Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fun Videos from Spain

Eating a whole lemon. : )

Me driving with David.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I've Left Albacete

I’m on my way to England. My days in Spain have come and are nearly gone.

Probably the greatest thing I learned was the importance of maintaining relationships. I’ve never spent so much time with people sitting together after meals. The family I lived with were so close…in fact, all of the families that I met were close. The best times I had were having tea or coffee after dinner or late at night (after another dinner).

I was also challenged by the people who followed Jesus. They understood that they were not to rely on the doors of the building to be the church, but that they were the doors. They resolved not to only “go” to the social gathering of believers, to only be fed once a week, but to begin to learn to walk as Jesus did in the streets, at work, etc. Many of them understand the power of God’s love and are carrying that into their communities. And it’s really hard ground in Spain. Most people don’t care whatsoever about what Jesus taught.

I’ve learned other things as well, like talking in my sleep, not only in English, but also in Spanish. I also have begun to think in Spanish more. Granted, I’m still not awesome at Spanish, but it’s getting better.

I’ve been thinking about brother Lawrence (reading "The Practice of the Presence of God) and his life and how he lived and I’m baffled by him even when I read part of a page. I pray that God will help me to let go of all that I’m holding onto because I can’t seem to do it out of my own will, even though I know that what He offers cannot even be expressed in words. I think part of my journey will need to be growing in who I am as an individual.

At one point I wrote in my journal, “Sometimes it's better to simply enjoy life rather than always trying to "live" it. I struggle with this.” I am learning to simply enjoy what I have, where I am, etc. I don’t always have to be trying to learn more, do more, etc. I need to practice resting in who I am and where I am.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Family In Spain

I love my family in Spain. They really enjoy joking around with me.

One thing I always joke around with Gardenia (my mom) is that I always smell good. She knows I don't shower every day and so earlier this morning, when she gave me a thermometer to put in my armpit to see if I had a fever I told her not to worry, that it would smell wonderful once I was done using it. She laughed so hard.

Even now, I was just saying I needed a shower and Gardenia (my house mom) said, "Yes, you should!" And then I said, "Not because of any smell. It smells good. Only because of my hair."

They also laugh at me a lot when I'm tired because I don't make a lot of sense (especially in Spanish) and I act more like a little kid. They get such a kick out of my attempts to speak sometimes.
It doesn't seem that there are any absolutes in life.

One thing I do know, all evil was once good and we must simply find where the evil originated and bring it back to its state where it was once good.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Luis, now 27 and married with a son, used to be a leader in the streets of Albacete. He took a lot of drugs, drank alcohol, and fought a lot. Before he came to Spain he claimed faith in God. When he arrived from Ecuador two years ago he began rebelling. But even with his back turned, God didn’t give up on him. Now, since he has returned to God's arms and cut off his drug addiction he spends much of his life in the places he left behind to share the same life he has received with youth who are in the same place he once was.

Luis has explained to me that the youth live with their families, but hang out in the streets most of the time with drugs, alcohol, and sex as their salvation, their life.

Luis and I drive around to their hang-out spots (usually in parks or on side streets), and Luis talks with them. I say Luis talks with them because I just stand there. The Spanish in Spain is different from Latin American Spanish so it’s even harder for me to communicate with the youth than it is with my family or Luis, which isn’t always easy in itself. So I stand, listen, and pray.

This past week Luis had four guys over to his apartment. These guys knew him before and after his change and he’s been sharing, little by little, the grace of God with them. They’ve never been ready to accept, but that day, after watching a film called “The Switchblade and the Cross,” as I sat there sitting, listening, and praying things were different. After some discussion three of them chose to follow Jesus. Luis and I prayed for them and since then have talked with them some more.

"Yes, I like the food."

When visiting people in another country I am always asked if I like the country, if I like the weather, if I like this food or that food…even multiple times in one sitting. The people are always wondering what I think of their culture, where they live, what they eat.

This past meal I had I was asked at least 10 times if I liked the food. This is normal.


Lately, I don’t feel like the presence of God permeates throughout my day. In fact, I think I act as though I don’t have time to really be with God. After I pray, I forget Him…I try not to. I feel like something’s wrong, but I’m not sure what it is. I’m so easily distracted by things of this world.

It’s like I don’t know how to be with God.

I recently read my mom's words from when I was a child with my twin sister. For me, walking became more natural than my twin sister. But as we came to an age where both of us could walk, I was more timid than she was in taking on challenges, like going down a stair.

Even though I was better and running and walking I would walk up to the edge, turn around, and shimmy over it backwards because I was afraid of falling. She would run and jump.

I think this also happens to me in my relationship with God. I often go slowly to make sure I don't fall, even though I have the capability to run and jump.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Am Mr. Torro

During the night, Monday the 6th, the family gave me the keys to the car after attending a church service. We drove around the city a bit and looked at some things and then returned home. We’re getting to know each other more and more each day.

To say “straight” here you say the word “torrecto”. I kept forgetting what the word was when asking for direction and would say “torro”, which is for a bull fight. In the end there were a lot of laughs and I received the nickname Mr. Torro : )

(The follow video is of my first day in Spain)

(This is a fun update of me in a park last week)

Back to Kissing...And Other Things

I forgot about the way to greet women in the Spanish culture until my host’s daughter walked in the room. She went right up to me, bent forward and kissed me on each cheek (more like a cheek to cheek kiss). I remembered this greeting about the time her face was three inches from mine, and even then I wasn’t prepared for the double-sided greeting. In Peru it was only one cheek, but here in Spain it’s both.

Onto Other Cultural Stuff...

On my first day in Spain David, my host, explained the very different daily schedule that people in Spain have. Generally, the workday starts around nine, though some start at eight and still others at ten or eleven. This means they work till later at night.

We usually have breakfast between 10:30 and 12:30pm. Then we do some stuff. Then we have lunch around 3 or 4pm. Then we have dinner at 8ish. Then we have another meal around 11 or even later sometimes. After meals we usually have tea or coffee and sit and talk. I really like that part of the culture because we actually take time to slow down and be with each other. So yeah...four meals a day, one because more of a snack either during the day or later at night.

Greeting people...

My first day in Spain my greeting to a man on the street was ignored. Robert, a missionary here from the US, said, “It’s very different here from Latin America. People don’t say hello to people they don’t know. And if you do say hello to a stranger, they might look at you with a face that says, ‘Do I know you from somewhere?”

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Lately we’ve had to take a motorcycle to get around to the building where we’ve had meetings because of some road construction. I really enjoy it : ) I love the fluidity of the traffic, darting through it like a fish in a river.

Whenever I drive in the United States people tend to get uncomfortable because I’m more fluid with the road, generally unpredictable, and more-so aggressive, but that is perfect driving here in Bangladesh. A person here wouldn’t make it if they couldn’t drive like that.