¡Saludos desde Castelldefels, España!
Where do I begin? I’ve got so much richness to share with you from what I’ve been seeing learning, and taking in over this past week! To make it easy, I’ll break it into three categories:
I’ll start with my geographic location. I’m living in a city outside of Barcelona called Castelldefels (“Castle of the faithful” in Catalan). I am staying here in a seminary (here’s a link if you’re really curious, Ibste) for six weeks while I go to language school in Barcelona. It’s pretty much like living in a dorm. There is about 30 students currently living here and it’s very diverse. It’s very encouraging to spend time with people my age who are also in seminary, and have the same heart for being salt and light to the world around us. However, I do feel a little like a cow every time the cook, Pedro, rings his bell signaling me to come down to the kitchen for dinner!
My language school is wonderful! The day after I returned, I pushed through the jet lag and went to my school, Wednesday morning, to finish registering. I took the placement test again, and they decided to move me to the intermediate class (which is humbling to say the least). My teacher makes class very enjoyable and interesting. There are eight of us total, and I love it! Everyone in the class also speaks English so that’s what we revert to if Spanish isn’t going so well. We are all the same age, give or take a year! It is because of your support and prayers that I’m able to live here, learn the language better, and build relationships! Thank you!
Also, an interesting note is that in Catalunya (the northern community/state that I’m in), people speak two languages. People speak Catalan (a blend of French & Spanish) and also Castillian Spanish. While some words are similar, Catalan is its own language. A friend invited me to his church last Sunday and while the sermon was in Spanish, several songs were sung in Catalan, and well as communion.
Language is my primary reason for being here, and while I can probably count the number of English words I use in a day, language learning isn’t all that I’m immersed in.
This region is home to some of the largest and fastest growing churches in the country, which is a far cry from where I’m used to living. Many Christian ministries that reach out to minorities and marginalized people groups were started here in the Barcelona area and have made a huge impact. I heard today of perhaps the largest church in Spain (located in Barcelona), it is said to have 600 members. I do not believe the most important thing about a church is its numbers/attendance, but instead, its capacity to be salt and light to the world around it. At the same time, to even hear of a church where 600 people come together to worship, is incredibly encouraging! As the Spaniards say, “¡Uau!” (Translation = “Wow!”)
I’m adjusting well. My schedule is really nice. I’m able to spend time studying, helping around the seminary, running, reading, re-connecting with friends in Andalucía, working on my class from DTS, planning for the fall, etc.
I put a few pictures at the top, but I’ll take some better ones and post them in my Picasa album soon. If you have any questions, I’d love to answer them!
I’d really love to know how I can be praying for you! Thank you for making it possible to serve here.