Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This is Home.....and Love is here.

Well, folks.  God continues to just blow my mind.  And I am going to tell you why. 

So, if you read my blog about 3 posts back, you learned about our friend Nigel.  Well, it had been quite a long time since we had last seen him…..over 3 weeks.  I had pretty much given up hope of seeing him again.  I figured he had gone north like he was planning to and just didn’t tell us.  But also, last week one of his friends here named Juan told Latte that Nigel had thrown up blood (at least that is what she thought he said……he is normally intoxicated and has a very heavy accent as it is), so I just did not have a good feeling about ever seeing him again.  I still prayed for it to happen and asked all of you to also pray with us, but it was more out of desperation than anything. 

Well, yesterday, Nicky and I were walking to intercambio and talking like always when all of the sudden I looked over to one spot where he used to sit a lot (a habit that I just couldn’t give up, even though I never expected to see him) and wouldn’t you know……he was there.  I just stopped and gasped.  Seriously.  My heart was SO happy!  Nicky then whipped her head over, and we immediately crossed over the street and went to talk to our good buddy.  As we were crossing the street, I told Nicky that we are most definitely taking a picture with him.  That is one of the things that I regretted the most when I thought that he was gone, because I would have no way of showing you all back home this man that has taught me so much without even realizing it.   

So we got over to him and quickly figured out just why he had disappeared.  Turns out the guy has tuberculosis.  Yeah!  Kinda a big deal.  He had been in the hospital 3 weeks, and they released him because he is no longer contagious….as long as he keeps taking his medicine…..for the next 6 months.  Yup.  6 months.  This means a couple of things.  Nigel MUST stay in Granada because he has to pick up his medicine daily at the hospital, and if he doesn’t, the police will be notified because he could cause an outbreak of TB.  It also means that Nigel MUST stop drinking for the next 6 months or else the medicine will not work and he will die.  …….let us just all take a moment to realize how AWESOME our God is.  I actually teared up when I put all of this together (and you know how big of a deal that is).  This whole time I was so confused with God for letting Nigel “leave”.  Turns out He was just making it a necessity for Nigel to stay with us the rest of our time here and do it sober. 

Now I know most of you are thinking that a drunk like him cannot just give up drinking like that and be fine; I thought the same thing.  But, he is doing it!  He says he has done it many times for months at a time, and now that his life depends on it he is for sure going to.  He’s quite stubborn and smart.  He drinks water, Cocacola, juiced mixed with water, or this “beer without alcohol stuff”.  But I have witnessed him every day for the past week almost……he is not drinking.  He has not had a drink since March 17th actually.  That is another thing about Nigel…..he has an amazing memory.  He remembers our names (or the nicknames he has given us) and even remembers my friend Rachel’s name from the one time he met her.  He is a very intelligent man. 

Basically, I just can’t get over how awesome God is.  I don’t know why I always forget to just trust that He is doing the absolute best thing.  He is SO much bigger than I can even fathom…..nothing is random.  Nothing.  He has it all planned out.  I love it.  So far I have talked to Nigel quite a lot since he has been back.  He actually played his guitar for me the other day…..it was awesome.  And he is a lot happier now that he is sober.  He doesn’t believe us when we tell him that, but he really is different.  Just please keep praying for him.  I think God is working on his heart, and he is just fighting back for obvious reasons.  The good thing is, God has made me LOVE loving Nigel.  So glad I have more time to do it. 

On a different note, life here has become home.  Now, Mom, please don’t freak out.  Listen to what I mean.  It’s just normal, you know?  Like, we walk down the street and see people we know and stop to talk to them.  That is COOL.  I love it here!  I love that we have to walk and then by walking we see friends.  It always goes in my book of happys whenever that happens.  And I mean, we got the opportunity to go to a birthday party for our friend Marta who turned 18.  What I want to know is why birthday parties in the states are not like the one we had a blast at.  They had youtube songs going pretty much the entire time, starting out with Disney songs, and mics to sing along with if you wanted.  And there were snacks, fun dancing (which I mainly just watched), lots of pictures being taken and many more laughs.  It was just so good!  And it just really made me realize……this is my home right now.  Now, home will always be Ohio in my life.  Always.  It’s where I’ve grown up.  A large majority of the people I love live there (although that majority is growing less major the more people I meet in other places around the world too).  And I mean, cmon…..I’ll be a buckeye until the day I die.  But, for now, I am very grateful for this home as well. 

