Proverbs 16:3

I’ve been so excited to start the process of preparing for Spain, and I feel so encouraged by all of my friends and family, and even STRANGERS that have been praying for me! I’m already seeing God’s provision through all of your support. Here is an update on where I am at with financial partnership:

February Update Graph

Thank you to everyone who has given so far, and those who are praying about being a financial partner! I’m so excited for what God is doing in Barcelona, and that He’s bringing me into it. I would love to talk to you more about it over coffee or lunch!

“If you entrust all you do to Adonai [Master], your plans will achieve success.”

Proverbs 16:3

Advertisements

Inexplicable Knowledge

“Despite the obstacles, I felt a surprising level of comfort living in Uganda most of the time. I felt I was born to be there, and in many ways, living there seemed more natural than living in my native country. I had the unexplainable feeling, a settled knowing, that I was where I was made to be. I knew deep in my soul that I was home.” -Katie Davis

I have never found a quote that sums up my burden for the Hispanic people more than this one. Really, for 12 years, I have had this inexplicable, down-to-my-core knowledge that I was not meant to live in in the U.S. Every time I returned to any Spanish-speaking country, I felt more at home there than in my own country.

God didn’t just “tell me” that he was calling me to be a missionary when I was 13 years old. It wasn’t a conversational exchange of facts about my future life. He reached deep down into the core of who I was, removed my own ambitions and dreams, and completely replaced them for His. It was like His passion for the Hispanic people became interwoven in my DNA. It’s not what I am to do– it’s who I am.

That’s what makes this all so exciting. Most people think of being a “missionary” as tiring and sacrificial. Of course, this time will have its difficulties, and I will be stretched more than I ever have been. But the passions HE has given me are so much more substantial and breath-taking then any barrier that may weigh me down.

IMG_2543

Father Abraham…

…had many sons. And many sons had Father Abraham.

Here we are on Thanksgiving, chanting this song in a valiant effort to calm down my distressed niece after 3 hours of driving to Fort Worth, sitting in traffic, trying to find a parking spot to attend the Festival of Lights, failing repeatedly to find a parking spot, giving up, and making the trek back home. And as my mom desperately and hopefully serenades Skylar, my mind immediately flashes back to exactly one year ago– to my Thanksgiving in the Himalayas. We had stopped in a Tibetan village to teach 5 children at a local school about proper hygiene. Our wonderful leader, Chandra, suddenly asked us to teach the kiddos a song, and my mind dug deep into my Children’s Church years to give me one song: Father Abraham. As our little audience stared us with a look mixed with intrigue and shock, we continued through all 5 motions of Father Abraham. Eventually, I had the sense to INCLUDE the kids in the, well, KIDS song, and they joined in with giggles. Following the unconventional school lesson, we played soccer and passed out stickers– all while in the center of the most beautiful valley. Out of the whole trip, it was truly one of my favorite moments.
1456700_10151739027186949_870460801_n

What a vast contrast between my past 2 Thanksgivings! I decided to go back into my journal and reminisce on my time in the Himalayas, which is where I found my Thanksgiving Day journal entry:

*Scratch scratch*
*Rustle*

I begin to rouse out of my deep sleep and transition into reality. Cracking my eyes open, I see nothing. Wide open now—still nothing. It’s pitch dark, and I am unable to move. Panic strikes me. I reason with myself: I’m physically restricted due to my mummy sleeping bag, and I can’t see anything because I am in fact, in the Himalayas, and it’s probably 5am. But something still isn’t quite settling about those scratching sounds I hear all around me— and the fact that I can’t see or move isn’t helping. I check my watch, and it is indeed 5am. Great. Thank you, jet lag. Nepal is exactly 12 hours ahead of Texas, so I give myself some credit for being able to shift time zones as much as I have in 2 days.

