EC 2014

Originally written Saturday, June 28, the day after English Camp ended.

I (Krista) breathed a huge sigh of relief from the sound booth at church yesterday when we dismissed the kids at 1:30P.M.. A whole week with 40 kids, 20 volunteers, and no major accidents is a lot to be thankful for. Our maiden voyage with English Camp had gone better than any of us could have ever imagined. My role for English Camp varied from moment to moment, but mainly consisted of Volunteer Coordinator/Camp Director.

Yesterday evening, Friday the 27th, we had the closing ceremony for the kids and their parents. We served brownies and chocolate chip cookies to give them a real taste of the USA. Each child was given a certificate from their teachers for the Best Listener, Most Improved, Best Helper, Best Swimmer, etc. As we ended the evening, I noticed a woman crying. It was the mother of two girls who really love English but couldn’t pay to attend. Due to the generosity of many, we were able to go back to her and say that there are people who would like to cover the cost of the camp for her two girls. She couldn’t believe people who don’t know her would be willing to be so generous to her family. When I saw her yesterday evening, I navigated through the crowd to touch her arm and say that we had a wonderful time with her sweet girls. She was weeping and couldn’t do more than touch my hand and say, “Thank you”.

As I stood by the door, saying goodbye to the parents last night, I couldn’t help but think it was all worth it. To see our church building filled with families who had previously had no contact with our church, and some even a little skeptical sending their kids to EC, to seeing them not wanting to leave and saying what a shame that EC only lasts a week. A mother commented to me how these few days with us had encouraged her children like never before to learn English. Several moms commented on how well-done the camp was and confessed they had been a little wary of sending their kids to a summer camp organized by Christians. The mother of two boys said after getting to know us that all her doubts had been resolved.

Last Monday, we started with a little over 30 kids. By Friday, we had 40. The numbers climbed steadily throughout the week as word got out in our area and more friends and neighbors of campers started signing up. Many people told us that nobody would come, and that it would be a big financial loss. Not to our credit, we reached our maximum number of kids and will end without a loss.

We had over 15 volunteers come from California, Colorado, Texas, and North Carolina to serve as teachers for EC. A large group left on Monday, and others have been leaving throughout the week. We are so thankful for their flexibility and all they sacrificed to make EC possible. They were the key to building relationships with new families.

Thank you for your prayers and support! In spite of the many challenges, we are encouraged to by God’s faithfulness. Time and again, He asked us to believe Him and take risks in faith. We were able to serve our city in a tangible way and connect with new people to build Gospel relationships. Thank you for standing with us and making it possible to serve our local church, our city, and others in Spain!

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On the move!

We were able to return to our (old) apartment at the end of April. We waited a week to hear back from another apartment we made an offer on to find out they wouldn’t rent to us because the main source of our income is from the U.S. The owners and the real estate company saw us as too great a risk, assuming we probably wouldn’t be able to pay our rent, and didn’t want to have a hard time later trying to evict us. Low and behold, all things work together for our good and He knew what was better for us. We signed a lease on May 8, and had two days to scramble to pack everything. A group from church came with two cars to help us move on May 10. It was an all day adventure. Can you imagine us putting out Ikea bed together at 11:30p.m.?

Through relationships with the local church, partnerships with other mission organizations we’re encouraged to use those connections for missions in Spain. We are currently pursuing several options for future ministry and would be grateful for your prayers over the next couple of months as we prepare for a transition. Our time here has been of great challenge and blessing. We’re investigating ministry opportunities in Catalunya and elsewhere in Spain. The leadership of our local church here is helping connect us with churches and church planters who are looking to partner with others for the Gospel. We’re looking forward to confirming our future ministry before we return to the U.S, this December.

