Leah, Eliana and I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with Leah's sister Stacy and our brother-in-law, Nick, at their YoungLife camp ministry in Eastern Oregon. It was a delightful time to just hang out with family and get to experience their ministry, but on top of that, I grew all the more excited to jump into ministry.
And this morning, as I write, I wait for one of my most awaited World Cup games to begin. Spain verses Switzerland. I was not a huge soccer fan before going to Mexico, however enculturation and ministry necessitated a growing interest in futbol or soccer. Now I'm hooked, which is good, because it is just as important in Spain, if not more, than it is in Mexico. I now root strongly for 3 teams, the US, Mexico and Spain. (If the US plays either Mexico or Spain, I'll continue rooting for the US).
Such a small thing as a World Cup game brings me all the more closer emotionally to the country in which God has called us. Little by little, nostalgia grows for a country and people I barely know. With every kick, potential goal, and (hopefully not) loss, I grow a bit closer to the culture. It will be a reference point for which I can begin conversations and build relationships with.
Now the problem is getting there. The Lord has seen it fit for us to be able to watch the entire outcome of the World Cup before we get to Spain, which means we will not be able to celebrate with Spain or grieve with them, depending on their outcome in the tournament. So we wait, patiently (and not so patiently) in action. We are preparing our hearts, growing more excited and also releasing more of our family's life to Him who guides us.
This proves to be difficult, as our own ambition and excitement sometimes elbows faith out of the way, but this growth in patience and trust will also be such an asset when we minister in Spain and especially as we mentor and guide future missionaries in the Spearhead-Spain program.
So where are we at? Our plan is to push on fundraising until the end of July, and evaluate where we are at that point. If we are at 80% we are close to going and can begin the visa application process and make some firm dates for leaving. Currently we are projecting to be at about 54% and growing with about 35% coming into LAM at this time. This very day our boss is meeting with a Spanish ministry who could be our potential sponsor. We hope the partnership can be formed. If it is, we should know soon which city we'll be headed to and can begin to dream further.
As the Spanish soccer players stand, hands folded behind their backs, singing the national anthem of Spain, I embark in preparation (fun preparation!!) to connect all the more with the people that we will be ministering with. And for this next hour and a half, ministry, the World Cup and faith all get wrapped into the life of preparation.