Last week I helped my teammates host a group of 23 people from one of their supporting churches. Two adults and 21 high schoolers. They were pleasant and fun to be with, helpful and curious.
On the last evening that I helped out, we took them to different towns in the area to pray and hand out evangelical brochures. (Although my teammates and I weren't thrilled about the brochures, we had few options as the original plans for the group fell through.) At any rate, I took a group of 9 kids to a town with me and I explained what they were to do and what time we needed to meet back up, etc. Then I prayed for them and sent them out.
It was during the prayer when this happened: I was praying that we would meet people of peace and that, if God willed it, that he would give one of the kids the ability to speak in tongues -- that He would give one of them the supernatural ability to speak spanish clearly to someone who was searching for God.
They laughed. They chuckled. Right there during the prayer. The lump in my throat made it hard to get the rest of the prayer out. I nearly cried right then. Not because they laughed at me -- I didn't care about that. It was because of all that it represented.
They didn't expect a miracle.
(I prayed that because a friend of mine had that very thing happen to him when he led a CIY trip to Mexico one time. A girl in his group didn't speak a lick of spanish and one afternoon the Lord gave her the ability to speak perfect spanish with a group of girls. The next day she was back to not speaking it at all. So I always pray for that.)
Back to Spain. I knew right then that we wouldn't be seeing any miracles from Jesus that evening. At least by way of supernatural spanish speaking. There wasn't enough faith. I thought about Mark 6:5-6 "He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith."
I hope that youth leaders and our parents are teaching their kids that God is still doing miracles and working supernaturally in lives today. That the Holy Spirit is prepared to take control of situations as soon as we allow Him to do so.
Anyway, I was bummed. I was sad that these kids weren't willing to think past their limitations and expect something great from God. I was weakened. But here's the really sad part:
I chuckle too. My heart quietly snickers sometimes when I read scripture; my soul whispering "I wish God would still do this stuff", as if He were an obsolete gadget tucked away in an attic, and the updated God doesn't do such outrageous things anymore.
The lump in my throat was more because those kids reacted outwardly the same way that I, at times, react inwardly. The truth is, I don't want to live like that. It's tiring.
I want my faith to enable God to do all the miracles that He longs to do around me and in me. It's a funner way to live. It makes me smile more. It gives me hope. Something worth dying for.
May all of us chucklers, both inward and outward, be encouraged to have greater faith.....faith that expects great things from the only relevant, unchanging, living God.
So I took a year off from blogging. Of course, I didn't REALIZE I had taken a year off from blogging until I looked at the date of my last post. At any rate, I will give you some mini overviews about this year and then I have every intention to go back to blogging once a week. I wouldn't mind a little reminder every now and then, just in case I get behind!
I attended Jonthan Training in August of last year, which proved to be a huge motivator and encouragement.
Linda left at the end of August, finishing her internship with a bang! She enjoyed her time here and was strengthened in her walk with the Lord.
In September I began to study for the DELE exam, which is the official accreditation of the degree of fluency of the Spanish Language, issued and recognized by the Spanish government.
I enjoyed having different visitors pass through Spain during the fall season. Former teammates in Venezuela, mostly.
In November I took the DELE test, choking back a few tears at the break time and not feeling very confident in a couple of the sections.
In December I was able to relax some, spending Christmas with some gals and doing some hiking near my house.
In January I was packed out with visitors from Venezuela -- both former teammates as well as some Venezuelan friends.
In February I headed back to the States to get a different kind of visa. I also spent time visiting supporting churches, friends, and family. And I learned that I passed my spanish test....probably one of the biggest reliefs of my life!
My kidney decided to act up a little in May and then my bladder decided to play along. Real cool, you two. I wasn't amused but was thankful in the end for the extra rest that it gave me before I returned to Spain just two weeks ago.
And that's where I am now! Back in Spain, settled in, unjet-lagged, and ready to go. There is plenty to do and I'm happy to be back doing it!
And so, to all 4 of you who read this blog, sorry about the year-long delay. Let's just call it a sabbatical. Then at least I'll feel all professorish and smart.