Monday, January 31, 2011

Beyond Measure

The last two weeks were a taste of what it is to be given more than you deserve. We flew to "The Peninsula"  (what we islanders call mainland Spain) for a mandatory, TEAM Spain conference. It was a joy getting to meet all of the other missionaries who are here with TEAM, hear their hearts, and get a better picture of what God is doing in Spain. One thing that took us by surprise was the COLD. I didn't realize how quickly my blood had turned warm being in Tenerife. We didn't move with our winter attire, so we made lots of mad dashes from one building to another.
 Here we are with our Tenerife coworkers braving the cold near Toledo.

Another huge blessing was that we were able to lodge for the cost of utilities in the home of a missionary family on home assignment in the US. They have three small children, so my kiddos were elated to be able to play with new toys, and have a swing set in "their" back yard. They spent hours playing with a Thomas the Train set. I also discovered that Eliana has a deep love for dollies now! She fed, burped, soothed, disciplined, and instructed the dolls with a loud "OBEY GOD!"  

Since we also were able to use the vehicle of this family, and housing was taken care of, and we could cook our own meals vs. eating out-- and since one of our huge focuses this year is language and culture acquisition, we made a "vacation" out of the conference. We were able to stay for a total of 2 weeks in the peninsula. We are cheap skates, so we saw the outsides of lots of pretty castles and cathedrals (even the cathedrals charge admission unless you are attending mass). We were extra excited to see Toledo, as one of our neighbors who we've talked with quite extensively had told us he really wanted us to see the place. He even called today when he saw us return home to see if we made it there. Nathan purchased this gentleman a small sword letter opener as a souvenir. (Toledo is known for their swords).

A bird's eye view of Toledo.

So, not only did we get to finally meet our coworkers in Spain, have free housing and vehicle, and get to know more about the culture in Spain--- but, God even took care of a few secret desires....

I was struggling in my heart a bit with covetousness as I watched my kids play with the train set at the home we were staying. I was also lamenting how much more expensive toys like that cost in Spain. And, to set a back drop, Levi has been really wanting a white tiger figurine ever since he saw the white tiger at the zoo awhile back. It's been a topic of many conversations with him. Well, one afternoon we were blessed yet again to be at the home of a wonderful missionary family, and the wife asked me, "would your boys like some Thomas the Train toys?" She then gave them several toys and enough track to make a good loop. I was so shocked, as just the day before I was wishing we had that very thing for the kids. Then, she pulled out some figurines, and low and behold, asked, "anyone want a white tiger?" God is good, good indeed!
The white tiger at Loro Parque

That brings up the last thing I'm super thankful for from this trip. Several families courageously invited our crazy family of 6 over to their homes for a meal. That's no small thing. It was encouraging to me to get to know people better, pick mothers' brains on raising kids overseas, and forge new friendships.

So, thank you, Lord, for the ways you bless us beyond measure!  


Trish R. said...

What a wonderful time you had! I loved reading this. Thank you for blogging Julie!

nana#1 said...

I also enjoy reading your blog, it is bit more in depth to your experiences than we get on face book.
Thank you julie!

Dana said...

I can't wait to hear more! Looking forward to August...