02
Dec
12

Shame to Sonrisas (Español)

Siento que el último blog realmente no contaba toda la historia. Estaba convencido y hasta algo condenado que estaba reduciendo lo que Dios había hecho en mi vida y quería contar toda la historia.

Mi nombre es Josh Brister tengo 27 años (aunque soy un abuelo de corazón) y soy de Brookhaven, Mississippi. Soy amante del fútbol, director de alabanza, canta-autor y misionero en una iglesia denominada “El Lokal” en Barcelona, España. No me preguntes cómo ni por qué, pero Dios ha puesto en mi un corazón ardiente por las personas de este país y no podría sentirme más honrado por poder servirle aquí. (Claro que ayuda que el mejor equipo, puede de la historia, esté sólo a 30 minutos en metro)

Soy un chaval de Misisipi que viene de una familia de esas en las que sólo puedes soñar, apoyan, me muestran cariño, y temen a Dios. Esto conlleva que también desean fervientemente que vuelva a casa. Seguro que mientras escribo esto, están conjurando un complot para no dejarme volver a España después de mi visita para las fiestas. Con la barba que llevo, ha habido algún rumor de llamadas anónimas al aeropuerto avisando de que habrá un terrorista embarcando un avión destino España. Total, mi familia desde el día 1 me ha apoyado de forma incondicional en esta aventura y de allí viene la gran parte de mi vergüenza en haberles fallado.

Empecé a dirigir la alabanza cuando tenía unos 15 años en la iglesia de mi padre, Mike Brister (un pastor de jóvenes) en Brookhaven y realmente lo he seguido haciendo desde entonces. Puedo recordar cuando aprendí a tocar la guitarra. Mi familia me regaló un Fender DG-/ para navidad junto a un libro autodidacta. Después de unas horas de ensayo, fui corriendo a mi abuela (quien muy buena cantante) y dije “Meemaw, escucha esto”. Empecé a tocar y recuerdo su cara, esa que aparece cuando te comes un limón, cuando escuchó el sonido terrible que emitían mis manos. Claro, había aprendido los acordes del libro al revés. ¿Crees que tus jóvenes adoradores suenan chirrían a veces… imagina escuchar a un adolescente tocar todos los acordes de su guitarra al revés. Fue horrible. Pero mi familia me ha apoyado siempre en la música a pesar de esos momentos disonantes.

Como la gran mayoría de adolescentes y sobretodo estudiantes universitarios de esta época, pasé por un tiempo dónde empecé a alejarme de mi fe y dar la espalda a todo lo que mis padres me habían enseñado. Podría hablar de mi fracaso durante días (fiestas, bebida, hierba, pornografía, chicas, vivir dos vidas) pero no es a donde quiero llegar con esto. Creo que demasiado a menudo, como cristianos, nos enfocamos en los fracasos o los pecados que deberíamos evitar, pero no hablamos de lo que Jesús tiene para ofrecer a los pecadores como nosotros. Quiero compartir con vosotros lo que Jesús ofrece a los quebrantados como yo. Mis fracasos podrían llenar fácilmente un libro de J.R. Tolkien pero quiero explicar que debido a la gracia de Dios, he encontrado algo sobrenatural que él ofrece a cada uno de nosotros si lo pedimos.

Y NO, no estoy hablando de vivir una vida perfecta o hacer cosas buenas. Ni siquiera estoy hablando a los bonachones que pensáis que lo tenéis todo montado. Quiero enfocarme en los pecadores y las personas de verdad que quieren ayuda. Quiero centrarme en las personas que como yo, sienten el peso de una palabra, vergüenza. Sé que si alguno es como yo fui,  en el fondo de tu alma estás avergonzado de quien eres y de tus fallos. Llevas una carga que parece que pese un millón de kilos. Y no eres capaz de deshacerte de ella. Lo que llevas a cabo en la intimidad de tu casa o en otros lugares te está destrozando. Has intentado apartar tus errores de tu mente. Has intentado combatir el pecado por cuenta propia y estás cansado. Simplemente estás agotado. Tengo buenas noticias; tengo y estoy viviendo la respuesta a tu problema.

Perdonarme por los errores de mi pasado fue la cosa más difícil que he hecho en toda mi vida. Básicamente escapé a España para apartarme de mi vida en EEUU. Estaba tan avergonzado de cómo estaba viviendo que tuve que abandonar el país. ¡Vaya locura! ¿no? Casi no podía ni mirar a mi madre a los ojos, fue el punto más bajo de mi vida. Era un líder de alabanza que viajaba y dirigía la alabanza en grandes eventos por todo el país, y era un crack poniendo la cara eclesial. Dirigía los tiempos de alabanza en todos lugares. A veces llevaba la alabanza borracho de la noche anterior.  Era el ejemplo viviente del hijo pródigo. Estaba mugriento y durmiendo con los cerdos.