But, back to those scratching noises… It sounds like something is running across the thatched roof above me. I almost throw out a quick, “Is anyone else awake?”, but somehow my frivolous insecurities hold me back. For the next hour, I simply lay there, going back and forth between praying for the children I will encounter that day, and praying that a rat doesn’t crawl over my face. Finally, it’s 6am, and I can’t hold back anymore. A soft, “Is anyone else awake?” was greeted with 3 desperate voices shouting “YES!!” Someone swiftly turns on the little, battery-powered light bulb hanging from our thatched roof, and all of us immediately begin to discuss the mental torture endured in the last hour (in which, of course, we were all wide awake). After a panicked conclusion that yes, indeed, rats were probably all around us, we decided to make our way outside to hit up the squatty-potty and watch the sunrise. We crack the door open and immediately see 4 people sleeping on the floor outside our room. Most likely, the family gave up their beds for us.

As the sun illuminates our surroundings, the fullness of our adventure began saturating my soul. In front of me is a magnificent snow-capped peak with a waterfall streaming into a river that cut through the village sitting at the base of the mountain. But the real sight is to my right, where the valley ripples with mountain terrain and graduated farming terraces. THAT was the real sight because of the stories it secretly held for my future.

 

One Thanksgiving in Nepal, one in Keller, and the next? Barcelona.

Quarter of a Century

It’s very interesting to me, and not coincidental at all, that my 25th birthday is ushering in a year of preparation and change. I’ve reached a quarter of a century. For the past 25 years, I’ve been a child. Even in college, or the 2 years working post-graduation, I’ve still viewed myself as young and inexperienced– looking into the future as untapped adult “life” that will come eventually.

But now, I feel like I’ve reached a tipping point in my life.

I’m 25– officially past the line of “college student” or “newly graduated”. I’m not in my studying stage, or “finding myself” period. I know where God has called me. I’ve known since I was 13 years old. Yet, it has always been a dream– a far-off, almost unreachable calling.

But it’s actually happening. As my friend Carina said,

“It’s like you’ve been waiting for the proposal for 11 years, and now you finally have the ring! The next year is wedding preparation.”

So here’s to my 25th year. The year of preparation and new-found adulthood. I look forward to the moment I’m celebrating my 26th birthday in a place He called me to 12 years previously. I suspect it will be a very fulfilling day. Maybe I’ll blow the candles out on wedding cake.

It’s Official

I’m moving to Spain.

For those of you who don’t know me well, I’ve known since I was 13 years old that God called me to live, work, and share His love with others in a Spanish speaking country. The question has never been IF I’m going, but when and where. Since I first heard His voice so clearly in Mexico, I always assumed it would be Mexico! Or any other Latin American country…

But then I studied in Barcelona. And I met John and Brandi Carrano. And I became involved with the International Church of Barcelona. And God completely took over from there.

The funny part is, I studied in Barcelona to travel Europe since I “knew” I would be living in Latin America for the rest of my life. Because, when would I possibly get the chance again to travel Europe?

I can’t help but wonder sometimes… what if my Dad wasn’t stationed in Texas? What if my mom was never sick– keeping us in Texas for her proper healthcare? What if I hadn’t gone on that mission trip to Mexico? What if I went to UT? What if I hadn’t worked at Sweet Eugene’s, inevitably meeting Amber who first introduced me to the International Studies Degree? What if I actually ended up studying in Argentina like I had originally planned? What if I studied in a different city in Spain? WHAT IF SHE NEVER ENDS THIS PARAGRAPH OF QUESTIONS?

But in all seriousness, when I look back on how God so intricately wove the details of my life leading me to this place, and I’m only 25 years old, I’m overwhelmed with the thought of how much more He has planned for me. I remember hearing a pastor saying once, “God cares more about your destiny and calling than you ever could.” As much as that goes against my self-deprecating nature, I’m beginning to accept it. And it’s pretty fantastic, y’all.

So here’s to the start of a new season. Here’s to the next year of preparation. And I truly mean it when I say, thank you for being a part of it.

keep-calm-i-m-moving-to-spain-1

Why Frozen is the greatest Disney movie

I know what you’re thinking. No, I don’t have the “movie-high” induced after seeing a great movie for the first time. There are just some incredible lessons to be learned that aren’t addressed in previous Disney movies.

1.)  You CAN’T fall in love in one day

I couldn’t be HAPPIER that Disney made fun of the fact that Anna fell in love with Hans in one day. If the cheesy “Love is an Open door” song wasn’t enough to hammer in their point, Kristoff repeatedly proclaimed his shock when finding out that Anna got engaged to a man she just met. “Loving” someone after knowing them for less than a month is nothing more than infatuation. It’s about time, Disney. It’s about time.

