Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day Five

God never ceases to amaze me with His beautiful creation. Today Anjani took us to Laguna Negra, which was stunning! It was absolutely breath taking. No words could be enough to describe how close I felt to God, given the peacefulness and solidarity found in the stillness of the outdoors. We climbed mountains, saw snow, waterfalls, and some were crazy enough to jump into the freezing lake. Though I didn't brave the cold water and jump in, I'd like to think that I still served a purpose for being there as I drew nearer to God by spending time in His word, writing some affies for my brothers and sisters in Christ, and spending time talking with Loly (a wonderful woman who came with us, she was so sweet and I'm so glad I took the time to get to know her) and also getting to know my friend Holly better. Oh Holly... always a joy to be around! Her laugh and smile are always comforting. We shared what God had been teaching us on this trip. God has a mighty way of revealing to me that I need to work on my patience. Yes I'm aware that patience is a virtue. As our schedule is being changed, I'm taking Brett's approach of keeping my "flexipants" on, knowing that there will be opportunities to minister to others no matter where we go! The other thing that God has been laying on my heart is to love others. Leviticus 19:18 tells us "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself..." This is perfectly displayed through the ministry team I am working with. Granted it's difficult to live in tight quarters with 30+ people for two weeks and not get irritated at some point, but I am reminded of the love that Jimmy and Anjani (who came from a Baptist church in Abilene,TX) are given and welcomed by Padre Angel and the Catholic church. They all share their identity through Jesus Christ as Christians, not their varying denominations. Prior to our arrival, despite their differences, Jimmy asked the pastor of the Evangelical church if we could sing for them and he declined. When we got here and began to sing in the streets, the pastor changed his mind and invited us to sing for their youth. This the church where David works with youth, so he was ecstatic to host us. Given the importance of the possibility of bridging the gap between the Evangelical church and the ecumenical group, we worshiped with our hearts abandoned and enjoyed a time of fellowship and community, eating dinner and singing songs (in both English and Spanish) with the youth. It was incredible to worship with these kids who are yearning and running towards God.

Laguna Negra
 Me and Lesty! 
 Brett and Kaitlin
 Lily rock climbing
 So beautiful
Tiffany and Lily
Worship with the youth

Day Four

Well needless to say I was "struggle bus-ing" and very restless this morning. Lucky for me I'm surrounded by 30+ encouraging friends that will give me the push to get through it. Also, I'm glad that the Lord is giving me strength when I am weak. We started the morning off singing for Susana (Anjani's friend). Though Susana's faith isn't stable, I know that Anjani's wonderful influence and our singing makes a difference in Susana's life and pushes her closer to God, and hopefully that is a seed that will be sowed with due time. After that we performed a flashmob type concert in the middle of a very crowded market. It was an incredible experience and one that many people were blessed by. They were in awe as they pulled out their phones to video with their huge smiles and jaws dropped. The rest of the day was very relaxing. Scott, Kaitlin, Rebecca, Ben S., and myself went with Maite and Jimmy to a small village house past the highway to deliver food to a suffering family. Maite warned us of the poor living conditions this family endured but it was worse than I could have ever imagined. This Moroccan woman and her husband were given a place to live for free. However, this house only had one working light, holes and cracks all in the walls, exposed wires, missing glass in the window panes, and a small washing machine that often leaks. Those were just a few problems aside from the fact that the house is so close to the street, so if one of the four kids were to get out, they were at risk of being hit by speeding cars. After seeing both spiritual poverty and now physical poverty in Soria, I can say that I am truly blessed for my health, financial stability, faith, family, and opportunities. This was such a humbling experience. Once we got back to the monastery, we worked in our worship teams for "Battle of the Bands," as Jimmy calls it. My group is incredible and I'm so glad to worship alongside Kaitlin, Nikki, Tiffany, Brett, and Carlos. We practiced with Roberto, his daughter Bea, and the talented Jimmy on guitar. This was a great time to learn the Spanish version of songs that I've been singing for years at church. Speaking of songs, BRH learned and sang Celebra La Vida for Jose Luis (Dr. Martin) to prepare for the pro-life celebration walk. Jose Luis delivered an emotional, heart warming devotional for us afterwards. Dr. Martin is truly an example of a humble man that walks with the Lord. Rather than marriage, Jose Luis has used the time aside from his medical practice to minister to people and to help others. This led us into a much needed emotional debrief. We were broken, pouring out the toils that Satan cursed upon us, so that we may be filled again by God's love and mercy. Debrief was a great reminder for us to love on each other through our individual struggles. Once again, I'm so blessed to be a part of BRH and to have so many brothers and sisters to pray with, worship with, minister with, joke with, etc. God is strengthening BRH and reminding us that He fulfills His promises, just as we sing in "He Never Failed Me Yet."