Pero nunca olvidaré una mañana cuando desperté en mi apartamento aquí en España y me dije se acabó. Estoy harto. Estaba sirviendo en mi iglesia en España y seguía luchando con  muchos de los mismos temas que en EEUU. Ni siquiera cambiar de país te libera del pecado. Vivo al lado de la iglesia, y me acuerdo bajar al sótano donde realizamos las reuniones en mi dia libre y rogar a Dios que me perdonara mis pecados. Le dije que estaba harto de intentar arreglar las cosas por mi mismo. Me aplasté contra el suelo y le supliqué que me renovara y me limpiara. Y lo que pasó en ese suelo de parquet cambió mi vida. Me dio algo que revolucionó mi vida, me dio paz. Inundó mi alma con una paz- tamaño DIOS y desde entonces nunca he sido el mismo.

Puedo afirmar a cualquiera que soy un hombre nuevo debido a su gracia y a su paz. Y si él puede transformar a alguien tan mugriento como yo, ciertamente a ti te puede dar paz. Puedo decir que estoy bien lejos de ser perfecto, y sí, hay tentación de volver a mis hábitos antiguos, y eso será mi batalla durante el resto de mi vida. Pero el gozo que viene de la redención y el perdón hace que todo valga la pena.

Dios ofrece paz para todos aquellos pecadores como yo que estáis allí afuera. Sólo tenéis que pedirlo. Os animo a no intentar arreglar vuestras vidas, y deja que el Dios de redención os limpie. Ponte de rodillas y pide perdón y luego prepárate para caminar el camino de perdonarte a ti mismo. Redención será el latir de tu vida.

“Venid a mí, todos los que estáis cansados y cargados, y yo os haré descansar. Tomad mi yugo sobre vosotros y aprended de mí, que soy manso y humilde de corazón, y HALLAREIS DESCANSO PARA VUESTRAS ALMAS. Porque mi yugo es fácil y mi carga ligera.” Mateo 11:28-30

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05
Nov
12

Shame to Sonrisas (smiles)

I really felt like this blog post didn´t tell the whole story. I felt convicted that I was belittling what God has done in my life and I wanted to share the whole story.

My name is Josh Brister and I´m a 27 year old (grandpaw at heart) guy from Brookhaven, MS. I´m a soccer (or fútbol as they say over here) lover, worship leader, song writer and a missionary at a church called El Lokal in Barcelona, Spain. Don´t ask me why or how but God has put a burning heart in me for the people of this country and I couldn´t be more honored to serve Him here. (Sure doesn´t hurt that the best soccer team maybe in the history of the game is only 30 minutes away on the metro)

So, I´m a Mississippi boy that comes from the most loving, godly and supporting family that anyone could ever ask for. Along with that comes the constant desire to have me home. I´m sure as I´m writing, they´re foiling a plot that won´t allow me to fly back to Spain after my Christmas visit. With this beard I´ve got going, there´s been talks of them calling the airport and telling them that there´s a possible terrorist trying to board a flight to Spain. Anyways, my family, from day 1 in this journey has supported me unconditionally and that´s where most of my shame comes from was from letting them down.

I started leading worship when I was around 15 years old in my Dad´s, whose name is Mike Brister, church in Brookhaven (he´s a youth minister) and really been doing it ever since. I can remember when I first learned to play the guitar. My family gave me a Fender DG-7 acoustic guitar for Christmas one year along with a book to teach myself how to play. So after a couple hours of learning, I went running to my grandmother (who is a wonderful singer) and said, ´Meemaw, listen to this´. I started playing and I remember her face, the same kind of face you get when you eat a dill pickle, when she heard the horror that was coming from my hands. She said ´sweetheart; I don´t think that´s how it´s supposed to sound.´ Of course, I learned the chords upside down from the book. So you think that your youth worship band struggles, try listening to a teenager that plays all of the chords on the guitar upside down. It was terrible. But my family has always supported my music since those awful moments.

