Tuesday, February 11, 2014

98 Remaining....

Hey folks!  So, I’m sitting on the couch here listening to my iPod with my Spanish homework on the table in front of me, but I feel like writing a blog.  So that is what I am doing.  The homework can be done after intercambio tonight while watching the Olympics :]

I am going to start off with some fun facts that no one really cares about :]
-          I stinking love the OLYMPICS!  So the day that I realized they were starting I was freaking out!  The only minor frustration is that Spain doesn’t really care about the Olympics that much.  It’s sad.  So, sometimes the events are shown on one channel, but that is not even guaranteed.  It’s pretty much the only reason we have used our TV so far except for when we watch a movie every now and then together.  But yes.  For all of you that are stateside, cheer on the USA for me :]
-          My car is everywhere here!  Mini coopers are all over the place, and there are so many yellow ones even!  Since yellow is such a popular color for them here, I probably wouldn’t want it, but back at home, that would be my car.  Latte calls them clown cars.  I just picture Charlize Theron flying around in her little red one in The Italian Job and it makes me happy
-          Running is terrible.  I tried it this past week.  Gross.  That is all I have to say on the matter for now, although it is quite possible that we may be running in a 5K in Malaga in April.  That might actually make running a little more fun.  We will have to wait and see tho….
-          I am convinced that the sky is the bluest here in Spain.  It is gorgeous!  I really love when the day starts off all dreary and drizzly and then by the afternoon it is sunny and blue skies.  So fun.  Kinda reminds me of Ohio and the bipolar weather.  Stay strong, Ohioans.  Spring is just a few months away :]
-          When making quiche, be sure to use nata para cocinar (cooking cream) and not evaporated milk.  Sigh.  I’ll explain in a bit….
-          A bad word to mix up in Spanish (or any language) is the word “jealous” for the word “proud”.  I ended up telling a friend that I was NOT proud of him and all his studies instead of saying that I was not JEALOUS of him and all his studies.  Oops.  And the worst part is that I didn’t catch that I did this until the next day.  Aye aye aye.  Learning languages is fun.
-          Also, reading in Spanish is really hard.  It’s a humbling experience to get your pronunciation corrected by the 6 year old that you are reading the book to. 
-          We are down to 98 days of outreach.  Now, normally I am very against counting down the days like that, but I had to calculate and make sure that I am doing ok in my Bible reading.  It’s so crazy how fast time is flying by! 
-          And finally, I’d like to give a big shoutout to my grandma.  Thank so you much for never dying your hair purple, red, or blue.  It is an all too common sight here to see older ladies with crazy hair.  I don’t get it. 

Alright.  Those weren’t as fun as some, but those were the things that came to mind off the top of my head. 

Two Sundays ago was one of the funnest days of my life.  We woke up and then headed to Sacramonte to celebrate San Cecilio Day.  It took us about an hour to get there, and then we got in the HUGUNGOUS line for free bread, raw beans, and this salty chunk of fish.  I don’t really understand why that is the traditional food at this event, but we ate it.  Very weird, but kinda fun.  Then we watched some cultural dancing and songs be performed on stage.  There were a LOT of people there.  I love crowds, so it was great for me.  Before we left, we bought a whole stick of sugar cane for 5 Euros.  Steal of a deal!  Took me back to Uganda.  So then we headed back home, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of stares I got for carrying a stick of sugar cane through town!  Goodness.  You would have thought I was an alien or something.  We had quite a few laughs on the way back, and a lot of them came from the stares, so it all turned out ok.  When we got back to the house we went up on to the roof to eat our sandwiches and fruit.  It was a GORGEOUS day and very relaxing.  Turns out that cutting up sugar cane is quite a process, especially when all of your knives kinda suck.  Luckily up on the roof I could hack away at it and not have to worry about cleaning up the mess of little pieces that flew off.  But anywho.  After that, I ended up falling asleep for a bit just on the tile up there, soaking in the sun.  Then I came down and got ready to go to ch-rch which was great.  After, I headed to Mr. P and Mrs. J’s to skype with my family :]  AND, I got to eat Oreos while doing it.  SCORE.  And finally, I went out and bought a GINORMOUS pizza that was quite tasty to eat while watching the Superbowl.  Yeah.  What a waste of my life.  We ended up leaving at the beginning of the 4th since it was such a pathetic game, and by the time I crawled into bed it was 430.  Yikes.  Monday morning came very shortly after that with class at 9, but it was a good Monday as well. 

