Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Thank you so much for your prayers!  The individual we mentioned in our last post will be starting this new year as a new creation in Jesus! It's been such a privilege to be a part of what God has been doing in her life. She summed it up so well. She said, I feel unworthy but so grateful. We're trusting God to continue to put us in the path of others that He is drawing to Himself.

Tonight we will be bringing in the new year in the traditional Spanish way: we'll be eating 12 grapes at midnight , one for every chime of the clock. Happy New Year! We pray that you'll spend it knowing, trusting, and loving your Savior more each day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Amazed again by His grace

Thank you so much to those of you that let us know that you were praying. We were able to meet and talk for two hours Monday night, and I am sure that we will be meeting again soon. It is so exciting to see someone so hungry to know the truth.


She is still confused by the grace of God, which makes me just stand in awe of it all over again. She just can't understand how salvation can be a free, grace gift from God. She wants to be able to do something to earn it. She reminds me so much of Naaman.

As we tried to explain to her why the grace of God has to be free and what you're communicating to God when you rely fully on His Son's work and not your own, I couldn't help but be so thankful to God for revealing Himself to me and allowing me to understand that He would not save me by my good works, but that He would save me to good works.  God's gift of salvation is free, but it is not cheap. When was the last time you stopped to ponder the grace of God in your life and all that Christ endured to reconcile you to Himself?

Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift! II Corinthians 9:15

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More than just coffee

Tomorrow night we have the amazing opportunity to meet with someone who has been asking a lot of questions about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It is an amazing privilege each time we get a chance to explain the significance of Christ's work on the cross and the reason that we are in Spain.  Please pray  for clarity in our speech and boldness. It may look like we're just meeting for coffee, but in the eyes of God He sees the name of His Son being lifted up. And we'll be praying that He will open the eyes of this soul, make for Himself another worshipper, and receive the glory due His name.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

One Incredible Year

One year ago today, we landed in Spain. A lot has happened since then, and we're so grateful for the year that God has given us. God has definitely grown us and shaped us, and taught us more about Himself. He has allowed us to see both our physical family and His spiritual family grow this year. This anniversary will always be a special day for us and we look forward to celebrating this day for many years to come.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

US Passport, Spanish ears

Well...we did it. We got Sofia's ears pierced. It's Spanish tradition, and actually by Spanish standards we got it done pretty late. Here to get your baby girls ears pierced, you just go to the pharmacy, and they take care of it for you. After we finished, the pharmacist said, "there, now you don't look like a boy anymore!" When we would go out, (even if she was all in pink!) people would ask if she was a boy, just because she didn't have her ears pierced yet.


Andy's first time preaching in Spain

On another note, for those of you that were praying for Andy Sunday, thank you. It truly was a blessing to see God working through him Sunday as he preached. Here is a link to the recording if you'd like to listen. (Sermon 9/15/2013) Please continue to pray for us as we seek God's direction for future ministry.


September Prayer Update


To the Praise of His Glory

Thank you so much for praying for Darwin! He has decided to make Jesus Christ the Lord of his life. Just this last Sunday he shared his testimony in front of the church after the morning service. Our new prayer for him is that he would be baptized, continue to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, grow in his knowledge of God, and bear fruit to the glory of God. Please continue in prayer with us for him as he grows!
We attended our first week of Family Camp last month. It was very nice to be able to meet more believing Spaniards and become familiar with other congregations in the Madrid area. There were about 100 of us at the camp and several unbelieving families attended. The Gospel message was clear, and we pray that God’s Word would continue to sink deep into their hearts as they think about their week at camp.
As of next week, we will have been in Spain for 10 months. As we get closer to the one year mark, we are so thankful to God for His sustaining grace. The first term, and especially the first year, is a critical time of adjustment. It has definitely been an intense time for us as a family, but we are so thankful to God for seeing us through and allowing us to be involved in fruitful and exciting ministry while we adjusted and settled into life here in Spain. Adjustment into life here isn’t just something we desire so that life will be more “comfortable” or “easier” for us. We know that it is crucial to our longevity and our ability to effectively minister in Spain. We’re looking forward to many more years to come!


Prayer Requests and Praises

Please pray for Ana. Lindsey is attempting to establish meetings with her during the month of September. Please pray for openness on her part and God’s working in her heart and life.
Please continue to pray for future direction and our long-term ministry plans.
Please continue to pray for Zafra. We will be making another trip there next month.
Sofía is now officially a US citizen!
We both have our licenses now, and this has gone a long way toward helping us feel established here in our new home. Thank you for praying for Lindsey’s left foot!


