Reflecting in Espana

Written by Spain Fall student, Jessie Lirios! See more of her posts at https://seekingsonlightblog.wordpress.com/blog/ 

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My heart and mind are scattered as I look back on this past week. Classes started, weekly Bible study began, and friendships grew deeper. I was missing my friends, my sweet niece, and my dog. There were times of immense gratitude, abundant joy, jittery nervousness, profuse excitement, and lots and lots of reflection.

I am grateful for uplifting, fruitful conversations with new friends here in Spain as well as with friends back home in the States. I am grateful for my Veritas mission mentors and the way they embraced all of us new students with such kindness and hospitality. I am grateful for the introduction of a more consistent routine that accompanied the start of classes. I am grateful for kind people, security in God’s faithfulness (Psalm 91 was where I spent most of my mornings), and the ability to communicate with loved ones across the world. I am grateful that I can ask God to lift me up when I am feeling down and to be answered with joy so overwhelming I cannot stop smiling or adequately explain it except to say that the love of Jesus does phenomenal things in our hearts.

I get nervous when I struggle to communicate in a language that is not my own. I get nervous when I do not know where I am or how to navigate my way around a new city. I get nervous about doing well in all of my classes. I am nervous about sharing some of my thoughts and my heart with others. However, the wonderful truth about all of these things that make me nervous is that none of them are insurmountable. Actually, the strength of the Lord gives me confidence enough to say that they are all incredibly conquerable.

There are many aspects of this semester about which I am rather excited, too. I am excited for the relationships that are being developed. I am excited to learn so many new things, both in the classroom and out; I am excited to study cultural differences, my academic subjects, God and others and myself. I am excited to start spending mornings with children of refugee families as I make them breakfast and help them get ready for school. I am excited to learn how to make breakfast that is more complex than cereal and toast. I am excited to see where this adventure takes me. I am also excited about truths God has placed on my heart.

Jesus is the ultimate example of crossing cultures and using the languages of service and love to reach others. We serve a God whose love supersedes cultural barriers. The Gospel can and does change the hearts of his people, no matter the language they speak, the food they eat, or the measurement system they use (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are able to build relationships with people from other parts of the world because our Creator is a relational God who wants us to love one another, regardless of our differences. We are called to see and treat others as Jesus does. Our Lord and Savior bridged the way for us to be able to spend eternity with him; we can certainly learn how to bridge the gap between cultures so that God’s people can praise him together here on Earth as we will in Heaven.

That leads me into one more topic of reflection and discussion from this week: this world is our temporary home (cue the Carrie Underwood song). During a conversation with one of my friends, we talked about how, no matter how great the location or environment is, we never feel 100% at home. No place here on Earth will ever fill us with complete contentment-nor a sense of permanence because God has so much more for us in Heaven (Titus 3:7). Granted, some people have a bit more wanderlust within them than others, but eternity with God will be so much greater than any destination on this planet.

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Check out Jessie’s program here! If you have questions,  

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