One Year Ago Today…Part 2

In spite of my personal struggles, what an incredible year it has been!  So much has been accomplished and done since we’ve been here.  In one year, we have watched 49 men and women of God complete the G42 program, leaving with a plan of purpose, direction, and a support team behind them.  Our interns have made plans and moved to the Philippines, the Ukraine, Kenya, Cambodia, and countless places in the U.S.  They are planting churches, working with established ministries, and branching out on their own to build something new.  We are so excited about all the work that God is doing in the lives of the interns, as well as those lives they will affect in the future.

                                                                          The Bakery Church in Memphis, TN

The Harders with Youth for Christ and YoungLife Ukraine

   

 

Sarah Hendee with Don and Bridget Bruster, founders of Agape Int’l Missions

 

 

Sending Richelle off to Kenya

 

 

So happy one year anniversary to us and to Spain!  We thank you for walking with us and the G42 Leadership Academy, praying for us, and fighting next to us as we train and equip our generation to change the world for Christ.  We have some incredible people that are doing amazing things in the world today, and we are thankful to be a part of their stories!

 

One Year Ago Today…Part 1

One year ago today, we made the big move to España.

 

One year ago today, we kissed our families goodbye, got on a plane, and hopped over the ocean.

Family 

 

 

 

 

 

One year ago today, we were welcomed onto the G42 staff as part of the team, as part of the family.

One year ago today, we began our real journey of leadership, non-profit work, English teaching, and discipleship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One year ago today, responsibility was laid on our shoulders, a little heavier than we imagined, but with full confidence from others that we would succeed.

 

One year ago today, we put faith to our words, and followed the Lord’s calling overseas.

I remember the first few weeks (okay months, maybe), where I wasn’t quite convinced that I wanted to be here in Spain.  It was hard leaving home, and it was hard finding my place in a new job and in a new country.  Looking back, I get an image of playing tug of war with God.  I was digging in my heels and holding on for dear life to what I knew, and what I wanted to happen while we were here, not relenting on anything.  I had planned it all out, and nobody could convince me to change my mind.

 

But after a while, I remembered that God was on my side.  In reality, I was on HIS side, and we were going to do this together.  I have decided to take my heels out of the sand this year, and walk with the Lord, trusting that He has my best interests at heart. I will forever be thankful for my patient, loving husband who walked with me as I struggled to see the good right before my eyes.  I am so thankful that God brought us here, even when it was hard.  I have always loved G42 and Spain in general, but now I really am finding my place and soaking up every minute…

 

 

It’s All About People

September has been a whirlwind of a month for us.  We spent the first two weeks back in Texas, squeezing, loving, and spending quality time with our families.

We…

went to high school football games and parades,

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had cookouts, including morning doughnut runs (thanks, Dad!)

Cook Out

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celebrated everyone’s birthday (I don’t like missing birthdays, so we had a party for everyone so we could be there),

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went camping,

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drank coffee, sat outside, and just enjoyed being home.

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We also have two new, precious nieces (Berkley and Tennessee) who were in desperate need of some love from their aunt and uncle. :)

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In the middle of September, Dustin and I were a part of our fourth G42 graduation, and with each one, I am blown away by God’s transformation in the lives of our interns.  The nervous twenty-somethings that we pick up from the airport the first day they arrive, to the confident, focused adults that leave after six months is incredible.  There is an unspeakable change in their lives that happens when they are at G42.  Yes, they learn how to make a business plan, how to incorporate media and the arts to their ideas, how to church plant, etc., but honestly, they learn way more than that.  What I have gathered from sitting through these graduations is that the lessons they take away from this place are about character, community, excellence, and God’s unimaginable love for us and the rest of the world.

The night of graduation, Dustin stood up and gave a great piece of advice, as the interns were getting ready to leave.  ‘It’s all about people.’  Yes, it’s all about God, but after that, it’s all about people.  He went on to talk about our time at home, and when people ask what we miss the most about Texas, it’s not the food, it’s not the breath-taking sunrises and sunsets, it’s the people that we love the most.  And as we got on the plane to travel halfway around the world back to Spain, tears streaming down my face as we told our families goodbye (thank goodness Dustin can hold it together better than me!), and we ask ourselves why we put everyone through such grief every time we leave, it is because we come back for the people.   In 1 John 4, God calls us to love one another because he has shown us the perfect picture of love through giving us His Son, Jesus.  ‘Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another’ (1 Jn. 4:11).

