Sunday, June 14, 2009

Becoming Nothing, Part 1

Having lived in Spain for a couple of months now, we've had some time to experience life and reflect a bit on what we're doing here. We think we've begun to understand in a more personal way what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5-7:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made Himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

Christ, though He was and is truly God, with all the glory and honor and power that entails, humbled Himself and became a human embryo, spent 9 months in the womb of an unknown Jewish peasant girl named Mary, was born, and led a little known life in the backwoods town of Nazareth in Galilee until the age of 30. The King of the universe became a nobody for the sake of saving humanity.

We've discovered that our lives as missionaries here in Spain are not all that different from our Lord's. As B.J. & Rachel Whitaker in the U.S., we were fairly well-known within certain circles; you might say that there was even a level of fame that came with being missionary candidates to Spain. We were invited to speak and preach and be "the missionaries" at churches and events. Rachel was known as a social worker and counselor, and B.J. was invited to speak at youth retreats and workcamps. On top of that, we knew who we were and how life worked when we lived in the States.

But now we are in Spain. Outside of our organization, nearly no one knows us. People don't understand what these two Americans are doing here. Despite Rachel's childhood here, neither of us really understands how life works here. B.J. neither understands nor speaks the language well. We have become nothing here, and this is not some tragic, cosmic mistake: this is where God has led us.

This is not new for God; He has led countless missionaries to this place of nothingness before, for this is the path that God the Son walked first. Becoming nothing is the way that God has saved, is saving, and will save the world, and we are humbled to be a part of what He is doing here in Spain.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

La Feria in Córdoba

Last week was Córdoba's annual Feria. It is similar to a county or state fair in the States in that there are rides, junk food and plenty of alcohol, but that may be where the similarities end. Here are a few photos that may give you a better feel for what the Feria was like.
The entrance to the fairgrounds pays homage to Córdoba's unique Arabic influence.

An attractive couple takes advantage of the picturesque scenery for a Kodak moment.

A sevillanas dance exhibition during a very hot afternoon--a magnificent portrayal of one aspect of the rich culture of Andalucia.

Women adorn themselves in traditional Sevillanas dresses during the week. Some men wear traditional outfits, too, but not nearly as much as the women and children.