Friday, January 18, 2013

(Sometimes it Stinks) And Sometimes it Smells Like Very Expensive Perfume

A couple weeks ago I wrote of how stinky the life of a missionary could be at times, but last night, as I was walking in the door I realized how at other times life can smell like an extremely expensive bottle of perfume.

As I looked out my kitchen window yesterday our neighbor was passing by and waved.  A simple wave led to a walk together to the trash dumpster, followed by a cup of coffee, a two hour visit, and a chance to sit with their 8 year old daughter and practice my Spanish while helping her do her nightly Bible devotions.  Ahh, such a sweet smell.

Today we went to Toledo for Scott and I to pick up our residency cards.  We were in and out of the government office in 15 minutes.  I was definitely smelling some roses as we sat down to have coffee and a croissant without having to pay more for parking.

After the government office we stopped at a book store and I bought a financial ledger for METAS (I am the treasurer) and when I got home I recorded our first two donations - one from the team who was here in October and another from a family who has already committed to supporting the new church here while they are in Costa Rica raising support to return to Spain as full time missionaries.

And on Sunday, I think I'll find myself in the "perfume factory" as we sit down in our living and experience the first worship service of the new Illescas Church.  Success is really hard to measure when serving in ministry, but for church planters (such as us) the first worship service definitely marks a huge step in the right direction.  God is definitely up to bigger things than we imagined.

So, yeah, sometimes it stinks.  Sometimes it smells so bad nobody wants to be around you, but then there are other times.  There are times when you find yourself wanting to stop in that spot, inhale some really big breaths, and pray that as you walk around you are carrying that smell with you.

Some ask why survive the stinky days?  Because there is a perfume that is able to cover up all that stink!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Long Time No See

Life is crazy!  I have thought about blogging everyday for the past two weeks, but it just hasn't risen to the top of the list.  Language classes have resumed, winter laundry takes forever to accomplish, ministry tasks are increasing, winter weather makes you want to stay bundled up under the blanket on the couch,  .... and on goes the list.

We are in the middle of our first winter in Illescas.  Oh my!  I didn't realize how much the tall buildings in Alcala (our first city here) helped protect us from the wind.  Now we live in the middle of nowhere.  All around us are open fields - no tall buildings, no mountains, no protection.  The wind blows and you feel it to the bones.  The biggest problem with winter is laundry.  On average it takes 3 days for the laundry to dry.  The air is wet and the temperatures are lower.  The 3 days is not the problem, but instead my motivation.  The day I wash the laundry I have great motivation, however, 3 days later I have lost interest.  What I think I need is someone to come behind me and fold and put away the laundry.  :)

We are 4 months from our language exam.  I am tired of verb conjugations and prepositions.  I am still praying that one day I am just going to wake up and speak fluent Spanish.  But until that day, its homework and study!

We have our first official worship service of the new church plant here in Illescas this Sunday.  It is exciting to be taking this first step.  We have begun to explore the possibility of renting a store front for METAS and the church.  We are dreaming big dreams of what this will look like.

Keep coming back.  Hope to be a little more consistent in those coming days!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sometimes It Stinks

You are going to be saying that about me soon if we don't get some "real" hot water soon, but that wasn't really what I was referring to.  (Side note - we have luke warm hot water and have had this for about a week.  Supposedly the repairman is coming today, but since it is almost 6:00, I am having my doubts.  And then since this weekend is the final fiesta of Christmas in Spain and the biggest day of celebration - King's Day - I am figuring if we don't see him today we won't seen him until at least Monday or Tuesday.)

But back to what really stinks....

Sometimes it stinks to be where you know God has called you.  Sometimes it comes with yucky parts.  Sometimes it comes with lots of tears.  One of those "sometimes" was today.

Hannah returned to the states today for her second semester of college.  She is thriving and happy and I am truly blessed by how well she is doing, but it still stinks.  The house feels a little more empty and the tears seem a little closer to the eye lids.  The motivation to put away the laundry or do my Spanish homework seems waning.  Cooking for three seems a little less exciting.

Siesta seems a little more inviting.  A cup of hot tea and a lot of chocolate is yelling my name.  An aspirin or two and a blanket is very appealing.

Yet, throughout all of this, I know I am where I am supposed to be.

I have been reading Ecclesiastes and today I can relate a little to the writer.  He says at times it feels like although he is being faithful to God there is no difference in his life and others.  The hurts and disappointments keep coming.  He goes as far to say it feels as if life is all in "vain."

I get it.  A life with God doesn't guarantee the lack of tears or hurts or disappointments.  It doesn't even guarantee we'll always have hot water (writing just got interrupted by the repairman - yeah! - but not so fast, nothing is wrong with our hot water heater, other than it is too small for our house and the water outside is too cold to be heated completely and thus until spring or summer we will only have luke warm water).

But yet in the end, I'll still praise God.  And although I have the same hurts and disappointments as those without God, I have the comforter above all comforters.  Today, and maybe tomorrow, I'll curl up in my little ball and have a good cry - but yet, through it all - He will be faithful to bring a peace that passes all understanding and a comfort that is only from Him.

Yep, some days it stinks (and with only luke warm water there are going to be days that I stink) - but everyday HE gives meaning to all of it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

12 Grapes

Again I am writing about food.  I think I need to find a new line of topics, soon!

In Spain we eat 12 grapes at midnight to usher in the new year.  For those of you wondering, here is the story as to why.

Eating 12 Grapes on New Year's Eve in Spain
The Twelve Grapes to the chimes of the clock at midnight on New Years Eve has been a Spanish tradition since 1909. In December that year, some  vine growers from the Alicante area came up with "The 12 Grapes" as an idea to sell huge amounts of grapes from an excellent harvest.
Since that time Spanish people have kept up the tradition as a way to celebrate New Year's Eve. On the last day of the year, the 31st of December, they wait until twelve p.m. Everybody has to have twelve grapes ready to eat when the clock starts to chime. It is traditional to listen to the clock from Puerta del Sol in Madrid and in other town squares around the country.

When it is midnight in Spain on New Years Eve, each time the clock chimes, all the people put a grape in their mouth. By the time the clock has finished chiming, everybody has to have finished their grapes and the New Year starts, but nobody finishes eating the grapes on time.

Eating the grapes is very funny because everybody starts the New Year with a full mouthful of grapes. It's almost impossible to finish eating the grapes by the time the clock finishes chiming. Normally people still have all the grapes in their mouths, and they start looking at each other and have to laugh.
If you manage to eat the 12 grapes then you will have 12 months good luck.

Borrowed from:,%20Spain.htm