Monday, December 31, 2007

Back by popluar demand...my blog has been on hiatus for the last couple of months as I've been swamped learning how to teach English as a second language.

I've enjoyed it immensely, its facinating to watch people of all ages as they struggle to obtain the World Language...yes yes, I know, many people argue that its rather Mandarin as more people may speak that then English, but English is still the way business is conducted in most of the world.

I have a class of four year olds, hysterical to watch their brains act like sponges as they try to absorb the concept that their teacher really does know how to talk. On more than one occasion, I've watched them turn to each other and say, "She doesn't know how to talk!" I do have to speak Spanish to them on occasion, but they have learned commands like "Sit Down" "Let's Sing" and "Close the Door".

My teenagers are teenagers, acting like I've pulled all their teeth out, put them all back and start all over again for each and every class. I did a dramatic reading this fall of the The Tell Tale Heart, they loved it...and couldn't believe how dramatic I was. I was asked once what the word "scream" meant, and I screamed for them. They'll never forget what that word means.

One of my teens that I thought was going to just sit there like a bump on the log, has completely thrown himself into his studies, and is my best student. I'm amazed at how much he's learned, and how he tries desperately to speak and read English. The ones I thought would be better have turned out to be duds.

So, enough explanation, I'll blog more now on what else I've been up to.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Today I began teaching English at a local academy. Its a different one than I first thought I would work at...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

This spring an academy came knocking at my email box asking from my resume or CV as they call it here. I gave it to them, interviewed, and they thought they might hire me. But, no students appeared.

I sent my CV out and another Academy (basically tutoring school, common here) called me. I worked part time for the summer ( 5 hrs a week) and thought it was ok, but there were a few warning bells. First, they implicitly trusted me and threw me this girl I thought was never going to learn. Fortunately she did and passed her exam we studied for. I was shocked.

So, I sat down with my potential boss and she handed me 19 hours of potential teaching per week, with the promise of more. I had a small nervous breakdown for the two following days. I refused to answer my cell phone for fear of more work.

But my phone persistently ran on Thursday afternoon, and a very Midwestern American voice pleaded with me to come and interview that afternoon at another Academy, in my neighborhood (10 minutes walking distance), for less hours and more money. Sheesh, I couldn't believe it. I told him I'd sleep on it.

Andrew and my two current house guests( write more on that later) thought I couldn't pass it up. They were thrilled. We prayed about it, slept on it, and made the decision, this was what I would do. Andrew said, just write an email telling this lady you can't work for her, too busy, too many hours.

I did, and she didn't call me until today....panicked, and tried to talk me back into it. I almost relented. But, for some reason, I felt convinced this other situation would be better. I believe I've made the right decision. With the witness of the Spirit with the three men in my house, and within my heart, I see this is the right way.

However, I feel crappy. I've been taught that your word is your life, your character, etc, etc. Your yes be yes, etc, etc. Had I stayed with the first school, I would have had to give up my involvement in church, both in English worship as well as the music group. No way. I would have had less flexibility as she refused to work with me in my travels back to the US, and there was no guarantee she would actually get me a visa, the whole point of this endeavor (besides of course this opportunity is incredible!)

But God was gracious, and yesterday the sermon was about Esther. The preacher whose name is Eleouterio (try saying that 3 times fast) slowly warmed up to his points, one of them has stuck in my head today. Mordacaei comes to Esther and asks her the impossible, to go see the King without being summoned. At first, she says, Heck no, and then sits back to think about it, and realizes she needs some time. Those of us biblically literate know the rest of the story, and I'll sum it up for those who aren't, Esther, a little Jewish girl who won the reality show of the day to become queen, saves the entire Jewish race from obliteration.

However, she didn't feel good about this action at first. But Mordacaei utters those wonderful prophetic words, "for such a day you were made...." or something along those lines.

This helped me sit back and understand that all decisions don't always feel right, even if we know they are right, and God shows us in whatever way, it is the right or better decision. I believe God often gives us choices, and sometimes we don't always listen to those whisperings He gives us. I was blessed this weekend to have several really great dudes under my roof that listened to me, validated my feelings, helped me sort everything out, and make a life changeing decision (thanks Andrew, Hiram and Jon).