2.) “True Love” is manifested through a sister relationship

Wow! You mean a Disney movie doesn’t have to revolve around the peril of 2 lovers being torn apart by an evil villain? I know, there are movies like Mulan and Tangled with lead female roles trying to “find/prove themselves”, and the romance is just a sub-plot. But this is the first movie that HIGHLIGHTS a relationship between sisters and the love that connects them.

3.) Don’t bury or run away from your hurt and pain

Burying or running away from your hurt and pain not only doesn’t help you, it will also affect everyone around you. The overflow of Elsa’s fear cursed an entire town. No amount of stuffing will ever keep the bitterness, fear, shame, ect. from seeping out and affecting everyone in proximity. You can’t hate yourself and love others.

4.) Your gifts and strengths can be used for good AND evil

There is a pattern in Disney movies: there is good and evil– no in between. The good people are good, and the bad people are bad. But that’s not how the world works. All of us are responsible for our own gifts and strengths. We have to be good stewards of our own characters. Elsa was using her gift in a poor way. I understand she wasn’t intentionally doing this, but in the end, she allowed fear to control her instead of walking in confidence and taking control of the situation in a healthy way.

5.) Ordinary men can be manipulative and evil

You don’t have to be a sorcerer to be evil. Past Disney villains were OBVIOUSLY evil and creepy with names like Scar or being an all-out sorcerer like Jafar. They aren’t humanized, they’re just evil. You don’t feel empathy for them. You can’t relate to them. They’re the “bad guys”, and of course, you’re on the good guys’ side. But Hans was JUST a man who chose to act poorly to work his way to the top. After getting past the ridiculously corny love song in the beginning, you actually grew to like him and root for him. I sure didn’t want him to fall to his doom at the ice castle! In fact, you probably know a Hans. You don’t particularly like him, but he’s still human.

 

That’s all.

148751

Eiffel my life with fun

I HATE the feeling of not being able to communicate. Or pulling the “American card”. Which I have done these past 3 days… I’m trying my best to pick up phrases, but I’m so visual that everything Amber teaches me goes in one ear and out the other. Oh well.

So I left Barcelona early Friday morning. Completely devastated, no doubt. The taxi picked me up at 5am, and I had no phone (aka no alarm) at the time, so I had to stay up all night (which wasn’t a big deal since I hung out with my friends till 3am, crying about leaving). God truly saved me from missing my flight, though, at the airport. I sat down, had 30 minutes till I boarded, suddenly woke up in a panic half and hour later. I ran to the line in a COMPLETE daze, basically half-asleep, which meant OF COURSE that the Spanish dude in front of me had to start flirting/talking to me. I try my best to respond without looking like a moron, which was inevitable since I was a zombie, though. Once I got on the plane I just passed out for the next 2 hours.

After landing and getting my luggage, and then riding on a bus for and hour to get to Amber, we finally meet up!! Epic reunion. The rest of the day, I am toast. Like, dysfunctional from the amount of sleep I got. I guess I changed my A&M email password, and now need to go to the main office when I return to get it changed again (since I have absolutely NO CLUE what it is…)

Saturday: After eventually getting a full night’s rest, Shelby, Kate and I went to the catacombs. For those of you who don’t know, there are about 6 million people buried under Paris in these tunnels. It was sufficiently creepy for a normal person, but for some reason (perhaps because I’m emotionally cut-off), I was totally fine with it. I felt like I was in a haunted house… “kids these days. So desensitized by movies and television…”


Afterwards we met Amber up (HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY) at the Eiffel Tower, with the full intention of having a wine/cracker and cheese picnic under it, but it had rained so we moved it to our lame apartment. Stupid weather.

Today we went to Versailles. BEAUTIFUL. If you know me, (which you do, because you’re only reading this if you’re close to me), I LOVE significant historical monuments. Versailles was amazing because it made me feel like I was THERE. Like somehow, Louis the 16th had literally just walked through his bedroom/hall of mirrors right before I did. And the artwork and architecture was gorgeous. The gardens were my favorite part though. I could definitely walk through those every day and never get bored. It’s just so prestigious and grand.


