When Troy is talking about the church and community he often uses the phrase, "The church is the people of God anywhere gathered to accomplish God's purposes." I like that. I especially like the gathering part. We are attempting to put that into practice, gathering "to accomplish God's purposes." Starting in September Oasis Madrid began meeting on a weekly basis. We are still sticking to the twice a month services but now on the off weeks we are getting together in a more casual atmosphere and inviting lots of friends. So far, we have had 2 picnics. The first one was such a huge success, we decided to have another one.
This past Sunday was the second picnic. I had an incredible time. I was a bit nervous because I invited a friend of mine who speaks little to no English at all. She and I do a language exchange so usually when we are together we speak by using our dictionaries a lot! Well, as I look back, I realize I had nothing to be nervous about. My friend, Margarita, showed up with 4 other friends who also speak little to no English. They all seemed to have a wonderful time. I think that's because I belong to a community of grace. Everyone was so gracious and spoke with them in Spanish or tried to help them with English. Margarita and her friend Marianna played Bocche Ball with some of us and fit right in. There was picking on each other all around, in English and in Spanish. I'd like to just add right here that there were two teams of women and one team of men and yes, the men came in last place!!! Sorry guys, but I just had to rub that in a little more.
Anyway, as the picnic was ending Kelly and I were talking about how well things had gone. She reassured me it was ok that I don't speak much Spanish and that my friends don't speak much English. We then realized that there were at least 2 other languages spoken during the picnic as well, Dutch and French. We figured it out and these were all the countries represented at our picnic; US, Canada, Ecuador, Colombia, Russia, Holland, England, France, Germany, Ireland, and Nigeria. I think that was it and there were only 34 people there. It still baffles me sometimes that I am a part of an international community. We really were the people of God from everywhere gathered to accomplish God's purpose. Loving each other, showing grace, and having a rockin' good time. I look forward to the next Gathering!