Written by Lindsay Kelly, Spring 2016 Spain student from Kansas State University! She is majoring in apparel marketing, with a secondary major in international studies, and a minor in non-profit leadership.
This semester has been beyond amazing. I did not really know what to expect
from the semester, and what I got is beyond any wildest dream. I went into the semester
completely on my own. I knew no one and thanks to Veritas I got 14 instant life-long
friends. I’ve always said that you have quicker and deeper relationships with fellow
believers and that was so true of this semester. Sharon and Carey had us over to their
house our 2nd weekend and we were all crying and hugging late into the night.
Testimonies were shared, walls were broken down, and Jesus was praised. These are
the moments I will remember forever. Never have I been surrounded by such diverse,
determined, inspiring ladies. Their love for the Lord ignites mine.
Lara was such an amazing mentor. I connected with her from the beginning. She
was with us every step of the semester. She is so easy to talk to and is always
so encouraging. I loved being able to get involved with her life and check out the
ministries she is involved in. Bible study with her every week was such a refreshing time
and it was great to be with our strong community. I was continuously amazed at who our
group would invite to our meetings. It was so fun to watch the group grow and grow. I
can’t imagine the semester without this group. It put me at peace the whole semester
knowing that I had Godly friends that valued me and were invested in me.
The mission side of things panned out very differently than I had originally
imagined. In a country like Spain when economic poverty isn’t the problem, but vast
spiritual poverty is the issue at hand you have to look at ministry in a totally different
way. I had never been exposed to this type of “mission work” before and it was so
interesting to hear about it from our mission mentors. They have invested in people for
years and sometimes they don’t see the seeds bear any fruit. Spaniards are slow to
open up, and slow to warm up to the idea of Jesus. They have “everything” they need
and don’t “need” Jesus to be their anchor and stronghold. I respect missionaries in
Spain so much, but after the semester I don’t see myself in this area of the mission field,
working in a well-developed country. I love that this experience has narrowed down and
focused in on what I feel I am really called to and what my skill set is accustomed to.
Argue ably the most important part of my time in Spain was making relationships
with the Spaniards. It has been so hard saying goodbye to them. I have been blessed to
make so many great friendships and I hate having to leave them right as a bond is
being made. It is easier to say goodbye to my new American friends knowing that the
odds I can see them regularly are very high. But with the Spaniards you can never be
sure, and Lara repeatedly told us not to make any promises. So many natives have
made an impression on my heart. First, we have my awesome host mom, or as she
prefers amiga, and my host sister Claudia who is 3 years old. Though it wasn’t always a
perfect relationship I feel so lucky to be able to spend 3 months with them and are so
thankful that they opened their home to me. I loved how comfortable I felt in the home
and how the bond between my little sis and I grew. I definitely shed some tears saying
goodbye. I liked telling Lola we were praying for her because she always seemed so
surprised. I think inside it made her feel good that someone cared for her on that level
because she has never experienced that before.
My Spanish friends my age also have become very important to me. Our
intercambio David quickly became such a good friend. Him and his sister Estrella
started hanging out with us extremely regularly. Though they weren’t originally who I
was matched up with for an intercambio we quickly became a solid group. It was mind
blowing for them to have friends that were all about Jesus. As believers, they are
surrounded by nonbelievers and we loved being able to encourage them in their faith.
They were able to bring us to their church and let us become part of their community.
My favorite thing to do while in Spain was to hang out with them and their friends. I truly
felt like I was part of the culture and the city. A lot of these kids I was hanging out with
were 15 and 16. I loved the idea of being an older role model but when in their country I
was constantly following them. My favorite of the group is Lucas. He is 15 and I loved
hearing his story. He has one of those personalities that is magnetic, that draws
everyone in, and everyone wants to be around him. Kind of like our friend Jesus. He
always has a smile, is always positive, and has such charisma. He can talk to anyone
with such ease and grace. I have a big spot for him in my heart and I plan on continuing
to invest in him as the year goes on. He is one of those people that I know I will see
again. These friends I have made an impact on me that they are not even aware of. The
fact that they care for me, allowed me to hang out with them, translated for me, care for
me, and helped me live like a Spaniard enhanced my time abroad 100%.
I saw Jesus in ways I’ve never seen him before. He has done a lot of work in my
mind in heart over these past 3 months. I am forever thankful for this time and praise
God for bringing me on this journey. My Veritas group will always and forever be
important to me. I didn’t expect to have friends all over the country after the semester. I
cannot wait to travel the country and spend time with my friends. I also didn’t expect to
have lasting friendships in Spain and that is such a blessing to my life. I’ve learned that
being a missionary doesn’t always mean having to accomplish incredible things or
making huge impacts but that investing in people and their lives in the most important
thing you can do. From being intentional the huge impacts will follow suit.