Prayer Update | Watchmen on the Wall | July 20, 2018
A Bird’s Eye View from Cascadas
‘Nancy, Nancy’ “quite contrary how does your garden grow?
Early morning and again in the late afternoon I don my work hat and gardening gloves and exit the comfortable house I have called home the past six weeks to work in the earth. I must have dug up about 200 lbs. of weeds over the course of these weeks, first in the flowerbeds and now in the vegetable patch. Without evasive weed killer those weeds just keep on growing, so it is a never-ending job! But it has its rewards- the smell of earth, mental refreshment, the time outdoors, spiritual illustrations that abound in gardening, the satisfaction of at least some progress and the fresh garden produce- swiss chard and lettuce at the moment! I have had a small hand in tending and watering the garden, someone else planted it and still others will likely enjoy the tomatoes, red beets, peppers, corn and potatoes!
“Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after…”
The Jack is Sweet Pea and there is a Jill here in Cascadas and I did climb a peak this week in the Guadarrama mountains! Twice Sweet Pea fell down the four basement steps; the second time I witnessed her leaping to her hard fall! She gave out a loud whelp and I thought surely she must have broken a bone, but God was gracious and within a day or two she was back to her usual self. Some visitors here helped me build a three-four brick/stone make shift wall. (Previously I had used a large plank of wood, chairs, part of a sliding board etc.. as a barrier until they fell down!) But a day or two later I caught Sweet Pea with her foot on top of one of the bricks, as if to jump!!
Jill, the director at this Christian center on the edge of one of Spain’s foremost National parks, is now in the UK where she has had surgery to remove a tumor in her colon. She had to show me the ropes on watering the garden and being main care taker of the property, during this and her other absences. (She was gone about half of the time I was here).
“And everywhere that ‘Nancy ‘ went, ‘Sweet Pea’ was sure to go…”
The other week I traveled four hours by car to a town where GEM co-workers, recently arrived from Canada, live. It was lovely making their acquaintance and seeing the coffee house ministry to pilgrims and town folk on the St. James way. I was there three full days, but two days were days the café is closed and the other day, a Sunday, they only had one person in all afternoon, so I didn’t get to join in the café ministry. L I did enjoy seeing a little of that part of Spain- in the middle of three provinces! There is so much history everywhere and natural beauty- one area I passed in transit is right up there with the Grand canyon, in my estimation! Sweet Pea made doggie acquaintance with their Yorkie mix. J
I must leave the nursery rhyme theme to give you a taste for some of the work at Cascadas. Watercolors, light and dark, down by the river to paint, a Spanish Christian watercolor artist…this was an art weekend at Cascadas, an annual event, where a Christian artist from Madrid teaches about painting with watercolors. About 24 people were here for those days, the majority of them non- believers. I helped with the cooking, and though the majority of us got sick on a meal early in the weekend (not sure what caused it), a Christian witness was given and people enjoyed themselves while getting some tips on practicing their artistic hobby…. Economical holidays for mental and emotional refreshment in the mountains, who could not pass this up? Normally every summer a group comes from the Madrid mental health center where Lourdes, Jill’s Spanish co-worker, works to spend a week here. This year a change in administration and some false accusations on this being a sect dampened this retreat for these needy souls, however three of these who already have personal relationships with Lourdes, Jill and the center came anyway! I was their host and cook, as Jill was in the UK that week. J During that week I also met a couple from Madrid who have a summer home in the next village. They have attended the English weeks at Cascadas for several years and both of them asked about my faith and commented about the freedom they see exhibited in Jill’s faith- so this is some of the ongoing witness and impact this center is having.
Black spotted, yellow and white butterflies, bumble bees, a variety of birds- this area is rich in fauna and flora, but soon I must take flight and meander my way back to Portugal, then onward to GEM conference and back to the USA. I am focusing my time on getting some of my itinerary for the USA squared away in my last days of this tranquility. It looks like I might have one more opportunity to meet up with Ester, from the hotel here, as we met walking our dogs today and I told her I was leaving in a few days. She promised to meet me on Monday. J Her busy season at the hotel has only afforded us one tea-time these weeks.
Book Nook: My summer companions- Elizabeth Elliot in Through Gates of Splendor and The Savage, My Kinsman, Edith Schaeffer in Christianity is Jewish, Ravi Zacharias in Jesus Among other Gods and Mike Bechtle in Evangelism for the Rest of Us. What a great blessing to have the time to read good literature!
Travel by car back to Portugal July 24th
GEM conference July 30-August 4
Travel to USA August 7
August 7-8 Time with a supporter in the Philly area
August 8- September 30th- Staying near Myerstown, PA
August 12-Sharing the Moment for Missions at New Beginnings, my home Church
August 26th– Speaking at combined Fontana Sunday School
September 5th– Speaking at Lebanon Women’s Prayer breakfast
September 10th– Kick off picnic with the ladies of Hebron Church
September 16th– Sharing at Campbelltown UM Church
Still to be scheduled: Portuguese dinners, meetings with individual supporters, potential donors, prayer partners, a few more church meetings and a trip out of town.
Matters for Prayer:
Jill’s recuperation from surgery and the work at Cascadas.
Pilgrim’s Oasis Café in Viana, Spain
My support needs and USA itineray
God’s care over Sweet Pea with the dog sitters up country
Yours in His Matchless Love,
firstname.lastname@example.org (gmail is working again!)
