Oh, and then the screen on my computer broke--I'm not sure how. Whatever the reason, it put a whole damper on the whole blogging thing.
But if I am being entirely honest, I avoided blogging for so long because I didn't know what to say.
I just don't know how to sum up my last few weeks in Spain.
So many descriptions come to mind. It was exhausting; it felt long, but at the same time, it felt too short; it was difficult; it was an adventure; it was a challenge; it was an absolute blast. And as fitting as all of these words are, it's not what I want to say when people ask, "How was your trip? What did you do?"
But my typical small-talk answer ("It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but also one of the best.") doesn't seem to do it justice, either.
How do you express how much you have changed and how much you've learned in a just few words?
And even when I try to tell my friends what kind of work the team did, I don't feel like I am actually describing the trip. Street evangelism, children's' programs, youth programs, performing skits, singing songs, sharing testimonies...it's all accurate information, but somehow, it still doesn't fit.
I hate that I don't know what to write, because as someone who loves to write, that's kind of my thing. In my mind, saying, "I don't know how to describe this" is a cop-out.
I know it isn't--not really--but I'm pretty stubborn.
So I guess I ought to try.
As the name suggests, the Travel Team spends a few weeks traveling across Spain (literally across the country--we went from one coast to the other!) to do mission work. For the first month and a half of the program, we stayed in Narón, worked with the local church, and prepared for our upcoming travels. Before we knew it, it was time to head to our first city....Bilbao!
If you are taking geography into accocunt, our journey was a long one. Like I said, we literally went from one coast to the other! From Bilbao, we went to a little town in Caceres and stayed with a missionary couple for a whole week. There, we helped them with work around the house, but were also able to get some much needed rest to prepare for our trip to Madrid. Then, we spent two days in Valencia--where we found a McCafe, PLUS a Ben and Jerry's that was handing out free ice cream....does God love us or what?!
Our next stop was Granada, one of my new favorite places in the whole universe; and, finally, Aguilas, a beautiful town by the beach.
For me, Bilbao was the perfect way to begin Travel Team because it helped prepared me for everything that was to come. At the beginning of the trip, there were many times when I wondered how much I could really help---which is just a nice, less honest way of saying that I had doubts about the work that God could do. I spent much of that weekend dreading doing street evangelism, wondering how much I could really help these people when I barely spoke Spanish, and wondering why God even needed me there. Of course, these feelings were not limited to Bilbao; after long days of travel and work, it's easy to get discouraged and let those lies into your heart all over again.
Still, Bilbao was a huge wake-up call because God showed me how inspired these people were. I was so surprised by how much I could love these people in the span of a few days, and how much love they showed us. We were only visiting, but the people made us feel like we were at home.
And that was true for every city we visited.
I did not expect to be so affected by the people I met for such a short period of time, but I was. That made it very hard to leave.
It's not that I didn't want to go home. I did. There was a time, back in February, where all I wanted to do was go back home. I missed my home very much, but it is just as hard to leave a country where you can feel God changing your heart, and see Him move in ways you never expected, and meet people who remind you of yourself.
Yes, I am happy to be back in Missouri. I missed you all terribly, and in typical Katie fashion, I cried when I got home because I was so happy.
But I miss my team and I miss Spain, too. I think I always will.
I still don't know if this blog does describes my experience very well. I do know that I feel so incredibly blessed, and that I don't think I will ever be the same.
I think I am okay with that.
" Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!"- 2 Corinthians 5:17