Sunday, April 27, 2014

Easter things

Again.  Long time since I have blogged.  I am just going to jump right into it then.  So here we go….

Easter in Spain is very interesting.  It is so different from anything I have ever experienced before, and it just makes me sad.  Here they have traditions that are more historical in background and yet still as empty as our Easter bunny and egg hunts.  While none of these things are necessarily bad or harmful, they are quite void of the real meaning of what we should be celebrating.  Basically what happens here is there are about 5 processions (parade things) each day starting on Palm Sunday.  These processions consist of a group of people who carry these GINORMOUS and HEAVY images of Christ and the Virgen throughout the city, accompanied by a band and a bunch of people walking that are wearing these huge cone things on their heads.  Think KKK costumes, only in different colors.  To be a part of a procession is considered by many to be a giant honor, and a lot of people do it to pay penitence.  It is quite…..interesting.  I was mostly pretty depressed by the whole thing for a number of reasons, but I really can’t be too harsh on how they celebrate.  My background is quite different from theirs and I don’t share their traditions.  It is quite a statement of dedication though when you think about how some of the guys carrying this huge platform with the statue thing do so for 11 hours for one of the parades in particular.  INSANE. 

So while I am glad that we were able to experience a different cultural celebration, I am also relieved that I will probably never be here again during this time of the year.  It just made me really sad that Jesus and the Hope we have in Him was not really what was being celebrated by the city.  A lot of time is spent focusing on His death.  Yes, Jesus died for us.  This Love is RIDICULOUS.  But He rose!  That is the reason we have Life!  He is alive.  He conquered death.  He crushed Satan.  We are more than conquerors through Him because of this.  It’s incredible!  THAT is what I celebrate. 

All in all, Easter week was just weird.  Most of our activities were cancelled due to Semana Santa, but at the same time, we still felt busy although not a whole lot was accomplished.  It was just a rough week.  There were some definite highlights tho.  On Good Friday, we watched The Passion of the Christ with Mrs. J (Mr. P was walking the Camino to Santiago with a friend the whole week).  It was so good to remember better visually all that Jesus did for us.  His love is out of this world.  In the beginning of the movie, Satan is talking to Jesus and he says something along the lines of, “You can’t do this, Jesus.  The sin in this world is too great.  No one man can take it all.  It’s too big.”  And really, it’s sorta true.  He took on Himself ALL the sin in the world that ever was, is and is to come.  And not only that, He took our hurts and sicknesses.  The Father couldn’t even look at Him.  So not only was His physical pain unbearable, but then He had separation from His Father and all sorts of emotional trauma on Him as well.  His sacrifice is beyond my comprehension.  And His Love and self-control were insane as well.  As people mocked Him, He could have struck them down with lightning or had the earth swallow them up.  But He didn’t.  Instead, He died for them.  I just can’t even imagine.  And after all this, He desires to be my friend.  WHAT?! 

Ok.  Enough of that rambling.  I just hope you too reflect on just how much Jesus loves you and what He went through to bring glory to His Father.  Another thing we got to do on the Saturday before Easter Sunday was hang out with our Fe Y Vida friends pretty much all day.  They had a retreat from Thursday night til Sunday afternoon, but we just went to hang out on Saturday.  It was a lot of fun!  During the day we just chilled and played with kids, and in the evening they had their big service.  It was like a 3.5 hour mass ish thing.  Wowzers.  Lots of Bible reading and singing, but then at the end they were just rejoicing like crazy.  Seriously, it was so awesome to see.  The service actually went longer than it was supposed to because everyone kept chanting for more songs.  They were dancing and shouting.  Passion.  They have passion, and it is contagious.  It was impossible to not smile during all of it.  So the service ended at like 1215 and then there were tapas to share afterward.  Pretty much the whole week leading up to Easter was one of late (or early, depending on how you look at it) bedtimes :]

The next morning we got up very early and met Mrs. J to go to the San Cristobal lookout where we met two other couples and had a little sunrise service.  It was so good!  We sang some songs and then just shraed about what God was putting on our hearts and what Easter means to us.  Then we had a brunch (for which we made “cinnamon rolls” only this time they were like swirly bricks of bread…..not our best work :[).  The rest of the day was then like normal Sundays with a picnic in the plaza and then church in the evening.  Just really good. 

This past week was mainly just a normal week for us.  A few things got cancelled due to random people’s schedules, but overall it was a good week.  The more we hang out with friends here, the more I realize how hard it is going to be to leave.  But, I am not going to talk about that yet.  We still have 3 weeks here.  I am going to soak up as much of that time without being sad for as long as possible. 

Sorry it has taken me so long to inform you all of what is going on.  The closer we get to leaving, the harder it seems to be for me to be motivated to sit down and write.  Just a mental thing really. 

As of recently, God has just been speaking to me a lot about how much I am willing to give up for Him.  Matthew 16:25 just took on a new meaning I guess.  As I was reflecting over Easter and all that He did for us, I realized that I spend an awful lot of time thinking about the future and worrying about dumb things.  And I think about how I am going to need to give up different things and how it is going to be hard.  And then it’s like…..”Kirsten.  Stop.  Think about what Jesus did for you.  Are you serious?  And you think that YOU are making a sacrifice?  SHUT UP.”  The crazy thing is, Jesus cares about these things.  He gets it.  Basically, I should count it a privilege to “sacrifice” things for Him.  And really, the more I depend on Him, the less I should depend on theses earthly things…..right?  If I’m going to talk the talk, I better get my walking on too.  I don’t know if you all could follow that rambling, but hopefully it spurs some of you on to think as well :] 

Sorry, friends.  3 weeks.  That is all I have left.  So, if you email me, know that I love it, but also know that you may not get a reply before I get home.  Sounds harsh, but please understand.  I love the encouragement and hearing about home, but time here is sparse.  I will try to do a better job of blogging though so that you all can stay informed still.  Thanks so much for reading this.  Please continue to pray for:
-          Nigel.  We are actually taking him out to lunch tomorrow, so pray for good conversations.  And that the Lord would continue softening his heart. 
-          Team unity.  We want to finish strong and teach love by living it out among ourselves daily. 
-          Cristina.  The she would come to intercambio with us tomorrow and get to know our Fe Y Vida friends and that we could continue growing in our friendship with her. 
-          Encouragement for the long time workers.  Life here without seeing much change can be very frustrating.  So please pray specifically for Mr. P and Mrs. J, that they would know that this is not for nothing and that we could just really encourage them.  And also for their friends that they are constantly loving and pouring into. 
-          The prayer conference next weekend.  We will be providing childcare for 4 days as many couples from our church are attending.  Pray for refreshment and understanding. 

Thanks so much!  Have a great rest of this month!  And see most of you in about one more!   

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