Last week we made a post about the 2 year journey that we have been on (if you missed last weeks post, CLICK HERE).
It has been just that.... A JOURNEY! There have been times that we felt like we absolutely "had it going on" and then there were times that we cried out to God saying "Oh Jesus, what did we get into?"
Don't get us wrong, we absolutely love what we do! God has blessed us beyond measure and He has provided for everything and in every circumstance. It seems like, in our experience that God leads us to some things and through some things to allow us opportunity to grow, to allow us opportunity to learn things, and so here are some lessons we have learned as Missionary Associates:
1) TRAVELING IS WORK!
Do you remember that first time you ever got on a plane? The excitement and awe of flying 20,000 feet above the earth, how every person you sit by is another opportunity to strike up conversation and make a new friend.... well after the 50th time, the butterflies go away and the time differences between every place you travel seems to affect your body just a little more each time. We wouldn't call ourselves "world travelers" but we have definitely done our fair share of traveling. It really isn't that easy... Packing each bag, getting to the airport in time, spending hours at a time in a plane, and making each connection. So if you find yourself picking up a friend, family member, or missionary from the airport, be ready to greet them with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a huge hug, and lots of love & grace. If you are the one traveling, be ready to get to work!
2) VISITING ANOTHER COUNTRY & LIVING IN ANOTHER COUNTRY ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS!
Have you ever visited an area and thought, "I wonder what it would be like to live there?" Well, let us tell you from experience, there are many day-to-day things that people visiting don't really have to worry about. For example, if you visit here, you will notice that many things are more laid back, in fact a popular phrase they use here is "tranquila, no pasa nada" (basically meaning calm down, don't worry about it). If you are visiting, it is a prime location to slow down your life and relax. We, as residents of Spain, go to government offices for our paperwork and they often will have that same attitude "Tranquila, no pasa nada.". This means that everything we do takes time.... and lots of it. If we accomplish one thing a day (grocery shopping, getting paperwork, organizing an event, or really anything), we consider that an accomplished day.
3) BE FLEXIBLE!
When people would give us advice about being missionaries, they would always say "just be flexible". In ministry in general, it is very good advice to be flexible but we can't stress enough how much more important it is to BE FLEXIBLE! Be willing to do whatever is necessary where God has called you. We have learned so much by simply being willing to do what is necessary at that time. For example, when we first arrived, we ministered through the media ministry. God opened the door for Greg to be able to preach a little (with a translator), then Kita was able to minister through the Praise and worship. Now, we are able to do much of the secretary work (accounting ect.), preaching (for youth and adults), facilitate events (Women's Conferences ect), and help to keep the church here growing. God has taught us how to take each next step and He has empowered us to continue.... simply because we were flexible.
4) WORK HARD, PLAY HARD, & REST!
Work Hard! There is so much work to do within the church, within the island and within the Body of Christ. Once you have prayed and received clear direction as to what God would have you do, it is important to put action to our faith. There simply aren't enough hours in the day.
Play Hard! Anytime we have off, we make sure that we do something fun, whether it be eating Churros and drinking Coffee with friends, playing beach volleyball with the youth, or decorating our house to make it more our home (this is more of a Kita thing). This is very important because these are the times that help build relationships and even help keep our marriage fun and active.
Rest! In order to be the most efficient and effective, ready to tackle the next thing, we must have times where we simply relax on the couch, drink a coffee next to the beach, and get enough sleep. These times aren't as often as the others but that doesn't mean that they aren't just as important.
5) GOD IS AT WORK ALL OVER THE WORLD!
Being a missionary and talking with many other missionaries, we have found that God is at work everywhere. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, there are people that are ready to receive the Gospel and are willing to grow as Christians. To be very honest, churches here in Gran Canaria face many of the same obstacles as churches in America. The biggest difference is that the government still looks at the evangelical movement here as a cult (because Spain has a very Roman Catholic heritage and are not very open to evangelicals). In fact it wans't until the 1980's that the spanish government adopted laws to give non-catholic christians the same liberties that the Catholics have. We still have those people in the church that do everything, that do nothing, and everything in between. Every person has a different personality, a different background, different experiences, and many different opinions. But the Spirit of God, despite the issues, still moves! He is moving and we can see the results of a move from God.
So what we are trying to say is... LESSON LEARNED!
We continue to pray for you as we ask that you continue to pray for us. This journey isn't over and we know that there are MANY more lessons that we will learn. God is faithful and everytime He has taught us something, it has worked for His glory. Be encouraged in your walk with God that no matter what teachable moment He is bringing you through, there is always a lesson you can learn that will help you grow closer to God.
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