Hi there everyone! Another week has flown by and now the end of February is upon us. It’s amazing how time seems to fly by sometimes. In this post we want to share with you our weekend spent in Granada. It was an amazing three days of encouragement, association and sightseeing! A few months back we had made arrangements to come to Granada so that Kanicia could take a French competency test which will eventually allow her to obtain French citizenship. We thought that it would be nice to try to spend time with the local brothers and sisters in Granada since we would be there anyways. After contacting the brothers and a little back and forth we were able to make arrangements for accommodations and for the public talk during the weekend meeting. So here’s how the weekend went and what we learned from it.
Even though Kanicia had been in a French congregation for over a decade she was still somewhat nervous about her French test. In 2015 we had completed all of the requirements for citizenship except the French test. So this time around we thought that we would start with the test first and then complete the rest afterwards. The appointment we were given was for last Friday at 9:30am in Granada city. We had tossed around the idea of staying over night on Thursday but in the end we decided to leave early Friday morning to make the appointment. After getting a good nights sleep we got up around 3:00am and got ready and were out the door by 3:45am. After driving through foggy mountain roads we finally arrived in Granada around four hours later at around 8:00am. This gave us time to find parking near the testing center and to have a little breakfast at a local place. If you’ve ever been to Granada you know that parking can be very challenging. So we were very happy to have found a spot a few minutes away from the testing center on the street. We actually ended up leaving the car there for pretty much the whole day which worked out well. During the trip up to Granada we had been listening to the yearbook in French so that Kanicia could get into a French frame of mind. Time will tell whether this was helpful or not. After spending about two hours or so taking the test Kanicia returned to the car and we then started to make our way towards the city center on foot. The nice thing is that when you are in the center of Granada it is a very walkable city. In many ways it’s better not to have a car because parking is difficult and costly.
Since we were only about 15 minutes from the city center we arrived there quickly. Since our host wouldn’t be available until that evening we were free to stroll around and explore the city as tourists which was nice. We decided to head up to the Mirador de San Nicolas which is a famous lookout point in which you can see the Alhambra from. As we walked around the small streets and winding alleys we couldn’t help but fall in love with the charm and history that seem to be so common in Granada. We finally made it up to the lookout point and we weren’t disappointed! From there you can see all of Granada as well as the stunning Alhambra. There were quite a few couples, families and musicians just hanging out taking in the atmosphere. Visiting this lookout is something that we definitely recommend if you will be coming to Granada. Next we headed back down the to the tapas bars. There was one that we discovered on our last visit that we liked so we went back there. The reason that it’s great is because they not only give you free tapas with your drink but the tapas are hearty and homemade. The place is usually pretty lively and this time was no exception. It’s amazing how well you can eat in Granada for so little. If only the rest of Europe were like this. After enjoying some tapas we took a stroll through the tea shops that transport you to Morocco. After passing a few we settled on a tea shop to try. We had some mint tea and didn’t feel as if we were still in Spain anymore once inside. The decor and atmosphere and languages spoken around us were basically Arabic. It’s great when you can be transported to another place yet not have to travel far. After the tea we started to make our way back to the car. Once we arrived we were in for a surprise. When we tried to start the car it wouldn’t turn on. That’s when we realized that when charging our phones earlier with the car off it had drained the battery. Now if this were several years ago we probably would have allowed ourselves to get more stressed out. Being abroad though has taught us to roll with the punches so to speak. Everything up until that point had been perfectly smooth. From our experience something will usually happen to try to throw us off when we are trying to do something for spiritual reasons. Knowing that helps us to keep things in perspective. So when the car didn’t start we took a deep breath and thought the situation through. We called the insurance company and they had a mechanic out to us in under 30 minutes. He hooked up the battery with a jumper device and everything started up fine. Relieved we headed out to our meet up with the sister that we would be staying with. The lesson for us was don’t make negative situations bigger than they have to be because they will usually pass by and then you can continue on.
About 15 minutes later we reach the neighborhood where we would be staying for the weekend. We stayed with a sister named Maria who is from Granada but has lived in many different countries over the years. As we got to talking we realized that Maria was also a delegate to the Milan, Italy Special Assembly. We were all happy to meet other delegates since none of us know anyone else in our hall who will be going. After more conversation we learned that Maria was also in Malta in 2015 for the Special Assembly. We reminisced on our time spent there and how amazing it was. Maria showed us the picture of her in her flamenco dress that she wore to the assembly. After we discovered points that we had in common we felt like old friends. It’s still amazing to me that in the truth you can meet someone for the first time and within a few minutes you can feel comfortable with them and talk to them as if you’ve known them for years. This is truly one of the blessings that I appreciate about being part of this organization! After a long day and night of activity and conversation we went to bed excited for what the rest of the weekend had in store.