After class, I came home and took a nap while the other girls were at their class.  Then right after lunch we went to pray with our friend that is going through a hard situation.  It was a great time of prayer, but with it came some heaviness just from the situation itself.  After this, we went straight to intercambio with Fe Y Vida and then headed out for tapas with Gaby and Bekah.  This was the last time we had to hang out with them, since they left this past Friday for home which is the states and Venezuela.  I’m so thankful that it worked out for us to hang out with them again.  They are very fun and encouraging ladies.  *insert slow, inspirational clap here* :]

Then, on the way home, a big heaviness came over me.  I can’t really explain it.  I didn’t feel like being with Bri and Latte.  I just wanted to be alone.  There was no reason for it at all.  But, we still had to do Bible study when we got home, so we started that, and we hardly discussed anything.  It was very dumb, and it just made me really annoyed.  So I said we were going to debrief right then.  Now, it was almost midnight at this point, and we were all pretty tired from our very late night the day before, and I knew that by declaring debriefing, not everyone was going to be very happy.  And sure enough, that was the case.  But, I really felt like we needed to talk about the tension going on before going to bed or the next day was just going to be ridiculous.  To make a long story short, we realized that we were under some very heavy spiritual attackage.  It was the creepiest thing of my life, actually.  We prayed, sang, read the Bible out loud, and just prayed some more through it all.  It felt like we were all alone…..like no one was praying for us or something and we were just so vulnerable.  By the end, which was almost 3 hours later, we were exhausted, but there was a peace that I can’t even describe. 

I love the way that God works.  He takes the things that Satan tries to use to break us and makes us so much stronger out of them.  I feel a lot closer as a team as well.  Seriously, if I said that I was proud of these girls before, I am beyond proud of them now.  If I ever need some serious prayer and for someone to fight for me like that, I’m calling these two to lift me up.  I feel like this experience really helped our faith, and it also refocused us a lot, which was definitely needed.  Lemme explain. 

From my blogging, you all know that our time here has been AWESOME and SO blessed.  God seriously is the coolest, and He has been teaching me so much.  I kinda think that because of this, we had lost a bit of our focus.  Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t gone completely nutso here.  But, we spent a majority of our time in prayer thanking God for what He has done and is doing here, and while that is great and necessary, it is not all of what we should have been doing.  We lost our dependence on Him in a lot of ways I think.  So this spiritual attack, although very difficult and so, so dark in the beginning, ended up being a blessing for each of us.  In the end, there was light, peace, and also a sense of courage.  I actually told Satan that he could take our lives if he wanted, but if he came for our hearts, he would never get them because they were the Lord’s.  So although during  there was a fear that I have never in my life felt before, it ended with a courage that I had also not felt before.  Not a confidence in myself at all because I had just been shown how truly weak I was, but rather a sheer confidence in my Savior and His warring angels. 

In saying all of this, I would ask that you please keep us in your prayers.  We have obviously been treading on enemy territory, and although this country doesn’t seem very dark on the outside, when you are here, you realize that there is a lot of bondage and heaviness under the surface.  We want to continue to have joy, but amidst this joy, we want to be depending on Jesus with everything in us to lead and guide us. 
But now to get back to the past week.  We babysat for the marriage seminar thing the past two Saturdays.  The first time there were 13 kids, and it was a lot of fun!  I love kiddos and spent most of my time making paper snowflakes and then reading to any of the kids that wanted me to.  This past Saturday was a bit different.  For a little bit, we had 3 kids, and I had a lot of fun making a train track with my buddy King.  But then him and his sister had to leave, so it was Bri, Latte, Bethany (a 9 year old that definitely doesn’t need watched) and Zeal (a 2 year old that most DEFINITELY needs watched :])  Zeal is full of his name……zeal.  Lol He is super smart for his age, but he is a little tornado of destruction.  I don’t think I can count high enough to tell you how many times I had to fix the bridge of the train tracks for King because Zeal smashed through it.  Heehee.  Funny memories  with that one tho. 

