Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Moving Forward

Hi all,
Who knows if and when anyone will continue reading this blog since we have concluded our journey in Barcelona...but if you are following, I, Beth, want to personally thank you for walking with us as we lived, learned and returned from Barcelona. The journey was an amazing one and I am sure you will be hearing stories for weeks and months to come as we process the way God provided for us.

As for me, I have learned that writing is something I enjoy doing, and apparently other people enjoy reading. So, if you happen to be one of them, I will make a shameless plug for my new addition...my own personal blog. I highlight personal simply because it doesn't center around missions...it's merely, just me...living. If you're interested, you can go here:


So, thats me. And it looks like that's the end...

Thanks again for walking with us, praying for us, and being here to receive us in the end.

For all of you HDC'rs who are still out there...we are with you...and will be there to receive you when you return from your adventures...

Until then,

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A different kind of Easter

It’s hard to believe that it’s half way through April already. There are things that we are used to, familiar with, that help us judge the passing of time. While we are here, we are missing some of those things that are happening back in the States without us. At the same time, we are getting to experience a different culture’s passing of time, and learning to understand how time goes for them. This said, we found it hard to believe that this past Sunday was Easter. There were a few signs, such as the coming of spring, and a few chocolate bunnies in the store, but other than that, there wasn’t much.

Church on Easter was only slightly different than a “normal” Sunday here (but then again, there really never truly is a “normal” Sunday). We sang a few Easter songs, had communion, and the message was about Easter. It was a good service, just different than what we’re used to on a “normal” Easter Sunday. All four of us wore skirts, but most other people didn’t dress up more than usual.

There was one very special thing about the service, though. Easter Sunday was the debut of the worship team. We were all very, very excited! The Amor Viviente Church here in Barcelona is fairly new, so until now, they haven’t had a live worship team. Worship would always be one or two people singing along to songs played from a CD. So, it was a real treat to have all the music be live, and we were glad we were able to be here for the debut.

The woman in charge of the worship team, Karla, played the piano. Another guy played the guitar. Then there were about 10 people singing, passing 2 microphones around so everyone got a chance to be heard. Karla is an amazing piano player, and somehow added a touch of gospel to a bunch of songs in which we didn’t even know that was possible. At the end of the service, all the chairs were pushed toward the back of the church, and everyone was invited to stand together at the front of the church, and Karla led us in some songs.

Easter to me has always seemed like a bit of a somber holiday. After all, this was the date that Jesus’ life was ended in an unjust, horrific crucifixion, despite his perfect and innocent character. However, through these people, I was able to truly see the joy in the holiday. At the end of the service when we were all standing together at the front of the church, not only was everyone singing, but most people were also clapping, and some were even dancing. The atmosphere in the church was like that of a party, or a concert. Looking around, I noticed that everyone just couldn’t help but smile and laugh. The joy in that room was contagious.

So what if it didn’t “feel” like church? It was – there was a group of us there singing, praising, worshiping, and thanking Jesus for what He did on the cross. They didn’t ignore the sadness of the holiday, but instead chose to embrace the joy in it. It was different, yes, but I loved it, and I know it will be an Easter that I will never forget!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We´ve offically moved

We are now in the new apartment. The move went very well, and everything is now in its place – although sometimes we can’t remember where that place is. We had packed a few things prior to moving day, which was March 31st, but most of it was actually packed on that day. Bringing the clothing over was probably the most interesting thing for me – we put it in suitcases, and then walked the 5 or 10 minutes from the old apartment to the new one. We would open the suitcase to see whose stuff it was, and then dump it on the appropriate person’s bed. Then we would take the suitcases back to be filled again, and we repeated this process numerous times. Besides walking things over, which we did a lot, there were also a few men that came to help. One of them had a big van, and another, Alex, had a car.

Audrey and I made many trips with Alex. It was really cool – he had picked us up at the airport when we first arrived back in December, and we couldn’t talk with him at all. It was really neat to see how much we’ve learned during the past four months – the three of us were able to have entire conversations in Spanish.

