This blog is from Saturday AND Sunday :)
Saturday I woke up very early so I could meet everyone at the park to feed the homeless. This project was started by a sweet man named Fran (a local pastor) and his two daughters, Cristina (20) and Jasmín (17). I left here around 8:20 on my bike, and five minutes down the road my brakes snapped off! It was awful! I walked my bike back and called Markos to tell him what happened. He of course insisted that they would wait on me to get out there. I caught a bus and finally found my way around 9:30. Macy and Jessica showed up around 10:00. We walked down into the río antigüo (old river - now the big park) and met up with the rest of the group. They were with a group of homeless men from Africa who spoke mostly french. We'd brought breakfast and hung out and talked with the guys for about an hour. Buna, my favorite, was this sweet, sweet man who had the most precious smile. He didn't know much English or Spanish, but his smile would warm the heart of even the coldest scrooge. We gave each of the men a card for an urban mission in the downtown area that provides food and showers and skills workshops for the homeless.
After we left the park, Markos, Jessica, Macy, Josué, María, Esteban, Vicente, Cristina, Jasmín, and myself went to get coffee at a little place in the nearby shopping center. We talked for awhile, and when we were done, we prayed for the men we'd just spent time with, and also for two of Cristina's friends who don't know the Lord who she'd invited to come.
As we were leaving, it began to rain, so Markos, Esteban, Jessica, Macy and me went inside the mall. Jessica and I bought some Spanish cd's comparable to the NOW cd's in the states :) Markos eventually took us home. For lunch, we had potatoes and cauliflower, with bread and fruit. Delicious as always.
I was tired, so I took a bit of a siesta at around 4:30. I slept til 6:00, woke up and packed my stuff, then caught the number 7 bus to church. I met Jessica, Macy, and Samu (Samuel) there. We went upstairs for the young adult service. We played team pingpong for a while, then Pastor Eduardo got up to speak. At the beginning, Jessica, Macy and I had introduced ourselves and told where we were from (Houston, Texas and Alabama). When Pastor got up, he said he has a friend in Houston and that he's seen the movie Sweet Home Alabama. I loved him from that point on - it was just so precious that he was instantly trying to be relatable and make us feel more welcome. He then gave a sweet message on I Timothy 4:12. After, they elected 3 people to form the youth committee: David (our friend), Raquel, and Isabel (Ivan's wife).
When the meeting was over, we all headed out to Picanya, a little suburb of Valencia, to Carla's house for David's birthday party. Those in attendance: David, Carla, Toni, Esteban, Markos, Lukas, Samu, David #2 (aka Dobis - a new friend), Cristina, Gabi (David's little sister), and Sara (another new friend). We played Singsong (karaoke game, like guitar hero, for PS2) for a long time, and hung out. We finally had dinner around 11:30 - Paella, fried chicken, salad, chorizo, bread, nuts - a real feast! It was absolutely incredible. Carla is an amazing cook. We each went around the table and toasted sweet David, the new 22-yr-old. After dinner, we hung out a little bit, and then there was dessert - whiskey pie and vanilla/caramel pie. I didn't have any because my stomach was hurting, but by the looks of it, it as great, as well.
After dinner, we sat around talking for a while. I eventually went to lay down because of my stomach, and Markos brought me an infusion to help the pain. Macy and Jessica joined me a little bit later, and we went to sleep.
At 9:30 this morning, Samu came to wake us up. We went to have breakfast (magdalenas and coffee, like always) and then we got ready. We left Carla's around 10:45 and headed to catch the metro. We finally got to church around 11:30. Pastor Eduardo had just started. I caught alot of the sermon, but definitely not all. He talked about how sometimes we have a vision of God in our heads that isn't the real God - that we create a fabrication of him that isn't true. That God is God and his character never changes. He went on to talk about ways in which we can serve the Lord, but that most importantly, more important than our deeds, that He must be the center of everything that we do and that the church does. If God is in the center of everything, all else will follow. He is a sweet man.
After the service, we chatted with Ivan for a bit, then headed home. Señora was making a cool twist on paella using pasta instead of rice. She showed me a little of what to do. Cesar (the oldest brother) and his girlfriend joined us for lunch to day, so we were seven people. We had the paella-like dish, chips and dip, bread, and dessert - kiwis on oranges and also fig pudding - which was superb.
After lunch, I came up to the room and took a 5 HOUR SIESTA from 3:30 to 8:30. Lindsey had already left for the soccer game when I woke up. I went down and helped Señora with dinner, then we ate - papá, mama, Miguel and me. We had peas and bacon, bread, mussels, and fruit.
I came back up to my room, and since then I've been skyping (Lee, Sarah, and my mom) and cleaning my room and doing homework.
This weekend was so great. I feel so, so blessed to have found friends to fellowship with while I'm here - friends I know I'll keep for the rest of my life. Precious people who invite you into their home after knowing you for an afternoon and who bring you medicine and infusions when you're feeling sick. The Lord is so good, so faithful. And he never changes!
En los brazos de Jesús,
*Pictures (from top to bottom): All of us at the dinner table, Me with Gaby and David, Markos and David singing karaoke, Esteban and Lukas singing karaoke, Carla and María with David's birthday cakes, David blowing out his candles, The boys - Markos, Esteban, and David - being goofy with balloons