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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spain and things I learned there (or rather, amazing Jesus moments)

Basically, I have some amazing Jesus provision stories from Spain. 

Firstly, one night, I ate dinner with the host family of a friend. I had purchased a painting of a flamenco dancer (wise choice, right?) and I didn't have money for bus fare. I could have walked, but it was getting dark, and I wasn't familiar with that side of town. Some background: I had successfully taken several buses before this evening. I knew which numbers stopped outside my apartment building. One of them included the number 4. However, I did not know that, unlike every other route I had taken, you paid for each half of the loop. Normally, I would just get on the 11 bus, and ride the loop until we got to my apartment building. It didn't really matter which direction around the loop we went. Anyway, so my friend gave me a coin so I could take the bus. We agreed that once I had wifi in my apartment, I would message her to say I got home safely. 

So, I get on the 4 bus. It's getting late. A few stops go by. I have no earthly idea where we are. A few more stops go by, and I'm now the only person on the bus (besides the bus driver). He gets up, opens his little door, and proceeds to tell me I need to get off his bus. I explain to him where I'm going and that his bus is supposed to go there, right? It's now dark. We are outside of the city. I recognize nothing of the area. It's mostly deserted offices and maybe a factory or something. He disagrees with me and says that I have to pay for each half. Panic is rising in my chest. I open my coin purse and show him the two coins I have (about half of what I would need to get home). He shrugs and points to the door. I ask him the best way to walk back to the town. He points. Terrified, I get off. I crossed the street and hurried in the direction he had pointed. I kept praying, "Jesus, please get me home safely. I don't know how I'm going to get there. I just want to get home." 

Then I saw a McDonald's. In Spain. Not in the capital. In an area outside the city. And I remembered that my mom always told me and my siblings that if we were lost, to go talk with a woman with young children because they tend not to move very quickly with their strollers and diaper bags and children in tow in case they ended up being sketchy and we needed to leave. It's 11:30 pm, but in Spain, families are still eating dinner with their small children on the patios and playgrounds. I saw a family with four or five children and a baby. They looked nice. So I went up to them and asked them to clarify the directions back to my street. They told me it was more than an hour's walk from where we were and that I should definitely take a bus. "It's not a good idea to walk from here. It's too far and too late." I agreed with them but explained to them that I didn't have another coin to get back on the bus. Immediately, all three adults starting pulling out cash for me asking me how much I needed. I just wanted the one coin to get back on the bus, so that's what they gave me. And they told me which number/which direction I should get on. I head back to the bus stop after thanking them. 

I was truly near tears with relief. But then, horribly, the only bus that was there was with the driver who'd kicked me off before. I decided I'd rather get back on his bus even if he made me nervous than wait at a deserted bus stop outside the city. He looked upset that I was back. I paid him my coin and sat down. I prayed the entire ride home. When I got back to my apartment building, I was shaking with relief, I could barely get the key into the lock. When I was upstairs in my apartment, my host family seemed un-surprised by my late appearance. I told them what had happened, that I had been lost and without money or a phone. My host dad just told me that walking was great exercise and it wasn't really that far. 

The next day, my host mom's best friend who was one of her neighbors gave me an old cell phone they had so that I would be able to call them if I got lost again.

I was just so grateful that Jesus provided generous people in the place I needed them most and He watched over me while I got back to my home.

Second Jesus moment, I had decided to use the free weekend that we got from school because of a holiday (Corpus Christi) to go to Ireland. The airport in my city was too small to get a flight to Dublin, so I took a bus to Malaga and spent a few days there. I knew nothing about Malaga, so I just looked for a relatively inexpensive hostel with female only rooms (seemed like a good idea when I was traveling by myself). I got to Malaga, made friends with the taxi driver who agreed to pick me up in a few days to take me to the airport. (That way I wouldn't be trying to hail a taxi at 4 am in a sleeping city). 

Anyway, I'd been praying that I would meet some Christians and get to talk about Jesus with someone. So, I discovered that my hostel was two doors down from Pablo Picasso's birthplace and only half a mile from the new Picasso museum. I went to Picasso's birthplace, listened to the audio available, and chatted with one of the women working there. Then I asked around and got directions to the museum.  The first three times I went down that street, I passed it. Eventually, I found the door (which totally looks like a back door, by the way) and got a ticket. The first exhibit was a video of Picasso painting in the air and making ridiculous faces while he drew naked women. The woman next to me started laughing and saying something about what a terrible man he was. In English! I wasn't sure if I'd heard correctly, so I asked her a question in Spanish. She looked utterly baffled. So I tried English. 

We hit it off. I got to meet her and her sister, who were both artists from Northern Ireland. I asked them if I could tag along with them through the museum since they seemed to know so much more about the stories behind the art than I did. I pulled out my notebook to write down their suggestions of artists and writers to research. They were such wealths of knowledge of the art world. Turns out, one of the women, is Rosie McClelland, who has exhibited her art at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, Ireland. Her sister, Geraldine Snape, is also an amazingly talented artist who works primarily with pottery and cool crafty things. 

Gerrie and I were looking at a sculpture, and she mentioned something about Jesus. I asked her about it, and she told me she was a Christian. I excitedly told her I was, too. She smiled, and said, "I know." It was just such a blessing to find someone when I was alone in a new city looking to make friends.

Happy Wednesday! Please share any stories that you want to below!

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