Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Little Things

Ok, friends.  I have high hopes that this blog is going to be a lot better than my last one.  I think my thoughts are a lot clearer now, and I am going to attempt to spit them out coherently :]  Let’s get to it….

First of all, if you haven’t listened to Hillsong’s album Glorious Ruins, pause from reading this, go to Youtube, find the songs and listen to them.  SO GOOD.  I can’t wait to own that CD soon.  It’ll bring me right back to this wonderful place and remind me of His faithfulness. 

But anywho.  Thursday started out as SUCH a great day!  I got up and had my devotions and then Latte and I went to our favorite café and enjoyed a café con leche while having a one-on-one.  And it was just so good….so so good.  I love talking to these girls, especially about things that are on their heart.  I always leave feeling so encouraged, and this time wasn’t any different.  We talked a lot about being more intentional here and truly taking advantage of the minutes we have been blessed with to spend in this place, and just pushing deeper into what He has for us in this life.  I was just so encouraged, and we agreed to keep each other accountable in getting up earlier in the morning and spending our time more efficiently so we can accomplish more each day.  So far, that is going good and being very profitable to my life.  I want to pour into people’s lives during my free time, not just my own.  And God is giving me ideas of what that should look like. 

After our one-on-one, I needed to run and put more money on my phone because it was empty.  Thank goodness I did this because the rest of the day was ridiculous and we would have been really sunk without it.  Somehow I got to the phone store in time and didn’t have to wait in a line for him to recharge it.  I then walked VERY fast in the direction where I thought I needed to meet the girls to catch the bus to pick up Nicky at the airport :]  She was supposed to get in at 115 that afternoon, so we had to catch the 12 o’clock bus in order to not be late…..or so we thought.  All of the sudden tho, I realized I had no idea where this bus was supposed to come.  So I frantically called Mr. P as it was 1154 and I was walking around very confused.  By the grace of God I found the bus in time, just as the girls were finding their way to it too.  He is so good. 

So we got to the airport at 1245 and quickly realized we all should have brought stuff to do until she got in, like a book or Sudoku or something.  But we didn’t.  O well.  It was just a half hour wait, right?  WRONG.  A little after 1 o’clock the big electronic thing told us that her flight was on time.  So we got up and went over to wait by the gate, all excited and stuff.  Then 115 rolled around and it still said her flight was on time.  This was a little confusing because if it really was on time then that would mean that the screen should have said “arrived”.  But then, a little after 115 the screen started saying that the flight was “desviado”.  Me being the pro at Spanish that I am assumed that that meant it was delayed.  It had gotten really foggy outside and was drizzling a bit, so we just chalked it up to that.  Finally we decided to sit down again and wait from the chairs.  And eventually her flight disappeared from the screen.  I was very confused about this and wanted to ask someone what the heck was going on, but THERE WAS NO ONE THERE!  You see, in Spain, lunch is a 3 hour process.  Things shut down from 2-5.  It’s a time for a big meal and a nap.  But, there was no one at the Iberia desk when we got there at 1, and as we would find out later, no one would be in until 6 that evening.  How this is even possible is beyond me, but that’s the way it was.  To make matters more frustrating, no one announced to us what had happened to the flight.  Finally, I overheard someone telling another confused bystander that the flight had been redirected to Malaga, a city that is like 1.5 hours away from us.  Yeah.  Kinda important information to inform people of, right?!  UGH.  I guess the blinking “desviado” was all they thought necessary.  Needless to say, I will never forget what that word really means now :]

So, I told you guys that the Iberia people (the company she was flying with) were not in their office.  But this airport was TEENY and NO ONE was working to answer my questions except for the food stand and car rental companies…..3 of them.  And none of them had any idea of what was going on.  This is the part of the story that I started to get really worried.  I was able to ask someone if the people would have any way to get back to this airport and they assured me that a bus would shuttle the passengers from Malaga to the airport.  So I called Mr. P to inform him of what was going on and to tell him that we would be late for lunch.  He figured the bus would arrive around 330, so by that time, we had like an hour or so to wait, which was fine.  We bought some SUPER overpriced sandwiches to tide us over until she got in and we could catch a bus back to the city.  No big deal.  We entertained ourselves by playing Hangman and flipping through my old Twitter feed because you could only use the internet for 15 minutes for free.  Luckily I figured this out finally and shot Nicky an email that said we were at the airport waiting for her.  Stupidly, I didn’t leave my phone number at that time.  Yes, I am an idiot :]