Also, this past Saturday Bri and Latte had the opportunity to go to a youth event thingy with people from Fe y Vida.  From the sound of it, they had a blast and spending the day by themselves with Spaniards really stretched and grew their Spanish.  YAY.  I stayed behind to pray and talk with the friend that is going through some hard stuff.  I left her house after lunch and got home just before 4, but the girls weren’t going to get home until about 6.  So, I decided that I was going to doing something very impressive and make dinner all by myself.  I was actually pretty excited to surprise the girls by it.  Quiche was on the agenda, so I turned on some tunes and started cutting away at the carrots, zucchini, and peppers.  I have to admit, it was kind of relaxing to just sing and think all by myself while chopping up stuff.  I still don’t think I am ready to admit that the kitchen is growing on me tho…..it’s much too early to tell.  ANYWHO.  So I did that and everything was going great.  I mixed it all up just in time to get everything cleaned up before going to babysit.  When I got home from that then, I put it in the pan all nice and started baking it.  It is supposed to only take 45 minutes, but for some reason it was just not firming up.  I don’t know how long it ended up being in the oven then, but finally we just took it out and ate it.  Whatever it was, quiche was not the name of it.  But it tasted good.  We just chalked it up as being Melvin’s fault, the poor machine, until Latte asked me which nata para cocinar was expiring that we had to use it so quick.  I told her it was the stuff we made the meatballs with.  She looked at me and started grinning as she said, “Kirsten, that was evaporated milk.”  And THAT is why the mixture did not firm up.  Sorry for blaming you Melvin.  And Mom, I was so close!  O the adventures that we have in the kitchen. 

After babysitting, we started an almost 24 hour Silent Retreat.  This was SO good for me.  I enjoyed it a lot.  I slept (much too long, but I feel very rested now), prayed, read a LOT of the Bible and also another book called Ordering Your Private World, and just had  a lot of time to think and reflect.  Like I said, I feel very rested now.  There are a lot of small details that I need to take care of and things that I need to get done, but personally I feel like inside I just have a deep sense of peace.  Our retreat ended with church, and then afterwards we headed over to Mr. P and Mrs. J’s for dinner and to just hang out.  It was so good for my soul.  Sunday nights at home are the times that I miss the most.  It is my favorite part of the week, and so having a similar time of hanging out with good friends and nibbling on food was great.  Also, I think that the next time I post I will have more to share on my thoughts and stuff that I got during Silent Retreat.  It is all still very fresh and I am still pondering and processing it all. 

The past week has been fairly chill and normal.  We have gone about the normal activities pretty much.  One thing that you could all keep in your prayers is our friends Jamie and Eddie.  On Monday morning, Jamie had surgery, and I am not exactly sure of the technical name for whatever happened, but basically on Sunday they found out that she was pregnant, but then Monday she lost the baby.  So sad.  So they are still trying to process all of that, and day by day Jamie is getting a little stronger.  Just please keep them in your prayers. 

This week feels a lot more filled with random things, but its good.  A huge thing that is happening is that NICKY IS COMING BACK ON THURSDAY!  WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!  We are super pumped for this.  Also, some fun things with Valentine’s Day are also probably going to be happening.   Sorry that this blog post isn’t all too interesting.  I have things to say, but I can’t seem to get my mind to focus long enough on it to spit out the words.  It probably doesn’t help that I am watching the US kick butt in the half pipe event on TV, but I will blog again hopefully at the beginning of next week to update you all again.  I am just going to put this struggling horse down now.  Thanks for all your support and prayers!  Love you guys and have a great rest of the week! 

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