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We didn’t move to Spain for the culture, the food, the language, or the landscape.  We didn’t move to Spain for the adventure.  We moved here because there are people who need to find their calling, put legs to their dreams, and serve the Lord with their whole hearts.  We moved here because our generation needs to grow up, take responsibility, and  lead our world into the loving arms of Jesus Christ.  We moved here because God wants his family back, and we are doing our small part to lead them there.

So as I start teaching my precious Spanish students today, and as we get ready for a new term at G42 next week, I want God to continue to remind me that it is not about the place, but it’s about the people.

(Note: I realize the pictures are a little lopsided, but someone else took pictures at graduation, and I have yet to receive them!)

P.S. Do you think this little one has missed her Dustin??

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:)

The Suttles Came To Town

Living overseas can be a bit tricky sometimes.  Learning a new language, culture, and lifestyle, just to name a few.

The other part that can get complicated is seeing family.  It’s not like you can make an impromptu visit or drive down on the weekend, just to say hello.  There is a lot of planning that has to happen so we can see those beautiful people we call family.  So, after months of anxious waiting, we finally had our first visitors.  Gene and Lisa spent two weeks with us at the beginning of July, and we had an absolute blast!

At the beginning of their trip, Gene and Lisa had the opportunity to see Dustin and I at work.  We were starting up a new term, so during orientation, Dustin taught “What is God’s Point?” and “The 42nd Generation” with his parents in the crowd.  No pressure:)  We also had the chance to introduce them around at ‘Tapas night’, a fellowship night we have every other Friday with friends from the community.  They even met some of my precious English students while we were out and about in Mijas.

Dustin Teaching

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For the weekend, we made a trip up to beautiful Granada, home of the Alhambra, free tapas, (and also home to our wonderful cousin, José)! We toured the Alhambra by day, then sat down to a15 course food tasting by night, getting the true feel of authentic Spanish cooking!

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The next day, we jetted off to Nerja to visit the beaches at the ‘Balcony of Europe.’

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This scene could be found in almost any city we went to. We always had a plan before we went off into the great unknown:)

After spending several days in and around Mijas and Malaga, we set off once again on a road trip up the coast of the Mediterranean, then back down through the white villages of Andalusia.

Monkeys in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is an interesting place, a British colony smack dab in the middle of Spain. The monkeys were entertaining, but my favorite part was having our waiter at lunch speak to us in English:) Oh, the little things…

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Rock of Gibraltar

 

Jerez

We had such a great time at the ‘dancing’ horse show in Jerez. World-famous horses hopping on two legs, walking sideways, and dancing was quite an experience!

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Arcos de la Frontera

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We covered the entire region of Andalucia while Gene and Lisa were here. It was fun for all of us to explore new places we had never been before!

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We walked all over beautiful Ronda. Let me rephrase…we jumped from shade tree to shade tree in Ronda:)

 

Ronda

Ronda

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Pretty countryside

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Smurf Town!  As a promotional to the movie 'The Smurfs', this small white village, tucked away in the mountains of Spain, decided to be painted blue.  Weird...yes.  Worth the visit...absolutely!

Smurf Town! As a promotional to the movie ‘The Smurfs’, this small white village, tucked away in the mountains of Spain, decided to be painted blue. Weird…yes. Worth the visit…absolutely!

 

 

We finished our time together at a fun evening in Marbella, walking the streets of the ritzy and posh.  IMG_1334 IMG_1342IMG_1362

So needless to say, we had a fun, wonderful visit from Dustin’s parents!  The more time we spend apart from family, the more precious our time is, and this time was no different.  We are grateful for the time we spent together, the laughs we shared, and the memories we made.  This visit made us anxious for others to come and see us;)  If you have ever wanted to come to Spain, I know a great guest bedroom that will be ready and waiting:)

Summer Update

Summer is here!  The weather is warming up, and our small town is getting busy with tourists who are out of school and ready to see the sun!  Here is an update on the G42 ministries, as well as our personal update and plans for the summer.

