Statistically, the church planters in Portland know it looks like God’s not there. While the city has as many old church buildings as a small town on the East Coast, many of them are empty. Or house movie theaters. Or restaurants.It is one of the least-churched cities in the country, and in my experience, a hostile place for a Christian.
As we drove out to visit a church near Multnomah Bible College last weekend, it sure looked like we were the only ones going to church.
But we know He’s there:
- He revealed Himself when we were welcomed so enthusiastically at Wood Village Baptist Church.
- He is at work in the life of my friend studying counseling at Multnomah who desires to allow God to use her circumstances to help others
- His love is on display, especially for the loveless in Portland, through an amazing organization called Cupcake Girls, which I learned about from my former college roommate and our newest partner, Amy.
- Speaking of Amy (and her boyfriend), His grace is sufficient for the wounded but surrendered souls in Portland, and I am humbled by their story.
- He gives courage to my friends who are speaking out about abuse in Portland.
- He is the Great Provider to some of the most amazing and talented teachers of my generation, who have been unable to find permanent positions (pray for Oregon’s education system!)
- Finally, He blessed Portland with wonderful, generous and fun friends who should have stayed in Washington when they had their chance (just kidding, guys!), and we wish we could spend more time doing life with them.
God blessed us greatly by reminding us how He is working in the lives of our friends, by allowing us to speak into their lives and challenge them to engage in His work in Spain, and by showing us how He works in places the world calls hard to reach.
“It is man’s link with Adam, not the law, that was fatal. Therefore, it is man’s link to Christ, not to the law, that brings redemption. The Christian’s walk is not defined by any particular set of laws but by conformity to the resurrected life of Christ.”
Those are some words from the exceedingly long chapter I just finished in my New Testament class textbook. Oh, how I long to study the New Testament survey in a classroom setting. I have battled my way through this class mostly out of duty, and my grades show it. I trust God that what needs to stick does, and I look forward to a lifetime of continuing to study God’s word! Honestly, it is chronology, dates and places that I struggle with the most. Knowing and understanding the theme of each book or Epistle is the easy part, for me.
We each have just two (long, again) chapters left in our NT textbook. Then we must determine how we will complete the remaining classes: an Old Testament survey and Missions Theology. We appreciate your prayers as we make decisions about completing these requirements. Classes are available, but only at our mission agency’s home base across the country.
We have a number of decisions up in the air. We have yet to make our 50% goal, much less plan a trip back to PA for trainings!
Those columns across the street in the foreground? The ones holding up the apartment buildings? Yeah…they’re 2,000 years old.
Also, do you see how close these cars are parked together? Craziness!
I have the most adorable nephew in the world. I mean, seriously.
Although Chris and I really want to go to Spain as soon as possible, and we are praying in faith that God sends us in a “shorter than anticipated” time frame, my nephew is one good thing about having to wait. He’s only 2 now, but if prefield lasts awhile, he’ll be 5, 6 or maybe even 7 years old.
He won’t look like this anymore:
But at least he’ll remember his Aunty Rose. I imagine he’ll feel like this when we leave:
Wait. That’s how I’ll feel saying goodbye to him.
And no matter how old he gets… I’ll always remember him like this (sorry, dude):
Lot’s of bloggers the world ’round will be writing about how Michael Jackson died a year ago today. Under different circumstances, I would care even less than I already do about his passing (not a fan, really), but for the fact that Chris and I were in the Amsterdam airport waiting for our flight to Madrid when we learned MJ had died.
So June 25, 2009 will forever be set in my mind as the day Chris and I took our first steps on our “fact-finding trip,” as missionaries like to call it. We went to Spain to see if we fit in. To see if God was calling us.
And call us He did.
La Puerta de Alcalá. This photo has become representative of our journey.
Not a great photo, but I took it because it was jóvenes (teenagers) skateboarding in front of the royal palace. How cool would that be?
We loved Spain. We loved!
And we hope one to make this precious town, Alcalá de Henares, our home.