Friday, October 14

Lifes details....

What a whirlwind life is. Everyday it seems some new event occurs that requires adjustment on our part. Eventually we will be settled in this country but for now we walk through the challenges of bureaucracy in a foreign land.

After waiting for a month and opening a bank account so we could be direct billed for phone services we found out this week that we will not be able to get service while we are at language school. We're not totally sure why, but something to do with the lines and the timing in the little community where we live. We are disappointed to say the least as we were counting on a computer connection (via the phone company) to stay connected to people. In Madrid where we will be more permanent we will eventually be able to get a phone and get hooked up. That will be after the first of the year. For now we beg and borrow computer time where we can find it. Nothing regular though.

We are on our 7th unit for language school and it is going well. We are able to participate in conversations and make ourselves understood in many rudimentary ways. Not always in the correct verb tense but people seem to get the idea of what we want, usually. : ) We are enjoying it overall and glad to feel ourselves absorbing some of the culture where we will live.

In our apartment in a town called La Mora we only get Spanish news channels, a German sports channel, and a pbs type channel in the Catalan language. We watched the Spanish news mesmorized by the images of distruction in the US as the Hurricane Katrina hit. We saw much less coverage of Rita.

Our missionary friends here and the caretakers/administrators of the ministry center here where we go to school had a house and kids in New Orleans, so it was very intense around here as everything unfolded. Bob and Denise eventually had to go to the United States to sort out everything with their family and to try to raise some support - many of their support churches disappeared under the water.
In their absence we are helping with the ministry center while we continue to go to school. We and another woman clean the facilities and get it ready for retreats or small groups who come here from around Spain. Sometimes a missionary comes for a retreat or for research purposes. We are glad to help out and feel like we are contributing to this ministry while we are here.

We are in the process of getting a Speed the Light car. Big time THANKS to the youth in Kansas!!!! There has been a law change that none of the current missionaries knew about so we are having to jump through some strange bureaucratic hoops. All is not resolved as I write this, but somehow it will be eventually.

Thanks to everyone back home for their prayers. We appreciate you!


Sunday, October 9

Missing people and places

Sights and sounds of this place are more numerous than I will ever be able to fully describe. If living in another culture is like swimming in an ocean, I can say that the novelty of floating in the sea has given way to riptides and I have drowned.

Driving to language school from La Mora to Mas Blanc each morning, a typically mundane event in the states, is punctuated by 89 curves on a narrow road past olive groves, vindyards, almond and carob trees, crumbling towns, political graffiti, dusty sidestreets and high stone walls. Every task is burdened with beauty. I could charge people $50 bucks in the states for this drive if I served them chocolate pastries and coffee in the back seat. But for every amber ray of sun on on dusty ancient walls, there is a longing for the life with compatriots I left in Kansas.

But I can feel myself embedding deep in this place, and the words to describe the stretching deep in my spirit are not sufficient to the task. All that remains is wonder and longing. I would pay fifty euros for a Thursday night at men's group, or a game night with friends.

I've made friends with a rooster. I stand by a fence and throw old pieces of baguette at him while he crows into my face for not being more forthcoming. There are tiny lizards that could make nests in bottle caps along the walls, and I chase them with my finger. The storms, called tormentas here, remind me of Kansas as wall clouds move in from the sea and blow the rain in wet rages against the glass.

Friday night I helped prepare for the men's church dinner (fiesta de hombres) that was to begin at 10pm. That evening I was the only EstadoUnidense at the long table. I sat between pastor Juan Antonio (who is always good for a hug without a kiss) and George (horhay) from La Paz, Bolivia. Across from me was Santiago. He asked me (in Castillian) if I liked the driving here. I said (in Castillian) that I did because of the curves. Everyone laughed when I explained that Kansas was flat and straight the further oeste you went. When the 20 or so guys sang the worship songs (that I'd never heard before) I felt that I was witness to a night far back in history before a major battle or extended exploration.

Well, this is probably enough dramatics for one morning, and I will wrap it up. Hasta pronto mis amigos...