After submitting the paperwork last December, we are still in the first stage of acquiring residency for Edu in the U.S.. Because of this, our move to the U.S. is closer to December than what we had originally thought. We really haven’t had time to think about that much lately though because we’ve got a big project on the horizon…

Our first English Camp, June 23-27. Our local church has gotten behind this project and we’re hoping for 40 campers for our maiden voyage. Planning for this camp has been nothing short of miraculous. Time and again the leadership team has prayed, “Lord, we need you to show up. We need your help.” At one point, we had no camp director, no funds, no legal coverage, no insurance, and no camp curriculum. It has been an exercise in faith and prayer to ask for one step, see the Lord provide, and then ask for another. Today, almost all of those requests have been answered.

Due to the economic situation of many families in our area, we would like to let you know there is an opportunity to help sponsor a child for the English Camp. If you would be interested in helping send a student to English Camp for 60€/$80, please let us know. I spoke with the mother of two girls recently about signing up. She said that unfortunately, their car broke down this month and it cost €500 to have it repaired. She told me she has a part-time job but it ends at the end of June. After that they’ll only have one income. Her girls love English and all I could say was, “I understand”, when she told me they couldn’t afford it. I would love to be able to call her back and tell her there might be a way for her daughters to come if she’s still interested. We are hoping to help sponsor 10 campers for this year’s English Camp.

Please pray for the campers, their families, the volunteers, the safety of the children throughout the week, and that hearts would be softened to understand the Gospel. We hope to serve our city and be living testimonies to the children and families that will take part.

Thank you for your commitment to see the Gospel proclaimed in Spain. We are continually amazed to see the Lord provide for us through our ministry partners. We consider it a privilege to pray for you and serve together!

Some interesting facts.

Some things you may or may not know about Barcelona:

  • Sant Jordi, or St. George, is the patron saint of Barcelona and St. George’s Day is the Catalan Valentine’s Day. Boys give girls a rose, and girls give boys a book.
  • It has taken longer to build the Sagrada Familia than the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Much longer. It is estimated to be finished in 2026.
  • None of the beaches in Barceloneta are real. Before 1992, it was an industrial area. The area was completely changed for the olympics many years ago and turned into a leisure area with upscale restaurants.

 

Diada Nacional de Catalunya, 11 de Septembre 1714

September 11th is a national holiday here in Catalunya. Sept. 11th commemorates the day that the Catalan troops lost their struggle against King Phillip V of Spain at the Siege of Barcelona. The battle was fought during the War of Spanish Succession. For most Catalan people this is a very significant holiday and for many it is a reminder of the cause for Catalan independence. The yellow and red striped flag is the official flag of Catalunya today. However, the yellow and red striped flag with a blue triangle and a white star is a flag that represents Catalan independence.

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We went out yesterday afternoon to see what all the fuss was about and were surprised to find the main streets closed off and see a human chain that went all the way across our town. We later found out it was part of an even larger human chain that covered 400 kilometers! Here are a few pics from what we saw yesterday!

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A local tradition!

Castell: A castell is a human tower built traditionally in festivals at many locations within Catalunya. At these festivals, several colles castelleres or teams often succeed in building and dismounting a tower’s structure.

Fruits & Vegetables

One of the things I love about Spain are the fruit and vegetable stands along the sidewalk. The one I like to visit, Can Serrat, is just around the corner from our flat. The quality is good with several fruits and veggies being locally grown. The price is a little less than a supermarket and the “ofertas” can be a steal. The other day, I bought 2 kilos of Navel oranges for €1,00. I also like the fact that they know me and it’s a small neighborhood place where some people on our street have been buying their produce for years. ImageImageImage

The next few years in Catalunya…

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We recently mentioned the elections here and how the winning party would likely shape the future towards national independence or towards collaboration with the federal government.

Without going into much detail, the winning president (Artur Mas) has clearly stated that one of the party’s fundamental goals in the next four years will be to hold a referendum to form a new European country. Will it actually happen? We don’t know. But we do know that in the meantime, there are many opportunities to listen to people and point them to an eternal citizenship full of hope. Jesus’ word’s to his disciples are very encouraging to us during this time. Our freedoms and food are not the essence of life.

 

“Do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying…your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom and these things will be added to you…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:29-34