Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The Chronicles of Salamanca: Secret Assimilation, The End is Far Away
It's winter now, as I sit inside the poorly-heated school building with my fleece gaiter and down jacket on. I've heard the horror stories of the Salamanca winter, and now have begun to get my first glimpse of their reality. Things have been moving, progressing step by step. This weekend, a few friends came to visit from Atlanta, Corey B and Emily Kohl. Emily's in for the week, and Corey took off yesterday to get back for a Chic-fil-a opening. It was wonderful having Corey around, he brought a sense of home to this place that still feels a bit too foreign sometimes. I love that guy.
But, I've begun to assimilate more and more into the lifestyle prescribed. Eating dinner after 9 pm and staying out with friends until well after midnight has become somewhat of a regular occurrence. I believe this to be the greatest struggle of living here in Spain: the schedule. But, as stated, it's progressing and I'm very pleased.
Let's see. This past weekend, we went with a group of ten or so to see the local soccer team play. It was a blast, I bought a scarf and learned new ways to curse at the visiting team's players. It felt very Spanish, and was a terrific experience. I hope to return, maybe with a Spaniard or two that can teach me the songs and chants and such.
En Vivo is moving along. We have had excellent attendance over the last few weeks at both our Tuesday night "Conexion" meeting and Thursday's "Cafe Ingles." There are several relationships that are in beginning stages that potentially will grow more and more intimate as time progresses, and I am excited at this prospect. Christ clearly has something in mind, and I am growing more and more convinced that it is something specific and intimate; one relationship, one conversation, one spoken word. So, my prayer is to remain available, to give of myself every opportunity I have while practicing discernment, never fixing, only listening and loving. The communication of love is a great casualty of the pronounced language barrier. While I can communicate that I am a nice person; that I like whomever I am speaking with, communicating love is an entirely different venture. I have to trust that my time and broken communication are being used by Christ to speak of love and redemptive community despite how difficult it is to clearly communicate in this foreign place. But, such is ministry, I suppose. There is life to share, and it's a blessing to share it with these people, and from another perspective.
So, as the winter takes over, we are moving forward. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers and letters and emails. He is good, and he is working tremendous truth in the face of disorientation and occasional alienation. More to come. Go Cards and God Bless.