330 came and went and still no bus.  At this point I was beginning to slowly freak out.  The worst was running through my mind.  Here Nicky was back in Spain with very little Spanish to go on, no phone that worked in Spain, and quite possibly no internet to see my message anyway.  I didn’t know if she would remember how to get home from somewhere in Granada, depending on where she could be dropped off.  I was just going crazy.  At about 415, a bus came and a bunch of people got off, but there was no Nicky.  When I went to investigate where this bus was from, I realized that not everyone got off, and that the bus was continuing into town.  But before I could check to see if Nicky was still on the bus since she might not have known we were waiting for her, the bus took off.  This very much quickened my freaking out.  Here we were waiting for Nicky.  It was 430 and I had no idea where in the world she was and had no way to get ahold of her because my internet time was used up.  AND NO ONE WAS AROUND TO HELP ME!  I tried multiple times to find someone.  The police office was even closed!  GAH. 

Poor Bri and Latte.  I started to get really crazy.  I was flying all around this tiny airport, trying to find help to no avail.  It was awful.  At one point I honestly thought I was going to puke because I was stressed and yet so helpless.  Finally, at about 530 I found a very VERY nice guy named Pepe.  He was at a tourist information booth, and once I explained my situation to him (in English, because luckily he understood that and I could communicate that much quicker than trying in Spanish), he left his booth and came with me to find someone to help.  There was a lady who worked for the lost and found at the airport that also helped then.  Her name was Fatima, and she spoke no English, but that was ok, because at this point, I am convinced God took my tongue and made the words come out.  Spanish seemed to fly out of my mouth a lot easier at this stressful point.  And I know it was all Him.  Fatima actually let me use her 20 minutes of internet that she gets each day to get on her computer and email Nicky my number.  And she let me use her phone to get on Facebook and do the same thing.  What an angel. 

By this time I had been in communication with Mrs. J about what was going on and how stressed out I was.  She decided that she was going to leave a note on the door for Nicky to tell her that she had gone to the Granada bus station to look for her and if she got there, to wait.  And then Mrs. J caught a bus to the station (we had been informed that the bus might have gone to the bus station in town….no one was really sure.)  Then, Fatima actually called the Iberia place and asked for the number of the bus driver.  She called his personal phone, and he informed her that he had gone to the airport in Granada and then dropped the rest of the people off at the Palacio de los Congresos.  He had not gone to the bus station.  I had no idea if Nicky would remember how to get home from the Palacio, and I was just really freaking out.  I almost had a mental breakdown into tears, which, I really want tears, but in this situation it would not have been beneficial at all if I had cried, of this I am certain.  So I called Mrs. J to tell her that the bus didn’t go to the station, so Nicky wouldn’t be there.  She told me that she was just going to check there anyway, just in case.  

Now, at this point I was just really concerned for the mental state of Mrs. J.  I didn’t understand at all why she would waste time in looking for Nicky at the bus station if the bus from Malaga had not gone there.  I mean, I was about ready to call the news stations and inform them of my lost friend and start hanging flyers, and here she was checking at a bus station that Nicky couldn’t possibly have gotten to.  I was pretty frustrated and just kept thinking of the worst possible situations that Nicky could be in.  Through all of this I was also asking God why in the world He was doing this to us.  I guess you could say I was praying, but more like I was just telling God all of my frustrations.  My fear kind of overtook me.  We had been at the airport for almost 6 hours at this point.  I was plumb out of ideas of what to do (besides sitting down on the sidewalk and bawling or resorting to the flyers, that is). 