Visiting the Moroccan family
My wonderful and talented B.O.T.B. group

Day Three

Wow, what a day! I'm constantly reminded of God's sufficient grace and His consistent presence in my life! I'm so honored to be here in this great city of Soria, working, worshipping, and ministering with this great body of Christ. We started our day off with work groups. Mine consisted of myself, Emily Bertram, Emily Peterson, Ben Steckly, Celeste, Ben Peterson, Rebecca, Caitlin, David, and Brett. We had so much fun painting at the "transition house," where Mustafo lives. Mustafo is from Morocco, but he speaks French, Spanish, and English. Caitlin and Steckly spoke to him in French, the Petersons spoke to him in Spanish, and the rest of us handled the English. His awesome personality was funny in every language though. Later that evening we were invited to record a couple of songs live to be aired on a popular radio station in Soria. Though it was hot in that small room, we crammed in there and gave God the glory. Next task on the list was to go back to the Miron (the monastery) and perform a concert for some locals. It was incredible to see the excitement on those people's faces as they received the word of God from our songs. From that concert we header to the university to sing at the prayer meeting with some of the students. We sang several songs in Spanish that we previously practiced with them. The significance and history of their prayer meeting was incredible. While worshipping in Spanish and English, I could really feel God's presence in that room. I could not be more grateful for the work that God is doing in the lives of the people in Soria, the members of BRH, and the ecumenical group. We closed the night with a message from David (a youth minister at the evangelical church) before our debrief (which is becoming my favorite part of our days here). His devotional was about allowing ourselves to battle with God. He encouraged us to let our faith be tested so that we may grow nearer to God. This was very convicting and I'm so glad that the Lord has blessed David with the gift to minister to others, especially to us! Busy day, but I loved every second of it!

Work group at Mustafo's

BRH on the radio

Day Two

Well, day two started off with a bang! Despite restlessness, we all went to the school for an experience that touched us in many ways. We started off doing what we normally do...praise and worship through our songs. Though at first we received many blank stares and laughter, God was surely at work. After singing several songs, Anjani encouraged each of us to find a student in the classroom and carry on a conversation with English! This was a wonderful opportunity for these students to practice their English on English-speaking Americans and also a great chance for BRH to pour into these kids and shower them with love. Once we left the school, we stopped at this beautiful park to talk about our experience. My student, Paolo was 14 and so interested in hearing about my life in America, just as I was about his life growing up in Soria. He told me about his passion for sports, in particular "futbol" (American "soccer"). He asked about what I am studying at my university anf what I aspire to be. After talking to Paolo about my hopes to work in the medical field, he seemed hesitant when I asked what his goals were. I comforted him by lessening his fear, assuring him that he is not limited, and being able to speak truth into his life, telling him "For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37) Though our conversation was difficult to start up and we were both apprehensive at first, by the time it ended, God was doing His work by allowing me to speak truth into Paolo's life. He seemed to comprehend that God's plan for his life would prevail, as he is provided direction for his goals and dreams. During our discussion time at the park, Ashton, Lily, and Jami shared their story about a girl they spoke to, named Jara. She had many questions about God, who he was, etc. Jara told them that she could see the joy on their faces, something God-given, and wished to speak to them more about God. THIS WAS HUGE! This is the exact reason that we came to Spain: to serve, to share the love of God with others, and to bring light to the spiritually weak. I'm so thrilled that the Lord provided, Ashton, Lily, and Jami with the opportunity to minister and "plant the seed" to this young girl.
We sang a few songs in the chapel attached to the monastery for "La Fiesta." The people at the service were so grateful for our gifts, but we were equally blessed for their generosity of having choir students from a Baptist university in America sing at their Catholic celebration service. They were also generous enough to give us pastries that were to be auctioned for money. The people of Soria have truly warmed our hearts. For lunch, we walked down the hill to Rio Duero (the river). Though we are still adjusting to walking everywhere, it was a beautiful hike. We enjoyed a nice little picnic down on the river, enjoying the community and presence of each other in this beautiful place. I am so blessed to be here.

Had so much fun walking back with Kylie!

