Friday, July 18, 2014

A small story

       On Thursday our house (Casa Mamas) hosted the community meal. It was delicious, obviously. At each community meal the house who hosts is in charge of creating a question to ask the group. Something to make the conversation around the table a little more intentional. It can be something profound or something light. Or a mixture of the two, like our first question at our meal 2 weeks back. Gracie came up with it, "How do you see God's love through your favorite pizza topping?". Funny yet poignant. 
Anyway, this week our question was "If you could have one wish for the world what would it be?". And we made a disclaimer that of course we all wish for food and clean water etc so it can't be that. Everybody's answers were funny or deep or unique. I had invited my friend Ana, whom I met last summer. She is 19 and super sweet. Her answer was so beautiful. She said she would have it so that everyone was on social media a whole lot less, and people instead spent their time traveling and meeting new people in real life and doing things like our community meal where we talk and laugh and take time to get to know one another. It was so cool because she really did see something special in our time together. She kept writing it off as Californians being open and friendly because she knew our group from last year and felt the same way about them. I did slip it in that I think it has more to do with our faith and we want to share God's love and we try to bring an inviting atmosphere of joy because that is what God wants. Who knows if she received that. I am going shopping with her on Saturday so maybe a conversation will start. 
Man, so many of our friends here love our group and our energy but they don't see Jesus in it!! They think it is just a California thing, or an American thing, or I don't know what. Vidal, who works with Susanna at Bits and Bites, said similar things about us being so open and friendly. I joked with our group that I hope some of these people meet some rude or mean Americans to prove that what we have comes from God, not our culture/country haha. 

       But hey, what a confirmation that we truly are carrying that light. Sometimes I get nervous that we come off as weird or overwhelming. The Lord proves me wrong every time. His spirit is always present in our meals, events, outings, etc. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Altea: more than an acquaintance


it's freaking me out how familiar Altea feels. I keep getting this strange feeling that God has plans for me that include so much more than these 2 summers. AHH! That's crazy! I am not saying I will live here but I am also not saying I won't... Hopefully I can just keep coming back each summer. 
I already feel like my time is slipping away. That tendency to operate under a ticking clock, in a state of urgency, is creeping up on me again. I need to be praying more and trusting the Lord will move in my friends' lives. And perhaps that is why He is calling me to return beyond just this summer. He knows that there is still work to be done, that I feel unfinished or like I am not redeeming the time. If I come back then I can chill and not rush the Spirit. 
      One other thing God has super blessed me with these past 2 summers is people who see such potential in me. Last summer it was our staff Carrie, Justin and Arianna who really believed in me in a way I didn't understand. This summer people like Susan and Lisa and Matt and Gracie see the sunshine outta my bum. I hate that I don't see myself with kind eyes. Regardless, they keep speaking beautiful words of encouragement over me. Or even when I make an off hand comment about myself that isn't exactly uplifting they are quick to shoot it down or ask why I think that or who ever told me that. It's been amazing to see barriers in my mind/heart being broken down. To begin to accept the "truth" that God delights in me, that God sees so many good qualities in us, that God is SO long suffering and so gracious and tender and friendly. Even as I write this I am making the connection that this was my prayer  last summer Spain. I wanted to see Jesus as tender, to believe that he would say the same loving things as my mom does about me. 
Wow, He really likes to use my time in Edge and in Spain for that purpose. I don't know why. Maybe He truly has something big in store for me here and He needs me to walk in confidence and in boldness. Maybe the same concept/truth He wants me to believe He also needs the Spanish to believe and encounter. I guess we'll see. 

I super appreciate any prayers you can send my way and on behalf of my Spanish friends. 

Okay, I'm done. Hasta luego!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A better understanding

      So, the other day after our "conversations" (which is more or less a Bible study) we were talking a bit about Spanish culture and how to understand it better and respect the Spanish people in terms of sharing our faith. So, now you have the context for what I am going to share. Miriam is Spanish, she is an artist, and she is a Christian. All of that combined is so rare. She is with Edge Project for a week, living in my house and is this week's exhibition artist. I met her last year and we grew very close. She doesn't speak English and so I was translating for the group what she was saying about the Spanish's view of what we have to share regarding God/Jesus/religion. 
This is what she said in Spanish: 
      During the dictatorship of Franco he was having anyone who was against Catholicism, or just wasn't Catholic, killed. Not just political figures, and not just non-Christians. You had to be Catholic. It was evil. Miriam's great grandfather was shot and killed. And so, that generation has taught their kids, who have told their kids, who have passed on to their kids that God is not good. Because Franco did all that he did in the name of God then God must be bad. 
      Here I am listening to this in order to translate for our group. And as I begin to repeat it in English I just lose it. I'm crying because not only does it explain so much, but it breaks my heart that God would be portrayed this way. That one man, one regime, could give the Good, Loving, Merciful Creator such a bad name. It devastates me to hear that generations of people have got the wrong idea about God, and about His people. God does not deserve this, and it's not even the Spanish people's fault. 