G42U – We are so excited to be launching G42U this August in Fredericksburg, TX.  We have a team partnered with Journey Church to start a 9-month course for seniors graduating high school.  This program is designed as a ‘Gap Year’ to help students ‘discover what they are passionate about, while surrounded by a vibrant community.’  If you or anyone you know might be interested, here is the website for more information: http://www.g42u.com/

G42 U

Photo Credit: www.G42u.com

G42 Africa - G42 Africa is starting it’s second year of ministry, and they are continuing to pioneer their way through Uganda.  A graduated couple from G42, Armand and Rebeca VanDijk-Suter, have been doing an amazing job of teaching, discipleship, and raising up African leaders to build God’s Kindgom in Africa.

Photo Credit: www.g42africa.org

G42 Leadership Academy - Here at the G42 Leadership Academy, we continue to pour our resources, time, and energy into making God’s calling for the interns into a reality.  We will graduate 18 interns at the end of June, and the majority are leaving with a solid plan for the next season of their lives.

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Photo Credit: www.G42leadershipacademy.com

On a more personal note:

-I (Traci) have finished English classes for the summer.  Yay! We ended last week with a well-earned popcorn party for each of the classes.  Space is filling up for next year, so we look forward to teaching again in the fall.

- This past Friday, we had a ‘Movie Night’ for our English class students to celebrate the beginning of summer.  We played a Spanish movie with English subtitles, then played games and had refreshments.  It was a great night to get to know our students outside of the classroom.

Photo Credit: www.rottentomatoes.com

- On his time away from the office, Dustin has been training hard this past month for the Tough Mudder, ‘an endurance event where participants attempt 10–12 mile long military-style obstacle courses.’  The event is next Saturday, June 8th, in Hampshire, England. Luckily, I get to tag along and take pictures:) We are going with a team as a marketing platform for Global Adventure, a non-profit organization focused on adventure and discipleship for British menGlobal Adventure will launch in mid-August with a father/son weekend trip in Southwest England.

 Photo Credit:www.crossfit.ca

Global Adventure Missions

Photo Credit: www.global-adventure.org

- Dustin will be busy this month getting ready for another G42 graduation on June 21st.  He will begin selecting qualified interns to receive an Alumni grant that will help one or two interns that are ready to begin their non-profit, church plant, or business when they leave G42.  Both of us will be doing a lot of discipleship/mentoring before the current interns leave in a few weeks.

- For the summer months, I will continue teaching conversational English to adults, as well as having Friday summer classes in July and August for children.

- Dustin’s parents will be visiting us in July, and we could not be more excited!  It will be great to have family around, and we can show them why we love Spain so much!

So that’s about it!  If you read through the whole update, thanks for loving us:)  We hope you all enjoy the summer months and have time to relax, spend time with family, and thank God for the many blessings in life. We love you all!

Naive Promises

Maybe I was a bit naive.  Maybe my lure for adventure clouded my practical judgement.  Maybe I was too young.

I remember the day I told Jesus, “Here am I, send me.”  I was in high school, probably about 15 or 16 years old, at a Disciple Now at First Baptist Church in Canyon, TX, and it was during a time of worship that I prayed that prayer and felt the call towards missions/ministry.  I didn’t know for how long, I didn’t know where, and I didn’t know with whom I would be going with, but I knew someday, somehow, I would go.

Ten years after whispering this prayer, Dustin and I are serving a ministry overseas, and God is still proving faithful.  However, when I prayed as a teenage girl, I didn’t know what I was praying for.  Back then, I hadn’t read the rest of Isaiah 6 and seen what kind of struggles Isaiah would face.   I didn’t know the challenges that were before me, and the decisions that would alter my life forever the day I said ‘YES’ to whatever God wanted for my life.

And you know what?  I wouldn’t change a second of it.  Not the decision to move to a different country or the countless tears of leaving home.  Not the frustration of learning a new language or getting lost in a foreign place. I wouldn’t take anything back or change any promise I made, because just like that first prayer, there is a peace that continues to settle in my soul, knowing that I am exactly where God wants me.

The amazing thing about being in God’s will is that no matter the challenges, the blessings are far greater, and that much sweeter. Here are just a few:

Serving alongside Dustin is one of the most rewarding parts of being at G42.  Dustin continues to demonstrate incredible leadership, wisdom, and faithfulness into every aspect of ministry, and it is so much fun to see everyday.