Eleouterio also discussed how in Proverbs 31:25, the woman is described as being dressed in strength and honor. Today talking to the other academy took strength. The guys told me I did it honorably, even though I didn't do it face to face (that's my one regret) They told me that face to face wouldn't have helped at all, and she made have said worse things to me. I hope I did it with honor, and my prayer is that I can be like Esther and the woman in Proverbs 31 to continue in this same vein.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ramadan has begun, and so has the major spiritual event for Granada (after Holy Week). I've discussed the Virgin Patron de las aungustias in an earlier post...so I won't repeat myself.

On Wednesday, I did my first bit of public speaking in Spanish at our church. I was asked to lead a devotional at our Wednesday evening prayer meeting. Slightly nervous only right beforehand, I led a short devotional. I've got it typed up in Spanish, so I'll include it below for those who want to critique my Spanish.

Essentially, its my thoughts on how Jesus is our only mediator between us and God. We as evangelicals even fall in the trap the Isrealites did at Mount Sinai, we need God to have a face, and so we make friends, family, and other spiritual people our mediators. We have this subconcious thought we act out on a regular basis, and personally I think like the author of Hebrews...we refuse to go to God alone, because we feel guilty. Its easier than to find someone, a Virgin (for the Catholics) a god or goddess, or for us Protestants, a more godly person than us. We think in a roundabout way that if this person prays for us, or presents our little request, God will give us an answer.

But Exodus and Hebrews show us this comment is wrong. In Exodus, they had a priest, and Hebrews show us we now have an even better high priest! Jesus.

So, when we pray, we can enter alone, without shame and guilt, and ask God for whatever. That simple, that easy. We don't need an idol, Virgin, or more spiritual person to ask on our behalf. Just do it.

Notas para Devocional-Septiembre 2007

Introducción: Habla sobre mi abuela

Mi abuela era creyente y tuvo un testimonio fuerte porque Dios la salvo de situaciones fuertes.

Mi padre se fue de Florida hace 25 anos para estar más lejos, y durante los años fuera, el empezó a pensar que era tan espiritual. Se lo llamo muchas veces para pedírselo orar por algunas cosas. Y, tuvieron muchas repuestas.

Pero creo que la falla de mis padres, y de yo y mis hermanas fue esto, que pensábamos que recibiríamos unas respuestas si la abuela pudiera saber y orar sobre todo.

Que se murió, sentíamos nuestro dolor y no solo sobre estos, pero es lo que hemos encontrado que La Abuela no era tan espiritual como pensábamos. Tuvo muchos esqueletos en sus armarios, físicos y metafísicos.

Porque tuvimos tanto confianza que la oraciones de ella era más validos que nuestros. Porque es tan fácil creerlo. Le encontré este ano porque me esfuerce leerlo La biblia, o lo mas que podría, en este ano en castellano. Estaba leyendo mucho, pero de repente encontré algo fuerte, y tuve que para y meditar sobre estés conceptos. A través de algunos pasajes de Éxodo, me llevaron a Hebreos.

Mi di cuanto en Éxodo que el proceso de ser sumo sacerdote era muy largo, fuerte, y casi aburrido. Cuando leo estos pasajes en Éxodo, me imagino Moisés haciendo los mandamientos de Dios con algunas notas y folios diciendo, vale, que hacemos ahora, y eso que es?

Tuvieron esto proceso impresionante, pero de repente, cuando Miosis tendría que salir y hablar con dios otra vez, el sacerdote, Aarón, tenia dudas, y querian que verian su Dios, y pidió que la gente trajera sus joyerías para hacer un ídolo.

Cuando leemos esto, pensamos fácilmente, que tontos eran! Parece a nosotros, liberados, gente del cultural postmoderna, gente educado, que hacer un ídolo con oro es tonto. Pero hay muchas culturales que sigan así. Tenemos Buda, ídolos de oro y plata en La India, la tribu de Andrew se adoro las serpientes, y la lista sigue…incluido los vírgenes de angustia, y etc.

