Sunset, Gelato, Diving, & No Rats.

Finch is down, after a bath of pirates & crocodiles. The Stevens are out for dinner. The villa is quiet. I am alone for the night. What to do? I step through the glass door to the balcony on the opposite side of the hall. Beauty smacks me in the face & I catch my breathe with a sharp inhale. Woah.

From my personal Torremolinos overlook, I see the town’s lights from hotels, bars, & street lamps flicker on to announce the beginning of the Spanish nightlife. Beyond the interstate & buildings, the ocean, blended hues of blue, sways back in forth in calm, deceiving rhythm. Grayish purple mountains tower on the left horizon, standing strong against the sky, shadowed by the fading light but still declaring power, protection, & awe. In the distance, Malaga’s lights twinkle & dance in the reflection of the harbor like they are having their own separate party that only a far away few can see. And the sky. Oh the sky! Pink, purple, blue, red & orange streak across the God sized canvas in brushes & strokes from an intimate Artist. With each eyeful I take in, peace seeps into my soul. God romances me into His rest. My heart relaxes & a sigh escapes. Oh God, You have out done yourself tonight.

I have been in Spain for 2 weeks. After a few days of video editing, conversations, missionary dance parties, bike rides, & visiting in South Sudan (here’s what happens when 2 video editors put their minds together in 48 hours), I flew with the Stevens from Kampala to London to Malaga, Spain. For the rest of my time overseas, a Youth With A Mission guest house/office/sending center is my home. I have a room to myself, next to Finch’s, & Greek yogurt, muesli, & vegetables to fill my heart’s desire (3 bags of spinach down, several more to go).

This time in Spain has been like stepping into a refreshing bed of cold water after the dry, intense heat of Africa. The amazing food, first world conveniences, & lack of struggles typical to a normal day in Africa have been nice. Several times I’ve heard scratching noises, looked for rats, then realized where I am. I did a little dance when I saw the washer machine & rebelliously dried my clothes in the dryer the first week, despite the sign saying not too. However, the more I walk down the concrete side walks & pass the display windows of store fronts, the more I realize how much I felt at home in Africa’s dirt & grime & sweat.

At present, my nanny duties are on & off. Lesley is due May 12 (pray she will deliver on time & have a safe, English-speaking, delivery). Once baby boy #2 pops out, I’ll be on nanny duty full time. I’m sure Finch & I will have plenty of stroller-adventures to write home about. In the mean time, the Stevens & I have enjoyed this European first world with its varieties of sights & foods. So far, we’ve been shopping in Malaga, toured Granada (shot 800 pictures in 3 days), consumed a fair share of gelato, & soaked up the sun at the beach. Missionary life is rough sometimes.

Of course, I’ve also been on a few of my own adventures. In Granada, I found a salsa-dancing bar. The twirls, footwork, & dips were therapy to my soul! There are mountain bike trails all over the mountains behind Torremolinos, & I have made a goal to run them. Finding them has proven a little more difficult. More than once, I’ve started on a trail, ended up in the middle of nowhere, & chased a mountain biker to find the next route. Still have yet to make it to the top of the mountain, but no worries, it’s coming. This past week, I have been in 60 degrees water getting my open water diving license. A whole new world of beauty & mystery in the depths of the ocean has opened up to me. (Expect me back in the Bahamas soon!) Already I’ve met many interesting people in my time in Spain: an atheist radio host, an agnostic Italian writer/painter, an adventure junky from Africa (learned lots about spear fishing & Spanish beer), a woman in her late 50’s who has done about everything under the sun but is now working in refugee camps to share the gospel, & several amazing women-all working in different areas- who have committed their lives to fighting the sex trade. I look forward to grabbing coffee with a few of these women to learn more about the work in that area.

Spain is a whole other mission field. One of intellectuals, prostitution, self-image, money, tourism, bars, nude beaches, & first world agendas. It is a completely different world from dust covered roads, Ugandan accents, scandalous knees, rats & empali, & simple theology. The missionaries here deal with problems just like the missionaries in Africa, but of a much different variety. Their hearts are directed towards the same purpose: share the Gospel & be the hands & feet of Christ. I look forward to the weeks ahead hoping to watch & learn a little more about God’s kingdom in this part of the world.

God seems to be directing my life in the most interesting way connecting books, people, places, & conversations. I never know what’s coming next, what tomorrow will bring, whom I’ll meet, what I’ll read, or the lessons I’ll learn. I’ve been reminded continuously that God’s timing is perfect & all I have to do is trust. Through His grace, each new lesson He brings & place He takes me weaves into the last event to create a beautiful intertwined artwork.

Life is a great adventure led by the One who created the world. He guides us through His Word, hits the core of our hearts through His Spirit, & reminds us we are His beloved through daily gifts such as good food, diving, & a beautiful sunset. It doesn’t get much better than this.  So here’s to the next few weeks in Spain!

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2 thoughts on “Sunset, Gelato, Diving, & No Rats.

  1. Varina, I have got to tell you…
    1. We miss you sooo much here at MC!
    2. I’m super jealous you’re getting to go dancing in Spain! Swerve 2014? haha
    3. I love reading about your adventures and am praying for you as you seek opportunities to share the gospel and plant seeds around the world.

    You are truly inspiring to me, and I hope that you know that your work overseas not only brings others to Christ there but also here as well. Your life is a living testament to the power of God working through one of His humble daughters.

    Love you!

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