If you ever come visit Dustin and I, you will understand that we live in a beautiful country.  Spain is rich in language, culture, and history, and we are soaking it all in.  We are improving our Spanish daily, giving us a greater opportunity to connect with the community in Mijas, but not without our fumbles and mistakes.  I have become excellent at laughing at my own language mistakes, along with the giggles of my students:)

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Another blessing is the genius of technology.  No matter how far we are, we can still play peek-a-boo with our nieces and nephews, be a part of Sunday lunch (kind of), and talk face to face with our family.  We are connected both here and there, and God’s grace has covered us to be a part of the lives two doors down as well as thousands of miles away.

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Lastly, a blessing that far outweighs the beauty of Spain is the people we serve alongside.  G42 has an amazing leadership team that we continue to learn from, and their dedication to making a difference in other people’s lives is incredible. They have put their lives on hold for the sake of fulfilling someone else’s dream, and we are honored to be a part of such a wonderful group of people.


I could never have imagined what I was signing up for when I was sixteen years old, but life is more beautiful than I could have dreamed.  So today, I am counting my blessings and marveling at the wonder of God and His faithful love for us.  Everyone, everyday, has countless blessing in their lives, you only need to search them out and tell Him thank you!

A Prayer Of Faith

Today, I want to call on all our prayer warriors out there who read our blog.

As some of you may know, both of my brothers’ wives are pregnant with baby girls, and both are due in late March and April.  My oldest brother, Chris, and his wife Brittany are due in April, however, Brittany has been having contractions the last couple of days, and the doctors are concerned about a premature birth.  They were able to stop the contractions, but after extensive testing, she has been told to stay in the hospital until our baby Tennessee is born.  We were hoping she would wait to come for another couple of weeks, but she might come earlier, so we would love for you to join us in prayer for them.

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We all have people in our lives that influence who we are and what we become.  Chris and Brittany are two people who have directly and significantly influenced my life.  Chris was one of my first examples of a man who serves the Lord with his whole heart.  His decision ten years ago to move with his new bride to start YoungLife ministries in Allen, TX had a profound impact on me when I was a teenager.  I saw his passion and desire to serve the Lord, no matter how little he was paid or how difficult it was.

Through the years, there have been times when no one would have blamed him for packing it all up, moving on, and settling for a ‘normal’ job.  He never did.  I’ve seen faith fleshed out in their years of ministry that was never glamorous or big, but quiet, strong, and many times rewarded by God in incredible ways.  A faith and knowledge that God will provide, God will protect, and God will always be faithful.

As Dustin and I begin our fourth month of working in ministry overseas, I can’t help to think that my brother played a big part in why we are here.  His example to love God, love his family, and love people made me confident that I could do the same with my life.  Both Chris and Brittany gave us such great words of wisdom and encouragement when we decided to serve God overseas, and we are grateful beyond words for that. They are a perfect example of what it means to give your life away to others every single day!

 

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So please join us in praying for them as they try to balance two small children at home, as well as a baby that’s ready to see the world!  Pray for peace, comfort, and protection for them, and we will let you know when she arrives!!

 

 

A Day In The Life

We had the privilege of seeing many of your beautiful faces this past week as we traveled home for Chelsea and Coltin’s wedding (Dustin’s sister and husband), and a short visit with our families.  Chelsea and Coltin’s wedding was beautiful, and a perfect picture of true love that we share because of Christ’s love for us.  They are such an amazing couple, and we look forward to sharing life with them as they begin their future together!

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I wanted to give you a quick update on life in Spain now that we are settled in.  When we arrived in November, we hit the ground running!  Dustin and I both began taking on our new positions, and at the same time the holidays came in a rush.  Our days were filled with new responsibility, getting to know the interns and my new students, and organizing events for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Things began to settle down after the new year, and we are now finally beginning to feel confident in our new jobs.
I am teaching students, ages 7-12 from 2:00-7:00 during each week.  I have about four to six students in each class, and we enjoy English worksheets, computer games, and outside activities in our time together. I am also teaching three one-on-one English conversational classes with adults from the community.
Dustin is also adjusting well to his job as Director of Operations at the Leadership Academy.  He gives every assignment, every task, 110% and finishes each day tired and content, determined not to take a moment of this season of our lives for granted.    What a godly, incredible man I get to serve alongside!