I could go on, but I won't. Let's just say this explains a lot. It has been very heavy on my heart. This is just one, albeit big, reason why the soil here is so tough. 

Maybe later I will share about my conversation with Susanna, which is pertinent to this. Maybe not. If you want to here/know more feel free to email me or set up a facetime. I would love to talk to any of ya'll even though the time change is brutal. :) besossss xoxo

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Altea sweet Altea

      One 6-hour plane ride to New York, from there a 7+ hour plane ride to Madrid, a 40-minute shuttle to the bus station where I boarded a 6-hour bus ride to Benidorm and was picked up by Arianna (Edge director) and Matt (Edge intern) and driven to Altea. Fortunately, my excitement in seeing Arianna and knowing I had finally made it superceded my exhaustion. Even though my body had no idea what time it was and whether or not I should be dead tired or wide awake, as soon as I reconnected with friends I had a shock of energy. My extraversion is the real deal, folks.

      I feel so at peace being back. I am not stressed, I am not feeling unprepared or worried about our time here and the Edge schedule and my duties as intern, etc etc. It is amazing how familiar Altea is to me. Walking into Bits and Bites and seeing Susanna and Vidal was so natural. What a blessing to be back here!

      At the same time, I am once again knocked over by the clear barriers put up against our faith, against Jesus. The lifestyle here, my friends here - they like me just fine but they do not give 2 cents about Christianity. It feels like I would be selling something. How do I get away from that?! I don't want to sell anything. The need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit is so strong. Every day. Because if I am walking in the Spirit and living life through him, then the truth will flow out. I think. That is my prayer, anyway.

      So, Friday I move in to "my" house. The house we rented for 6 of us girls on the team. Gracie (another intern, who was also here on my trip last year) and I are the casa mamas for 4 'edgies'.

That's all for now.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

what has become customary

I actually like:

Hanging my clothes to dry outside on a line with clothespins.

such hot weather that allows for dresses everyday.

having to flag down my waitress when I need anything because they don't check on you, don't pressure you to rush or leave.

all the stores being closed in the late afternoon forcing me to relax and siesta.

rarely having wifi or any cell phone service that keeps me from being on my phone as often.

walking everywhere. Sure I miss driving, but everything is so close in the small town of Altea & walking has been nice.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What do I share?

I am not used to being so without words. Well, it isn't that I don't have words, rather that I am not sure where to even begin. My time here is...slow. But with a sense of urgency at the same time. Some days every minute is scheduled. We wake up to have group Bible study and then we go to the grocery store to start cooking for our community meal, and then the meal itself is very Spanish in that it lasts at least 2 hours. Then we might have a short siesta, or we might visit a cafe where we know a Spanish friend will be. I try to be very intentional. Every restaurant/cafe/bar that I frequent is because there is a relationship there I want to build upon. In the evenings we have a 'creative night' or worship night or fiesta night we have to prepare for. Other days there are scheduled events in the morning & night but the afternoon is ours. It's beautiful to be able to just enjoy life but in the midst there is purpose and love and intention. I am experiencing personal growth just as much as I am doing work externally.
Of course there are vices to the Spanish culture, but one of the many virtues is how they savor life. They truly are very present. I rarely see a Spaniard on their cell phone, I rarely see people walking and talking on their phones like in the states. They engage quickly with you and they aren't in a rush. Granted, I am speaking based off a few small towns on the coast. But still, drastically different. And something I am grateful to learn from. Ahh what a beautiful experience this has been. And it's not over. There are many more moments I need to seize, many opportunities to take advantage of with my new friends here in Altea. I am thankful for how I have learned to embrace my outgoing/wooing strength and see it as just that- a strength. It has definitely been used here. I think I have felt like I can be myself this past month. There is such freedom in that. Wow. The Lord has truly blessed me. I pray that I continue to have this perspective amidst discouragement, insecurity, or impatience. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"because you have become so dear to us..."

      1st Thessalonians chapter 2, verses 1 until about 9 struck me as very similar to our hearts here in Spain. Even though many of the Spanish are wary of religion/God/church, we will persevere (v.2). We want to share our lives with them, as well as the Gospel (v.8). Not just one or the other. We will have fun with them and laugh and share stories in order to earn their trust & respect. Our motives are still pure. I want to see my friends in Spain as just that- friends, not projects. I need to remember that I don't do this to please men but the Lord (v.4). And so, of course we may offend, of course it may be uncomfortable, of course there will be some success & some failure, but we do it for the sake of Jesus Christ and that the good news of His sacrifice might be known. We want the world to be redeemed back to its Creator. I want Alex to know His heavenly Father. I want Carlos to find fulfillment in Christ. I want Ana to know her identity as a chosen one of God.

      I know that we join with all other believers across the globe in what we do. Our desire that the earth would know the truth of Jesus. We join with those who went before us, even Paul, Timothy and Silas. Pray for us that we might carry out this good work. That we might be in tune with the Spirit when to speak and when to wait. When to love in action and when to love by speaking up.