My alarm rang at 6:00 and I didn't get up. I used the excuse that Emilia's bed was in the way and I couldn't get out. It wasn't until later in the day that the thought came: "You didn't have any trouble getting out when they called to wake everyone up." I was smitten and asked the Lord's forgiveness.
We ate breakfast at 6:30, a little earlier than normal, because we had to leave the house at 7:20. One of the girls had a doctor's appointment early, so we had to do everything a little earlier. Those of use who weren't going to the doctor went to the church auditorium and joined some guys who were having devotions there.
After devotions, it seemed like we were standing around for a long time doing nothing. I thought I was going to go to recuperación (food donations) with Juani, but then they changed me and sent me back to the rastro with P.
I had started praying in the morning for ideas on how I could be a blessing to the girls. While we were waiting around in the hallway, Marieta pulled me aside.
"I would like you to teach me to sing," she said. I protested that she already sang quite well and that I hadn't had voice lessons, so I didn't know how to teach singing.
"Well, or teach me from the Bible," Marieta said. "I want to learn from you. I see you have more knowledge of these things, but there's never time."
"Ok!" I responded, moved by her sincerity and passion. "I will do whatever I can for you."
"It's just that we hardly ever get missionaries here," she said, "and when they come, I always want to take advantage of the opportunity." So we agreed to talk later and make a plan of what we could do together.
I worked in the rastro again, did a lot more cleaning throughout the whole rastro, mopping and dusting. I also spent a good deal of time scrubbing a whole set of kitchen cabinets someone had donated. Oh! And I made bleach tea. Oops!
We returned back to church at 2:00 again for lunch, and in the van I asked P and her husband how they met.
"Is she asking me because you wouldn't tell her?" her husband, M, said.
"No, she's just now asking," P said.
"Oh. She can tell you later," M said.
"Ok," I said. Hmmmm...did I bring up an uncomfortable topic? Or is this a culturally inappropriate question? Who would have thought? I never worked up the courage to ask P later.
After lunch I talked to Lola, the wife of Luis Pino, the head pastor of Betel of Malaga. She was very friendly and interested in me, and I felt very welcomed.
After lunch, I went back to the house with the girls for the siesta. No one took a nap--we just stood around talking, eating yogurts, and doing nothing much. I did take the opportunity to go up on the roof of the house and take some photos of the view.
When we went back to the church, I sat in the entrance with my knitting, waiting for P. this time I would be alert and not get left behind. However, at 4:15, Juani came up. "They've already left," she said. (What??) She explained that P wasn't going to the Rastro from here and I should have been looking for the driver of the van...some guy who I was supposed to have gone with. Oops again. But how was I to know if no one told me? So Juani had to drive me again.
Towards the end of the evening, I went to a store nearby to buy some CDs. The only size they had was a pack of 50 for 20 euros. I didn't know if that was a good deal or not, but I bought it to give the girls some of the Spanish music from my computer. (Later I found out that a pack of 50 should have cost 12 euros.)
We went back to the house and I spent the evening recording CDs with the music I had, waiting for my turn for the shower. When I finally put my computer away, Marieta and I started to talk.
"I'm sorry I've been so glued to my computer all evening," I said to her. "I want to be a blessing to you all, although my time here is so short."
Marieta started sharing with me about the difficulties of living here, about how everything just ends up being day-to-day struggles, and how you end up focusing on things that are not really the most important. It becomes hard to see what is eternal when you're wrapped up in the everyday things of life. We determined to get up early in the morning the next day to pray together.
I had finished my shower and was putting my things away in my suitcase under the bed. E was already in bed and apologized for the lack of space. There really is barely room to pass from the door to my bed with her bed in the room. But I said, "That doesn't matter. You know what? We want you to feel welcome here. We are happy you are here, because it means you are returning to the right path."
"Yes, the path that I left a long time ago," she said.
"And that is much more important than lack of space on the floor of the bedroom," I continued.
I had heard her talking to one of the other girls earlier, and she said that her family had kicked her out of the house, which is why she came to Betel. She had been in betel 10 or 12 years ago, but she said she left the right path. She said she knows the Lord and has been disobedient to Him for many years, but that He has never left her. And now, she said she is too old to be homeless, experiencing cold and hunger, begging and trying to survive. She seems very humbled by the consequences that God has brought into her life, and I pray that she will return wholeheartedly to the right path, sowing to the spirit instead of to the flesh.
I went to bed about 11:30 and again slept absolutely marvelously.
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