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Joel Gosper

Yes I have landed in Barcelona – 5 days in! The flight was smooth. I had a whole row to myself from Singapore to Barcelona so I got to lie down and get some real sleep – even for a few hours.
First day I met the Gifford family and set up camp at their apartment. They are truly genrous as its only a small apartment – especially for a 6 person family, yet they have graciously welcomed me and allowed me to stay with them for my first week in Spain. Thankyou Andrew and Domonic!

La Sagrada Familar

La Sagrada Familar

My first day here I went for a huge walk thru Barcelona´s east side. I got to see La Sagrada Familar! as you can see in the picture. All I can say is wow! And on my first day here too! I am yet to see inside, but will hopefully have a tour before I leave or when I come back to Barcelona! I have connections which might get me in for free too!
Day 2 and already experienced the difficulty of not knowing the language. I got to meet some locals at the pub below my apartment and shared a beer with an Australian. He was generous to introduce me to some more locals and the owner of the pub. Everyone here stays up till late hours of the night. Family and children are seen walking around the streets up to 10, 11 or even 12 at night. Dinner here is eaten at a late hour – 10 for most spaniards! Its really nice. A great family atmosphere and plenty of life happening at night. Very different from Australia, especially North Coast where everyone is usually in homes eating dinner at 7 and watching TV.
Lots of people here ride bikes, small cars or scooters. Lots of life happening on the streets. Probably due to such a dense population in such a small living space.

Day 3 went to Girdona, north of Barcelona just below France. BEAUTIFUL! The history of that place is awesome. Its like, “yeah we have church buildings here built in the 1300´s so what!?” … and Australian was found in he late 1700´s! Good one Australia! Ha, so yeah the history here in Spain is really interesting.

Day 4 visited a Baptist church in Gracia, Inglesia Evangelica Baptist. The sermon of course was in Spanish but I was given headphones so I could listen to it in English. Was beautiful. The church was celebrating Reformation Day (31st of October), so the pastor took us thru a brief history of the church from the Apostle´s to today and how the church is always in need of reforming back to the scriptures – the foundation of Christianity. The doctrines that he emphasised were those emphasised by the early reformer´s: Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia and Soli deo Gloria! The whole point of the sermon was to continue going back to God´s word and applying it to our lives. This is true reformation! Also enjoyed in the sharing the Lord´s supper with the church, it was very reverent and a wonderful time to reflect on the finished work of Christ and the great victory He won for us! Solus Christus! These doctrines are foundational to true Christianity and were refreshing to here an exposition on them and their importance to keep at the centre of our faith. I got to meet my translator ´Roger´ at the end of the service and he kindly invited me back to his apartment for lunch and fellowship. This was a refreshing time to here his faith and how to Lord has worked throughout his life. I got to try a Spanish desert made of cream cheese and honey with walnuts. I will bring this one back to Australia! PS. If you are not aware of the history of the church, of the 1500´s reformation or what the word ´reformation´ means, please research this and discover why this is apart of your inheritance as a Christian, how this impacts on your faith today and why our forefathers in the faith shed their blood for these doctrines. And if you aren´t a believer, research and learn why God´s word, the Bible, is so valuable to Christians´ and what it has to say about eternal life and the truth of Jesus that has stayed the same throughout the centuries.
Day 5 I have started Spanish language school. Afterwards caught up with a friend ´Indy´who I met at the Giffords  church and joined their University Bible study group for a study on Acts 17 with prayer at the end. It was refreshing to see other Christian student´s on campus in Barcelona reading God´s word and praying and being a witness on the campus there. Remember to pray for them, there´s not many workers on the University campuses here in Barcelona. Out of the 15 or so Universities here in Barcelona there are only 3 fulltime staff workers for University ministry! That´s really nothing compared to Australia. And pray for me as I consider this need.
Then spent the rest of the evening walking thru Barcelona with Indy and getting acquainted with this beautiful city. The architecture here is amazing! My memory verse for this week has been Psalm 119:130, “The unfolding of your words gives light, it imparts understanding to the simple”. This is a great comfort to me in a place where words are important to navigate thru the city. If I can´t learn the language and understand it I can´t really buy food, travel thru the city or ask for directions. So it´s important I get understanding! But even if I can´t understand many things in this city and often feel quite confused I know that God´s word gives light, and it impart understanding. When we hold to His word, and feed on it in our hearts by faith we have all the understanding we need in this world. Yes its important we learn things such as languages and alike in order to function in God´s world, but when it comes down to the most fundamentally important thing we need in life – its not found in posessions, education or ´culture´, but God´s precious word. It holds the keys to true wisdom, true understanding – the word´s of eternal life – which we need to hear and feed on every day! Be encouraged, there is great comfort found in God. Its not found in massive buildings and structures like La Sagrada Familiar or big important cities, as wonderful as they are, but it´s found in the message of Jesus Christ and His Saving work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that is bringing life to millions in our world – even on the University campuses here in Barcelona!

Grace and peace, till next time, Soli deo Gloria.

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