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.

27 August 2006

The City of Randomness

Over the past few days, I have been noticing many random events. Some of these may seem out of the ordinary, however, randomness is actually quite common here in Madrid. I think if you are observing carefully, each town, city, country, culture is filled with these kind of "random" occurances. I went to the park the other day and this is where it all began...
  • I was sitting on a bench minding my own business when I heard something falling through the leaves of the tree above me. I only realized what it was when I looked down and say pigeon poop on my leg.
  • While also sitting on the poop bench, as I'll refer to it now, I watched a couple of guys play soccer. This may seem normal except that it was one on one and one guy was wearing a shirt and the other guy was shirtless. I wondered, did they do that on purpose so as to remember whose team they were on?
  • After being pooped on while sitting on the poop bench, I decided it was time to find a new spot in the shade, but not directly under a tree. As I walked through the part to a new spot I passed a slightly paranoid looking woman sitting on a bench. Only when I looked closer did I realize why she was paranoid. She wasn't wearing a shirt. No, she wasn't playing soccer on the shirtless team. She was just cillin' on the bench in just her bra. This wasn't one of those cute bras either that could be mistaken for a bikini top. This was your grandma's white lace bra.
  • I found a new bench and continued on with my reading, only to be disturbed by a large group of people walking my way. I looked up to see it was a bride, groom, I'm guessing their best man and maid of honor, and a large posse behind them. This doesn't seem too out of the ordinary because there was a photographer with them and Retiro is a beautiful park. The random part was that they were all wearing red ribbons. Not the little red ribbons that say you support something, like the troops or breast cancer awareness. These were grade school fun day 1st place size ribbons. Weird?!
So, now I've had enough and left the park. Hours have passed and I think I've seen all I can handle. Please, who am I trying to kid. One thing in Madrid that is guaranteed to always be random is fashion. I could list a hundred different weird things I've seen people wear but let me just mention a few that I have seen just in the last couple of days.
  • A man that could be mistaken for a lumberjack. I don't think they really have those here though. He had the big boots, the white socks coming out of them, the carpenter style khaki colored shorts, and to top it off, the flanel shirt.
  • This was followed by the two sets of mothers and daughters in matching outfits. Cute, right. Not when they are in their 30s and 50s. The first pair was wearing all opposite white and orange so the mother had on orange shoes, white pants, orange shirt, and a white purse. The daughter was just the opposite. The second pair was a bit cuter as it was a small girl and her mom who were wearing the exact same outfit.
  • Now on to the not so cute, a man with one of the most incredible mohawks I've ever seen. He was past the rebelious mohawk age too.
  • Finally, 2 men that look like they have just stepped out of the time machine. What was their time and place of origin you ask. 1980's death metal complete with the tight ripped jeans on one and the mega short cut-off shorts on the other. Long flowing hair in head bands and more. I can't even describe all of it.
Ok, I'll end with just a couple of other random things that just happened.
  • I saw a sign that had the temperature outside posted on it. It said it was 69 degrees celcius. For you farenheit people out there, that is 156.2. Not possible. I think it was only in the 80s (F).
  • Just in the last 3 days I have seen at least 5 different men peeing on the street. This is actually pretty common here so maybe I shouldn't list that in this post of randomness, but before I moved to Madrid, I would have considered that to be random.
  • Victoria and I saw R.U.M.H. from the bus. Trust me, you don't even want to know. It's too bizarre to actually say, we had to come up with an acronym.
  • The cute, but obnoxious, little dog in our building named Luli is a boy, despite what his name may lead you to believe.
  • I was walking home with Victoria and say a man smelling his socks. He apparently didn't appreciate me seeing him doing that so he threw his hands up at me as I walked by to scare me. All it did was make me want to punch him.
  • This is the last one, I promise. In Madrid, or even Spain for that matter, this is not random, but again from a Giri(foreigner) this may seem random. Many shops close down for almost the entire month of August so the owners can go on vacation. They often just post a hand written note on the building letting you know when they'll open again.
Well, I think that's it for now. It's been an interesting couple of days. My mind is still spinning.

18 August 2006

My Prayers are Heard

I've kind of gone on a blogging spree here. This morning as I was reading from "The Message" (thanks for getting me hooked Heather) and read Psalm 6. It says:

Please, God, no more yelling,
no more trips to the woodshed.
Treat me nice for a change;
I'm so starved for affection.

Can't you see I'm black-and-blue,
beat up badly in bones and soul?
God, how long will it take
for you to let up?

Break in, God, and break up this fight;
if you love me at all, get me out of here.
I'm no good to you dead, am I?
I can't sing in your choir if I'm buried in some tomb!

I'm tired of all this—so tired. My bed
has been floating forty days and nights
On the flood of my tears.
My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears.
The sockets of my eyes are black holes;
nearly blind, I squint and grope.