Y no nos somos libres de estés pensamientos. Se me di cuenta cuando vimos la virgen de no sé que salir de la Catedral este Mayo pasado. Estuvimos comiendo cerca a la catedral y salíamos para volver a casa cuando vimos la virgin a punto de salir. Andrew y yo estábamos con otra pareja, y fue impresiónate verla saliendo, con la emoción, las canciones, los aplausos…..

Y de repente, me di cuanta que nosotros como evangélicos hacemos lo mismo, pero es bastante más sutil. Pensamos que los que son más espirituales que nosotros pueden orar mejor, o Dios quiere escurarles mejor que nosotros. Tenemos nuestros ídolos, o peor, nuestros vírgenes, que creemos que son más espirituales y si ellas oran y lloran por nosotros, tendremos lo que pedimos del Señor.

Pero en Hebreos 4:14 dice...leelo!

Por lo tanto, ya que en Jesús……

El es nuestro mediator. Los que eran y son sumos sacerdotes en el antiguo testamentoy en el presente hacia y sigue hace falta. Hebreos 9:11-15, y Hebreos 9:24ff

Creo que nos sentimos culpable, y olvidamos lo que Jesús haya hecho, y pensamos que no podamos entrar al trono de Dios y habla directamente a Él. Sin embargo, Jesús se murió y se resucito una vez, y fue suficiente como La palabra dice. No necesitamos otra humana, otra virgen, ídolo o tal cosa para orar. Solo lo que tenemos esta suficiente, y si nos buscamos por alguien más, estamos diciendo que Dios ha hecho mal con Cristo. Hoy vemos que….

-es fácil pensar que alguien más “espiritual” tiene el oído de Dios más que yo-es falso.

-el obra de Jesús Cristo fue suficiente para cubrir mis pecados y cada vez que busco otra persona para ser mediator, estoy viviendo un mi culpabilidad, y olvidando que fue todo.

O sea, tendremos que recordar qué Hebreos 10:19FF-y que Cristo es mejor que los ángeles, las vírgenes, mi abuela que era muy espiritual, y todo! Y a través de El, tenemos la privilegio de entrar, orar, conocer Dios, y saber nos había oído!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Summer is finally ebbing away from the hot desert of Southern Spain. Don't get me wrong, its still around 90 or so degrees here in the middle of the day, but I woke up this morning to see that it was about 15 degrees cooler outside than inside, so I gleefully stopped the air conditioner, and opened all the doors and windows. I'm wearing long pants and a hoodie because it just feels marvelous after 2 months of intense heat.

This blog hasn't always been an every day or an every week thing, but that's how life happens. An interesting thing happened this month with it, so this is what I'm talking about today.

Apparently a young Indian medical student was feeling very lonely in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. He was on his way to Spain to study Spanish, and feeling very disconnected from his world. Being a Christian, he was encouraged by his church back in India to Google Granada, and Evangelical Church.

My blog came up in the few pages that Google could find. He left me a message on this blog, and then we proceded to write a couple of short emails. Last Sunday, he walked into our church, all because of my little blog about Granada. Andrew and I had lunch with Jon and he told us his story.

Jesus says we are to be salt and light....in a world of computers, internet, etc, etc, what does this really mean? I'm a practical person, I want to see my faith worked out, rather than just discussed. It tickles me to think that maybe even blogging about my faith in action might help.

Although, I've read a lot of blogs, especially those done by Christians, and they feel the need to "spirtualize" and expound on everything...and I've tried to avoid this. I don't wanna write cliche stuff about how God loves you and wants you have to have a happy life.

My beliefs aren't simple when it comes to that. Pain is good, it causes you to grow, and I've believed for a long time that violence in our lives can bring us grace more than we understand and realize.

I have a friend in Haiti right now, he and his wife and kids are trying to be light in a dark place. The more I read his blog, the darker the place looks. Over the last month we've had to some brief conversations about what it means to live in another country, for the purpose of bringing light.

Sadly enough, many of the people that are going to Bible school, being trained for ministry, are wandering back to familar places, ones that have a lot of light. Its scary to live in the dark. I hated the dark as a kid, and I still can't sleep in a pitch black room. I understand why people return to the light.

