We just got back this last Monday from a couple of days in Madrid with the Spanish 3 classes from BFA.
We signed up willing to go early in the school year. They needed Spanish speakers and alas, we are Spanish speakers!
As the trip drew near, though, we began to question what in the world we were thinking! We needed childcare for four children and substitute teachers for both of our classes.
We prayed for God’s will to be done… that if we needed to go, then all of the mountains would move and it would be clear. Not too long after, all of the childcare was arranged, subs were in place, and we were getting on a place with 19 teenagers and two other leaders.
Though Madrid is a beautiful, art-filled, super-cool, diverse city… our favorite part was getting to know the students. Though many of them look North American or Korean… a short conversation with them often revealed a life raised in “surprise” places… some even in countries that can’t be mentioned.
The purpose of the trip was to provide a sort of immersion experience for the students- to give them ample opportunity to speak the language they were learning with native Spanish speakers. This of course can be a challenge when you are touring the city in such a large group. However it was our job to make sure they were using it as much as possible. It was fun to see them “brave” asking a stranger for directions, get to know other high schoolers at the Spanish youth group we attended, or enjoy the Sunday morning service in a small Spanish church.
They were also brave in trying new foods… which we found is quite a pleasure to the palette in Spain! Tapas, Paella, Churros con chocolate, sweet cream-filled pastries… you could even try Rabo del toro (Ox tail, Mmmmm). Eating Spanish food was an easy and much anticipated task!
We also had the opportunity of touring some of Madrid’s iconic locations… the Cathedral, the President’s Palace, the soccer stadium, the bull-fighting ring, Retiro Park, El Museo Nacional del Prado with works by Goya, Velasquez, Rembrandt, Rubens, and many others. We visited the Sunday out-door market and La Puerta del Sol… a main center in the city of Madrid.
What an honor to join these students on this adventure! We felt, ultimately, that God had long ordained our time with them. Both of the other two leaders were sick… leaving Jeremy and I the only two “healthy” leaders available. And even though they were fighting illness, we both really enjoyed getting to know the other two staff members as well.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, the kids were having a great time with their caregivers… who really made all of this possible for us and the students. So a huge shout-out of thanks to the Tweedys, Cherrys, Proctors, Griesses, and Lawrences. THANK YOU!
Finally, we’ve heard that the feelings were mutual… that the students really enjoyed having us along as well… which is an encouragement and blessing to us as well. We hope to continue in friendship with each person we traveled with… and now know 19 more of the faces we often pass on the street, at church, or in the grocery store.