This is what it looked like as we visited Calafell, Spain with Bucky Kennedy and his family. We traveled to Spain to talk to kids about Jesus. We barely spoke their language, we hardly knew a thing about them, but, by the end of week, over 30 of the 200 we spent time with came to know Jesus.
In case you haven’t been to Spain lately, I imagine it’s a vastly different place than the Spain that funded Christopher Columbus’s expedition to the “New World” in 1492. Its exposure to 21st Century cultural issues seems to have been expedited much more so than even ours has been here in the US.
Their society is definitely European and it strikes me that, generally, they want to blend in, rather than maintain a specific heritage.
The monetary system is based on the Euro. Their culture seems to have been “blended” into one of cultural diversity. Kids and teenagers are exposed to issues, any and all, that have traditionally been reserved for more mature adult minds. Poverty is broad, yet opportunity still exists for those who acquiesce to social norms.
My pastor asked if I thought Spain could be qualified as a “Post-Christian” society and I responded that I could see that as a reasonable perspective.
To clarify, I found a good explanation on Wikipedia:
“Postchristianity is the loss of the primacy of the Christian worldview in political affairs, especially in the Global North where Christianity had previously flourished, in favor of alternative worldviews such as secularism or nationalism. It includes personal world views, ideologies, religious movements or societies that are no longer rooted in the language and assumptions of Christianity, at least explicitly, although they had previously been in an environment of ubiquitous Christianity (i.e. Christendom).”
All that being said, my family and I were eager to arrive in Spain, along with Bucky Kennedy and his family.
As we settled into a summer camp routine of singing, devotionals, small groups and getting to know others who were there and assisting like we were, we began to see kids who were thirsty for “what else” this life has to offer and what purpose they could fulfill.
As I spent time with these kids, I heard stories of other kids, their friends, who didn’t seem to know, or care, about God. I heard about kids who had many, many distractions and whose attention was easily turned away from the Bible and Jesus.
When he spoke, Bucky had a translator. Juan Marcos had the monumental task of translating “North Georgian” English into Espanol. I told Juan Marcos I’d be praying for him before Bucky’s first speaking opportunity. On that occasion, Juan Marcos had to inform Bucky that there was no translation for the term “squashing a bug”. Regardless, Juan Marcos stuck with Bucky all week and did an incredible job.
Now don’t be fooled, we had free time. Serving “On Mission” in a First World country, bordered on the south by the Mediterranean Sea, isn’t especially difficult.
Regardless, we had plenty of time to share the love of Jesus with the kids at camp, and we took advantage of that at every opportunity.
It was probably on the third night in Calafell, at camp, that it hit me. As much as I might have set out to do my best to tell a few kids from Spain, Portugal, Italy and other countries about Jesus, they were blessing me even more.
There was that song… I knew the words in my language… but I knew only some of the words in theirs. By the third night, the kids knew all the words.
Regardless of all the stuff, the “cosas” they had to deal with in their world, they were singing. Regardless of the questions they had asked me, they were singing. Regardless of the poverty some of them had told me about, they were singing. Regardless of the questions and distractions, and how fast their society wanted them to deal with adult issues that they aren’t prepared for, they were singing… and smiling… and what a blessing it was.
God is good and His plan is perfect. That is what I believe. I’m not perfect, far from it, but God is opening my eyes a little more all the time, and what a blessing it is.
My family and I will continue to pray for the kids we spent a week with in Calafell, Spain. We’ll pray they now know, or will continue to grow in, the love of Jesus.
Our prayers will be that they bless others and share the love we have shared for and with them. We’ll pray that Spain, and all of the other countries that were represented at camp, will soon become a “Modern-Christian” society (if that’s a thing) once again. We’ll pray that, because, life with the God we know is a blessing in this world and His gift of Heaven is worth everything we can give… and then some.
Now that we’re home I realize that He just reminded us of that, and blessed us, yet again.