Dustin and Traci - Wester Wedding Rehearsal
One of his big jobs the past couple of weeks was creating a grant application for interns who are committed to starting a non-profit organization, or going on the mission field when they leave G42.  This grant will give a bit of financial support to those who are ready to serve the Lord with their gifts and talents.
We are getting well acquainted with the interns that joined us in January.  We have a couple of interns over each week for dinner to get to know them a bit better, and we normally try and spend some time individually with interns whenever we get the chance.

We do our best to challenge and encourage them to follow after God in whatever He has planned for their lives.  We are excited to plan, dream, and execute the purposes that God has put on their hearts.
Regardless to say, things are active and busy as we head into spring.  We hope some of you get a chance to come and visit, but until you do, that is what we are up to.  God bless!

DSC_1532Crazy moments with the Trevathan family!  Never a dull moment:)

Here’s To 2013!

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Our holiday season was very busy with work and fun all mixed in.  Like I’ve said before, it’s never easy for us being away from home during the Christmas season, so I’m looking forward to starting our routines up again and getting back to work!

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DSC_1142                              (Working on renovation on the new house for interns!)

We had a great Christmas with several of the staff and interns that were still in Mijas on Christmas day.  We were also able to FaceTime in with our families, watch the craziness of Christmas morning at the Trevathan household, and enjoy hot spice tea straight from the States.  Thanks, Mom!

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Dustin and I were able to sneak away for the day on our 5-year anniversary.  We spent an incredible day in Granada, sight-seeing and eating delicious Spanish food.  What an amazing journey we have been on in these last five years!

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We rang in the New Year at the good ‘ol laundry mat, washing sheets, towels, etc. for the new interns coming for the January term.  Last weekend, we delivered all of the anxious, excited interns to their respective houses, and welcomed them to Mijas!

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Classes started up on Tuesday for G42 (and my English classes), and Dustin and I were able to sit in on the morning orientation.  It felt strange being in class again, but it encouraged me to hear the vision and goal of G42 once more.

I was reminded of why Dustin and I chose to come back to Spain, and why we have asked many of you to partner with us financially and prayerfully so we can be here.  The reason is this: we want to help our generation change the world with the love of Jesus Christ.  We want to give the interns the resources and confidence to take a risk, to start something new, and to improve ministries already in place around the world.   With Christ at the center, we want the desires God has put in their heart to be evident by where their hands and feet are going.  Our hope is for the nations to hear the great news of Jesus Christ, and we are doing our part to train and equip those ready to go out.

IMG_1616        (Sending the Harder family (in the middle with the two little boys) off to begin their missionary work in the Ukraine)

So as we begin a new year, please be praying for the 25 twenty-somethings that started class today at G42, most of who are still trying to discover exactly what God is calling them to do.  We hope to give them direction and guidance, and release them back into the world to be Christ to the nations.  Thank you for being a part of their journey with us!

 

A New Christmas Tradition

This Christmas, I decided to start something new.  New culture, new country, new Christmas tradition.  I was inspired by Megan Marie and her love of Advent activities, so I decided to give it a try.

This year will already be different than most.  I (both of us, really) find it difficult to be away from our families during any holiday or celebration, but especially Christmas.  Two years ago, we were in Panama for the month of December, and although the experience was unique and fun, there was a hole that only family can fill during the Christmas season.  Thankfully, this year we can FaceTime into Christmas, and be a part of it that way!

I wanted, no, needed, this year to be special.  So, to keep the pity parties at bay and truly focus on the joy of the season, we decided to start an Advent calendar.  I went to work making envelopes and writing down activities or treats to have on every day leading up the December 25th.  After four days, we can already establish that this will be a tradition to continue for many years to come.

There is extravagant joy in anticipating the birth of Jesus.  Let us all be reminded of how incredible it was that our Savior came to this earth to live among us, and that He has left his Spirit to continue to be with us forever.  This Christmas, join us in re-discovering how amazing it was that He came for YOU.  Happy Advent!

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call him Emmanuel.”  Isaiah 7:14