Monday, December 9, 2013

And the adventure rolls on...

Hola a todos!  Hemos llegado!  Y estoy muy emocionada por que Dios va a hacer aqui con nosotros :]

If you are confused about why I am writing in Spanish, then you probably haven’t heard much about my life recently, which is actually probably my fault.  I have done a horrific job of keeping up this blog like I said I would, and now I am off on a new adventure and haven’t posted a single thing about it so far.  So now I will fill you in.  I’M IN SPAIN!! 

Yup.  Spain.  Turns out that God is a very creative guy and He worked out my life to bring me back to the REACH program to lead the Spain team.  Through many twists and turns, He has brought me here with three amazing young women alongside me.  These ladies go by the names of Briana, Latasha, and Nicole, who I like to affectionately call Bri, Latte, and Nicky, respectively. 

Obviously since we are in Spain already, we have completed DTS.  I really regret not blogging at all during that time because it was truly incredible.  If you are reading this, then you probably know about my previous round with REACH.  It was great, and I am SO glad I did it, and it’s crazy to see the ways that God has used that to bring me to where I am today, but I am amazed by just how different this time through has been for me.  I can’t say that either DTS was better; they were both so good for different reasons.  This time through has been such a blessing for me.  To look back and see where I have come from the last time I was living at the RIC is so encouraging…..and motivating.  I am just so thankful to have been able to go through this program again.  It really is such a blessing, and I highly recommend it.  The things learned and the relationships formed are invaluable; I wouldn’t trade them for anything. 

But now, we are in Spain.  As I type this I am sitting in our lovely flat.  Seriously, we have been so blessed with God’s provisions in just the short time we’ve been here.  Our first full day here, which would have been on the 5th, we had so many God encounters in meeting our coordinator’s friends randomly.  (Also, I will be referring to our coordinators as P and J.)  Not only that, but the story of how P and J got this flat for us also screams of God’s cool plan.  I am just in awe of His perfect timing and provision.  We have it very nice here.  Our flat is extremely well furnished and in a good spot in the city.  We’ve actually begun to get around fairly easy already, which is so good.  When we got here, we just drew names to see who would be in which room.  Nicky is in a cute little room to herself, just down the hall (5 steps) from the rest of us.  Bri and I share a room, which we quickly made our own by moving the furniture, and then Latte’s room connects to ours.  We have two bathrooms, a laundryish type room, a big living room which doubles as a dining room, and a well-stocked kitchen.  Heating homes is a bit different here in Spain (as in it doesn’t really happen :]), but God has blessed us with beautiful warm weather these first few days of being here.  So good! 

I love how everyone walks here.  It’s really hard to find a person who is overweight.  It’s such a healthy culture.  People go hiking and exercising together for fun.  And everyone walks everywhere; I LOVE IT.  Sure, I realize I am in the honeymoon stage of being here, and someday I will hate the fact that I need to walk to the grocery store in the cold rain, but right now I love it, so I am going to soak up the gushiness.  There are little shops and restaurants and bars all around.  Our flat is a 10 minute walk from P and J’s, and I just really enjoy our neighborhood so far.  It’s a nice place to go grocery shopping and isn’t very far from the church we will be attending while we are here. 

The first full day we were here, P and J showed us around the city to see the sights and told us a lot about Granada’s history.  We also got to eat our first churros con chocolate and shwarmas.  I decided then and there that I would be just fine living here for 6 months.  DELICIOUS.  The next day P took us on a 5 hour hike to a little quaint town and then to a little mountain which we climbed to view some of Granada.  I realized just how out of shape I really am from that experience.  It was ridiculously hard to breathe as I struggled to trudge up this mountain.  Talk about motivation to get in shape.  But we made it, and it was beautiful.  We will definitely be going back there.  And just today, P and J took us on another hike up behind the Ahlambra.  From there, we could see some familiar buildings as the whole city was spread out before our eyes.  It was truly awesome.  We took bocadillos (sandwiches) and some fruit up with us to eat and then had a time of prayer for the city and what we will be doing there.  Just a really great experience. 

One cool experience that I want to make sure to put in here is our first grocery buying experience.  Now, I hate grocery shopping anyways and being in a different country with a different language on a budget and not really knowing what a good price for things is just adds to all the stress of it, so I really wasn’t looking forward to it.  So we walk inside the one store that we had been told to shop at for probably the cheapest stuff, and there were people EVERYWHERE.  You see, it was a holiday weekend, as Friday and Monday are special days for something…..I kinda forget what.  But going shopping on this Saturday was a crazy idea on my part.  Just so many people and we had no idea what we were doing.  It started off that we left our house and when we got outside I remembered that I forgot the list upstairs.  Then when we made it to the store, which is really just 2 minutes down the street, we realized we had forgotten our big plastic bags to carry all the groceries back home in.  And we didn’t know where anything was in the store so we got in SO many people’s way as we tried to find what we had come for.  But FINALLY, we got most of what we needed there…..that is all but the fruits and vegetables.  Here, you take a number to be helped to get your produce from behind the counter.  It is that way for things like bread and meat too.  I was ABSOLUTELY DREADING this process of asking for what we needed and trying to figure out just how much we wanted of each thing, especially since the mass of people waiting was so long.  But it had to be done.  So Nicky and I walked up to the machine and took a number…..71.  They were serving number 51 at the moment.  I was like…..O great.  We stood there for maybe 15 seconds when an older gentleman out of the blue just came up and handed me his ticket.  He said he didn’t need it anymore.  It was number 53!! Talk about a radical God that we serve!  So about 15 more seconds went by after I thanked the man and our number was called.  I started off by apologizing for my bad Spanish, and the girl quickly realized that I didn’t really know how this all worked.  I figured she would be annoyed since there were so many people around me waiting and everyone else was yelling there orders very quickly to whoever was helping them, but she was so helpful!  She was very patient with me as I tried to figure out what I wanted and then how much, and she helped finish my sentences while I asked for something.  I was seriously just blown away by her kindness.  And pretty soon everything we needed was accounted for and we were out of there.  I made sure to thank her again right before we left and she just smiled.  I know that God placed her there to help me out, and I am so grateful.  When we got home, I looked at the receipt and I realized that her name was on the bottom as the attendant who had helped me.  It was Cristina, and that is the name that I am going by here, as my real name is too hard to pronounce for most Spanish speaking people.  Just another cool fact to add to all the others.  I really hope that Cristina works there often so that I can go back and maybe build a small relationship with her as I buy fruit and veggies for us :]

Yup. God is so good.  And I can’t wait to see what all He has in store for us here.  We will be starting language classes on Wednesday (2 days).  We are working out the details of what it is gonna look like and how long classes will be tomorrow, so I can fill you all in on that more later.  That is going to be a lot of what we do in December.  Most of the activities that we would like to try and get involved with will reconvene after the holidays (the second week in January).  As we begin getting involved with more things, I will explain them so that you guys kind of get a feel for what we are going to be doing. 

That is a big oversight of our week so far.  It has been so cool to see the ways that God is already orchestrating everything over here.  Continued prayers for wisdom would be greatly appreciated.  We desire to follow where the Spirit is leading.  Pray for open doors and a heart of love on our part.  And thank you so much for reading this and following along with my journey here.  It means a lot, and I hope you all have a blessed day.  Love Jesus.

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