Antonio was telling us recently how much of a miracle it really is that we have this apartment. First of all, they had to make a very large down payment on the apartment. They prayed for the amount, and they got it. Then, when Antonio was talking with the landlord, he told Antonio that he needed to bring a document proving that he earned a certain amount each month. Antonio said okay, but he knew he couldn’t bring that document because he didn’t earn that much. But he trusted God, and knew that God would provide if they really were supposed to have this apartment. The day came when Antonio was making the final negotiations with the landlord, and Antonio was just waiting for when he would ask for that document. But they went through the negotiations, and he didn’t ask. The time came for Antonio to sign, and as he told us, he did it quickly. Irma signed too, and then the landlord did as well. Everything was fine, and he showed them the apartment. He never did ask for that document. Had the landlord asked for it, we wouldn’t be here today. He has told us stories of how well God provides for him and his family, and it's amazing - all because he has faith that things will work out.

Moving day was Tuesday, and Sarah’s family and Jan arrived on Thursday, so the past little while has been quite busy. It was good to see people we know (and they’re native, fluent English speakers!) and we had a great time with them all. They got the chance to see a bit of what we do here, and we were also able to show them around the city a little bit.

The past little while has been quite busy, and the coming weeks will also be busy, but we’re looking forward to see what God is going to do through us in the time that we have left here!

Melanie for the team

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our New Address

So, praise the Lord, The Montes' family has finally received the contract and keys to their new apartment and Melanie and Beth will officially be moving to their new house on Tuesday, April 1st. Please pray for safety and a swift move during this time of transition. With only a few weeks remaining here in Spain, time is of the essence and this move is one that needs to occur quickly and safely!

Below is the new address for anyone who desires to continue sending letters and/or care packages. Please remember that we have only 6 weeks remaining and since letters/packages normally take 3 weeks to reach Spain, there is a small window of time in which you can continue to send letters. Just a note to keep in mind ;-) Thank you all for the packages and letters we have all received. Your love and support has been overwhelming! We will talk to you all soon!

Beth for the Spain Team

C/O Pastores D. Antonio Montes y Da. Irma montes
Calle Mossen Jacinto Verdaguer No.67, ático 1º.
Cornellá de Llobregat,Código Postal 08940, Barcelona, España

The phone number will be: (34) 934 800 652

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Run...

Loyal Blog Readers,
I know for the longest time you have all been waiting in anticipation for Part 2, 3 and 4 of my "revelations" and I would so love to give them to you, but I feel as though it is not quite yet time for those particular stories to be shared. In other words, I hesitate to post something on the internet that I am not completely and entirely convinced of. And in this case, I cannot say quite yet that I feel that God is done teaching me the lessons in the coming parts. So, instead I will impart upon you what God has been doing in my life over the last while. He has been busy, even if I haven't seen it. And for that I am so grateful.

As I write this, I am on day 4 of being stuck in the house with one of the worst bronchial cough's I have had in my life. For the first little while I was unable to sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at night because I would wake up coughing and would be unable to either A) stop coughing long enough to go back to sleep or B) become comfortable enough to fall back asleep due to the muscular pain the cough was causing me. (I never knew how much strain coughing put on your body until now...which gives me a greater respect for the body alltogether!)

In anycase, this problem seems like a paradox because my body is and has literally exhausted itself from coughing, and yet I could not sleep. I tried to keep going, to push through, because that is what I do - I run and run and run and then only when I physically cannot run anymore do I think about stopping. However, this time, my body decided for me that I was going to take a break, and it just, shut off. Thursday, Friday and Saturday I did not have the energy to move myself from off of my top bunk, and when I did find the energy, it was spent completely in short trips to and from the bathroom or the kitchen. I am so blessed to have a wonderful team of girls who have surrounded me in love and have taken care of me since minute one, researching various medications and their uses, discussing ways to take over my responsibilities within the church, sitting with me for hours on end as I cough and then sleep for 4 hours, setting alarms every 4 hours for my medication reminders and calling me while evangelising to make certain that although they aren't with me, I have remembered to take my medication. Melanie, my dear dear roommate has set her alarm for 12:00am, 4:00am, and 8:00am in order to wake me up and give me my medication. I am so absolutely blessed to be with these three wonderful girls who I consider my family here in Spain. To those parents who are reading this - please know that you have done well raising these girls, and I applaud you all!! :-)

Their acts of love have caused me to contemplate one thing in particular - what happens when I am not only physically exhausted but become spiritually exhausted? Is this even allowed?!