As most teenagers and especially college students now days, I hit a time of my life where I began to stray from my faith and turn my back on the way my parents brought me up. I could talk about all of my failures for days (partying, drinking, weed, pornography, girls, 2 faced living) but that´s not where I want to go with this. I think far too often, we as Christians focus on all of the failures or sins we should try not to do but we don´t talk about what Jesus has to offer sinners like us. I really want to look at what Jesus offers to the broken hearted like me. My failures could fill up the pages of a J.R. Tolkien book easily but what I want to say is that because of the grace of God, I have found something supernatural that he offers to every single one of us if we just ask for it.

No, I´m not talking about living a perfect life or doing good things. I´m really not even talking to all of you do-gooders that think you have it all together. I want to focus on the sinners and the real people who need help. I want to focus on the people who like I was, are weighed down by one word, shame. I know, if any of you are like I was, you are at the depth of your soul ashamed of who you are and your mistakes. You carry a burden that feels like it weighs a million pounds and you just can´t shake it off on your own. The things you do in the secrecy of your home or elsewhere is literally breaking you down. You´ve tried putting your failures out of your mind. You´ve tried to beat sin on your own and you´re tired. You´re just plum wore out (had to throw a good Mississippi phrase in there). I´ve got great news; I have the answer and I´m living the answer.

Forgiving myself for my past was one of the hardest things I´ve ever had to do. I basically moved to Spain to get away from my life in the States. I was so ashamed of how I was living that I had to leave the country. Crazy right! I could barely look my own mother in the eyes and it was seriously the lowest point of my life. I was a travelling worship leader who led at big events and man I was great at putting the church face on. I led worship for churches all over the place. A few times I led worship drunk from the night before. I was living out the story of the prodigal son. I was filthy and sleeping with the pigs.

But I´ll never forget this one morning when I woke up in my apartment here in Spain and said that´s it. I´m done. I was serving at my church in Spain and still struggling with a lot of the same issues as I was in the states. Not even moving to another country fixes sin. I live right beside the church and I remember on my day off, I went down to the basement which is our sanctuary and I begged God to forgive me for all of my sins. I told Him that I was done trying to fix everything myself. I got on my face before Him and pleaded that he make me new and wash me clean. And what happened on that wooden floor changed my life. He gave me one thing that literally revolutionized my life, peace. He flooded my soul with God-sized peace and to this day I´ve never been the same.

I can firmly proclaim to anyone that I am a completely new man because of His grace and peace. And if He can transform someone as filthy as I was, He can certainly give you peace. I can say that I´m nowhere near being perfect and yeah, I still am tempted to go back to my old habits and that will be a battle for the rest of my life. However, the joy that comes from redemption and forgiveness makes sin look like a joke.

So for all you sinners out there like me, God offers peace. You only have to ask for it. I encourage you all to stop trying to fix your lives and let the God of redemption wash you clean. Get on your knees and ask for forgiveness and then be prepared to walk down the path of forgiving yourself. Redemption will be the heartbeat of your life.

¨Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.¨ Matthew 11:28-30

I´ll be home from December 17th until February 26th. What you´ve read is more or less the testimony/time of worship that I feel the Lord leading me to share while I´m home. I´m totally flexible to any ideas you might have (bringing a full band, leading worship only with an acoustic/piano, only leading worship, only speaking). I just want to share what the Lord has done in my life and encourage others to find peace. If you´d like to have me come share/lead worship just send me an email at joshlbrister@gmail.com or look me up on facebook under Josh Brister. Thanks so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from y´all. Below are photos of my road to redemption. ¡Que Dios os bendiga! (God bless y´all)

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16
Dec
11

From Mississippi to Missionary

Dear Friends and Family,

As some of you may know, I´ve been ministering in one of the greatest cities in the world, Barcelona, Spain, (behind the great cities of Bude, Star, and Bogue Chitto, MS of course) since the end of June. I had the privilege of living here last year for around 11 months being an English teacher. To be brief, I absolutely fell in love with this city and the people that live here. At first, I thought that it was only because I loved the culture here but little did I know, God was calling me to a huge mission field. I was blessed to go on a youth camp this summer with the church that finally nailed down my calling to follow my Dad´s incredible ministry with teenagers. If I can make half the impact that my Dad has made in the states here in Barcelona then this will become a radically changed city!

I returned to Mississippi last December because I thought that I had gotten my travel bug out of me. I took a worship leading job at FBC Jackson and worked at a coffee shop during the week. Trust me when I tell you that I tried my darndest (you can take the boy out of Mississippi but not the Mississippi out of the boy) to fit back into Mississippi culture, work in a church and be the minister that I feel like most people wanted me to be. However, it was very obvious that it was not God´s plan for my life.