Day One

Wow, words cannot express how wonderful Spain is! From the minute we stepped off the plane in Madrid, I felt God's presence in this beautiful country. I was instantly comforted by God's call for us to be in Spain for these two weeks, in hopes of sharing the love of Christ with others through praise and worship. Backing up to when we were still in the U.S. at JFK Airport in New York, God was quick to send us reassurance that great things were awaiting us. A woman by the name of Linda saw us praying (not a usual occurrence to see 30 something people praying in an airport) and was curious to find out who we are. After sharing with Linda the details of the mission trip we were anxiously awaiting, we learned that she too would be serving the Lord in Spain (ironic right?). How wonderful it was to be encouraged and inspired by this woman. We circled up at our gate and prayed for Linda and her journey and she was kind enough to do the same for us. Okay, back to Soria...WE'RE STAYING IN A 9TH CENTURY MONASTERY! How many people can say that they've done that? This place is beautiful, if you don't appreciate history then staying in a monastery will definitely give you that appreciation. During our first day, we did so much already. From teaching little chicos y chicas a song called Carry the Light or Llevemos La Luz, interacting with the kiddos, taking a tour of Soria by train, to the wonderful food and hospitality provided to us by Jimmy and Anjani Cole and their two children Carson and Currian, Father Angel, and their ecumenical team. God was surely with us through it all. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us and is going to reveal to us during our time here in Spain. The power of God is so much bigger than restlessness, nausea, and jet-lag...Let it be known!

At the church, teaching the little ones "Llevemos La Luz"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hello everyone, 
Thank you so much for your continuous support and prayers. I've already been receiving so many questions and comments regarding the upcoming mission trip to Spain, I feel so blessed to be a child of God and a body full of loving fellow believers. Here's a little picture to display what greeted me as I opened my mail box the other day. This pretty little baby was waiting for me, just as I had been waiting for it for about three to four weeks. This is my very first Passport and I'm so thrilled that in 39 days I will be using it for the first, and hopefully not the last time, while I make my way to Spain. Today, during my quiet time with God I had time to reflect on the beauty of His creation. While at a great and beautiful school, Baylor University, I constantly am surrounded by blooming flowers, historic Oak trees in which the sun sneaks through the canopies, and beautiful architecture given by the gift of God. While today was a rainy, and hail-y day in Waco, Texas, it did not stop me from being consumed and overwhelmed with the appreciation for the beauty of God's creation. It is perfect and heavenly. I did not let rain stop me from partaking in a beautiful day that God had designed just for me, an unworthy child. Today I was reminded of a wonderful verse that we should apply to our lives everyday. Psalm 118:24 declares, "This is the day the LORD has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." What better to convict my spirit than the word of God? Days keep passing by, but with each day that passes I gain a better understanding of God's call for  BRH to be spreading His love and word to the people of Soria and I am so excited to meet and welcome new/renewed believers into the kingdom of God. A kingdom that I long for and seek after. Keep up the prayers, you prayer warriors! God is at work in the lives of the people in Soria, Spain. He is waiting for us to respond to His call.
In Him,

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Soria, here we come!

Hello world of blogging! 
This first post is more informative of what we will be doing. First things first, when I say "we" I'm referring to myself and my fellow BRH members. Baylor Religious Hour Choir, or BRH is a worshipping/traveling choir/ministry that I am so blessed and proud to be a member of. Fun fact of the day taken directly from the BRH website ( "The BRH choir is one of the oldest student-led organizations at Baylor University. Founded by Dick Baker in 1948, BRH has continued to minister to Baylor and Texas through regular on-campus and weekend travel concerts and also around the world in its annual mission trip. The choir is made up of fifty auditioned individuals from all areas of study that come together to sing, to encourage one another and to worship the Lord corporately as a choir and as a family." As a new member to BRH this semester, I have enjoyed getting to know all of the members and I am so grateful for their friendship and huge hearts for the Lord. I am so blessed to say that I have the opportunity to go with my fellow BRH'ers on a mission trip this summer, as BRH takes an annual mission trip every summer. This year we are going to Soria, Spain and we are all so thrilled for this wonderful experience we are anxiously awaiting. We will be there from May 13-26 and "we plan to perform at various locations around the city, visit schools, and teach worship music to different groups in the city. We will be working with a couple named Jimmy and Anjani Cole and their two children Carson and Currian. They are missionaries affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and are working to build the spiritual community in Soria. We as a choir are excited to be able to share our various spiritual backgrounds and journeys in support of this ministry. Jimmy and Anjani have partnered with other spiritual leaders in the community to form a ministry called, “Abre Tus Manos” which in Spanish means, “Open Your Hands”. They are devoted to helping individuals in Soria to find a connection in the spiritual community." (words from our Tour Coordinator, Brett!) I ask that you would pray for the hearts of the people in Soria, as we expect to bring revival to this town, also please pray for the preparation that has been invested in this mission trip, and for the hearts that are ready to serve God by spreading His word with others. Thanks so much!