Upcoming Events

September 1-7: Andy is in Belgium for his doctorate studies. September 1: Lindsey begins teaching a primary Sunday School class.
September 15: Andy will be preaching at Alameda de Osuna Baptist Church. This will be his first time preaching here in Spain!!
September 25: Andy will be added to the rotation of men for teaching during the Wednesday evening prayer service at our church.
October 26-27: We will be making another trip to Zafra for a Bible study. November 5: Lindsey will begin leading the women’s Bible study.
November 24-December 1: ABWE Western European missionaries conference in Madeira, Portugal.


Cultural Notes

Do you like bread? Is so, God may be calling you to Spain! While we were at camp, we ate bread four times a day. (The bread is very similar to a loaf of French bread.) We had toasted bread with butter and jelly every morning for breakfast. We ate bread every day with lunch. We had sandwiches on bread for merienda (the afternoon snack). We followed that up with bread with dinner. It’s a good thing we’re not on the Atkins diet!

Sofía at 4 months



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Much overdue update

Sofía Anastasia Messmer
A lot has happened since our last post!  Here's our baby girl! She was born on  April 2 and weighed in at less than 6 1/2 pounds-much to everyone's surprise. She's making up for lost time though and already weighs over ten pounds. She does really well at night and is finally sleeping in her bassinete!  She usually just gets up once a night, but some weeks (when she puts on an entire pound in one week!) she likes to get up twice.
Things are going very well, and we thoroughly enjoyed the dedication service for Sofía on Sunday. Andy and I were so thankful to have visitors at the service, and each family went home with a children's story Bible that very clearly lays out the gospel. We're praying for God's Word to penetrate each family as they read about God's love for His people.

Andy and I are starting to really feel like we're adjusting to life here in Spain. Andy has his driver's license (!!!) and I've passed the theory portion of the exam. So now I'm in the practical driving classes. (Please pray for my left foot.) These are big steps for us in establishing ourselves and being able to live normal lives here in Spain. We also feel like we're getting a better sense as to what our personal ministries will look like here in Spain, and that's really helping us to feel more rooted in our new home!

Spring has arrived here in Spain, and it's amazing to see all of the people out on the streets and eating at the outdoor cafés.  We had no idea that so many people lived in our town! They're finally all out of their apartments. We're looking forward to a summer in the streets...Sofia permitting.





Tuesday, March 26, 2013

FEAR NOT

I was so appreciative of our Bible study last Wednesday night, and I wanted to share the blessing! Pedro was talking about how his daughters are sometimes afraid of things, like monsters in the closet or under the bed. He, of course, like all good dads, tries to reassure them and explain that there is absolutely nothing to be frightened of and that they are perfectly safe. From an adult's perspective, it's so easy to see how foolish that type of fear can be.

But don't we often do the same thing with God? We go to him with fears, and He tries to tell us that, as our Heavenly Father, He knows that everything is fine and that there is absolutely nothing that should frighten us. Everything is under His control, so we should be able to trust Him when He tells us to "fear not." We see that command all over Scripture. We're also told that perfect love casts out fear. God's love for us is certainly perfect. And since nothing can come into our lives that hasn't first been filtered through His perfectly loving hands, we truly have nothing to fear in this life. So, as I think about my own "monsters under the bed,"  I'm encouraged to trust my Heavenly Father when He tells me not to worry. I can choose to live with my foolish fear or trust God and His promises. What are you choosing today?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spanish Scoreboard


So...Andy and I have started doing something new to help us with our attitudes on difficult aspects of life here in Spain. We're using a scoreboard system. Whenever we have a good attitude about something frustrating or difficult about life here in Spain, we give ourselves a point. Whenever we have a bad attitude or complain about something here, Spain gets a point. So for example, when they told us that we had to spend $200 just to take the written driving exam and we had a good attitude about it...we got a point! When we complain how inefficient things are here...Spain gets a point. This has been helpful because it keeps us from getting discouraged and being that way all day. We get frustrated about something, and we give Spain a point and then move on to the next "possession"!  

We appreciate your prayers as we navigate this intense time of transition! We wouldn't be able to do this if we didn't know that God had called us here. We're thankful for His clear leading in our lives and His sustaining grace to get through this phase. These issues may seem trivial, but we know that the lessons that we learn now will prepare us for the much more difficult days of ministry ahead.

Jeremiah 12:5 ESV
"If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? 



Year 7!

Yesterday Andy and I celebrated 7 years of marriage! We're so thankful to God for his blessings on our lives and marriage. It was so fun to watch our wedding video and think back on what God has accomplished in these last seven years. I also REALLY enjoyed this year's anniversary poem. For those of you that don't know, Andy writes a poem every anniversary to summarize the last year. We keep all the poems in a journal and each anniversary we go back and read some of the previous poems. It's a really fun way to remember the big events from each year of marriage! I say it every year, but I really think that this year's poem is the best! I laughed through the whole thing! He has a way with words!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Microwave Symbols

We received some  pretty comical responses to our microwave post. I actually asked a Spaniard to come explain them to me, and she took one look at it and rattled off the meaning of every single one. It's amazing to me, how we can ponder it and not figure it out and yet it can be so intuitive for them! Anyway now I know how to use all the settings on the microwave...or so I thought.