This is a rambling blog today, and my main goal is this: are we light to a dark world, or do we cluster in lighter places and compare our lights to others?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I"ve taken a stab at writing music lyrics. My inspiration for these below comes from the end of Hebrews 4, where the Author discuss Jesus as our only Mediator. In a Catholic country, those verse soundly kick you in the bum, where its very easy to get caught up in the emotion of the worship of the various Virgins.

Jesus, my saviour,
You are my great High Priest
sitting with the Father.

Jesus, my king
You stand in the Holy Place
so that i may be
overwhelmed with mercy,
covered in your grace

Oh Saviour, Most Holy One,
you are worthy to recieve,
praise glory and honor,
without your blood,
my shame would remain.

Now you sit on the throne,
reigning over the kingdom of light.
May your kingdom come!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, a firend talked Andrew and I into going to Hannigans to see a

soccer game between England and Brazil.
So, I went to go get us some nuts , and three girls were standing at the bar speaking English. Since Hannigans is an English pub, obviously most of their clientale speaks English.

I struck up a conversation with these three girls and they asked me where I was from and what I was doing here. I gave them the usual talk, work with a Christian organization, writer, photographer, etc, etc.

We had a nice conversation, I found out they had been in Granada all year, loved it. Finally, they turned to me and both said, " What you are doing is incredible, and it makes us feel like what we do isn't important". With that they turned and walked away.

I was stunned. I realized what had happened. I was open and honest about who I was. For a few minutes, they saw the light of God, and it made them realized how dark their souls were. They didn't like it, and hid in a dark corner. This situation also reminded me of how Pauls talks about us as believers in 2 Cor. He says that to some we are the aroma of life, and to some we are the aroma of death. I was the latter to these three students.

I hope that someday, someone else gets to talk to these girls, and that will be the day they smell the aroma of life.
It has been a while since I sat down to blog, as the last two months have been incredibly busy. It's hard to believe its already the middle of June.

These last two weeks Andrew has been really sick, sicker than I've ever seen him. You think this would really bring me down, make me feel depressed and low, but this time has been incredible for me spiritually.

A quote I saw once by Andres Segovia said this, "I found my voice in Granada." and this has been true for me this last year.

Several years ago, I thought I wanted to be a music teacher and so I threw myself into a music major, emphasis piano. I sucked. I could barely make C's and I think the profs gave them to me mostly for effort rather than for what I actually had learned.

By the end of that year, I was asked to leave the major. The hardest part of it all is that I was merely sent a letter, rather than asked to do so face to face. I sunk into some serious depression that summer.

Slowly I've returned to music, specifically in the last three years. However, its been mostly to sing, which never was my strong part. My voice however has matured and I seem to be doing better weekly. I've also returned to playing the piano every now and then.

I LOVE IT! Its as if the gift had been returned to me, not for my glory, but to help lead others and show them God's glory. When I play or sing, I feel His pleasure.

I have begun to slowly return to the thought of music writing, at the insistence of a new friend. He thinks I can do it, so I'm going to make a stab at it. I want to do it for His glory and not mine, which can be a big temptation in writing, photography, video making, etc etc, all the stuff we do.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This past Wednesday I went to worship practice like I do most weeks. After we went through our half a dozens songs and refined our introductions, the pastora, the pastor's wife pulled me aside. She told me to bring my djellaba, or my Moroccan outfit, on Sunday. I was to dress up with several other women and pretend to be the women who found Jesus' tomb empty. I was a little skeptical to say the least, but I agreed to go along with the plan.

Andrew laughed when he heard the idea, and he said it sounded hokey. I agreed. However, I still pulled out my orange djellaba, and Andrew found his black one, and off we went yesterday to church.

Esther, Nely, Mariene and myself are pictured above, all dressed up and ready to enter the church. We came in from the back, and surprised everyone. We grabbed some people and said “la tumba esta vacia!” The tomb is empty.

In a spontaneous way, we told our story, just as if we were the women who went to anoint Jesus' body and found the tomb empty. When we came to the point that we had seen angels, we all burst into tears of joy. I felt myself shaking, as if I'd actually seen an empty tomb. Together we shouted, “EL VIVE!!!!!!!!!!!” HE LIVES!!!!!! We all trembled, and the audience burst into applause. I saw several people wipe tears away, several of those men.