As much as I love a nice glass of Sweet Iced Tea, God was calling me to get back to Barcelona. He has put a compassion for the people of this city, especially for teenagers, that I´ve never felt in any other place I´ve ever lived. He´s given me a desire to see the people of this city come to know the grace and love that I underservingly receive every day.

So some of you may be wondering exactly what I do here in Barcelona specifically. I get the privilege to work in various areas of a church called El Lokal (The Local) with a pair of wonderful pastors. (Curtis and Patti Clewett) They are 2 Americans that have been living here in Barcelona for over 20 years and it´s great to see their ministry flourish here.

I have been given the opportunity to start a youth ministry from scratch. And when I say scratch I mean that on a great day we have 3 students! It´s a blessing to love on the kids here. This church is very geared towards young people and God has given me such a fire for the young people of this country.

Secondly, I help with the worship band in the church. And you may be thinking, Josh why aren´t you leading the worship band? I tell you that there are such talented musicians in our church with such incredible hearts that it is just a blessing to just be apart of their worship ministry. Another way I help is that I am doing all the finances of the church. (Yes Mom, all of those Dave Ramsey radio telecasts you listened to in the car are finally paying off!)
Also, I am very involved in the culture outside of the church here in Barcelona. Every Thursday, I started a language exchange in a very famous area of the city called Gracia. Basically we meet 2 hours every Thursday (1 hour of English and 1 hour of Spanish) and it´s a really great way to minister to the people in a very non-churchy way. I get to invite some of our church members to come meet people and share the love of Christ without people having to come to a church building. It´s been a really neat way to minister to people in this city! So to say the least, I have my hands full with different ministries in the church but it´s such a blessing to finally get my hands dirty doing the Lord´s work!

God is ready to do major things in this area and I can see it so clearly now. I have committed to being here for another 2 years and it´s so exciting. I want to invite you to join me in this wonderful adventure to spread the love of Christ in a city that is desperately in need of it. I want to ask you to remember the people of this incredible place in your prayers and to pray about supporting me here. I will be home for Christmas for a few weeks and I would love to meet with anyone over a coffee or come to your church to speak more about the ministry here. Also, feel free to ask me any questions through email here. I´d love to stay in touch with you all. God bless from across the world and I hope the sweet tea is still as sweet as I remember! Muchimas gracias!

29
Jul
11

KKI

After a full month of being back in this crazy place called Barcelona, I finally have a little free time to write. It´s been literally non-stop since I got here. Mrs. Patti C. picked me up from the airport and dropped me off at the church to help with this wacky thing called King´s Kids International.

Since the first of July, I´ve been involved with a Christian camp for kids and teenagers from all over the world. We spent a week in Tianna (town on the outskirts of Barcelona). It was more or less a week for all of the campers to get to know each other and connect with God before they headed out to their various destinations. Here are some photos of the camp in Tianna.

 

We had 3 differetnt groups that went to England, Galicia, and the best of all, Murcia. I had the priviledge of being apart of the Murcia group. Murcia is a city in the Southeastern part of Spain. We spent a week basically leading a Christian camp for younger people. We took a group of 12 and there were around 40 in all at the camp. We kicked it Mississippi style with tents and as my Papaw would say, ´we were roughing it.´We slept on basically a field of rocks and the heat was tough even for a MS boy. However, the Lord really worked in the lifes of all of the people in Murcia. We saw some big changes and it was such a blessing to see our group of teenagers ministering to Murcia.

Well, we thought we had control…

Forgot to mention that we were only a 3 minute walk from the beach…

So then we headed back to Barcelona for what we would realize to be our hardest week of the camp. We were involved with an English camp that El Lokal (the church) was putting on, we served meals to the homeless and held Noches de Sotano (nights for young kids to come play games, worship and what not) at the church. We found it very difficult to motivate the group when they were back on their home soil but in the end they really caught a passion for their city. It was brilliant to see them ministering to their people here and we hope to keep that compassion going throughout the year.

English camp

Drama/theater

Through the rocky desert and heat of Murcia to the trek back to Barcelona, I have survived my first KKI camp experience. It was one that I was so blessed to be apart of and hope to one day get the chance to do it again.

On a slightly more profound note, God has called me to a ministry with chavales (teenagers). I´ve ran from it for so long being Mike Brister´s son but I´m so excited to see what God has in store for me in the area of teenagers and I´m now open to his calling. I hope everyone is surviving the heat back home. Thank you all for your prayers and support!

