Monday, May 10, 2010

Sprinting to the Finish Line

In an earlier post I made mention of how, as the time for me to go home came closer and closer, I was reminded of Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." I added that I felt like I had paced my running up until this point, and now it was the time to sprint to that finish line. As I look at the calendar, it has become more and more apparent that I am in the middle of my sprint. From the end of April until June 8th when I leave, there is an event on the calendar each weekend. Each week then, is spent preparing for the weekend event.

One event that took place on Saturday night (May 8th) was the dedication of a new church building in Málaga. This church has spent years trying to find a good building for their church and have finally found one. Our congregation, Iglesia Cristiana Arroyo de la Miel, joined together in support of this other church. My first indication of the surprise I was about to received was the name of the church: Vida Abundante (Abundant Life). I thought it was kind of funny that this church had the same name as a church I had been to on my missions trip to Mexico in 2008. However, I quickly forgot about it and did not think of it again until the guest speaker was introduced.

By the time the service started, the church was completely packed!
The speaker, John Spyker, is the found of Vida Abundante in Morelia, Mexico and the father of the current senior pastor of Vida Abundante, Mexico - the very same church I had been based out of with my youth ministry on that missions trip! Turns out that the church in Málaga was a church plant that came out of the church in Morelia. When I realized the connection, it made me want to jump up and start singing, "It's a Small World After All." Don't worry, I contained myself. ; )

We have also been hosting a number of different guest speakers at our church. In fact, next Monday a couple from New Zealand are coming to minister and since they will be here for a whole week, they will be staying in my room. I in turn will be living with a Spanish couple from the church. I am looking forward to it, as I'm sure it will be a really good experience, and I absolutely love this couple. They are as Spanish as Spanish can get, speaking no English at all, and speaking faster than I have ever heard anyone speak. It will be a fun time! The only downside to living with them, is that they do not have internet. So while I am there, I most likely will not be able to reply to emails and other such forms of communication. That being said, it will be a great total immersion experience.

Praise Reports:
  • We have all recovered for the most part from the nasty virus we had.
  • The church is really growing spiritually and drawing closer to God; it's amazing to see and to be a part of it.
Prayer Requests:
  • Please continue to pray for my uncle's healing from cancer. The reports I have heard have not been encouraging. It's such a comfort to know that God has a plan!
¡Dios te bendiga!
~ Grace 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Everyday Life

As I sat down to write this week's blog, I wracked my brain for something interesting to share with you. However, the past two weeks have actually been just normal, everyday life. When I mentioned to Miss Patti that I had no idea what to write since nothing really exciting or interesting had happened lately, she told me, "Missionary life is not always fun and exciting;" and then encouraged me to write something about my everyday life here. As I thought about her advice, I was reminded of a time about two months ago when my mom (a former missionary herself) told me almost the exact same thing when I was again having trouble thinking of something really amazing to write about. Considering they are two of the wisest women I know, I figured I should take their advice.

My everyday life really tends to revolve around people. I am part of a couple different discipleship studies - one Bible study and two connect groups - I meet twice weekly with my tutor, meet weekly with another girl for Spanish/English lessons, Wednesday night church service, worship practices, and that's only during the week. Add in youth group on Saturday nights and church Sunday mornings and I would say it's safe to say I'm no hermit. =) And I really enjoy every moment I spend with these people. I think some of my favorite times in the week are worship practices and the discipleship studies.

Tuesday nights we have worship practice that tends to go anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. I enjoy it for a number of different reasons. 1. We use that time not only to practice the songs for the upcoming Sunday and learn new songs, but also just to worship God. 2. It's one of the few times throughout the week that I am able to play the piano. 3. Learning those Spanish songs actually has really helped me with my Spanish. It teaches me things like correct grammar and sentence structure, and it sometimes even helps me to learn words if it is a song I know in English.

Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings I have Discipleship Bible studies. I really enjoy being a part of these because not only do I get a lot out of them, but I love seeing how hungry the other women are for the things of God. It's so amazing to witness God moving through Spain, touching the people and drawing them to Him. I have learned so much from my times with those women. Things such as what it really means to hunger and thirst after God. They've shown me Psalms 42:1 in action; "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, oh God."

Praise reports:
  • I have officially made my decision on where to go to college: Gordon College in Wenham, MA. It was my top choice college and I'm so excited and thankful to be able to attend there. I will be studying Linguistics.
  • I have been offered a full time summer job! Just a week ago I started thinking about whether or not I should get one, and how I would go about getting one since I'm here in Spain. I prayed about it and left it in God's hands. The next morning I had an email from an old acquaintance asking me to nanny for her full time this summer. God is so good!
Prayer requests:
  • Some kind of virus has been going around and we've all caught it. Thank God, we're mostly better and recovered now, but please pray for continued and complete healing.
  • My uncle (whom I mentioned before in a previous post) has cancer. He's back in a treatment center after being in remission for about a month and they just found another lump. He'll be having a CAT scan sometime tomorrow to find out if it's more cancer. Please pray God's healing and His peace and will over this whole situation.
Dios te bendiga,
~ Grace