All of us all around the world are experiencing some form of “different” right now, some sort of space between the life that was normal and a life that is something new. We are all is some form of lockdown or quarantine or social distancing. For our family and our team in Spain, we are in to week 5 of very strict lockdown protocols. Only the lucky few who have a patio or a rooftop terrace have the luxury of fresh air and stepping outside. Police and military are on the streets enforcing the laws that are now in play regarding the national State of Alarm.
It has been a big change for us! The La Mesa Turquesa community center, a place meant to be a refuge and welcoming home to those who need community, has been closed for 5 weeks. We are missing our people, missing visiting around our big table with friends from so many countries, missing the ministry that we had been working so hard to build and the people we had come to love in the process. Not only has our daily ministry “normal” changed and been in lockdown, but our goals and projects have all suddenly taken drastic twists and turns. We have no idea when things will loosen up, when our current lockdown will end, or when we will be able to return to our work with La Mesa Turquesa and other ministries. Some goals and dreams seem to have gone dark and left us wondering if we will be able to postpone them for later, or ever. We’ve had to cancel events from March through May, and we are now facing the very real possibility of cancelling several summer events and ministries, as well.
I won’t sugar coat it… we are feeling a fair amount of grief and loss. We have our days. We have days when we feel lost. We are so accustomed to going, going, going and having full calendars and being surrounded by a team and a community, working hard and always planning for the next thing, the next leadership development, the next outreach. We have days when we feel unfocused and scattered and unsure of what’s next.
A friend shared this with me yesterday:
"Everyone who saw the risen Jesus saw him after. Whatever happened in the cave happened in the dark. As many years as I have been listening to Easter sermons, I have never heard anyone talk about that part. Resurrection is always announced with Easter lilies, the sound of trumpets, bright streaming light. But it did not happen that way. If it happened in a cave, it happened in complete silence, in absolute darkness, with the smell of damp stone and dug earth in the air. Sitting deep in the heart of Organ Cave, I let this sink in: new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark." ~Barbara Brown Taylor
That really hit me. There will be good things at the end of this! New life will come from this. It’s not easy now, in the dark moments of being isolated, of not knowing what’s next, of not feeling connected to our goals and dreams, to our communities and team. But there will be an end! There will be something new. It won’t look like our “normal” looked before, but it will be new and God will do something wonderful with it.
Even now, new things are happening. In the midst of a worldwide crisis, TMS Global has 180 adult cross-cultural workers and over 100 children who are facing this around the world. Some of those families are serving in places where life is really, really hard on a perfect day. Some of those families are directly responsible for running businesses and employing dozens of local people who rely on those jobs to feed their families. Some of our workers are medical personnel in other countries. Some of our workers care directly for orphans or vulnerable peoples. In the midst of all of this chaos, Billy is leading a Crisis Care Team who is connecting with each and every one of our workers continually to check on their well-being and ensure that they are not losing connection, community, and hope. TMS Global has put out emergency pleas for funds to help our workers who are directly responsible for feeding communities and vulnerable families. Our staff has been working around the clock to ensure that CCWs have what they need and are cared for. In some cases, we have helped to repatriate workers who had to evacuate for special reasons. The vast majority of our workers elected to stay in their countries-of-service and continue to live among and love their neighbors and weather this crisis together with their communities.
Billy and I have had sweet times of connection with neighbors as we meet at our windows and balconies each evening at 8pm for the applause and nightly “pep-rally” that continues. I really cannot believe that we are five weeks in to this and not a single night goes by that the neighborhood does not explode with applause and music and cheers as neighbors gather to wave to each other, check in, and encourage one another.
I really do believe that new things are going to happen when we all come out from this time of uncertainty. Yes, there is grief and loss and ‘darkness’ right now, but there is also hope and light and a new thing coming.
Thank you for being a part of all of this! Thank you for standing with us.
We know that perhaps we all have more in common today than ever… we are all in this Coronavirus Crisis in some form or fashion. Know that we are thinking of you and we pray for the United States and all of our friends and family who are facing this back home. If it is any encouragement at all, Spain has been the worst hit country in the world for per capita contagion and per capita deaths, and we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We are facing each day with our chin up. It will be over one day. And so far we have a 100% success rate at making it through our hard days, right!? If you’re reading this, you have that same success rate, too! Congratulations!
Stay connected! The world is having to use their technology like never before. And they are using it to connect with the whole world! Call each other. Have a video chat. Can’t get them online? Send a video text or a voice clip and tell someone how much you love them and how much they mean to you. Check in. Be encouraging. Love your neighbor well!
We love you!!!! Hang in there! God is doing a new thing!
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
~Laurie & Billy
In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a soccer mom, a horsewoman, and the neighborhood hospitality queen. I did "Joanna Gaines farmhouse style" before Chip and JoJo were even a thing - we restored an 1884 Victorian farmhouse in small town Texas and did shiplap walls until I thought I'd go crazy. I taught at NASA, scuba dived with astronauts in training, and studied animals at Sea World for educational purposes. I've tried just about everything, because I have an insatiable need to know if I can do it! Never underestimate a Texas girl in cowboy boots!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers via teaching and training and care, and helping displaced people to navigate their new reality in Europe.
I'm passionate about fostering personal growth, growth in community, and growth in The Kingdom. Walking alongside others and helping them to use their unique design, their gifts and strengths and maximize their abilities to fulfill their God-given purpose - that's what makes my heart sing!