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We’re settling in well here in Seville. I can’t believe how much I worried about where we would live. The house is so beautiful! When the landlords proudly showed it to us, we noticed a little tile on the wall by the door with “Sara” in blue letters. “See, Sara, this house has your name on it. God saved it just for us.”
This is the SOUTH! And like in the states, it’s warm and welcoming. The doorbell rang on Daniel’s birthday. It was Mari from across the street bringing him a cake. Pray as we make friends with our neighbors and look for ways to share Jesus.
Plunging into a new world is a continual intake of new information: the smell of citrus, new phone number, how to walk to the grocery store, the unmarked trash bin is actually for biodegradable things, and we do pay for a 3 y.o. on the subway. Sometimes, checking off a phrase on the “to do” list is like walking through a maze without a map. You find that “Finalizing a visa” means three road trips to Madrid (7 hours each way), visits to a lawyer and multiples lines in government offices. “Enrolling a child in school,” means submitting applications, a complicated point system, four months of waiting, and a lottery of last names. Then there’s driving school and language school.
Yet even in the settling we watch God connect us with people along the way:
People need Jesus. Even in this dust-still-settling, pictures-not-all-on-the-walls state, He brings people into our lives that need Him. And the joy of sharing has our name on it. I don’t see the tile with blue letters, but I see my name written. Here is an opportunity. I hear Him knocking on the door of a heart like He did on my own when I was three. He knocked. I opened. He lives in me still.
And the deepest desire of my heart is that He would live not only in me and in you, but in Daniela and Manuela and Mari and Antonio. May each of us discover one day a house He’s prepared with our name on it beyond anything we can imagine. Maybe we’ll be neighbors there.
When reading of Jesus clearing out the temple, I’ve always been struck by his emotion and his actions. But while reading Mark’s account last week His words stood out, “My house will be called a house of prayer for the nations.” The nations. Now when I read that phrase it reminds me of ICB where we just served two and a half years. The nations were definitely represented there. I loved looking across the congregation on a Sunday morning and seeing beautiful tapestry of color. Sometimes I would do the welcome where we would have people stand and say their name and where they are from, “Maria from Peru. Welcome.” Often I would have a hard time hearing or pronouncing the names which were new to me so it would just be, “From Nigeria. Welcome.” or “From Norway. We are so glad you are here this morning.”
Yet as I read I remembered that the temple doesn’t just refer to the church as a whole, but to me. We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. So my prayer is, “God, make me a house of prayer for the nations. If there are tables of greed and selfishness cluttering the temple of my heart, overturn them. Throw out what is not of you. Come in and cleanse me. So that I might have space and room to focus on my true purpose. I want to be a house of prayer for the nations. Sweeden and Malaysia, South Africa and Argentina, China and Nigeria. May the nations come to know you as Lord and Savior. Amen” And won’t it be amazing when we are in heaven to be a part of the welcome knowing our prayers had a part in bringing people home. “From Nigeria. Welcome. From Norway. We are so glad you are he