Hola and cheers from Spain and England! We have three teams of 10th-12th graders (+amazing leaders) serving in Europe this week, one in York, England, one in Middlesbrough, England and on in Girona, Spain. The England teams are getting to go into a few different schools to lead Religious Education classes during the day and are getting to lead after school youth clubs and sports camps for local kids. The Spain team is serving in two different local parks alongside local missionaries to build relationships. The teams have all hit the ground running, getting full cultural-immersion and getting to worship with local believers. God is moving in Spain and England and it is such a joy for us to get to join Him in the work this week.
As the week goes on, we want to share some musings from students on the teams for you to hear a little from their perspective about what God is doing and teaching them as we serve. Read below for today’s!
We have spent 2 days in Spain and, wow, has it been so great! I have loved getting to walk through the beautiful cobble stone streets of Spain and see all of Gods creation! We spent the morning in Salt, Spain serving the kids and families in a local park. Before we starting serving, we had the amazing opportunity to prayer walk in the city. I’ve never prayer walked before and felt a bit awkward praying with my eyes open; but the Lord opened my eyes (literally) and heart to the world around me and prompted me to pray big! When we look at the Lord’s prayer for example it says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” This prayer is formatted in a way in which our prayers are clearly stating our desires to God. We find ourselves sharing with God our expectations, but also finding comfort in the surprise. Later today God moved through gathering people of all walks of life and cultures to come and spend the afternoon with us in the park in Girona! God has been so faithful throughout this trip and I ask that you would pray for that to continue and that he would keep bringing people together so they can get to know Him better! -Kate Johnson, rising junior
If I could choose one word to describe my experience so far in England, it would be unexpected. Traveling 4,000 miles away from home to a culture wildly different from mine, the last thing I expected was to feel at home. But this place is beautiful and everyone from St. Andrews Church is so welcoming! Before we left the States, we were warned that this experience would be unlike others. Many kids here would be resistant to or questioning of the gospel, wondering if and why they needed it. Maybe we would see one or two people come to faith, and that would be huge, but nothing like other trips where new followers are common and often plentiful. The first night with our church kids, a young man gave his life to Christ. God completely wrecked my expectations for the week, showing that it doesn’t matter whether we are in a rural area full of hardships, or a thriving city like York,God can move in powerful ways to produce fruit from obedient servants. Probably my favorite part of the trip so far has been climbing the “mountain” Roseberry Topping. At the top our teams cast a vision of growth, boldness, and intentionality over our time here. After,we each spent time in prayer over the week and the people we interact with. The whole time,I kept hearing God say, “Break down expectations. Expect the unexpected and say yes. Don’t second guess, but be bold and willing to follow where I lead.” If there is one way that anyone could pray, it would be that the students and kids we interact with would be open to what we have to say, and that God would direct our conversations to accomplish His work. This trip has been wild, and I can’t wait to see how God will move, even just in the few days we are here. -Rachel Sims, rising senior
Today was a very long, but fulfilling day. We were introduced to the people of Salt, a town adjacent to Girona, which has many immigrant refugees. We played futbol, frisbee, jump rope, and did sidewalk chalk, glitter tattoos, and henna, though their we only really did henna and glitter tattoos. We met several people who just wanted a kind word and smile. It was really cool how the Lord worked their because, although it rained and we mostly did henna their, one of the people working with the church, Raquel, met this lady who was working with a bunch of kids and said that they were going to try and come tomorrow to play with us. Another thing there is that, as we were doing henna, a lady came up to us and asked why we were using stencils, then proceeded to free hand. That was really cool to see the Lord work his will into all this, just circumstances happening to better his kingdom. In the afternoon we went to a park in Girona and got to meet more people, most of whom were expats. Again, we played futbol, frisbee, jump rope, and did sidewalk chalk, glitter tattoos, and henna. It was a challenge to overcome the language barrier, but again a kind word and smile brought the sweet message of the love of Christ to those we met. In the evening, we went to Fluid, the site of our missionary partners, the Parnell’s, church and met with Peter and Raquel, a dad and daughter team. We made sandwiches for the homeless and ourselves, bagged them all up, then walked the streets of Girona with Raquel and handed out the dinners to the homeless. At about 10:15 we stopped and ate our own dinner, which was the same meal we prepared for the people we were serving. It was eye-opening and we were inspired by this father-daughter duos work. We are very tired, but also super expectant as to what the Lord has in store for us today! -Paige Butler, rising junior
As you can see, the Lord is making Himself known in both England and Spain and it is a joy for our teams to get to experience Him in a deeper way already…and the week has just begun! Join us in praying for the Lord to help us keep leaning into Him and walking in step with His Spirit. And for the salvation of souls!