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Hello friends! We hope that you’ve had a good week where ever you are in the world. Here in the south of Spain it has been super hot. Today it reached over 43° (109 f)! It’s supposed to be even hotter tomorrow. Apparently it’s some sort of mini heat wave. Despite the high temperatures we had great support for the first weekend of the special campaign for September. Today we all met together in Huelva and it seems as if the whole congregation was out. My wife and I worked with an older Spanish couple who have been part of the hall for over 10 years since it was a group. It was amazing to see how well they knew the territory especially for being so rural. We worked in the country going down dirt roads and passing houses that you would never know existed. Many of these houses were home to English speakers from the UK or Germany.
After doing territory we went to a study with a man from Ghana in a small neighboring town. It is so refreshing to sit in on a study with a humble and receptive individual. Since many of the English speaking Africans traveled to other parts of Spain during the summer months its nice to start to see their return as summer draws to a close. About half way through the study another man pulls up a chair and sits in. If you are in foreign language you may have had the experience of being on a study held in multiple languages. That is exactly what happened on the study today. The student had a question about the word violence. He didn’t know what it meant. So as we tried to explain it in English we didn’t get anywhere. So then we tried Spanish, still nothing. Then we tried Twi. Finally it starts to become clear. Meanwhile the man who sat in on the study feels most comfortable in Italian even though he is from Ghana. This is because he spent some years in Italy and learned to speak the language while never having learned to read and write his native tongue. So as we observed these four languages being used at the same time we thought how nice it will be when we will all be able to communicate and understand the same language with ease.
After finishing with the study we went back to the couples home for lunch. It is not uncommon for ones here to invite you to their home spontaneously to share a meal. We had a delicious meal where we talked about the upcoming assembly and the congregation. After a filling meal we rested on the couch for some time. Since the couple spent their childhood in Germany they speak German and have TV in German. Since they knew that one of us was trying to learn some German they left the channel on in German. Well before we knew it all of us were fast asleep. Yes friends, the siesta is real! lol. After an hour or so I woke up because the channel was changed to French. We finished up our visit with some coffee and delicious local pastries. Even though we are tired after a weekend full of activity we are happy to be busy with the more important things.
As we begin the new service year we took some time to examine our goals. As of now we have been in the Huelva English congregation and living in Andalusia for nine months. So far we have really enjoyed our time here and we really feel like we are a part of the hall. As we contemplate the reasons that we left Bilbao we tried to see if we found what we were looking for here. What were some of those things that we expected to find? Well for one after having spent a couple of years in Bilbao we saw that the congregation was doing quite well. We knew that there were other congregations that could use help more. Have we found that to be the case here? Yes, definitely. In our current hall the territory is vast and there are not too many native speakers in the hall. Of course it’s not a requirement to be a native speaker but it does help when it comes to giving parts and other things that need to be done.
Another thing that we sought to find was a slower pace of life. Have we found that? Yes, absolutely. Here being in the south things are much more relaxed and people are not in such a rush. It helps that we don’t live in a big city like before and that we are close to the beach which always seems to create a more relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes when you live in a city you can become stressed imperceptibly and it starts to add up.
Something else that we were looking for was a lower cost of living. Have we found it? Yes, without a doubt. Living expenses here are easily half of what they were in the north with Bilbao being one of the most expensive cities in Spain. This translates into being able to focus more time on spiritual activities and family.
What could you take away from this list? Well, perhaps you are in the process of selecting a place to serve whether it be in Asia, Latin America or Europe. No doubt you will be confronted with many different types of places. You will find big cities, small country villages, coastal areas, mountainous areas, rural, etc. What we have learned is that it is important to consider the type of place that you are going to and choose one that you will be able to be happy in and will want to stay. In this way you will give yourself the best chance for success in sticking to your assignment for the time that you would like to stay.
So what are some of our goals for the new service year? Well, after the study of the lesson for this weekend on pursuing the Kingdom we have renewed determination to evaluate how we are doing in that regard. Sometimes when you are serving in another country it doesn’t hurt to evaluate yourself and see how you are doing in terms of living a simple life and also being content among other things. So throughout the rest of the fall and winter we are going to try to work harder at making sure that we are doing all that we can to support the congregation and have a meaningful ministry. As the article mentioned some of the best ways to do this are by leading a simple life. So we will be working to simplify even more where possible. Now that we have been in Spain for some time it can at times feel like we live a “normal life.” When we feel that way we want to examine why that is so and see what we can do to keep our sense of urgency. As we continue to simplify this will allow us to start cutting back on work come January which will give us more time for other activities.
At the start of each month we set goals for ourselves and these are broken down by weeks. So for example in September we will have various things that we want to accomplish by each week. We find that writing down our goals and putting them on the fridge makes them more real and holds us more accountable and in turn allows us to achieve them. This is something that we started doing before we moved to Spain when we were preparing to serve where the need is great. It works great for big goals like getting citizenship or moving to another country because when you break it up by week you can divide up the tasks into manageable sizes. We have created a goals lists that extends out to the end of 2017. As always we love sharing with all of you our journey including our mistakes and our wins. We have a busy few months ahead of us with many theocratic highlights planned. We can’t wait to share them with you as they happen. You may have noticed that we updated our About Us page and it is now titled Start Here. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go ahead and visit it especially if this is your first time here. We are in the process of working on a resources page which we are really excited about. There we will be able to share different resources that we personally use and have found helpful in many different areas but especially concerning the needgreater lifestyle. We’re also expanding our social media channels, so stay tuned for that.
We hoped that you’ve enjoyed this post! If so leave us a comment below and say hello or feel free to email us at [email protected] We really enjoy reading all the different emails that we get from different ones doing something similar or getting ready to serve somewhere. Subscribe to receive updates and share this post with your friends if you think they would enjoy it. Have a great week and we’ll see you next Sunday!