Matt’s Visit

30 12 2011

Matt Turner stopped by Córdoba while visiting his nibbling in Valencia to participate in our post Christmas games championship (and see a little of Córdoba along the way).

We played the updated ‘Billionaire’, Rummycub and Settlers of Catan with the Knowlsons.

I attempted a new soup of peas, potato and leak which taste fine but was a thick starchy soup which looked like something which would come out an ogre’s nose so we christened it Shrek soup.

P.S. My new knives are sharp!


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Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

27 12 2011

My friend Anani came up from Córdoba to send the Christmas weekend with me. As is the Spanish tradition, we celebrate with a big family meal on the Noche Buena (Christmas Eve). Being orphans here in Spain, Anani and I went round to the Knowlsons where several other orphans from the church congregate each year.

We had a reading from Luke, verse for verse n Spanish English and Romanian (and some stylish acting on the part of the Bethlehem figurines…)

You can see me reprinting the Southern Hemisphere. One of the young guys decided the table decorations would do nicely as the Southern Cross on the canvas of my forehead.

Then Christmas Day, Anani and I had a bizarre mix of food for the Christmas diner. I did a tuna and ricotta pasta salad and a roast pumping green salad – with gingerbread and Almond Roca for dessert. Random, but tasty!

Then we finished the day off with a trip around to the Knowlsons for left overs and a play with their new Christmas games…

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F for Fiesta!!!!!!!!!!!!!

23 12 2011

This year’s Youth Christmas party is brought to you by the letter ‘F’

Look out for the Fontanero (Plumber), Forrastero, Fanta, Futbalista, Farmacista, Flamingo, Friar, Fiona (from Shrek), Frenchman, a Fairy, a Freaky, and the Fantasma de la Opera… just to name a few!

As well as party hard, we also had some great time to reflect on and share what God has taught us and how He has change us this year.

The Secret Santa ranged from washing up gloves to home made toilet putt putt.. My favourite, my pineapple fragranced incense accompanied by a real pineapple.

And the whole night a little extra buzzed thanks to Lynette Nancarrow’s gift – sherbet sticks sent from Australia.

Merry Christmas!

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20 12 2011

One of the ways we took on Christmas in the church was Christmas Carols in the community. After 3 weeks of practice the hour before church we participated int he town’s carols concert. The church from Pozoblanco sent along a few voices to boister the crowd and we hit the stage.

We had to follow not only really cute little kids with actions, but then a choir from the special needs centre – accompanied by kids with cute actions! There were nerves… but we conquered. In a very smily, mostly in tune and lots of fun kind of way.

Then a day or two later, a bunch of us helped out the Pozoblanco church singing in the Plaza in the town of Hinajosa, a further 30 minutes out from us. There were very few people in the plaza, so after half an hour we changed tack and got permission to sing outside the doors of the biggest supermarket in their car park. They agreed and we took our prime position with lots of passers-by, and put our 3 cutest littlies out the front handing out pamphlets.

Definitely a repeater for next year!

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Culto Navideño – the Christmas Service

19 12 2011

We held the Christmas Service with the church in Pozoblanco, the sunday before Christmas.

I was a bit of a stress pot, having build the whole meeting around a series of readings off PowerPoint only to find out the day before that the set for the children;s drama had swollen to the point that it had swallowed up the screen. Nothing like a little last-minute fix it. But the readers did great. The kids did a classic drama about the meaning of Christmas while the teenage girls (and rope ins) did a Christmas dance complete with Santa hats and shimmy. The Youth did a musical representation of the Nativity story with arrangement an lyrics by Benjamin Knowlson…

  • Rapper angel announcing the birth of the Messiah
  • Before Mary and Jesus set off to the Tune of A Whole New World (An ideal donkey…)
  • Townsfolk singing along the Money, Money, Money that there was no space in town
  • Angels and Shepherds in a YMCA medley
  • Finished with a Black Eyed Peas sponsored celebration that history has changed forever. Very Clever!

After the meeting with had Christmas dinner with the 60odd people who came along, including the parents of 2 girls in the Youth Group who have never had anything to do with church, and travelled the 50 minutes from their town to be there.