Well tomorrow (Monday), we’re going to the Louvre and the Christmas markets. Stoked.

Leap Year

Moral of the weekend: be careful what (movie plot) you wish for (to follow your life).

Ever since seeing Leap Year, I’ve had this weird obsession with going to Ireland and somehow experiencing everything that the main character, Anna, did. Well, I basically got my wish this weekend. The good, the bad, and the demented high schooler who hit on me.

If you haven’t seen the movie, Anna’s boyfriend hasn’t proposed to her yet, so she decides to go meet him in Dublin to propose to him on Feb. 29th (it’s an Irish tradition for the woman to propose to the man on Leap day). So basically because I have run out of ideas on how to keep you interested,  I will be mirroring Anna’s experience with ours.

St. Patrick's Church

 

Amber and I both flew into Dublin, but my flight arrived 4 hours earlier than hers, so I decided to tour Dublin before meeting up with her. It has been a running joke with my friends that I will marry an Irish man. My first 5 minutes in Dublin, walking down a street, I joking “ask” (in my head) all the Irish men out there, “so who is lucky enough to put a ring on this finger?” Literally 30 seconds after I proposed this question, I watch as this chubby highschooler walks by, full on giving me the up-down. As soon as we make eye contact (my faced in a twisted, repulsed manner), he smiles and says “eey booful”. {Finding an Irish man like Anna? Check.}

Next I link up with Amber, and we take our 3 hour bus ride to Limerick, which felt like 20 minutes because we had so much catching up to do. In Limerick, we checked into our adorable bed and breakfast {like in Leap Year…}, then headed out the a restaurant to grab a bite. The whole time, this table of Irish women beside us were hysterical, cracking up and obviously having a grand ol time together. {Traditional with meal boisterous natives like Anna, check.}

The next day, we sleep in and eat a beautiful, heavy Irish breakfast downstairs. When we finally arrive at the bus station, ready to head to the Cliffs of Moher, which was basically THE REASON WHY we went to Ireland, we found out that it was off season and the only bus left 2 hours earlier… {important dreams crushed by transportation issues like Anna, check}
So we decided to go to this cute little town called Adare.

As I cracked jokes about “adaring” to go to Adare, we got to see a gorgeous green country with sheep galore from our bus window. We went to a pub where wedding guests were all hanging out. {like when Anna crashed that Irish wedding…} and eventually made our way to where we THOUGHT was the bus stop. Suddenly, our bus rushes by us, and we sprint down the street in hopes to catch it. After a block, I look back at a defeated Amber walking… and look back to see the bus pull out of the bus stop. Obviously, we decided to eat in Adare that night. We ate at a restaurant where once Bill Clinton had eaten.

Around 6:33pm, Amber asks me what time it is, and we realize that we only have 7 minutes to get to the bus stop. Right when we jump up, we see a bus pass by our window.
Amber: “Omg, that’s our bus.”
Audrey: “Nope, no no, that’s not our bus. It’s not. It can’t be.”
*Awkward silence where we both fully understand that it was our bus*
Which mean that it was time to sit back down and order dessert.
{Missing the “train”(bus) just like Anna…}

FINALLY we make it back, and end up watching “I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here: Australia” for the rest of the night. It was actually very entertaining. The Irish are much more hilarious than we are.

The next day we had yet another wonderful breakfast, and some young guy from the kitchen dropped a bunch of plates.

 

 

 

 

 

 
We checked out and walked to King John’s Castle. {…just like Anna and Declan saw a castle…}

aaand Amber slipped and fell in this slimy mud/algae crud. {Anna? Yes?  Slipping and falling down that muddy hill?}

Finally, we headed to the bus where we started our adventures home. 3 hours to the airport and then waiting in the terminal together, eating Burger King. Yes, Burger King.

Tomorrow I see Amber once again, this time in Venice. And I will be spending the next 9 days in Venice, Florence, and Rome with various friends. I cannot believe this is real life.

Letter

Dear Service Workers of Barcelona,

Please, just speak to me in Spanish. I assure you that I will be able to understand you. At least, it’ll better than trying to decipher your “English”. I just don’t understand how, when I respond to you in (almost) perfect Spanish, you still assume I’m an ignorant tourist. Thank you.

Audrey