Then, the phone started to ring.  I had told Mrs. J to call the red phone, because my white one had died at this point.  Latasha handed it to me, and I heard Mrs. J telling me that she had found her.  Yes.  She was found.  I don’t think I have ever been so relieved in my life.  I almost started crying right then and there.  Bri and Latte both thought that I was going to as well, but alas.  Still no tears.  But ahhhh.  FINALLY.    We made the decision to just take a taxi back home since the next bus wouldn’t leave for another hour at least.  And again, we were blessed.  This taxi driver was AWESOME and he sped us home.  At one point we were going 130 km/h which is like 80 mph.  Yay for driving fast (not that I ever do that……:])

By 730, we were reunited.  What had happened was that Nicky’s baggage had gone to a different area of the airport in Malaga, so by the time she got it, the bus going to the airport in Granada had already left.  So, not knowing to do anything different, she bought a ticket to go to the Granada bus station.  And, when she arrived there, she was waiting in a line to get a map to walk home when Mrs. J found her (what she didn’t know was that to walk home from the bus station would have taken her at least two hours, if not more.  CRAZY WOMAN!).  She hadn’t been there for more than 10 minutes.  Our God is so good.  And this is what He has been showing me…….that He cares about the little details in life.  He orchestrates everything together just perfectly.  He blows my mind.  Lemme explain and give you some examples.
-           First, we had prayed that Nicky would get really good rest on her way over and that jetlag wouldn’t be an issue.  She slept a LOT the whole trip and honestly hasn’t had a problem with jetlag at all. 
-          When I was freaking out, I prayed out loud with the other girls and asked that Nicky wouldn’t be a quarter of as stressed as I was at that moment.  As it turns out, Nicky didn’t really realize that anything was wrong.  She was a little confused that they had gone to Malaga, but it didn’t really phase her.  No stress :]
-          That night, we were supposed to meet with Cristina to have our intercambio thing, but she ended up cancelling because she had to do a project for school with a friend.  And, this ended up being perfect because by the time Nicky got in we were starved and just wanted to chill with her. 
-          Mrs. J arrived at the bus station (for no logical reason :]) in perfect timing.  Not only this, but thank goodness Mrs. J was available to help us search for her. 
-          I have this really cool friend.  Her name is Jeano, and I love her a whole stinking lot.  She sent some letters with me to Spain and each one has a date that I can open it.  I opened the one on Valentine’s Day, and she had written some lyrics from the song Oceans, saying she didn’t really know why but she felt like she should.  As you read before, Latasha and I talked a lot about going deeper and being more intentional and stretching ourselves here.  That is what the song Oceans is all about.  And that was just the day before that we talked about all of this.  THEN, that night at Fe Y Vida we sang Oceans in Spanish for the first time.  Talk about cool.  If that didn’t get my attention to realize that this is what God really wants me to do, I don’t know what would have.
-          Valentine’s day was pretty much perfect.  I have decided that Valentine’s day is overrated in the context of guys and girls, but it is the perfect excuse to show special love to your girlfriends.  And God gave me the most gorgeous day to chill and laugh with some of the best girls in this world.  The sky could not have been bluer.  He loves like crazy.
These are just some of the moments I thought of off the top of my head.  He has been showing me all over tho that He really does care about the little details, and He loves me in my love language.  It’s so personal, and He just continues to twirl me around in this dance we are taking together.  His timing is perfect, and He loves me enough to forgive all my unbelief and worry when I yell at Him for not doing things my way.  I owe Him everything and yet He continues to bless me.  If that isn’t true Love, I don’t know what is.  To sum it all up, His ways are WAY higher than my ways, and for this I am SO grateful.

On a bit of a different note, I’ll tell you a little about this weekend.  Friday, as I mentioned, was so great.  The day was absolutely perfect.  I got up and read a bunch of Psalms and had a very tranquilo morning.  Then at noon we all headed over to Mr. P and Mrs. J’s to make heart shaped sugar cookies for Fe Y Vida that night.  It was so fun, and they turned out great.  After this was done, we walked downtown to enjoy some shwarmas with the excuse that Nicky hasn’t had them in a while so it was only right to treat her to the goodness again.  Afterwards, we took a little hike up to this overlook of the Alhambra in San Nicolas.  It is seriously one of the most magnificent views I have ever seen.  So stinking pretty.  And, we had leftover icing from the sugar cookies, so I decided we should probably buy some strawberries to eat with it so we didn’t waste any food.  Just trying to be a responsible citizen here :]  Turns out that my taste buds are on point and that the idea was gold.  AND I also bought a bag of dates to eat up there since it was only fitting with it being Valentine’s Day and all :] Can you tell that food is my earthly love?  Heehee. 