We invited everyone to come and worship the king of kings with us. We filed out to pull off our djellabas and returned to sing. I never thought that a corny, hokey idea would fill us with such passion, such excitement that our Savior, Jesus is RISEN!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

If I can't write, than I get really grumpy...a paraphrase quote of an interview Newsweek did in the past with Madeleine L'Engle.

I echo this feeling. Lately I've been doing a lot of reading. I've been brushing up on my medieval history, as well as reading the thoughts my friends are putting on their blogs. So, my thoughts in writing today are reflective of what I've been reading.

My friend James has his blog at www.steepcrag.blogspot.com and I'd recommend reading it. A history teacher currently studying for his Masters in History...he's got some good thoughts this week especially on Holy Week.

My friend Jason is a M.Div student at Westminster in Philadelphia and has a blog at www.doyouseegod.com and I've kept up with it for several months. He has this uncanny ability to see God in all sorts of small parts of live, and the even greater ability to share it with people on his blog.

And so, what is my blog about? I've been wrestling off and on with a theme. I've titled it merely Jamie's Wanderings, because I married a vagabondo (a wanderer) who never quite feels at home anywhere we go. This feeling is contagious, even though every time I see Chicago in a movie my heart says "HOME".

But Andrew takes comfort in a quote from Lord of the Rings, All who wander are not lost...and I'd like to take off on that.

My wanderings and musings may or may not be spiritual on this blog. However, I want to show the world through my feeble writings that I am not lost, but rather being led to wander.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I wandered a little further away from Granada last Sunday, and met some really unique people. They live in a place where worshipping Jesus isn't the hip thing to do, but spite of the opposition, they follow him.

I wept as I heard them sing, and wept even more when I heard my dad weep. He and I, and many thousands, have prayed for a long time, and I never thought we'd be a part of the miracle. God's gospel, His good news, changes lives, and in the last year and half, I've seen this over and over again.

In our western mindset and culture, miracles don't happen. We scorn the Virgen of Lourdes, the pilgrimidge of Mecca, the journey to Santiago. We think people are searching for lost causes, and its true, but we don't offer than any other options, so they continue to march around the black stone, worship at the feet of idols and bloody their toes proving their dedication.

We come upon a most holy moment for the Catholic world. In my mind, its both a dark and a light moment. I'll never forget seeing the lone Christ figure on the cross, and hear the weeping of the crowd. In the same breath, I'll never forget the emotion, the excitement that occured when a small, white statue of a woman came out the humble church and people swooned with emotion.

God is bigger than the Virgen de las Angustias, the road to Santiago, and Mecca. However, we don't really believe it until we see it. More of us are like Thomas than we want to admit.

I've been prviledged to see it, last weekend with a small group of hardy souls, who know Christ and his suffering. Take my word for it, its powerful, this crazy thing we call the gospel.
I wandering a little further away from Granada last Sunday, and met some really unique people. They live in a place where Christianity is not yet acknowledged as a legal religon, and so they meet secretly. Ironically, the small building is close to the authorities local hq.

I wept as I heard them sing, and wept even more when I heard my dad weep. He and I, and many thousands, have prayed for a long time, and I never thought we'd be a part of the miracle. God's gospel, His good news, changes lives, and in the last year and half, I've seen this over and over again.

In our western mindset and culture, miracles don't happen. We scorn the Virgen of Lourdes, the pilgrimidge of Mecca, the journey to Santiago. We think people are searching for lost causes, and its true, but we don't offer than any other options, so they continue to march around the black stone, worship at the feet of idols and bloody their toes proving their dedication.

We come upon a most holy moment for the Catholic world. In my mind, its both a dark and a light moment. I'll never forget seeing the lone Christ figure on the cross, and hear the weeping of the crowd. In the same breath, I'll never forget the emotion, the excitement that occured when a small, white statue of a woman came out the humble church and people swooned with emotion.

God is bigger than the Virgen de las Angustias, the road to Santiago, and Mecca. However, we don't really believe it until we see it. More of us are like Thomas than we want to admit.

