Summer Fun at the Farm

26 06 2011

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Youth group and a Baby Shower

19 06 2011

I got back up to Peñarroya in the morning to head out to Youth group in Pozoblanco, coming home with car loads of boys for Jonny’s slumber party on the landing outside my bedroom… and a pancake breakfast to kick off today.

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This arvo we have a baby shower for Jonny an Malitt, the couple who have just left the church and are expecting in the next month. We might be losing them to the other ECM church in Pozoblanco, but there is certainly no way we were losing the opportunity to have a baby shower – not a common tradition here or in England… so I’ve been come the resident expert of baby shower games. And yes – yet again we are doing the painful game of Guess the Mum’s Girth 😛

First time back to Córdoba

17 06 2011

So leaving town, the plan was a quick trip for lunch and the possibility of making up a painting class. Things never work out as planned. I shut the door to my room leaving PJs and toothbrush on the table – thinking there is time enough to catch up with everyone the next trip…

Actually the day started earlier with Jonny Knowlson’s 14th birthday. I set about introducing one of Australia’s finest traditions – the Birthday Bashes – before heading off on the morning bus.

I really felt like coming home, sighing with relief and familiarity as we came through the pass and saw the city sprawling across the horizon before us. That could have, however, had more to do with the fact that I started a 1:20 journey straight after 2 cups of tea…

I had planned to have lunch with the Pringles and Dobinsons (we’ve been meeting up fortnightly for a bit of english support, encouragement and prayer) since the Pringles leave on Wednesday. But down there I got co-opted into (very willingly) into an end of year concert, dinner with the Andersons and a bed overnight.

I saw Moriah and Jeannine display their music talent, learnt that words ‘love me, love me, say that you love me’ no longer come from the Cardigans but are ‘sooooo Justin Bieber’ and that you can trust Spaniards to make a long night even longer 🙂 We finished the night with dinner at the Andersons watching the kids crash one by one wherever they were standing from tiredness before I did the same on the couch.

In the morning, I caught up with ‘las Supernenas’ for breakfast before catching the bus back home. Marina and Nicolas weren’t in town, I randomly bumped into two other friends and missed my art class, all of which was a really encouraging reminder that while Córdoba is a big part of my world, I also have a lot of people there who’d be keen to keep me in their world… and that is so lovely, especially when I feel I’m a bit of a blow-in in Peñarroya.

My girlfriends have been particularly amazing following me up by phone and Facebook and I can’t be thankful enough for the gift they have been and keep on being. God has really given incredibly where I’ve had to leave things behind.

Rent: this one, that one, the other one, no one?

15 06 2011

After an exhausting weekend. Monday was a welcome relief. We went to aerobics but didn’t end up doing much since someone pulled a hamstring. Which gave me a good bit of time to practicing shooting hoops because it turn out I have absolutely no natural talent for the task.

More house hunting, more reorganising of my boxes to find bits and pieces that I didn’t think to leave easily accessible.

Tuesday and Wednesday we had bible study in the evening. Wednesday morning I turned up to aerobics, the only one there. So I ended up having a long chat with Eva, the instructor, about her impending english speaking exam… It would be great to get to know her better, have someone connected in the town, someone to burn off some energy with.

And in between whatever I’m running around doing, there is the thinking about which house, whether to wait or take what there is, what’s good enough, inexpensive enough, close enough, big enough… Thinking is tiring.

I fell in love with one of the first houses, which then came off the market. Some of the stuff we’ve seen is horrendous, one roof had fallen in, a few seem purpose built to store up the sun’s heat and many could just use a lick of the 21st century. Most are fairly highly priced for a pueblo and everyone knows someone who knows someone so there is a steady train of ‘last’ houses to check out before the decision is made.

There was also more time pressure because so many people were coming over July but each time I feel I should get on and make the decision, another potential house guest pulls out and I think is that encouragement to not rush into something… Do I wait? Do I just decide?

Today chatting with Peter, he is going through the same thing with a laptop. So we made a deal: I’ll rent the flat on offer, he’ll buy the computer he’s been umming and ahhing about and we’ll just trust God to work it out…

End of week 1

12 06 2011

So a really tough week of the overwhelming, the inconceivable, with small glimpses of hope in a panorama of sadness. What a start!

The week ended up with youth group on friday night. I didn’t actually join in until supper at the end – needing a serious catchup on Skype and having got back after it started from looking at yet another house. But I was around when the food came out – (when am I not?!) And chatting away in the kitchen with the girls, all of whom I know to varying degrees, I got my snapshot of ‘my church chicks’ and glimpse of the fun we’re going to have growing together in Christ.

