I am a missionary in Spain who desires for the power of the Holy Spirit to be unleashed in me, to be unabashed about the love of Christ, and unafraid to go where God calls. These are my stories in this journey of letting God have everything.

30 April 2006

Tomorrow is May?!

In the spirit of trying to post on my blog more often, here is another entry. It nothing big or important, just me trying to stay in touch with you all. Anyway, I can't believe it is May tomorrow. Where has the time gone? I can't believe that I have been in Madrid for almost 4 months, I can't believe that I go home for my brother, Matt's wedding in just over a month, I can't believe it has been so long since I have seen most of you, and I can't believe that another year is almost half way over already. In some aspects it seems so natural for me to be in Spain, like I've been here for ever, but in other ways it seems like I just got here. It is funny how time feels. Some days feel like a lifetime, and some years fly by like it's just been one week. I wonder how ETERNITY will feel? I am glad that it is spring though. I love the warm weather here, the blue sky, and the flowers and trees in bloom. It seems like things are coming to life again. I pray that my spirit will reflect how Christ is alive and that He will become alive to more people here in Madrid. Just the other night I spent about a half hour talking with a Spanish friend about Christianity and the church. It was a great conversation! I know that she is searching for that which gives life. Pray with me that as life is spring up around us here in Madrid, that it will also spring up in her life. Until later, may His peace and His life giving love be with you.

21 April 2006

"Grace Like Rain"

Todd Agnew sings a song called "Grace like Rain". The verses are the words to Amazing Grace and then the chorus says, "Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me. Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, washed away." I tell you this as a preface to writing about last weekend. My church, Oasis Madrid, had an Easter retreat at a camp, Aguas Vivas (which means Living Water), about an hour north of Madrid. It was incredible!!! As I have been thinking back on it this week, the song, "Grace like Rain" has been popping into my head. "Why?" you ask. Well let me tell you.

First of all, when I think about my church and the community that it is, I think about grace. This weekend was evidence that I am a part of a community of grace. We had the best retreat ever!!! During the weekend we had a Maunday Thursday service, a Messianic Seder, someone went through the Rite of Conversion, someone got baptised, and we had worship services each morning. Spiritually it was so refreshing. I also danced during four of the different services.
The Maunday Thursday service was very solemn and reflective. There was a time of silent confession, hand washing, partaking in the Lord's supper, and I danced to the hymn, O Sacred Head now Wounded. When the service was over, all the lights were turned out and we left in silence and darkness. It was very meaningfull.

On Friday we had a worship service in the morning with singing, Godly Play (a way of telling the story of the Bible that is interesting for kids and adults), Rosy professed her faith in Jesus publically, and I danced to a song called "Jesus Hail the Lamb." Some of us did some hiking and then in the afternoon we participated in a Messianic Jewish Passover Seder. It was so interesting. There were readings that we did and different food that was eaten that signified different things having to do with Christ's death and resurection. It was so cool. After the Seder, I spent some time in the prayer room. We had a room set up with various things to help us connect with God. The walls were completely covered with paper so we could write or draw, there were communion elements, candles, stones to write our burdens on and a cross to set them at the foot of, nails, thorns, and chains, to remind us of Christ's suffering, and much more. It was such a significant time for me with my father, creator, and savior. In the evening, there was time to either watch "The Passion of the Christ" or just hang out with people.

Saturday we started with a worship service again and I danced/did American Sign Language to the song, "Lord Have Mercy." I also taught a dance to 9 other people today that we performed on Sunday. (More about that later.) This was a glorious day as this was our only planned activity. In the afternoon 7 of us decided to climb to the top of the mountain. It was difficult, but so worth it. I love to hike, but I am kind of a wuss sometimes. I had grace extended to me on various occasions when the hike got hard, or the jump from one rock to another was a bit scary. God is so good in providing people who care about you for who you are and not for what you can do! Anyway, the view from the top was amazing. The only problem was that it started to rain while we were at the top. It didn't just rain either, it hailed. Needless to say, we were soaked. The rain was so refressing. It was another reminder on this significant weekend that His love and grace has been poured down on us like rain. Christ's death is the ultimate example of this. What greater example of love and grace could we ask for. Thank you Lord for tangible reminders through something as simple as rain. After the rain let up some, we made it back down to the bottom safely. It was quite the adventure. God then proceeded to seal His promise to us once again through one of the clearest rainbows I have ever seen. I just can't help but smile and praise Him again right now! Yeah God!!! After dinner we celebrated Phil's birthday and just had a great day.

Sunday - HE IS RISEN!!! On Sunday morning we had a service and Troy baptised Monaca. Troy spoke, which was awesome and I highly recommend that everyone read what he had to say by clicking here. The dance I taught on Saturday was performed during the service too. We danced to a song called "Today" by the group Iona. It was so cool to have 9 other people woshiping with me in this way. This is a dream come true. I think that dance is an incredibly effective way of worshiping and connecting with God with our whole selves. After the service the kids had a candy/Easter egg hunt. They were pretty funny to watch. We also took some pictures of my team and also with my roommates. They turned out pretty good. I don't know if it is surprising or not, but I think we got more silly pictures than normal ones. Maybe that says something about all of us?! By the way, if you want to see all of my pictures from the weekend just click on my pictures on the side. There are also some pictures from my trip to Segovia.