I've been prviledged to see it, last weekend with a small group of hardy souls, who know Christ and his suffering. Take my word for it, its powerful, this crazy thing we call the gospel.
Our pastor often begins his prayers with "Padre Santo" or "Padre Nuestro". Holy Father and Our Father are ancient terms, but rarely used in this day and age outside of the Catholic church. I've wondered why he uses these names but enjoy it every time he does.

Finally, while he was praying today, it dawned on me. Miguel is an orphan. His mother abandoned him at an orphanage at a young age, and he's never known his father or half siblings.

However, at the age of 16, he wandered into an evangelical church, looking for a particular girl. He left instead with Jesus as his Lord.

I wonder when he realized that God was his Father. Unlike any man I've met, he knows this with a deep and quiet passion that one only realizes when he starts his prayers with Padre Nuestro. He knows the Father as his one and only.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Today I went wandering by myself up to Guejar Sierra. This is a little village about 20 kilometers outside of Granada.

I have a friend named Elke, a German large animal vet, who lives there, actually just outside of the village. She's got 10 horses now, about 4 days, and a plethora of cats. She and her partner are trying to establish a trail riding business. They just purchased 5 more horses, and they desperately need people to come and work out their horses.

I can't believe that I live here. This ancient city, nestled among some of the most rugged mountains I've ever seen, is one of the most charming places in the world. I also have the good fortune to know someone who begs me to come ride her horses. It's an incredible opportunity.

Millie is a funny Spanish horse that I ride. She walks as if she were dancing, its really funny! My low back usually hurts for days after I ride her, cuz her gait is like most Spanish women, rolling with style. She was a little funky today because she had something wrong with her mouth, but we had a great time going up the hill a bit, and looking out over the valley.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

This is me with a a bunch from our church youth group. In November we headed hiking, and had a group of about 20.

Starting from the left, Lydia is from Maine, Karen hugging me is from Spain, Jennifer and Helen (?) are from the US, Noemi is the pastors daughter from Spain, and Chad is from Texas.

That day we had 4 Brazillians, several Mexicans, about 8 Spaniards, and several Americans.

Because of this trip, the 4 Brazillian guys started attending regularly, and now come every week. They came to church for the first time last month, and now bring more of their friends to the Saturday night meeting.
I still get the shivers when I sing with our church band. For about two years now, every wednesday night I head down to our little church. Usually its me, the pastor's wife, Esther, and about half a dozen other musicians or aspiring musicians. We practice for about an hour and half, and have a great time.

One reason I get the shivers is that we always have numerous nationalities represented. Last night was like any other night in that we had one American (me), a Mexican, a Brazillian, a Madrileno (pastor's wife) a Panamanian, a Andulucian, and a Basque. I list the Spaniards from their region, as Spaniards are incredibly faithful to their region, rather their country. The Basque girl Miriam plays the flute, and she always bristles when you refer to her as a Spaniard. She's incredibly nationalistic, and it cracks me up.

I think its amazing that we hail from all over the world, from different denominations, from different point of view on worship, and we somehow all come together and sing. Spanish is the common language, but it sung in all sorts of accents. Last night Esther made a joke with a play on words, and the Mexican and I looked blankly at each other until we figured it out. However, the Spirit calls us One, and we can function as One.

On Sunday morning, there are even more countries in the church service, and its amazing to see hands lifted, eyes heavenword, as we sing songs like...

The Lord is faithful, and his mercy endures forever...

Come, visit us....see a bit of heaven in this little town tucked under the shadow of the Sierra Nevada. Shiver with us, not from the cold of winter, but with the joy and delight to worship as One.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Jonathan, me, Daniela, and Andrew out for a night on the town in Granada this Christmas. J is my cousin...and has become a good friend as well~!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Today Andrew and I wandered around Bradfield, England. This weekend we have popped up to England thanks to the incredibly cheap flights offered by ryaniar (www.ryanair.com) We have old friends here in Bradfield, Western England, and we've come up to visit them three times now in the last two years. It is always a wonderul, quiet, relaxing break, even if just for a few days.

This time we came for a wedding, a friend of Andrew's, named Andrew Koons. He married a little English girl named Clare, who he met while in Papau New Guinea serving with Wycliffe. She is a schoolteacher, and he is a great big motorcycle mechanic. It was a sweet wedding, a quiet reception, and a beautiful, sunshiney, rare, English winter day. Enhorabuena Andrew y Clare!

