Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Heading to Castellón!

This Friday we head to the province of Castellón for almost a week to explore some ministry possibilities there with our friends and coworkers, Francisco & Shirley Gross.  For those of you who aren't up on your Spain geography, we have the map above to help you locate where we'll be:  it's on the Mediterranean coast just a couple hours south of Barcelona.

ECM has various points of ministry there (check out the map below to locate them, if you like):
  • El Grau, where a church was planted 10 or 15 years ago (we think).
  • Benicarló, where we have another church plant project going.
  • Onda, where the Gross' began a church plant in 2004.
  • Alcora, where there is no evangelical church but there is a small family of believers who want to help begin planting one, with the help of the church in Onda and ECM.

Please pray for us this week, that we would begin to get to know these churches and believers, that we would be able to encourage them, and that the Lord would guide our steps and conversations throughout the week.  Also, please pray that we, along with the ECM Spain field council, would begin to sense where it is that we might fit here.  Most of all pray that people in the province of Castellón would come to know Christ.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's Snowing in Córdoba!

After we arrived home from church and had started eating lunch, we looked out our third story apartment window and saw that it was snowing!  Having lived in New Jersey and PA for all of our married life (and B.J. having grown up in Illinois), you'd think that this wouldn't be a big deal for us...but we live in sunny and warm Córdoba, Spain!  And right now it's neither sunny nor warm, but it's fun that it's actually snowing, which rarely ever happens in the city of Córdoba (maybe once every four or five years, tops).  Above you can see a video of our Australian friend and ECM coworker, Chloë, react to the snow.  Being an Aussie from Sydney, she's only seen snow in person 4 or 5 times in her entire life! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

¡Feliz Día de los Reyes!

The majority of the world has long said goodbye to the Christmas season (no doubt Walmart already has its Valentine's Day products on display), but here in Spain the Christmas spirit is still going strong.  'Why?' you ask:  because today is Kings' Day or, in official terms, el día de los Reyes Magos.  It's a day that remembers the arrival of the Biblical Wise Men to Bethlehem to present the baby Jesus with gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh, and for Spanish boys and girls it's more important than Christmas because last night their Majesties, the Kings, left gifts for them to open up this morning!

In anticipation for this morning, Córdoba (like nearly every other town here) hosted its annual parade, which boasted floats from which select boys and girls threw candies, small stuffed animals, and occasionally DVDs to the bystanders crowded along the parade route.  The climax was the arrival of the final three floats which carried the kings:  Melchor (who represents Europe), Gaspar (representing Asia), and Baltasar (who represents Africa).  As first year missionaries, we were obligated to go out and participate, and now we're trying to figure out what to do with our pile of candy.

From our perspective, we really appreciate this cultural holiday since it's based on the Biblical story and seems to create a natural link between there and here.  You might even think that this would give Spanish families more reason to emulate the Magi in their worship of Jesus, but it turns out that they are mostly consumed with iPods, PS3's, clothes and whatever else they've given or received this Kings' Day.  As with Christmas in the States, it seems that materialism has crowded out the heart of this holiday.