Now, let me again just jump topics and tell you about last Tuesday.  Nicky and I had the opportunity to help out with the food distribution through our church again.  It was so good!  I enjoy it a lot.  Doing stuff like that reminds me why I am on this earth.  I love being able to bless people.  There was one family in particular that I really enjoyed helping.  While the mom was getting all the information squared away, I tried talking to her daughter who was quite shy.  Her name is Sabri, and she was just so cute.  I couldn’t get her to say much, but I tried, and she enjoyed it.  I found out that she was 12 years old, and guessed that her favorite color was pink (since her shirt, pants, AND shoes were that color).  And I just talked to her about bracelets and movies and things.  So we loaded up all of their food, which was QUITE the load, and it became very obvious that they were not going to be able to get it all in one trip.  I asked if they lived nearby and the mom (whose name starts with an N but is Moroccan, and I can’t remember how to pronounce it) said yes.  So I asked if I could help them transport it.  She was hesitant at first, but I insisted, and she agreed.  Wowzers.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day out, but also very hot.  So I walked for about 7 minutes or so with them to their house.  They were SO grateful.  She offered me up to their place to rest and have tea, but unfortunately I had to decline and get back to help the other families.  It was such a privilege though!  So I got back to the church and was waiting for the next family to come through, and all of the sudden I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned, and there was sweet Sabri, holding out two of her rubber band bracelets to me.  I told her that I would just take one, but she insisted that I take them both.  Seriously…..my heart just melted.  I gave her a hug and thanked her, and then, she was gone.  Just like that.  It still makes me smile just thinking about it.  I am so stinking blessed. 

Are you all confused yet on where I am going with this blog?  Because I sure am.  There are just things that keep popping into my head that I want to remember.  For instance, yesterday we had a silent retreat day that was just so good for me.  I finished the Old Testament!  And I slept, started the book called Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, and just had a really relaxing day with Jesus.  He showed me that I really do worry an awful lot about the future but also reassured me that I don’t need to….He’s got it!  Silly, Kirsten.  Always assuming the worst.  Anyway, the silence was supposed to go until 10 pm, so I started to make dinner.  I blockaded the kitchen with chairs and our super obnoxious tree plant thing.  Mom, you would be so proud.  I made our delicious meatballs and a small salad, and then whipped up some chocolate chip cookie dough to munch on while we watched Frozen after dinner.  I can only think of a handful of times that I have made any sort of food just because I wanted to bless people, and I have NEVER made a meal.  And while this meal wasn’t intense at all, I was still excited to do it for my girls.  I love them a whole lot.  And it was a great night indeed.  Watching Frozen in English made it 1234098 times funnier.  Olaf is my favorite obviously.  Great, great night.  And today has also been great.  I even gave in to the pleadings of some and allowed us to watch Frozen yet AGAIN while we ate lunch today :]

Basically, God has just been showing me how so often I ruin stuff by worrying and expecting the worst, when really He has it all worked out.  I just need to be patient.  Even my Spanish teacher has scolded me for being so impatient with my Spanish skills.  While they are not nearly as polished as I would like, I HAVE learned stuff and grown in my communicating.  I just need to do a better job of enjoying the journey that I am on instead of regretting things from the past or thinking over the future all the time.  I wanna live presently.  I wanna love always.  And I want to love better.  It needs to be my goal always.  It’s the only Thing that matters. 

A fun fact for you all before I sign off…….nuns can be angry.  Luckily it was not the Hermana Antonia that we have grown to love.  No….this was a different nun that was having QUITE a bad day.  Yes, folks.  I was scolded by a nun.  How many people can say that?  Heehee. 

So my challenge to you all is to go love.  Whether you are irritated with your kids’ whining, your friend obsessing over their boyfriend/girlfriend, a nun having quite the grumpy attitude, your neighbor asking to borrow yet another tool, the girl walking down the streets in shorts that could be substituted for underwear, your waiter that STILL hasn’t filled up your drink, or the cashier who is taking forever because she is flirting with the customer in front of you, remember……you have a choice.  You can show your irritation and most likely make the situation worse OR you can shower that person with the Love that you have been given and remind yourself that you may be the only person that day to do so.  Think about it.  We don’t deserve Love, but we were given It.  Do that for others. 

Love you guys!  Please continue to pray for:
-       Team unity…..we want to finish out strong and not let our own relationships slip by being “too busy” to be intentional
-       Nigel
-       A focus on the NOW and the love that we can give
-       Granada in general as the Easter festivities have begun and are quite……interesting (more on that in the next post)
-       Cristina, our friend that we help with English

Thanks!  Have a fantastic week!  Remember what Love did for us and why we celebrate Easter!  

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