Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Barcelona, The End: Greater Things Are Yet To Come

I remember flying into this city five weeks ago thinking to myself, “Well, that’s a pretty beach”, but having no idea what was really in store for me on the ground below.   That day, and the thirty-four to follow, became some of the best days of my twenty-two years combined. I am filled with joy and heartache tonight as I prepare to leave the place I have called home for the past several weeks: heartache, because I know I leave in a matter of hours, and joy because I know I’ll return.  Not once before has my heart so quickly attached itself to a place as it has to Barcelona, Spain. There is no way to elucidate through words my gratitude for my time here. 
            In addition to having the best travel partner in the world, the excitement, splendor, and personality of this city has set the standard high for my future endeavors. The awe of the sites, however, was greatly surpassed by the beautiful hearts of the people I have met during my time here, and whom I now consider my family.  Thank you for so graciously—and at the last minute! -- letting me join you this summer in your work with the people of this city.  I admire each of you for your perseverance and faithfulness. I feel so honored to have spent my summer with such fearless and powerful world changers. At times, I could see on your faces the difficulty and pain that comes with a life of full-time ministry, but these looks were  only temporary, and always overshadowed with an overwhelming love and trust for the God who carries you through each day.  Jesus is present in this city because of each of you. Everywhere you go, He goes. Everywhere you speak, He speaks.  Thank you for showing me the beauty of true, Christ-centered ministry. Thank you for loving and serving the broken and hopeless  that so many forget.  Thank you for making me laugh until I cry and for making me instantly feel like a part of your wonderful team. I have loved every minute with you and can’t wait to see you all again soon.
Every moment has helped shape this experience to be unforgettable, and although Anna and I weren’t able to recount the entirety of our adventure through our blog, we hope that it captured some of it for you.  We loved writing it, and thank you to those who took the time to read it and come alongside us in prayer. We have felt the provision, power and abundant love of Jesus in our lives more than ever.
One of our favorite times with the team were our staff meetings on Tuesday mornings. Our team was so fun, even staff meetings were a blast.
 Two of the missionary kids whom we ADORE. They are so precious and dear to our hearts. Miss them already.
Jesus, guide and direct them. Bring them to you.
       How does one even begin to say goodbye to a place that so tenderly and thoroughly holds your heart? How do you leave new acquaintances that have so completely made the transition to family? What a drastic change has taken place in our minds and hearts in five too-short weeks; how we have grown to feel so completely at home in this city and with our beloved team.
         I could never condense the life and heart changes I have experienced this summer in a short blog entry. I will, however, try to paint at least an incomplete picture of the incredible place we are, ever so reluctantly, leaving.
Although I did not plan to be in Barcelona this summer, thank goodness Jesus knows my heart better than I ever can. One of our team leaders, and a woman who has become a mama to Maddi and me in our time here, noted the other day that she could not believe that they almost didn’t know us; we feel the same! Thank you, sweet friend, for all that you have taught us, for all of the times you have allowed us to stumble alongside you and learn from you. We see Jesus in you in so many ways. You have changed and challenged my heart and, in the best possible way, it will never be the same.
In addition to a mom, Maddi and I have found sisters here. Although we will not mention them by name, they have taught us, laughed and cried with us, challenged us, prayed over us, shared their sweet children with us, and thoroughly changed our lives. Thank you all, for your willingness to give of yourselves and share your hearts, even knowing the brief time we would be with you. The thought of leaving each of you brings quick tears to my eyes.
To our new brothers, thank you for making us laugh, looking out for us, challenging us, and our hesitancies, and providing such real examples of Godly integrity.
       For the ministry we have been given the opportunity to be involved in, I am profoundly thankful. The servants here struggle, are discouraged, and wait years to see even the smallest fruit of their labors. And yet, in the same breath, the servants here approach each opportunity to share and show Jesus with joy, excitement, and prayer. The harvest may be gradual, but who can know a deeper joy than watching freedom wash over the face of a beautiful woman as she removes her veil and lays it at the feet of her Savior.
      Although my heart aches right now, I will not say goodbye, because I know that I will be back. This place has become my heart’s home in so many ways. And so, as an ending that also serves as a beginning, I offer the song that has become our anthem during our time here:
JESUS, Name above all names
Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord
Emmanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word. 
The wonderful Indiana team had an event for the women of the team one night when they were here. They washed all of our feet and then we made these cute flip flops.
 The team!
 Fun in the park.
Our wonderful sister and friend. We love you!
Hasta Pronto! 


  1. Maddi and Anna, I can't believe your time in Barcelona is over, but I am so thrilled at all the things the Lord has been teaching you. When you say "yes" to Jesus each day is an adventure no matter where you are. Thank you for saying yes to Him these past weeks and giving us a glimpse into what a blessing that has been. Aunt Hope

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  3. Love you girls...love your hearts, love the opportunity you have had, love the people that you have described...and can't wait to hear more and more about your amazing adventure this summer. To God be the glory-you have been a amazing testimony to His glory throughout this journey.

  4. "I did not plan to be in Barcelona this summer, thank goodness Jesus knows my heart better than I ever can." Wow. So thankful that you both followed Jesus - even though it wasn't the original "plan." Your faith, obedience, and joy in everything you do for Him is so challenging.
    You are both so stunningly gorgeous. Even more on the inside than out (which is pretty insane). Love you girls!!