Well, that in a nutshell was my Easter Weekend. It was so wonderful. I think I've said that a few times now, but I guess you get the point. More to come later but until then, remember, HE IS RISEN and "grace like rain falls down on me and all my stains have been washed away!"

08 April 2006

New Title!

Since I started my blog a couple of months ago, I've been trying to think of a creative title for my blog. My previous title, "My Life (as I see it)" was direct and to the point, but I guess I want to be a little more creative. Hence the new title. It is pretty self explanitory, but let me just delve into it a bit more. Over the last couple of weeks, the word unleashed as been repeatedly popping into my head. Huh, do we think that could be the prompting of the Holy Spirit?! Anyway, I want this word to describe me and I believe in someways it already does. Somehow, I have been unleashed into Spain, I want the power of the Holy Spirit to be unleashed in me, I want to unleash the love of Christ here in Madrid, or where ever God leads me. As I was thinking about my new title the next word that came to me was unabashed. As I am being unleashed, I want to be unabashed about it. I want to unabashedly be who God has created me to be, and I want to unabashedly help others to be who Christ has made them to be. Finally, the word unafraid. This one is definately a struggle for me. I am often afraid of God's plan for me, the unknowingness of it, I am afraid to make a fool of my self, and I am sometimes afraid to try new things. I am afraid of what people think of me when I share my beliefs, and I am afraid of letting go. If I truly want to embody these three words, I need to let go and allow God to have complete reign in my life. This is my public declaration that I am working hard at letting go and becoming Unleashed, Unabashed, and Unafraid.

This is a picture of my dancing at a worship conference in January, but in this moment, I had completely let go. I pray for this to be my constant posture.

06 April 2006

Culture Shock!!!

Readers Advisory: Warning, Amy is experiencing culture shock so this blog entry may contain a fair amount of complaining and whining. She just needs to vent. So, proceed with caution.

When I came to Spain, exactly 3 months ago today, I was aware that I would experience culture shock. After further discussion with Heather, my supervisor for my internship, we discussed how culture shock takes on different forms and will last the entire year I am here. I'll give you a brief overview of the different stages.

Entry into new culture: You are experiencing new things, learning, excited, experimenting, and seeing new things. Sounds good huh?!

3 - 6 Months: The novelty has worn off, problems are exaggerated, and you are more prone to be anxious, angry, homesick, and disappointed.

7 - 18 Months: There is tentative acceptance, marginal risk taking, trust issues, yet you are also fearfull.

All that to say, I have hit the second phase. I am definately easily annoyed and am so frustrated with a lot of stuff. So on with my complaints:

I don't like seista right now. It is so annoying that I can't go to most shops between about 1:30 and 5:30. I have Spanish class until 11:30 so it gives me very little time to run the errands I need to.

Over the past couple of weeks there have been strikes on the metro during rush hour in the morning and in the evening. I just started dance classes 3 weeks ago and have gone to class 7 times now. Of those 7 times, the strike was going on for 5 of those metro trips. Last Thrusday it was absolutely horrible. First I had to wait half an hour for a metro, it usually only takes 3 to 5 minutes. Then when one finally came there were so many people, the only way I can explain it is to say it was like sardines in a can. The fact that I was actuallly able to squeeze onto the train was quite a feat. At the first stop I was pushed in every direction. People were pushing me on the right and left trying to get off the train but then people were also pushing me from behind trying to get on the train. Finally this one guy starts coming toward me to get off the train and yells at me in my face than then proceeds to run right into me and push me off the train. Fortunately I didn't fall, but needless to say, I was incredibly frustrated and angry. I can't even respond because my Spanish isn't good enough. I was pretty late for my dance class that night.

Despite the fact that in my dance class I am probably the only one who has danced for more than two years, I am one of the only people that gets corrections.

Everything always starts later than it is supposed to. I consistently show up about 15 minutes late for my Spanish class and I am 99% of the time there before my professor.

Things don't happen when they are supposed to. We got natural gas in our apartment about a month ago now for our heat and hot water. Since then my roommates have called the propane company at least 3 or 4 times to come pick up the old empty propane bottles and guess where they are?! Yep, you guessed it, they are still in our house. Go figure.

People are very public in their relationships. One any given day you will see at least 5 couples making out and probably 1 or 2 fighting. Some things are meant for behind closed doors. I am tired of seeing public make out sessions!

It seems like no one knows how to clean up their dog's poop. Our street is especially bad. That's not the only crap that happens in the street either, men here feel it is their job to make cat calls at just about every woman that passes by them.

Ok, I guess that may be enough complaining for now. I really do like it here, but this is the time when everything seems worse than it really is so I thought I would share with you all. Don't worry too much, I'll get over it. Thanks for listening!