Phone in the USA- 717 -877 -7633
Prayer Update | June 2018
Watchmen on the Wall
Dear ministry partners,
Three weeks ago I left to return to Portugal for some days and then begin my Spanish sojourn. I have had journeying mercies on all my travels and my “going out’s and coming in’s”.
Highlights from my time in the states:
…. Thoroughly enjoying my accommodations, host families and neighborhoods
…. Sharing good times with friends, family and supporters
…. Speaking in one new church about the work in Portugal
…. Joining my home church Portugal prayer band
…. Shopping several bargain thrift stores with church friends
Highlights from my days in Portugal:
…. Seeing Sweet Pea well and happy and later after taking her to the vet for her annual visit, also getting the report from a blood analysis that she is in excellent health!
…. The Lord’s enablement as I moderated the debate on the Reformation at the high school where I teach Morals.. Three classes packed into the auditorium, along with four teachers. The priest, pastor and history professor had excellent opening statements. One question from the students dealt with celibacy of clergy.
…. Getting my year-end reports ready for the schools and attending my primary Morals class along with the substitute teacher and treating them to some cupcakes
…. Having opportunity to pray with one of my school associates as she was having heart pain one day that I happened to be at the school
…. Enjoying a one day bus excursion with the Fafe church
…. Joining in worship at three Christian fellowships
…. At the invitation of Izabella’s mother taking some time to talk to this 16 year old about dealing with peer pressure and just loving on her before she took off for two months in Brazil with family members, but away from her mother’s protective eye
…. And more that I cannot recall- they were full days!!
…. Working out details of where I should go on my Spanish sojourn, as the first place I was slated to go did not work out at this time
…. Packing and preparing for two days to take off to the central Iberian peninsula with car in readiness, food supplies, clothes, books and almost the kitchen sink!
Arrival at Cascadas in Alameda del Valle, Spain:
The trip took me over eight hours! The Spanish roads are very well marked, so it was no problem finding my way! Upon arrival I was delighted with seeing so many storks, red poppies everywhere, snow on the mountain peaks (and cold temperatures!) and just the quaintness of a mountain village! Oh- and Sweet Pea was the perfect traveler pet!
My lack of technological skills in thinking that I could not access voice mail (where the director of Cascadas had left me a detailed message) caused me to stay the first night in the local hotel, that had just opened the previous Friday. I had met the owner when she was out walking her dog as I was trying to find the house that had a key under the mat (where I was to stay). So what a delight it was to stay, along with Sweet Pea, in this lovely heated, re-furbished rustic hotel that also accepts pets! It has been a joy to get to know, Esther, the hotel owner. As it turned out Cascadas is right next door to the hotel, so we are neighbors! Our conversation helps her practice her English skills.
I had been to Cascadas about twenty years ago, but at that time they only had two row houses- so I didn’t know about the big house -until that next morning after the good night’s rest I felt maybe I could try to hear that voice mail…and indeed I was able to! So I got the details of the address of the house where I was to stay…so then I walked out of the hotel with Sweet Pea still there resting and walked over to my more economical accommodations! I proceeded to move into the very large three -story house, though only for one night. My story reminds me of Goldilocks… for the third night I was still in another bed!
The next day a large group was to arrive for a weekend retreat so I swept the floors and made sure the bathrooms were clean etc… The group arrived Friday, at what we would call evening, but here it is still afternoon- as it stays light until almost 10pm and about a half hour later the director arrived back, as she has been away for a week. The group leaders and the director proceeded to make many arrangements to do with the use of the house over the weekend and finally about 9:30 pm I moved into one of the row houses, where I will stay for the remainder of my time.
It has rained a little every day that I have been here, though with little periods of sunshine, however today, my 6th day here a bluer sky is in view, so tomorrow might be completely sunny. J I have been kept busy with loads of laundry- linens and towels from the past two months of visitors to Cascadas- with no dryer and one machine it takes a lot of patience to see the piles diminish, but I am making progress! Then there are lots of flower gardens to weed…this week a Romanian gentleman is here for some days staying in “my” house and so I prepare his lunch while the director and her colleague take care of his evening meal. In Spain the meals times are 2pm and 9pm! Later this week an artist groups arrive for a week of conference. There are many things to do around the property that need a man’s touch…S.O.S.!
Each day I take time to read and often a walk. Sweet Pea is having a ball walking outside in our L shaped postage stamp yard, making a dozen or more figure eights several times a day. The yard is back to back with the big house yard so she can always continue on if she chooses. We have taken a larger walk outside the gate two evenings too. J Last night we stopped at the hotel to see Esther. She has promised to come by when she has some time. I had invited her for tea later in the week, but she will be in Madrid. I trust the Lord for an opportunity to share the Water of life as we enjoy becoming friends! She has temporarily put her profession as an architect on hold while she and her husband get the hotel up and running.
My plans are not certain for the remainder of my time in Spain. I may still go to the other ministry site, or I may stay here. It depends on the situation with the pending visas of the Canadian couple that direct the teahouse on the El Caminho. I will return to Portugal around July 23rd. Then I am off to annual conference July 29th and return to Pennsylvania on August 7th.
Points for Prayer:
Pray for the Lord’s hand of blessing in the ministry at Cascadas
Pray that Izabella would make good choices during her stay in Brazil
I have often asked prayer for Fatima and Arlindo- Pray for Fatima to be daily encouraged in the Lord while taking care of her Mom and for Arlindo’s renewed appetite for the Word
An update on my financial need – I have gotten one promise of new support and also a large one time gift which almost puts me at seeing the need of $300 a month reduced to $200 a month. PTL!
Yours in His Great Love,