Tomorrow evening we trek back to Spain, adopt my cousin Sam for 2 weeks, have more guests wander through our house, and try desperately to finish the Uganda project and hopefully prepare for another media project.

Rest for Andrew and I has been important this weekend. We've really needed to again break away, gain a new perspective, and start again at life. It seems for us that the balance of rest, work, pleasure and toil is a constant battle, but in the last several months, we've sensed a stronger balance than we've ever achieved in our lives together. Its been wonderful.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I spent some time talking to a friend last night, telling him about all the things that are going on here in Granada. He said, YOU HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT THIS, so Jason, here it goes.

One of the things that keeps Andrew and I both here is the youth ministry. The city of Granada has over 70.000 students, more if you include the thousands that flock here for language school. Right now, Campus Crusade and Intervarsity have a limited reach, and so the rest is left to the little Baptist church.

Many of our members have been perturbed in the past that they can't find seats on Sunday morning because of all the students! However, we along with the pastor and wife, have explained that this is part of the ministry here in Granada.

Saturday night, we had about 20 students for youth group, and we showed them the movie, The End of Spear. If you all have missed out on this, please go find a copy and watch it this week.

Since it was in English with Spanish subtitles, I wasn't sure how things would go, but the kids were instantly sucked in. I heard sniffles, and reactions throughout the movie, and at the end, they were visably moved. Finally, four Brazillian guys have been attending youth group for about 3 months now, since a hiking trip we took back in November. After the movie on Sat. evening, they came to church on Sunday morning. I don't know where they are spiritually, but it was exciting to see them come.

God is moving here in Granada, slowly but surely. There are days that are so thrilling, like Sat. that I can't hardly believe it. Come, join us, we need more people. Consider this your Macedonia Call.

Monday, January 22, 2007

This is a pic from this fall of me with some of the kids in the youth group. They are the bestest ever. Noemi in pink and Karen in white are my girls, we just have fun. Guille in the Orange is like a little bro.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

This whole Christmas season really started when Andrew and I went to the biggest theater in town to hear our church choir sing a Christmas Cantanta. Somehow doors were opened, and the mayor’s office of Granada allowed our church to throw a free concert. Over 500 people were in attendance. The theater is called Isabelle the Catholic, and to me it was amazing that a little evangelical Baptist church was allowed to sing freely about Christmas and the Gospel.

We went to the concert with a couple of friends, one of them named Pablo. Pablo is from Argentina, but has lived here in Spain for a lot of years. He’s been reluctant to meet evangelicals as he believes they are all hypocrites. However, we had a good time with him and his girlfriend later that afternoon as a few of us went out for some pizza.

A few days later was Christmas Eve or Nochebuena (Good night) in Spanish. We had a big party at my aunt’s house, with leg of lamb, roast piglet!, and shrimp. Pablo was there with his girlfriend and her three sons. We all had a great time and laughed until our sides hurt.

The day after Christmas, Andrew, my aunt Deb, my cousins Sam and Jonathan, and I all went up the mountainside to see Pablo and Elke again. We had a great time seeing their horse farm, and having a nice turkey dinner with a great big roaring fire.

Finally, on New Years Eve, Pablo and Elke came to the church, the first time Pablo came, to have dinner with us all. They didn’t stay all night, but they did stay to hear the testimonies and prayers. He was visibly moved.

Evanglism isn’t like a nuclear bomb where you flip the switch and pray something happens. Rather, its like the parable Jesus told of yeast. Yeast takes a while to work, its not instant. But eventually it permeates the dough, and the bread rises. Andrew and I are praying for Pablo, that he will see us as people who love Jesus and love each other. This is evangelism.

There are more people like Pablo that we talk with, laugh with, enjoy life with them. Perhaps we aren’t the most articulate to explain everything about the Gospel, but we know others who are better than us. A good example of our philosophy is found in the book for Acts, where Phillip is walking along the road, and the Eunuch comes along and askes him, “Do you know what this book is saying to me?”

Pray with us that we will know what to say to people like Pablo in this New Year, and that the yeast of the Gospel will grow the Kingdom of Heaven.