The answer is a resounding "YES", because today in my quiet time, I was drawn to Matthew 11:28 where it reads "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." It seems as though God actually understands that in this race that we call life, He knows we will become weary. We will become worn out and tired. The verse goes on to read: "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." As I read this verse, I had to pause for a moment, to really take in all that it was saying. Jesus, the man who literally laid his life down, was nailed to a cross and left to die, is saying, He is going to carry my load. He wants to take on my troubles, my worries, my fears, my insecurities. All I have to do, is pause for a moment, recognize that I am not able to carry my load any more and then lay it at his feet and rest.

There it is - that 4 letter word that I seem to find so difficult. REST. I roll it around on my tongue, test it out...R-E-S-T. I question why it is, that I find this so difficult. Why is it that I can't just be calm and quiet and sit in silence with Him. Why I can't lay down my burdens for a few moments and take a break. Why is it so difficult to understand that God is so much more capable to carry my burdens for me than I am?

And then: BAM! I am hit with a realization. What on earth am I being forced to do right now, at this very moment but REST?! I physically cannot do it anymore. My body has decided that it is going to stop and take care of itself because I haven't been paying enough attention to the warning signs. (It seems to know me better than I know myself...) So maybe this is God's timing. I may not enjoy the fact that I have been bed ridden and house bound for 4 days, but it sure has given me time to pray and read my Bible a lot more than I probably would had I been following my every day schedule. I choose to think that maybe this was God's way of putting his hand on my shoulder and in His own "God sense of humor" way, pushing me into my bed and saying - "Take a break Beth - You are weary." Gee, thanks God! :-)

And so, I have rested. I have slept hours upon hours - the numbers are scary for how many hours I have slept. I have taken 4 various medications (and still am) and have inhaled ridiculous amounts of Vicks...but through it all, I have had my eyes opened. I have witnessed kindness and love and sacrifice. I have learned to lean and not always to stand. I have learned that it is okay to be weak, and it is also okay to not always have all the answers. And although there may come a time when I don't remember all of these lessons, God will be gracious enough to remind me.

I also have been reminded of the ways that God speaks to me - through songs. My life is a continual playlist - song upon song, layer upon layer, rhythm upon rhythm. My life flows to a constant soundtrack - sometimes it is choppy like Beethoven and other times it flows smoothly like Enya...either way I have learned that God speaks in song to me. And so I have chosen to listen more intently. I have posted below some of the lyrics that have spoken to me recently. I have not posted every lyric because this post would be 27.5 pages long (or longer) so I have just chosen the most prominent lines from 3 specific songs...I hope that in some way these songs can speak to you as well.

I thank God for His continual revelations in my life - I see that He is working in me, and teaching me. I just need to take the time to rest in it.

God Bless,

"I run from hate, I run from prejudice, I run from pessimists. But I run too late.
I run my life, or is it running me?
Run from my past, I run too fast or too slow it seems...

This world keeps spinning faster, into a new disaster so I run to You...
And when it all starts coming undone, You’re the only one I run to.

We run on fumes, your life and mine.
Like the sands of time slippin’ right on through.
And our love’s the only truth - that’s why I run to You."
~I Run To You, Lady Antebellum

"I've been marked, set apart. But I'm cut so deep and afraid of the dark.
One drop of blood from the hole in Your hand
Is enough to heal me and make me stand.

'Cause I'm clean, He is listening to me
I don't have to scream for Him to hear me
Don't have to bleed for Him to see me
'Cause I'm clean, He is listening to me"
~ Scream, ZOEGirl

"I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from?
My help comes from You
Maker of heaven, creator of the earth."
~I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121), Kutless

"There's always gonna be another mountain, I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle that sometimes I'm gonna have to lose.
Ain't about how fast I get there,
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
Its the climb."

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Keeping in mind that we would be having a time of evanglism of this weekend, my prayer for this week has been that God would do something during our evangelism. Something big, something noticable, something that can only be described as one of those awesome God moments. I was excited to see what He would do.

On Saturday, we evangelized at two different places. On the train between points of evangelism, I was thinking and trying to remember if there had been any big God moments. I was having trouble coming up with any. I wondered if I'd missed some that had happened, and thought that maybe something would happen during the next part of our evangelism. In all honesty, because I'd been praying that prayer all week, I was feeling a little disappointed not to have noticed anything.