I was so excited to use one of the new settings and wanted to try it out last night. Much to our surprise, the three orange wavy lines produced actual orange wavy flames in our microwave! We've aired out the kitchen and were never in any real danger, but Andy still says we're not allowed to use the orange flame settings anymore!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February Prayer Update


God's Hand at work in Spain
Since our last update,  God has led us to several individuals in whose life He is already working. This is especially exciting because it has been our prayer, along with many others, that God would lead us to people whom He has been preparing.
Please pray for Tita. She is a woman that Lindsey met at a doctor’s appointment. Lindsey was reading a book (in Spanish) by Nancy Lee DeMoss called Choosing Forgiveness. Tita approached her and asked her what the book was about because she was having a difficult time forgiving some family members of hers, and she knew that she needed help in this area. Lindsey explained that the book dealt with God’s forgiveness of us and how we can only then learn to forgive others. She gave the book to Tita and they decided to have coffee together. After about an hour and a half of conversation, they decided that they would continue to meet. God continues to work on her heart, and it has been exciting to see the small steps that she is making in her understanding of the Gospel. When they first started meeting, she didn’t even believe in sin—she would say, ‘Sometimes we are wrong, but you can’t call that sin.’ She has some serious health problems and knows that she is not ready to meet God; however, she is not yet ready to turn her life over to Him either. She is opening up to the idea of doing a Bible study, but is somewhat skeptical because she doesn’t understand the Bible and doesn’t always like what it says when she does understand it. Please continue to pray for wisdom and clarity in Lindsey’s presentation of the gospel to Tita.
Please also be in prayer for a young man named Darwin (yes, Darwin). He has been attending our church for several months because his mother drags him there every Sunday, but he has shown very little interest in knowing God. Andy invited him to begin a Bible study together and, after being assured that after the Bible study he would not have to go around town knocking on doors in a dress shirt(!), he agreed. Andy has presented the Gospel to him on a couple of occasions, and Darwin has been misinformed about much of what the Bible teaches. At the latest Bible study, Andy found out that Darwin was afraid to surrender his life to God because he might sin afterwards. They have worked through some important issues together, and currently Darwin is in the process of counting the cost of becoming a disciple of Christ. He knows he will have to change his life, and he is deciding if he wants to do so or not. Please pray that the sin he cherishes will become hideous in his eyes, and that he will look to Christ for true life.

Prayer Requests and Praises
We were able to have lunch with the family that lives above us. Please continue to pray for the development of this relationship. Since they invited us for lunch first, we will now get to host them in our home!

We are now official Spanish residents!! (Unfortunately that means we lost our International Driver’s License, and now we can’t drive until we pass the ridiculously hard driving test.)

Please be in prayer for the re-launch of our children’s youth program “La Zona” (The Zone), which will be starting this month. We are trying to reach un-churched teenagers in our neighborhood.

Things continue to go well with the pregnancy, and we look forward to welcoming Sofía into our family in early April.

Cultural Notes
This month’s cultural note involves appliances. We’ve noticed that most home appliances here have very few words or numbers on them and lots of pictures. This seems to work fine for the Spaniards, because they understand all the symbols! We can make out some of them, but others are a little less intuitive. Do you have any guess on the following symbols? (We’re especially stumped on the orange ones!) Hint: This is a picture of the power settings from our microwave.


 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Three Kings Day

We just celebrated our first Three Kings Day here in Spain on January 6. On January 5, along with some families from our church, we went to the local cabalgata, which is like a parade for the three kings. Spaniards celebrate the wise men that brought the three gifts to Jesus. There's a parade in the evening of the 5, and that night the wise men come into the house to leave presents for all of the kids that have behaved well that year. (Sound familiar?) So on January 6, all of the children wake up to see what the three kings have left them. Here are some pictures of the cabalgata to give you an idea of what it was like.


King Baltasar



King Melchor



King Gaspar

Andy and I enjoyed the roscón after the cabalgata. It's like a sweet bread in the shape of a ring. There's a toy hidden somewhere in the cake, and it's supposed to be good luck for whoever finds it. It was in my piece!

Home Sweet Home

 Well, here is a glimpse into our apartment here in Spain. For a close-up view, you're invited to come for a visit!
Entryway and dining room

Living room
Kitchen

Bathroom

Bedroom




Andy's Office


Sofía's Room