The worship was awesome. My friend Jonathan leads worship at this church, which was really cool. The message was given not by the pastor, who was out today, but by a young guy. It was based on the story of the disciples not washing their hands before eating, and the pharisees criticizing them to Jesus. He talked about how we sometimes do things because the law tells us it's right, but we lack the heart. We pray, but our hearts are numb. That in everything, we should have the love of God. It was great. At the end of the service, the associate pastor, got up and welcomed the visitors, a custom they practice. Of course, I was the only one. Apparently sweet Paco had passed on my information, because the pastor rattled off a list of things about me... my name, where I was from, what I was doing here. My face went BRIGHT red. Laura laughed.
After the service, Laura introduced me to pretty much everybody in the church. It was so funny but so sweet. I hung out and talked a while with Dovis and Jonathan and some of their friends, Isaac, Jon Mark, and Linda. As I was leaving, Laura told me about how Dovis is going this weekend to a place called Cuenca a ways outside of Valencia to spend time alone in prayer to find the will of the Lord for his life. He's just finished school and isn't sure where he is supposed to go next. How awesome. Anyway, she has invited me over for dinner sometime next week. She also told me that should I need a thing, to call her no matter what, because she is like my mom here. She is maybe the most precious woman ever. And sweet Juan echoed her words exactly. Such a sweet family!
Because the season of Fallas officially started today, I left church and headed to the Plaza Ayuntamiento for the Mazcletá at 2:00. By the time I got there at 1:30, it was PACKED!!! During the whole of Fallas, there are TONS AND TONS AND TONS of fireworks and similar things. That's what Mazcletá was. For 15 minutes straight, it was just crazy fireworks going on 10 every millisecond. Needless to say, it was the loudest and most insane thing I've ever experienced. All the people just get so excited. Especially the last minute or so, when they're going off 30 at a time, everywhere. It's so crazy!!!!
I met up with Jessica and Macy when it was over, and we walked around for a bit. Fallas is like a 3 week long carnival/theme park. There are quioscos (kiosks) everywhere, on every corner. Which is awesome, but bad for my health, for sure. We got horchata (the delicious drink that I can't really describe) and gofres (which are like waffles, but a million times better, with chocolate or whipped cream or ice cream or a mix). After, we walked back to my house to pack a lunch for me and get some stuff, to their house to do the same. Then we were off to the beach!!!!
We walked through a couple barrios to get there, admiring all of the Falla decorations along the way.
It was my first time at the beach, and it was absolutely gorgeous.
We hung out and studied a little bit, then we ran into Josh and Emily, who are the year students with the ISA program. They are married, have been here since September, are Christians, and are really cool. It began to get kind of cold, so we went into a little café and sat and talked for a while. At around 7:00, we headed back. I caught a bus back home, and chilled.
Matilde and Cesar got home from their weekend getaway around 8:30, and we had dinner: angel hair pasta in a soup, with queso, bread, and oranges with cinnamon. After, I came up to my room, studied, skyped a little, and now I'm headed to bed! Class tomorrow!!
*Pictures (from top to bottom): a cute little street (with some Fallas decor) on the way to the beach, train tracks from the Cabañal, the strip at the beach with cute restaurantes and discotecas, the view of part of the Valencian coast, Hello Mediterranean Sea