Called to Serve

March 23, 2010

Spain: Blessing of a Lifetime

To begin, I will write a little something of our situation in Spain.  Why go to Spain, you might ask? Well here’s what happened.  In our organization, we always send out missionaries in at least groups of two… sometimes more, but never less.  Over the past two year, we have had four girls (Sheila, Maria, Bridget, and Kristen) living in Spain.  Just this March, they ended over two years of missions in Cordoba.  Having just come out of formation… a number of us new missionaries were still looking to see where God was calling us to serve Him.  The girls felt as though it would be an incredible opportunity for us to go to Spain, not only to see what first world missions look like and to live with experiences missionaries, but also to see if we were being called to continue the mission in Cordoba once they left.  Arriving there, all seven of the girls were going to stay together in the apartment that the four original “Spain Girls” had been living in.  The three of us guys would be staying across the city with a priest friend, Padre Jose, who generously opened his home to us for the duration of our stay in Cordoba.  Let me first introduce you to the rest of our tenacious team of ten… John Paul and the Girls from Spain.

John Paul – Constant Joy. Contagious Smile. Optimism that could shine through any storm.

Sheila – Fearless leader of ten crazy missionaries.  Voice of an angel.  Affirmer of all things good.

Maria – Our little Irish lass. Childlike joy and enthusiasm. Lover of sweets. Always always smiling 🙂

Bridget – Veteran missionary. Our much needed wisdom. Faithful through and through.

Kristen – Texas fireball. Bundle of joy. Real life example that good things come in little packages 😛

Even thinking about starting to blog about Spain is giving me a headache 😛  We did soooooooooooo much while we were there that I feel I could fill volumes upon volumes of books with all of our ministries, adventures, and outings.  Instead, I will do my best to post some captioned pictures, that will hopefully serve as a timeline of a majority of our ministries in Spain… ENJOY!!!

All ten of the missionaries greeting our mission post with a kiss at the altar.  Our missions is the Lord and our post is our home.  The people are our friends and we dedicate everything we are to Him and to the land we are serving in.

Sharing our testimonies with the seminarians and priests of the Diocese of Cordoba.  A night of encouraging… us encouraging them to live faithfully their vocation and them urging us to keep living at lay men and woman dedicated to building the Kingdom of God alongside them in our world today.

Missionaries being greeted at by the head of the Diocesan seminary.

Being given a tour of the cathedral in Cordoba by the Padre Fernando, Vicar General of the Diocese.

The original four… Maria, Sheila, Bridget and Kristen.  After two years of serving the people and Church of Cordoba, they were still living in the LOVE and JOY of the Lord day after day!

Padre Reyes and Padre Gama, two of the holiest (and funniest) priest I have ever met.  Amazing men of God who have given their lives to Jesus Christ and His Church.

Work Day: John Paul and I cleaning the patio of the apartment complex the girls lived in.

Christ calls all who are thirsty to come to the water… the river was dirty, so this was the best water we could find in Cordoba 😛

Oracionizate prayer group, made up of local youth who come together weekly to praise and worship the Lord.

Giving testimonies and sharings about missions at an early Saturday morning Catechesis of some of the youth of Cordoba.

Last Lord’s Day in the girl’s piso.  We squished in about 50 people into this tiny apartment of ours to break bread and fellowship, to thank the Lord for bringing us all together, for providing for us always, and for bringing us to the end of another joyful and blessed week!

Sharing personal testimonies in a number of classes in a school located in a local pueblo outside of the city of Cordoba. (with a translator… as always 😛 thanks maria!)

Picture with a classroom of the youngest students we spoke to that day… a group of students who loved singing for the Lord and kept asking for more!

On Wednesday’s we would celebrate Mass at La Residencia (a local nursing home).  This beautiful woman caught me off guard when she was supposed to be smiling for the camera 😛

On Thursday evenings, the local church would host ‘Adoremus’, a night fill with testimonies, teachings, Holy Mass, and adoration and benediction.  Sharing with the people my story of how the Lord called me into missions, to give my life to Him for the building of His Kingdom.

Padre Jesus Daniel, an incredibly priest and servant of God, beginning a beautiful night of adoration.

Padre Pedro, kind, smart, and intelligent young priest who works a lot with the youth of Cordoba, closes an evening of Adoremus with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

The entire gang appearing on the Diocesan TV channel to speak about missions and the New Evangelization, especially in regards to Europe and the first world.

Joyful missionaries walking through the streets of Cordoba, bringing with us the gifts of music and praise.  May our voices always rise like incense to the throne of God and may our praise be a fragrance pleasing to Him!!

An amazing mens and womens retreat dealing with true masculinity and femininity, addressing what it means to be a real man and a real woman in a world that is trying to eliminate gender altogether.

Team crazy getting ready to watch the Superbowl in Spain (which is yes a number of hours behind the states… we started at about midnight and ended at 5am or so :P) GO SAINTS!!!

Maria, Sarah Kate, and Bridget visiting a local pueblo and raising awareness for Manos Unidos, an organization dedicated to helping those in the third world especially through providing them with food, clothes, and housing.  Here they entertain a large and beautiful group of 3-5 year olds!

Radio promotion of Manos Unidos!

A weekend spent in Priego de Cordoba, another local pueblo, John Paul, Jonathan, and myself spoke at a number of schools sharing testimony and speaking about missions and having a living faith.

Another night of Adoremus, we were blessed with the opportunity to preach of the Word of God!  How it is living an effective and a powerful thing in our lives.  It is God’s love letter to us and can and will truly change us and our lives if we allow it to penetrate who we truly are!

Team fun day (minus Teresa and Maria) in the park 😛

Our team hanging out with the teens of Alcolea, a local pueblo, after having come to speak to their confirmation class and attend Mass with them and Padre Jesus Daniel.

On Ash Wednesday, the kids of Alcolea have a tradition to really get the idea of “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” across to one another… TALCUM POWDER FIGHT!!!  A beautiful mass followed by an incredible evening 🙂

Giving a teaching about Christianity and Society in a local University in Cordoba.  How we could change the world if we were all Christians in action!!!

Villa Nueva de Cordoba, one of the most incredible places in all of Spain.  Spending one of our last weekends there, we held a Festival of Praise!! A few hours of praise and worship (all in spanish!), giving testimonies, and a few brief teachings… followed by an incredible Eucharistic processions throughout the Church!

Padre Juan Vincente leading a Eucharistic procession around the Church, followed by adoration and benediction.

The gang hanging out at our dear friend Paz’s campo outside of Villa Nueva.

Group silliness in a field by Paz’s campo 😛

All of us spending a final evening with Maria Jose and Luis, a beautiful Spanish family with three incredible children.  They opened up their home to us for Spanish lessons three times a week.  Their love and generosity will never be forgotten!!

Bishop Juan Jose confirming a group of teens on our last night in Cordoba.

A final evening in Cordoba… it was only fitting to spend it in the chapel we began our mission in, with a final farewell and blessing from an amazing, holy, spirit-led, servant of God in Bishop Juan Jose.

A month of blessings.  A time in my life that will be forever treasured and never forgotten.  Even this short blog is such a shame compared to the greatness that was our mission in Spain.  His grace was abundant, His love was ever-flowing, and His joy was radiant in each of us.  Little did we know that this way of life is not one of passing, it is how our Lord wants us to live each and every day.  Moving on from Spain was full of emotions… sadness, exhaustion, anticipation, and the rest.  The Lord however was about to bring us to another incredible place to serve Him for a short time.

Next stop… IRELAND!!!


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