That night we went to Fe Y Vida.  The people there love so well.  I very much enjoyed watching Nicky get smothered with love (literally, one of the guys made her disappear in his big hug for like 10 seconds).  And the worship that night was so great.  I loved it.  I mentioned that we sang Oceans in Spanish.  I don’t know if I have ever talked about what a talented group of musicians they have in that place though.  Antonio, the leaderish guy of the group, is honestly one of the most skilled guitar players I have ever known personally.  He is RIDICULOUS.  Latasha told him the same thing one day, and his response was, “You know the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 where Jesus multiplied the fish and the bread?  Well, that is like what He did with me.  I taught myself to play guitar, and I just learned the basics.  He did the rest.”  Is that not the coolest thing?!  He’s insane.  And the other people that play are awesome too.  The Holy Spirit is moving in that place, and they use their talents to glorify Him.  I just love it a lot.   

Also, I have been getting to know one of the little girls at Fe Y Vida for a couple of weeks now.  She now knows my name and comes up to ME to say hi.  Her name is Sara, and she is 5.  I LOVE her.  Friday night I played with her and another girl named Ines a LOT.  Aunt J, I had to think of you.  I started flipping them by having them walk up my legs and then flipping backwards in the air.  I remember pestering you ALL THE TIME when I was little to do the same thing.  Who knew that that little trick could be so fun for kids.  Also, at one point I had Sara on my back and Ines in front and we were flying around in circles, spinning and laughing.  It’s during moments like that that I am sure I was made to work with kids.  There have been big doubts in my mind at times during the last 3 years or so.  I always thought that I wanted to work with kids, but the devil has used my weakness at times to make me believe that I am not good enough.  But, now I realize that that is all it ever was…..the devil being dumb.  I LOVE playing with kids.  It brings me so much joy.  I’m so comfortable with them, and I don’t care if I look like the biggest goofball in the world.  With a kid, it doesn’t matter.  I love the crazy ones too.  I can just be myself and they accept that.  I don’t know.  There is just something so special about kids.  I treasure the memories I get to make with my little friends here. 

Also, on Saturday we went on a 4 hour hike with Mr. P.  It was wonderful.  The weather was gorgeous again, and it was good exercise.  I tried to do a chin up on these random exercise things along the way.  Yeah.  That was a fail.  Time to get some muscles I decided.  Afterwards the girls went to a party with young people from the community around our church.  They played games, ate cupcakes and had a dance party.  Apparently everyone was pretty impressed with Nicky’s rad moves.  In other words, she made everyone laugh.  I spent my night with Favor.  I just love that girl.  She is SO smart and creative.  We watched Mulan together (shoutout to Becca if she ever reads this :]) and she played on my phone a long time, drawing me pictures to use as my background.  She also made me the cutest valentine I have ever gotten.  I am going to miss that girl so much next week when they move to Malaga :[  But, I am very thankful for the moments I have been able to spend with her.  She is a special girl, that one.  Please pray with me that she continues to grow in the knowledge and truth that she is loved ENDLESSLY and PERFECTLY by her Father in heaven.

I feel like I have so much more on my heart that I want to share, but as always, this has gotten very long.  I will save the rest for another time.  In the meantime, we continue to covet your prayers.  I believe that God still has a lot to show me in the area of prayer and just how powerful it is.  He has placed some people on my heart here to really lift up…….like, they are on my mind a lot randomly.  I am trying to learn to depend on Him for words to speak when I am with these people and to be patient and faithful in lifting them up.  I think God has big things in store, and He has invited me to join in on the action.  If all I can do right now is pray, then that is just what I will do.  So thanks for standing with me.  I’ll tell you all about my friend Nigel in my next post.  But if you think about it you can pray that his heart would be softened towards the Jman.  Continued prayers for our team would be great.  Our health so far has been pretty much perfect which is crazy.  We are so thankful for that.  And Nicky is adjusting here so smoothly.  I am blown away by that girl.  Girls like her are rare and certainly a treasure.  I am honored to have been given the privilege of learning from her and her huge faith. 

Thanks so much for reading and for all your support.  A shoutout to Miss Vicki for sending us puppy chow.  We destroyed that thing in one sitting, and I am not sorry about it one bit :]  So good.  Hope you all have  a great week.  Go deep and keep your eyes up!  

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