Caroline Gladstone, 2016 Edgie
Wow, so much has happened in this past week in Altea, Spain, that it would be impossible to recount it all in a way that is short and sweet, yet that is also full of depth. I think I’d already need to write a whole novel if I were to try to convey the significance of what has already happened, and the ways that God has been building me and others for a time such as this even over the course of years and years leading up to this.
God has really handpicked this group of brothers and sisters. It honestly feels like we have known each other our whole lives. God has provided a brother and sister duo for us from nearby Alicante to help coach our team in the ins and outs of the culture. I am privileged to have these incredible individuals, Andres and Hadasa, living in the same apartment as me and my other housemates; one can imagine that I am in my element asking them questions to my heart’s delight about the culture and language.
I felt it was on my heart to share some about the different ways God has prepared me over the years for this time, and how much He has tailor-fit me for this ministry.
1.Over five years ago God gave me an undying passion for the Spanish language, and almost 4 years ago, He broke my heart for Spain. Since then I have been diving into the Spanish way of doing things, whether it’s the uniquely Spanish way of speaking Spanish, the varied diversity of cultures and geography within Spain, or the beautiful and also heartbreaking history of what makes Spain what it is today. I became quite fascinated about three years ago with the cultures of northern Spain, especially the Basque language and culture, which is not related to anything else in the world. As a hobby, I began to dabble in the Basque language, but haven’t really picked it up with any seriousness at all since then. Just like when a love for Spanish came upon me with full-fledged passion, I remember asking God to use my Basque for His glory. Well, I saw an answer to that prayer this week!
The very first casual conversation I had with a Spaniard was at a bus stop on our way to the town of Altea. After asking directions, I was chatting casually with a woman at the stop, and she mentions she is from the Basque country. I got really excited and told her that the Basque language and culture fascinates me and that I have learned a little. “Ni Carolina naiz (I am Caroline),” I simply said, scrambling in my mind to grab the right words. You should have seen the look on her face. I have never seen a total stranger get that excited! It’s all a blur in my mind, but the excitement and joy of that moment will always stick with me. How gracious of God to give me that as one of my very first introductions to conversation with a Spaniard!