So here it is a month after my last post. I always have such good intentions to blog more often, but this month has been absolutely insane. I usually don't have enough to write, but this time, there was just too much to write about. I have been too overwhelmed. I know this seems like cheating, but I am posting my most recent update here so if you don't receive my updates but after reading this would like too, please let me know.Hey Everyone! Where on earth has November gone? I guess I know, first it was a trip to Germany, then a trip to Morocco, then my parents were here and it has just been wrapped up with a Thanksgiving Feast with our church. The first two picture are from my trip to Muenster, Germany where I visited another Christian Associates church. If you weren't aware, I started my search for missions organizations in Western Europe so that I could serve in Germany. I didn't find a place in Germany at the time so God opened the door for me to come to Madrid. Over the past 11 months Germany has still been in my mind and I have been wondering if God was using that burden for Germany just to get me to Europe so He could lead me to Spain, of if He still had plans for me in Germany. I felt it was important for me to visit a church plant there and pray about what God might have in store for me. It was a great week with Stefan and Andrea, the couple that started Epic Church in Muenster. I visited a couple of their community groups, got to meet a ton of people from their church, and even dance and share a little of my story at their church service. It was an exhausting week as everything was in German and it has been quite a while since I've practiced that language. The people there were very gracious though and helped me out a ton and translated for me or just helped me out.
Two days after I returned from Germany, I went with a group from my church, Oasis Madrid, to Morocco. Our church has a relationship with some missionaries there and have gone in the past to help out. We spent the week helping in an orphanage and attended a church service there. It was an incredible trip. I have never been to a Muslim country so that was an eye opening experience. My heart just broke for the women there who seem to be treated as second class citizens. The Muslim women must keep their heads covered anytime there is a man around and when out in public, they can't look a man in the eyes. It was interesting to realize that you automatically know who does not know Jesus just by looking at someone's clothing. It is so easy for people in a Western culture to hide what they believe and in Muslim cultures they literally "wear" their beliefs. I often think it is difficult bringing the message of Jesus to people in Spain, but it is so much easier for me than it is for those trying to bring the love of Christ to Morocco or any closed or Muslim country.
I returned from Morocco with three days to rest up and and prepare for my parents visit. My parents arrived on the 16th and left on the 25th. We had an incredible time. We spent a few days sight-seeing in Madrid, a few days exploring Barcelona together, and a day in Segovia. In some ways it felt strange to mix my two worlds together, but I enjoyed every minute they were here and loved being able to introduce them to my team and my friends. I enjoyed introducing my parents to so many new things. I'll never forget my mom's excitement at seeing her first castle or my parents seeing the Mediterranean for the first time, or even my dad getting so excited by seeing so many Harley Davidson motorcycles. For those of you who know him, I'm sure that comes as no surprise to you. It was also wonderful being able to spend Thanksgiving together.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, I never assumed that I would have two Thanksgiving celebrations during my first year here in Spain. First was the dinner with my parents, my team, and a couple of friends, and then on Sunday we had a Thanksgiving feast for our church. We had about 40 people show up and almost half of them don't usually go to church at all. It was a fun day of TONS of good food, meeting new people, playing games, and loving people the way God loves us, unconditionally. It was a blast.
Another factor that added to this already crazy month was the fact that I needed to decide what to do with my future. I signed on with Christian Associates for a one year internship which is over in a month so it was time for me to figure out what comes next. After much prayer and talking with my team, mentors, and my parents I feel that God is calling me to stay in Spain. I am really excited about this decision, but it certainly wasn't easy. This means continuing to live far away from my family, giving up the comfort of a country and culture that I have grown up in, and trusting God to provide for me financially through the generosity of others. I will be returning to the U.S. for about six months though to raise more support so I can continue working here and also to get the paperwork sorted out so I can get my visa. I will fly home at the end of January and then return to Spain at the end of July. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to let me know. I am hoping that I can see as many people as possible during the six months that I am home. I will be spending time in both Maryland and Michigan and will be in touch about exact dates when I have that information. Until then, I have some prayer requests and answers to prayer that I would love to share with you.
- Please pray for my finances as I am coming to the end of the year and my account is getting low. I will have some extra expenses with having to travel home and obtain my visa. If you already support me financially, please pray about continuing that support and if you don't please pray about the possibility of supporting me financially in the future.
- Please pray for me as I spend my first Christmas away from home and family.
- Please pray for some friends that are starting to get involved in Oasis Madrid but aren't yet followers of Christ. Maybe this Christmas will be the time they realize the true meaning of Christmas.
- Please pray for our church as we are searching for a ministry center and are trying some new programs.
- Please pray for my roommate/teammate who has just lost some support and has to find a way to get that back. Also pray for her safety as she travels home for Christmas.
- God has provided miraculously for my team leaders family! They were in a severe financial crisis that seemed impossible to remedy, but within a week and a half, they received all the money they needed and more.
- We have a lot of new people becoming interested in Oasis Madrid who are not Christians and who have never really been fond of the church.
- Praise God for speaking clearly to me about where He wants me after this year.
- Thank God for my wonderful team and friends here in Spain. Troy, Heather, Meaghan, Nic, Kelly, Kelly, April, Alleke and many more.
Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support. I can't express enough how thankful I am for all of you. May God bless you richly!