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Gingerbread and Christmas Cooking

18 12 2011

I baked! Those who know me well are laughing, incredulously, I know.

I went down to Málaga for the day to be assistant to Tara and the Pringles in their pre-Christmas baking. I followed instructions to the letter and nearly learnt how to make Almond Roca (just failed epicly at the finish line when I attempted to replicate it at home a week later).

And I left with a plateful of the incredible delights for our Christmas dessert.

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Letterbox dropping

15 12 2011

Well today I got to know Pueblonuevo a far bit better. With ‘Mi Esperanza’ beginning tomorrow, this week we’ve been hitting the streets, pamphleting to town to encourage people to tune in to the programs aired at 9:30 each night from Thursday through Sunday. When Peter originally said he was going to print off 1000 I thought it was ambitious. So the announcement on Monday that he’d requested 4000 seemed ridiculous. But my Tuesday afternoon we’d dropped more than 2000 and the rest we managed today. So now  nearly every house in town and in Fuente Obejuna should have a leaflet. Beyond that – we’re asking for miracles – that they’d all tune into Intereconomía and listen to the message.

Wondering around today I was amazed how many houses there are vacant here in the pueblo. Every 6 or 7, there is one completely empty and many up for sale. What is even more surprising is the number of houses in the middle of major renovations. You hear so much here about the crisis and every second builder is out of work. (That’s what you get when the entire economy an it’s boom rested on construction – everyone is a builder – and no country can sustain so many builders!) So it’s a bit confounding to walk down street after street with the machinery blaring, dust flying and the shells of gutted houses being reconstructed. It certainly doesn’t feel like a state of ‘crisis’. Quite the opposite!
Often I’ll be chatting to people here who tell me that they are really struggling, that they don’t make it to the end of the month, that there is no money and no work – yet they have two or three houses. They aren’t joking, their situation is tough, and realistically they’ll get very little for trying to sell a house or property so the second house in the pueblo is really of little consequence – but to me – it’s gobsmacking. Because I’ve always thought of ownership is the mark of wealth. And if you have a house – you can’t possibly be broke. How incredibly Australian of me. Here you can have a house that you may as well let fall into disrepair, because no one is going to pay you near decent money for it – and renting it requires maintaining it. So, like the old bunk bed frame you don’t use tucked away in the shed. the second house just sits there waiting for better days.

Fun on the Puente

7 12 2011

We had two public holidays this week and then each of the young guys had at least 1 other day off during the week. The problem was that o one had the same day… So Monday, the Fuente Obejuna kids had school, Tuesday and Thursday – no-one, Wednesday and friday – the Peñarroya crew. It would have been a great opportunity to get away if we could have at least two days together… as it was we spent the Tuesday at the park and ate together before watching Home Alone. It all looks fairly autumn-like and running around I managed to get down to only three layers (one of the them thermal)…

I gave Ben the camera – his more artistic shots I left out because he deserves his own exposé of the ’20 most fascinating leaf studies’ to be followed by ’20 most fascinating bark studies’ and ’20 most fascinating studies of the nostrils’.

All dogs and children under 10 were adopted/kidnapped by the Young Guys for the day – it’s not ideal evangelism – but a step closer 🙂

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Decorate the Halls with…

5 12 2011

I decorated the flat with the few christmas decorations that cheered the room stacks – each from a  different corner of the globe, and had 2 trees! Living close to ‘Los Villares’ means a trek in autumn to collect the pinecones before the rangers come and clear all the fire hazard. Next year I think I’ll go looking for smaller ones 🙂

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Cafe y Algo Más

1 12 2011

The theme for this Christmas’s Cafe y Algo más was La Solitud, ‘loneliness’ and ‘Aloneness’. We had made each of the women a little felt flower, and gave each one the pieces to make another to give to someone who couldn’t come along. They put them together over coffee and Christmas sweets.

Three of the women from church shared their testimonies about periods of loneliness (without a Dad, having lost a child, as a widow) before Kate gave us a great presentation of the things that get in the way of relationships letting in loneliness, building a wall of boxes from each of the lies.

It was a really good afternoon with quite a few visitors visitors who only come along to the ‘Cafe y Algo Más nights – many of whom had said they weren’t coming then turned up after all..

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