Track - Canary Islands

  • Some Reflection

    Section: Track

    Hola amigos y familia!  It has been exactly one week since our team returned home from the Canary Islands, and there has been much to reflect on since then.  Though our time in the islands was short, I believe that God made a significant impact both in and through our team.

    Ministry in the Canaries comes with some interesting challenges.  The population of believers is very small, and yet Christian tradition and imagery is rooted deep within the culture.  While the cross and scenes of the Passion are commonplace, the depth of their meaning is lost.  It seems to me that the perception of the Gospel is much like a beautiful painting that’s been damaged by a history of church corruption and blurred by atheistic or relativistic world views.  Therefore, approaching people with spiritual conversations is a process that takes the meticulous patience of one restoring a priceless work of art.  As a short term mission, our team’s role was three-fold: to build relationships with the people that we met at practice and competitions, to get them connected with local ministries, and to encourage the local church bodies with faithful believers trying to shine the light of Christ in spiritually dark place.  For the sake of keeping this post brief, I will focus on our role of building relationships.

    Meeting athletes was challenging at first, especially because communication was difficult.  But by the grace of God and odd mixture of Spanish and English, we were able connect with people in a meaningful way. We even found that many of the athletes we met remembered Athletes in Action groups from previous years, which helped us pick up on the rapport that had already been established.  Ian and Zach were able to share a bit about their relationship with God because a couple of athletes wanted to know why they had AO1 written on their gear.  AO1 is short for Audience of One, which is a reminder to Christian athletes that our identity is rooted first and foremost in our relationship with Christ.  Both of the guys responded positively, and one even wanted to write AO1 on his javelin.  Another athlete stayed long after practice twice to talk us distance runners on the team, and we were able to give him and athlete’s devotional the day before we left.

    In Corinthians 3:7 Paul says that one man plants, another man waters, but only God makes things grow, so please join us in praying that the little seeds we scattered will continue to be nurtured, and that God will radically change the hearts of our newfound Canarian friends.

     Caroline

  • Memories From the Island

    Section: Track

    We were explorers and dreamers who found inspiration, family and renewal!

    Some of our favorite memories captured by Zach.

  • The Land Of The Living Dead

    Section: Track

    Track & Field - Canary Islands

    I have traveled to the land of the living dead. People crowd the streets, talking and laughing joyfully, fully consumed with beauty that defines the island. Yet, despite noticing such exterior fulfillment among Tenerifan locals, it is heartbreaking to experience a culture so spiritually desolate.

    To a certain point, I suppose indifference must be bliss. Living for the present moment, and taking full advantage of an unrivaled playground for island adventures is difficult to refuse. Although most of the citizens don't possess a significant amount of material wealth, they make up for it with enthusiastic community involvement.

    Honestly, I find the structure of this culture incomprehensible. How can an area so colored with social dependence and connectivity, be almost entirely void of God? How can you wake every morning to a Canarian sunrise, and not be in awe of His creation.

    Perhaps it's easy to be a little selfish when the world is at your fingertips, just waiting for you to jump in with abandon. I'm often guilty of tricking myself into believing that this earth was created for my pleasure. I'm constantly seeking to satisfy my wondering soul. Even so, I always return to the certainty that I may spend my entire life searching for happiness in sport, adventure, social ties, cultural immersion, etc., but I'll always be incomplete and deprived of life without Christ. 

    I can't report we've changed 100 lives, or led the masses to the foot of the cross.  Hopefully by the time we leave the Canary Islands, we will have instilled the hope of something deeper into the still hearts of the dead.

    -Emily 

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