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Some final reflections

Hola!!!

joel spain

joel spain

Hola!!! Its sad to say but tomorrow is my last day of being over in Spain. 2 and half months are now behind me. Hundreds of people met, many double sided kisses given, much food devoured, many Spanish words learnt (and forgotten already), my hair has grown, Iv also grown an appetite for olive oil on bread with tomatoes, Christmas and New years was spent here, and in two different cities, hundreds of kilometres covered, many coffees devoured, I have next to no money left, and many many memories locked and stored in my little brain.
I arrived back in Barcelona 2 days before New Years night and spent 4 days in Villanova, (a town just outside of Barcelona) with my friend Silvia and her mum, who kindly offered me to stay with them to celebrate new years Spanish style and to see where she grew up. Thank you so much Silvia!
My thoughts are very vague at the moment. I have been in 5 different cities in 2 months. I have flown, caught trains, buses, metro-trains, rode bikes and walked many many kilometers throughout Spain. Im not sure what to write. But since my church family back home will read this I want to say hi and thankyou to them all.
To my church family back home… Thankyou so much for helping me cover alot of the costs of this trip and also praying along side with me and showing genuine interest. I am in your debt for your financial and spiritual support. I have learnt so much from being here. About myself and about the world around me, and of course, more about Spain – the people and the nation! I look forward to coming home to share my stories and photos with you all.
Where to from here? Well Im not sure. So many thoughts have been, and are continuously, running thru my head. I have really enjoyed learning the Spanish language and culture, and also the Catalan culture. (To those familiar with Catalan history you know what I mean). I have made some great friends and connections here in Spain, and I hope to stay in touch with them, even when back in Australia. I am very thankful for the warmness and kindness of the people I have met here. I feel they have made adapting to the culture very easy and learning the language a fun experience – even if I am only speaking at a very basic level.
Mission work in Spain appears to be lively. I feel there is much Gospel work happening here. I have been to several different churches here in Barcelona alone and have met with and discussed with some of the locals about their thoughts on the state of the Christian Church here in Spain. But I have also received mixed messages about the state of Christianity here. Some seem hopeful, others are not so, but with God there is always hope. Like everywhere in our world, there is a need here. Like Jesus tells us, “the harvest is plentiful but the Labourers are few”. I have encountered a few youth based ministries and have been to several conferences, both in Barcelona as well as Madrid, which has been encouraging to witness. But as my language is limited, I wasn’t too sure on the actual content or theological depth of their sermons. I guess we will know them by their fruit. Pray for fruit and labourers to abound here in, and in the world!
I have met many people involved in, or desiring to be involved in ministry full-time. By ‘ministry’ I mean, working full-time for an organisation or church as full-time pastors, evangelists or as a worker in some capacity for the sake of the Gospel here in Spain. I could tell you of many many¬† young people I have met who are very keen to work in some kind of ministry full-time. So it has been very encouraging to see. There are many young people who are very zealous to see the Gospel message spread throughout Spain and the world, and this missionary zeal I hope to share with others back in Australia.
I have been challenged more and more about what it means to give your life for Jesus’ sake and the Gospels’, and not to settle for a life lived focussed on making a career, earning money, and giving very little for Christ. We must give ALL!!! Like Jim Elliot said, missionary who was martyred by the Waodani tribe in Ecuador ; “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot loose”. In other words, it is not foolish to give away the temporary comforts and things of this life, eg. fancy cars, houses, lots of money and good careers etc. which we cannot keep in the end; but if we loose these things now for the Gospel’s sake, in the end, we will win a greater reward after this life, which is something we cannot and will not loose! And as Jesus also tells us, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it” Mark 8:35. This is one thought and commandment of Christ that has been plaguing me throughout this whole trip!
I hope I have been a blessing in some way to the people I have met, stayed with and the ministries Iv been a part of. I will be packing tomorrow, saying some more goodbyes to people, buying some souvenirs, drinking some more coffee and getting ready for the early flight Tuesday morning.
I hope this has been a joy to read. I will try to put some more photos up when I get home, but you can see the bulk of them on Facebook. I will write up a post-trip blog and then that will be the end of this blog (as Im not much of a blogger and can’t find the time once home and back into the swing of life again!)
Till next time, Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone), Joel