Spain will change me, I'm told. I don't dispute that, but exactly how, I don't yet know. I've been asked to consider exactly how I think I will change and I'm finding it almost impossible to answer. Right now I'm more anxious about the red-eye flight, the process of traveling that could be fraught with every imaginable obstacle during international travel. Will I be robbed of my passport and money? Deal with illness? Once we are all safely at our destination, the games may begin.
Just before moving to Pittsburgh from Kansas, I was invigorated and desperate for a change of scenery. I couldn't wait to start classes and meet new people. Then I arrived and dealt with challenge after difficulty after obstacle. I proved to myself that when pushed and shoved and held under the fire, I had some degree of endurance and capability. Just before any new experience, whether we're preparing for marriage, moving, death, living independently, or job, we can do everything we can to think we're prepared, but we still don't know what's around the bend. Any new experience teaches us something new about ourselves and that new self-awareness is a gift. The more new experiences I have, the more I find myself increasingly drawn to people who also regularly put themselves in new and different places and situations.
I've never traveled to another country for Christian missionary work, but I've heard countless stories from those who have testify that they were radically changed by the people to whom they were ministering. I think the same principle applies to Spain. This is not a vacation, but an opportunity for Spain to teach me something about life beyond the comfort and familiarity of America.