05
Nov
10

From MS to Modelling

Every person from small town Mississippi to China has 1 or 2 incredible personal stories to tell. True, some may be a bit more extravagant than others but they are our go-to stories nonetheless. These are normally the stories that us guys try to tell cute girls. For example, my Papaw, or ´Big Perch Luke´, has about a hundred involving fish the size of whales that he has caught in the Reservoir. He could tell the same story a hundred times and it never gets old. About 2 months ago, I might have caught the biggest ¨fish¨of my life.

My big whopper began 5 or 6 months ago. I was sitting in my favorite plaza (Plaza del Sol) waiting on 2 friends to have a coffee. This 20 something girl walks up to me and says ‘eres perfecto!’ (you are perfect) and of course I was a little taken off guard seeing as I haven´t heard that from too many women other than my Mother. I had never had a random woman tell me something like that and so I said que dices? (what did you say). She went on to tell me that she worked for a modeling agency and that she was looking for people to feature in a commercial. She took me off to the side and took 5 or so photos of me, got my info and told me she’d call me the next day. Long story short, I went to a casting call for Mailbu rum. I was casting for the American role and basically I had to dance in front of a camera for 30 seconds to a song called ‘Boom Boom.’ He told me to dance in whatever way I thought would be similar to a ‘Boom Boom’ dance. You can only imagine how that went.
 
Of course I left that place laughing at myself and thinking, well, that was fun but that’s the last I’ll hear of that. I knew I was no model and definitely no ‘Boom Boom’ dancer. 3 months passed and I was sitting in a different plaza with my roommate, Mike. We were discussing how in the world I was going to afford the 775 euro flight home for xmas. We talked about it for an hour or so and came up with no better idea than going into debt. I’ve never been in debt in my life and I was pretty bummed about the fact that I was about to have to.
 
On the sad walk back to our flat, I received a call from a lady named Meteora. She tells me that she works for a modeling agency and she has a job for me. After my last experience, I said I’m sorry Maam but I’m just an English Professor and far from a model. She tells that a German photographer saw my photos and wants to do a shoot with me for OPEL cars (yeah, the OPEL car company). So I said, I don’t have to go to a casting or anything? The job is mine? She said yes, it is yours. She then told me that it would pay 800 euros for one day of work which was exactly what I needed for my flight. After I hung up, I about broke down right in the middle of my street. Mike was the most confused person I have ever seen (he doesn’t speak much Spanish and had no idea what the call was about).

To make one of the craziest stories of my life short, one Sunday morning I met a team of Germans at a famous Hotel in Barcelona. They put makeup on my face (I told the woman she needed more than makeup to pull this off), dressed me in a musician’s outfit and I did a photo shoot playing a guitar on top of the roof of the hotel with this beautiful city in the background. It was one of most enjoyable experiences of my life but the best part is that I get to see my family for Christmas. I can’t describe to you how much I want to see them. It’s just another story in my life where I clearly see God taking care of me in ways (like this bearded ole’ MS boy being a model in big city Barcelona) I could never imagine in my wildest dreams. His providence has been so evident in my life and I can’t describe the joy he is daily giving me. I feel so unworthy of his blessings and his love.

Without more babbling, here they are. Please don´t download them because I don´t technically have the rights to them. Enjoy!

17
Aug
10

Vaca

It has been a minute since I last wrote and I am torn about where to begin. I guess I’ll start with ‘The Kingdom’.

After summer camp, I was more than generously offered to stay at my best friend’s studio flat. His name is Rabea Eltity and we met over 3 years ago in Alicante, Spain. We were both taking Spanish classes and immediately became good friends. Strangely enough, we ended up here in the same city and it was like we hadn’t lost a day. We play on the same futbolsala (5v5 indoor including goalies) team and hang out a good bit. He manages a hair salon here and does really well for himself. He and his wonderful German girlfriend Dina have been the biggest help to me here with everything including Spanish. Between the two of them, they speak over 7 languages. Ridiculous.

Like most people here, they decided to take a 20 day vacation through Spain and Portugal. Kindly, they allowed me to stay in their incredible flat, which we have donned, ‘The Kingdom’. It has an air conditioner (which is not normal for us broke professors), new appliances and a terrace.

The terrace was unbelievable. We grilled out numerous times and I will always cherish the great times that were had. Here are a few photos taken from the events.

