Well, we’ve been here for almost 3 weeks now! Crazy! We’ve had some incredible great moments here and some very low, extremely difficult moments here! I’ve found that if I go through the day looking for things that are difficult or things that annoy me, then I could easily have a 3 month long pity party and find a gagillion things that are terrible about being here, and how unfair a lot of things are, etc. Along with that recognition also came the recognition that when I throw myself a pity party and think about all the reasons why it stinks that I have to be here, 4 huge things occur.
1) I’m telling God that He doesn’t understand me, and He has placed me in a situation that is a waste of my time; therefore, I can just think about myself for 3 months and about how much I don’t like it. (in doing this, I forfeit any and every opportunity to be used by God to do anything good while I’m here)
2) I’m a miserable person to be around and a terrible husband to Jaklyn. Not only am I no fun, but I make it extremely easy for her (who is in a lot more difficult situation than I am in that she doesn’t really know any Spanish) to join right in with me in only seeing the negatives.
3) I’m neglecting a great opportunity to learn a language that is going to be extremely beneficial in future ministry opportunities.
4) I don’t see all the great things about being here! I’m living in a huge city with everything that I could ever want to do right at my disposal!
So, about a week ago, I came to this conclusion. Again, I was listening to another Summit sermon about the Gospel (as they always are which I love) and how it should change all of life. Jason was talking about our circles of accountability and how we have specifically been placed somewhere in which the Gospel can go there because it goes in us. I had to be honest with myself in that the Gospel was changing absolutely nothing about my life here. I was completely self-absorbed, and I only saw the desires of Jaklyn and myself. (This affected my relationship with the Mercedes, the lady we live with, it affected the amount of time I spent actually trying to learn Spanish, and it affected my desire to get out and do anything so I just practically laid around and slept all day)
So! My entire perspective has changed! I feel like I wrote a lot of this stuff in the first blog, but I very hypocritically didn’t live any of it out the first 2 weeks while I was here as I took the bait of a variety of extremely tough circumstances and used them as an excuse to be a miserably selfish person. I’m super motivated now, through the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit, to be able to communicate better with Mercedes, my teachers, the other students both from Cedarville and from the other schools, and the people that I meet, so that I can use these 3 months with these people which God has placed me in the midst of, to be able to take the Gospel to them. It is very possible that other than the 6 total Cedarville students here (and there is no guarantee that everyone at Cedarville is really a believer) that I have not come into contact with a single believer since I’ve been here. Spain is so against any form of religion. They are traditionally nominally Catholic, but now a lot of people don’t even claim that. I know that you can show people Jesus through the way that you live, and I strive for the filling of the fruit of the Spirit, but it is so much easier to share Jesus with people when I can partner the way I live with my specific story of what God has done in my life, and the incredible news that the Gospel is through actually speaking about it to them. I can’t share Christ with people that I can’t talk to. That has been an extremely big motivator for me to learn more quickly.
It’s funny how much the discontent in being here shielded me from the obvious case that I don’t have to wait to get back to the states and be in full time ministry in South Carolina to use Spanish to enhance my ministry! I know that’s super obvious and probably sounds really dumb to you guys, but I honestly didn’t grasp that until this past week. Learning Spanish will enable me to be able to have ministry here and now with the people that God has placed around me here and now! I feel like I had settled into taking 3 months off of ministry and living a Gospel centered life because nothing that I was doing was in any way touched or motivated by the Gospel or by the desire to take it to the people around me.
So, I guess this has been a little bit of a heavy blog post! Sorry about that. Just thought I would reflect on what has been happening here and in order to really portray our time, I felt like sharing what God has been teaching me is the best way to do that! The story is getting better! We had an extremely rough start, but this past week has been loads better! We went from a week in which I got reprimanded or sternly talked to 4 days in a row for different things that I felt were completely not my fault or worth being reprimanded for, to playing games with Mercedes and her buying us anniversary bracelets and making us a special dessert! We are daily improving in being about to talk to her! A little perspective change has been extremely beneficial already to our time here! I’m super excited now to see how we can be used these next 3 months. We put so much pressure on ourselves to get good grades in our classes and learn Spanish so quickly that we were so stressed and uptight all the time. Now, we’re just trying to get a little better each day. That’s a lot more of an obtainable goal. Another Summit quote, this time from Kyle, I’m convinced that learning Spanish is the second reason why I’m here in Spain this semester, and that takes a lot of pressure of me! The reason I’m here is to take the gospel to these people that I’m going to be around every day for 3 months. Crazy stuff! Exciting stuff! A lot more exciting than being depressed that I’m in a difficult situation with people that are difficult to work with or be around! If you think about us and want to pray for us, pray that we would daily be motivated by the Gospel! I can write all this stuff out and sound spiritual and all, but it’s worthless and a waste of typing if it doesn’t actually translate into the way I act and live while I’m here! Pray for our marriage! In such a stressful environment, there are decisions and situations that we come into that are daily challenging to our marriage. This semester has the potential to grow us immensely and strengthen our marriage a ton, but it also has the potential to tear us apart and be extremely difficult as well! We would love for the first to occur! I know this has gotten long! Love you guys! Thanks for checking up on us! You can always email, facebook, or tweet at us. Also if you have an iphone or ipod and you get the free app Viber, you can text me for free J That would be sweet! Can’t wait to see you all again! Promise that all our posts wont be this weighty. We have more pictures to come, and some fun stuff to write about!