Then a thought popped into my head as I realized something - the evanglism had been a lot different for me personally today. There was no fear of rejection. Evangelism here in Spain can be hard, because people are so closed - they often say no, or sometimes they completely ignore you. This can make it really hard to feel motivated to give people tracts. I was rejected today, but at today's location, people seemed a little more receptive to at least taking the tracts (and thinking back now, this in itself may have been a God moment, one that I didn't realize until right now as I'm typing this). I wasn't afraid to go up to people and give them the tract. I'm not the kind of person to really interact at all with people that I don't know, especially strangers. But somehow, I didn't mind today (the fact that I know I'll probably never see them again always adds a little something...).

There was something else I was thinking about, something I realized during one of our previous times of evangelism. Hypothetical situation: I pass a person on the street, but because of fear or some other factor, I choose not to give that person a tract. What happens if that exact moment in time was the only time in that person's life that they would be receptive to taking that tract and reading it? What if that was the one time in their life that they would have curiosity about religion, about Christianity, and that they would have the courage to follow up on it? Who am I to deny that person the opportunity that will only happen once, when they would never be receptive again, and would therefore never hear the wonderful truth that I am priveliged to know? That person would never be able to experience the joy and saving grace of having a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me tell you...walking around with that weight on your shoulders when trying to evangelize isn't the best thing...I would feel guilty for every person that passed to whom I did not give a tract. So, I decided there was only one thing I could do to not feel guilty as we where evangelizing - give a tract to every person I see while evangelizing.

Something did happen today. It may not have been very big, at least in my eyes, but it was something. The evangelism has changed me. I am no longer afraid to go up to people and give them a tract. The worst thing that could happen? They don't take the tract. This just gives me the opportunity to pray for that person, that they will have another opportunity sometime in which they take the time to read or listen or learn. In the past, had you told me that I would be evangelizing now, I wouldn't have believed you.

But God is changing me. Me, the missionary. Me, the one who is supposed to be helping the people here. Me, the one who is supposed to be changing other people during times of evangelism. It seems so backwards.

But maybe my new-found openness to evangelism is preparing me for something that's going to happen during one of our next evangelism times. Something big, something noticeable, something that can only be described as a God moment. That's my new prayer for the coming weeks. And I'll also be looking for God moments, in unexpected places ... gotta love God's sense of humor!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Here's a few pictures ... enjoy ...

These pictures are from our vacation to North Africa. A big part of our vacation was a camel ride through the Sahara Desert. To get to the desert, we had an 8 hour car ride. In all honesty, I was not too terribly excited for the long ride, but in all honesty, I think it was the best long car ride I've ever had! I'd intended to sleep at least part of the way...but once I saw the scenery, my eyes were glued to the window for the remainder of the trip.

Seriously, what an awesome job it must have been, to be the Creator of the universe! The vast array of different landscapes, terrains, climates, and colors that we experienced in such a short time was simply amazing. When we left for our drive, it was raining. It then turned to snow, several feet deep. Within less than half an hour, we were completely out of the snow. We then drove through plains, plateaus, mountain ranges, hills, palm tree groves, flat nothing-ness, and then into the Sahara, with nothing but dune after dune for miles on end.

We got to see some brilliant sunsets with amazing colors on our trip. Then by day, the sky was breathtakingly blue, with puffy wisps of clouds.

We took pictures to try and capture all of this...

A sunset from the roof of our hotel one night. In this direction, the sky was orange and yellow as the sun was setting, but then behind us in the other direction, the clouds looked like pink cotton candy - it looked so unreal!

Changing landscapes: this is some of the snow from the beginning of the drive...

A view from the side of a mountain...

To flat plains, where you could see for miles...

And then, of course, there was the Sahara Desert ... miles upon miles of dune after dune.

Riding our camels, through the Sahara ... we still can't believe that we did that!

It was an amazing experience, which really cannot be captured through pictures or words. As hard as we may have tried, we all realized that it was impossible. The best thing we could do was to sit on our camels and just be, taking in our surroundings and making memories of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Our advice: if you ever have the chance, you should definitely do it - go ride a camel through the desert. It's truly amazing!!!