When I first spoke to Maria she mentioned that we would be able to preach to some small villages in the Sierra Nevada mountains over the weekend. This was definitely the highlight of Saturday and of the entire weekend. After picking up another young sister all four of us headed to the service meeting in a town about 20 minutes away at the foothills of the mountains. The hall where the service meeting was held is actually a home where the bottom portion was converted into a Kingdom hall. After a nice service meeting we made the groups and started heading towards the mountains. We had no idea what this territory was going to be like. We followed a brother and his family in the car ahead of us as we climbed up and up driving along windy roads with breathtaking views. The area that we preached in is known as the Alpujarras. It’s a touristic mountain area that is full of many small villages which are about 1200 meters (4000 ft) above sea level on average. The roads are very windy and if you get carsick easily you probably won’t be a happy person. The roads are so windy and the elevation so high that we actually had to pull over because the kids in the car ahead of us were starting to feel sick. Just when we thought that we were getting near to the territory Maria would tell us that we were going even higher up! Throughout the journey I couldn’t help thinking about the love that Jehovah has for people that live in these remote locations. Many of these people are hippies and people that don’t want to be found but despite this fact Jehovah’s servants make the effort to contact them in order to share the good news. This must have a powerful effect on the ones that are rightly disposed when they learn about the great lengths that we have come to talk to them. After well over an hour of driving through windy mountain roads at high elevations we arrived at the territory. We started with a small village with only a few hundred inhabitants. As we walked around we couldn’t help but feel that we’d stepped back in time. One good thing about these small remote villages is that people are usually friendly because they lead a very laid back lifestyle. We worked the whole village doing addresses and search work. Some of these villages hadn’t been preached to in months or longer. After we finished one village we headed on to another one that seemed even more remote and isolated than the last. It’s such a great feeling to be able to share in the preaching work in such remote hard to reach places while being surrounded by Jehovah’s beautiful creation. Throughout the day we met several nice people and left literature with them and had pleasant conversations. After preaching for several hours we took a lunch break. We found a nice spot to park the car and then enjoyed the lunch that we brought surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery. It’s moments like these that I’m glad that we came to Spain! After lunch we continued on to some other villages. After preaching Maria showed us around some of the more touristy areas and towns. We went to a town called Pampaneira which is recognized as one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. We walked around, had tapas and took in the sights. After sightseeing we made our way back to Granada. It was a great day spent preaching and enjoying the beauty of nature and good association.
On Sunday we prepared to visit the Granada English congregation which has their meeting at 12:30pm. After a leisurely breakfast we arrived at the hall in time to meet many of the brothers. The nice thing about being out in service the day before is that we already met about half of the congregation since the congregation only has around 38 publishers. They are quite a diverse group. We met a brother and his family from Australia who moved in recently. There was also an American couple who were only there for a month. There were some other long time British families and of course Spanish brothers and sisters. The hall is warm and the friends are inviting. The English congregation is in need of help in areas related to covering the territory. They have a vast territory that includes the province of Granada. What would be ideal would be for a pioneer couple or a single person who would be in a position to stay for an extended period of time like a year with a car and a means to support themselves to move into the hall. The congregation does not only cover the city of Granada but the truth is that the majority of the territory is in the outlying areas such as the mountains and other far away regions. So if you are really looking to help you would be able to stay for a decent amount of time and you would have your own transportation in order to work the long distances needed. It’s also good to realize employment is very difficult to come by in Granada so if you have something that you can bring with you such as online work or a business back home then you would be in a better position to be able to stay longer in serving the congregation. Many of these points apply to other groups and congregations where there is a need. It’s good to count the cost and make sure that you will be an asset to the congregation and not a burden. After the public talk and Watchtower study we said our goodbyes and hit the road. Thankfully, we got a good start and were able to be back in the Huelva province by around 8:00pm. We stopped in Portugal to get dinner and reflected on the wonderful weekend.
So what have we learned from this weekend? Well, several things. For one its always worth it to make sacrifices for a spiritual blessing. Even though the distances were far and the trip had its challenges we are so happy that we went. We not only got to see how our fellow brothers serve Jehovah but it encourages us to do our best as well. We get to see the challenges that our brothers face and realize that we are not alone. It was also eye-opening to see how hard our brothers work to reach isolated remote territories with the good news. Even though we enjoy visiting new places and seeing different areas the spiritual blessings always outweigh everything else. We will be going back to Granada in a couple of weeks for our assembly. We’re looking forward to that trip as well as the instruction we will receive from the program. We hope you enjoyed our post and we look forward to sharing more experiences with you in the future!