So after the initial shock of landing and the awful news of Yuly, by Saturday I was absolutely exhausted. I spent saturday afternoon putting together a presentation of photos of Yuly for church on Sunday. Being in it all day gave me no break and by sunday morning I was emotionally spent. Then we had church – and a bath of tears. It is really good to be here – to be able to encourage people and love them at a time when they are open and need care.

Sunday afternoon, I was invited to have coffee at the house of one of the young women in the church. It was the last thing I wanted to be doing – but in anycase, in the hot aro heat we trudged across town to her family’s home. It ended up a lovely relaxed few hours of laughing our way through family albums and getting family history 101 with a fair dose of humour 🙂

Black Thursday

9 06 2011
This morning I helped out at the Ropero. This is the clothing exchange that the people of the church run. Townsfolk bring in their old or unwanted clothing and the church crew sort it out and hang it up to open the church on thursday mornings and afternoons. It’s a good contact point and also a witness in the town. It’s also a very practical way.

I was sitting working away at some English Club prep when the phone rang.

Our dear friend Yuly wont be coming to Peñarroya this summer. She fell from the roof of her house and passed away yesterday. It’s so hard to make sense of. I was so excited to learn from Yuly who has incredible gifting in teaching and connecting with people. Last year she made the decision not to marry a man she loved because she was sure of her calling to mission which he could not see supporting. She has such a great influence in the church here a leaves a huge legacy. It’s beyond processing that we spoke last week, that we have an evangelistic campaign in the planning – not to mention movie nights, pedicures, and trips to the pool… For someone for whom to live is Christ and to die is gain, she lived as Christ we’ve gained so much from knowing her.

Town life

8 06 2011
Today I joined Kate at her aerobics class. Eva, the instructor, is incredibly friendly and invited me to come play padel (like tennis) with some friends. She also suggested I come along to the 7 aside soccer team she trains when it starts up again next year. The class is 3 times a week and free – a great way to put some routine ad some exercise in my week… although I’m sure I will be feeling it tomorrow!

Then back home for a cuppa and a team meeting. The ‘team’ meeting is the 3 of us and mainly we chatted about the summer team that will be coming in July to help run an english club and do evangelism here in the tow. I’m so excited because (having a house by then), they’ll all be staying with me (a big slumber party 🙂 The team leader is Yuly, a great friend from Guatemala who arrived in Spain when I did and spent  year here in Peñarroya. She has been planning to come back long term (which I’d love – keeping the single girls strong!) but in the interim I’m heaps stoked to be catching up with her short term…

We finished the day with the second of the Church Bible studies before a quick trip to the video store. Apparently if you hire on Wednesdays you get two days because their day off is thursday… great to learn the tricks of the town!


7 06 2011
Well, my stuff now fills the upstairs and downstairs guest room. And my carefully thought out system of placing what I needed in easily accessible locations has backfired because I can’t remember where anything is. It’s lovely being back in the Knowlsons house. Hanging with the boys, taking tea with Kate, chatting with Peter and Kate about the church and plans… A great start!

We went down to the radio station. Kate and Peter record 5 x 5minute programs each week to go out weekly over the local radio. Kate looked at 5 seperate passages with a thought about wealth – and I met everyone from the sports reporter, weather reader to the big boss 🙂 Then 2 visits to people from the church before heading home to a cuppa. In the evening we had one of 2 church bible studies. Straight into it!

Making the Move

6 06 2011


Leaving Córdoba, I said goodbye to the language school with the evening out at the Fería and a public debut of my Sevillanas (the local dance). The Sunday, was my last day in the Baptist church as my church. The focus of the day was a celebration and thanksgiving for the church building, inviting back the architect and with the previous minister telling the story of the nearly decade long project.  At the end of the meeting, Israel mentioned that it was my last day and asked me if I wanted to say anything. So I’m in the middle of thanking them, I step back, and literally put my here through a plastic covering on a power socket! A two our focus on the completion and blessing of the church building and I go breaking it in front of everyone!

In the evening I headed out with a bunch of friends for ice-cream and to say goodbye. Saturday morning I packed up nearly everything in my room, boxes piled to the ceiling… Monday, I said goodbye to Marina and Nicolas, the hardest part of the move. I am going to miss them sooo much! Then a friend came and loaded me and my stuff into a van to make the final move to Peñarroya.