The times we had at ‘The Kingdom’ will never be forgotten. Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading/writing and basically having chill time. I know that once I start working, things will become hectic again and I am milking my vacation for everything that it’s worth. And on vacation, I’m going to visit a very dear friend named Andy ‘Sideways’ Stubblefield in Budapest, Hungary for 3 days at the end of the month. I really couldn’t be more excited.

This past Sunday, Festa Major de Gracia (Grand Festival of Gracia) began. All of my Catalalunyan buddies have been raving about this festival for months now and I didn’t really think much of it. By far, it is the coolest festival I have ever been to. Basically, there are 15 different streets in the area of Gracia (really trendy/artistic part of BCN) that decorate their streets with a theme. At the end of the festival, one street is chosen to be the winner.

Also, every plaza is decorated and they all have stages with live music. There was a big parade on Sunday that was great and the past 2 days have just been fun. It’s more special that I have lived in this area so it has been cool to see the transformation of the streets that I pass everyday.  Enjoy!

It is a wonderful time to be a resident of this incredible city and I find myself more and more blessed everyday. God bless you all and I pray that we recognize the grace that abounds in all our lives. Un abrazo!

19
Jul
10

Mas Puig Franco

Back from camp and instead of running through all the details of how it went, I figured I would post one of my journal entries while I was there.

Today is the 10th day of Mas Puig Franco. I have had the privelege of teaching English (a language that I am constantly relearning myself so that I can be a semi-adequate professor) to around 20 Catalunyan saints (ha). They actually are wonderful kids. It is a 24 hour a day job ranging from horseback riding to trekking through the breathtaking Pyrenees mountains. Yesterday, we actually traversed through 7 different ones. For a six year old girl named Lulu, I’d say that’s a pretty hefty accomplishment.

Despite the long days and constant caretaking of the nenes, my time here has been truly inspiring. Two of the boys (Pol and Alex) left early yesterday to attend another camp. As they were leaving, they said their goodbyes to the monitors and it was in that moment that I sincerely believed I was able to make a small difference in their lives.

For this reason, I have fallen in love with the art of teaching. Knowing myself all too well, I’m not promising that it will last forever but for now I can’t remember the last time I was this passionate about a type of job. The life of a musician was one that I will always remember as some of the most enjoyable times I have ever had. Sadly it took me around 5 years to realize that it was only a hobby. Of course, it is a hobby that I expect to be apart of my life for some time. On the other hand, teaching is a passion that is growing stronger and stronger by the day.

For years, I have been telling people that Dead Poets Society is one of my alltime favorite movies and I feel I am just now coming to terms as to why that is. There has been this desire inside of me for as long as I can remember to inspire others. Looking back on it, leading worship was my avenue.

I loved being apart of something that I believed moved people. Unfortunately, as the years fly by, I become more reserved when it comes to the effectiveness of modern worship music. As I feel the stake being lit all around me, maybe I should elaborate.

Obviously, worshipping the God who freely gives me grace daily in the company of friends of family is a beautiful thing. I can’t describe in words how much I would love to have gone to church on Sunday with my family. It doesn’t hurt that I would probably have eaten a deep south meal that my Meemaw would have slaved over.

The issue I find myself struggling with is the dire importance church culture has placed upon worship services. In Barcelona I have found a home in a church called El Lokal. The pastor is an American who has been living in Spain for over 20 years. There, I am blessed to have found friends that have allowed me into their circles (which can be really difficult here). I attend a bible study every Thursday (partly for the free ice cream) but mainly because I have discovered so much meaning in my faith through these relationships.

I attend every service on Sunday mornings and I actually played electric guitar and sang  (in Spanish) the day before I left for camp. They are times that I look forward to but it is one small part of a faith that I feel has so many meaningful aspects. In my humble opinion, I find the 3 hour lunch with the church folks after the service to be of equal importance as the all-Spanish sermon that I struggle to understand.

Practicing my faith on a daily basis in the classroom is another part that I find myself always trying to get a grip on. Loving these kids is not hard because they are absolutely hilarious. From day one, I have been known by 2 names Xabi Alonso [Spanish footballer] and George (due to the fact that Spaniards can’t pronounce my name worth anything). Also, the love connections between 9 year olds is more entertaining than any TV soap opera that I’ve ever seen but I digress.

The hard part is teaching them the Christian values that I have been surrounded by my entire life (thanks to my family). If anyone has suggestions, I would be very appreciative. I don’t have a Euro to my name to pay you but maybe one day I can return the favor. Adios from a broke English professor striving to love these kids with the type of love that I have been shown. God bless and as John Keating (Robin Williams’ character in DPS) so adequately expressed…”carpe diem.”