It is almost trendy within the church to be a missionary where you live, to be missions-minded, to build missional communities. If this means that Christians are seeking opportunities to share the Gospel with people in our world, then I celebrate this movement in the church. I too try to share Jesus fearlessly with moms I meet at the park, my barista at the coffee shop, and the family members I live near who don’t have a relationship with Him. I carry Jesus with me wherever I go.

But my heart beats fervently for another group of people, a place I believe Jesus has called me to go. I love Spain. I cannot get it out of my heart, out of my head, how desperate they are for salvation; I love the Spanish people, and I long to see them come to Jesus. People I barely know, with whose culture I am unfamiliar, who will consider me out of place at best when I finally arrive on the field. It’s supernatural, and difficult to explain, like true love usually is. Although I pray for the needs of others around the world, I feel uniquely compelled and even designed to meet the needs in Spain. The Spanish have a fire and passion that I know God can use to change the world. They speak their mind (especially the very young and the very old), often without a filter. I too struggle to filter my words! If they would speak the truth and share the greatest story of all time, unfiltered, Spain could be the launch pad for the Gospel around the world because more than a quarter of its residents are foreigners. I want to see young Spaniards leading such a revolution.

Spain was once a voice for the world, much like the United States today, and its people had the message of Christ to share. Whether it burned brightly with the truth of Jesus’ love then or not, the fire has all but gone out today. As we share our passion for Spain with people, we throw around a statistic that seems like it would impact people. “Less than one percent of Spaniards profess faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.” As a missionary, this small number of believers is reason enough to go. We want to make more disciples who can make more disciples who will make more disciples as part of a global movement to God’s glory, and no place is too dark for the light of Jesus to penetrate, fill, and radiate, even Spain.

But it seems like it. Because this is what “less than 1 percent” means: maybe 1600 believers in a bustling, influential city of 205,000 (Alcalá de Henares, just outside of Madrid). Fewer than 30 evangelical churches averaging less than 60 attendees per week.
When I evaluate those numbers, my heart breaks. All my friends attend churches with 1600 attendees in just one service!

I want Spain to thrive, to fulfill the purposes God might have planned. To that end, I’ll go there and I’ll share a message that I have been told will fall on hard hearts, deaf ears, blind eyes. I will do it for just one person in Spain to become a child of God. That’s how much I love it.