Get out of here, you Devil's crew:
at last God has heard my sobs.
My requests have all been granted,
my prayers are answered.

Cowards, my enemies disappear.
Disgraced, they turn tail and run.

I really resonated with David in his moaning and wailing. So many times I feel like I am crying out to no one but my mattress. Sometimes it's because my future seems undiscernable, or because I'm tired of being alone, or just because things don't seem to be going my way. As I read this passage today it hit me, sure I may feel beat up, starved for affection, dead, and tired. But the simple fact of the matter is that I'm not. "God has heard my sobs!" Amen and thank you father. The devil may try to infiltrate my emotions and encourage me in these self-absorbed feelings, but he is a coward and can not stand up to my Almighty God who makes him flee at the mere mention of his name out of fear. Whether I see the results of my moans and cries to God, I know that "God has heard my sobs" and that "My requests have all been granted, my prayers are answered." What a way to start the day, reminded of His love and mercy to this daughter of His. Thank you and thank you!!!


I just wanted to let you know that I have posted another album of pictures to my webshots. They are picture from my weekend in Castellon and my trip to Holland. Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite. The first two are from Amsterdam and the third one is the DeBron conference center where the CA staff conference was held. Enjoy!

13 August 2006

CAI Staff Conference 2006

It's now been over a week since I returned from my very first CA staff conference. I have been wanting to post about it for some time now, but because my computer can't decide when it wants to work and when it doesn't and because I still don't feel like I've been able to process all that God has been teaching me, I haven't posted yet. I still don't think that I have been able to properly process everthing, but it's time to work through some of it through blogging about it. This weekend Kelly and I are sharing the talk for our service. We are addressing the question, "What is the Church?" Kelly is going to talk more about the history of the church and what the Bible has to say about it. I am going to talk more about the modern church and what that looks like. I'm planning to use a lot of things from our staff conference in my half of the talk. Basically my point is going to be that Jesus still needs to be absolute central to the church. I think a lot of times, Christians get too focused on religion and forget about the only thing worth worshipping. Jesus. If we are focused on Jesus, there is no stopping the revolution that can come from that. We want to infiltrate every area of our lives with the mission of Christ. We want to be radically free in Christ! I could go on and on, but this post would be really long. I am hoping to post what I come up with for our service this weekend too so check back and that will give you an even deeper look into the muck that I am currently wrestling in. Until then...

What makes an addict?

So I was playing my favorite computer game today, Jewel Quest and it got me thinking. What makes someone an addict. Now, I don't think I am one. Not that I'm in denial, because I'm not, I'm not addicted! Anyway as I was playing my game Kelly said she was going to go start making lunch. I said, "Ok, I'll be in there in just a second to help, I just need to lose this game. Oh wait, that's not going to happen. I'm too good. Let me pause it." She asked why I didn't just quit the game and of course I replied "I'm not a quiter." So after lunch I picked up on my game where I left off and felt the need to promptly defend myself and told Kelly, I'm not addicted, I just can't stop once I start. She said, right that's just like saying I'm not an alcoholic, I just can't stop drinking once I start. I said ok, well, when I'm not playing the game, I don't crave it or anything, and I could quit, it's just then I won't see what my score is. So the question is, am I an addict? By the way, I did let myself lose, after I obtained my highest score ever. I have now moved on and won't play Jewel Quest again, at least not today.

06 August 2006

Computer Woes

Let me just start off by saying, I really hope that this posts before my computer decides that it doesn't want to work again and just shut off. I have really been wanting to post about this past week but have been having major problems with my computer. First it didn't want to come on and now just turns off with out even asking me. I am getting so frustrated! I did buy an external hard drive and have pretty much everything backed up, but I just keep praying that this computer will last through the year. It has served me well though. It is almost 4 and a half years old and I have not had many problems. I know, I know all you MAC people out there, I need to convert, but this computer was a gift for college graduation and I don't have the money right now to upgrade. You have all made your point and I hear you. Just be patient though, I'm sure I'll join the dark side soon enough.

Anyway, last week I was in Holland with Christian Associates staff for our annual staff conference. There is so much to say and so much to process. It was an incredible time meeting new friends, spending time in worship and hearing from various speakers. We had a couple of guest speakers, Alan and Debra Hirsch. Alan is a co-author of the book "Shaping of Things to Come." It is a great book and they both had a lot to say that was challenging and good to be reminded of. Just a preview (I will write more about this later) the gathering topics were "Nets and Networking," "Belonging Before Believing," "Putting the Adventure back into the Venture," "Self-deception's Devastating Effect," "Cummunitas From the Inside," "Jesus Made Me Do It," "Radical Freedom in Jesus," and "Embedding Grace." We also had a great concert of prayer, fun play times, and plenty of time to just chill and be together. It was so good.

I need to process more what was said but after that, and if my computer is still working, I will process some of that here, for now I need to try to get more done on my computer before it stops working again. Until then...