We are here!! Over the next week, we are going to try something different and live blog our experience here in Madrid on our mission trip! We will be a part of helping lead a Basketball Camp at Iglesia Biblica Emanuel as well as lead worship and play a concert as a part of Citizen Crown. We are amazed at the many ways the Lord has orchestrated all of this and how He allows us to be a part of His work. Can’t wait to share with you all that will happen. As the days go on, we will be updating this blog post and adding a recap of each day. So stay tuned and follow along with us!
Days 1 & 2
The first couple of days have been a whirlwind and honestly, I’ve felt halfway awake for most of it. Even though I only slept about two total hours. We started off with a full 18 hour travel day and then lost 7 hours with the time change. Traveling with our team was fun and exciting as we were all just super eager to get here. My favorite parts were probably catching the sunrise on the plane and eating all the free food because as my husband would tell you, I love everything and anything free. Haha.
When we finally arrived at noon on Saturday, our friends from Iglesia Biblica Emanuel (IBE) picked us up and kept us busy so we could adjust to the time change. We ate lunch, explored our little area by the hotel where we will be staying and met to plan for our full week of BasketCamp! This camp will be made up of four classes that children (ages 7-13) will rotate through. The stations are English, Values, Music and, of course, Basketball. Sami will be helping lead the Values classes and Aaron and I will be running Music classes. We can’t wait to meet these kids!
Needless to say, after Saturday was over, we were all pooped and ready for bed. We are praying for this week – for the kids and their parents. Our desire is to show them how loved and treasured they are by the Creator and we hope lives will be changed this week as we follow what the Lord has for us. Thanks for reading along!
Day three started off bright and early! Quimi, Aaron and I decided we would try out best to wake up in the mornings and workout before our day started, and we felt great! We had a delicious breakfast at our hotel and then made our way to Immanuel Baptist Church for the English service. It was amazing to see such culture and diversity within the congregation. It was an international service with people from all over, and they all spoke English! I’m sure our only English speaking friends really enjoyed that, haha! We loved hearing the congregation join together in worship, with voices lifted and such enthusiasm, I could tell they love coming to worship Jesus on Sunday mornings.
After the morning service we enjoyed a warm cup of joe and then headed out to lunch!
Lunch was at a beautiful, gorgeous restaurant and we fell in love with it! It had green plants everywhere with cute lights and it was pretty fancy! Not to mention the food was amazingggg!
The appetizers were yummy, quite delightful and a little different than what we’re used to, but they had guac and chips if you know me you know that is my favorite snack, lol! Everything was perfect for lunch. Soon after we returned back to the hotel to chill for a little bit before returning to Iglesia Biblica Emanuel for the evening Spanish Service. Quimi, Aaron and I were asked to lead a few worship songs during the service. It was sweet and uplifting being able to share in worship with fellow believers.
To end day 3 we had a little time of fellowship and yummy eats after the service with the rest of the congregation, which then led to our team beginning to set up and decorate for Basket Camp that will begin today.
After decorating we all wanted some yummy gelato… so we walked over to the closest one we could find, which was only a block from the hotel! our walk there is so beautiful
We’re so excited to play and get to know these kids! We can’t wait to have the opportunity to form relationships with them while teaching them, English, Music, Basketball and Values. We hope to reach as many kids as possible and share Jesus’ love with them.
First day of BasketCamp!! We met the kids on day 4 and it was so exciting to see them all ready for a full week of Basketball, Values, Music and English classes! Each day starts off with an opening hype time where we sing songs with lots of jumping, dancing and hand movements, play games and get the kids ready for the day. After that, the kids, who are divided up into groups according to their age, will cycle through our different 30 minute classes in stations. We have three class stations, then a snack time, the final two classes and then we end with a closing hype time of more songs and prizes! We noticed that the kids were a little reserved in the morning, but once the day progressed, they became more comfortable and more energetic (and more rowdy lol). It was so sweet to see them starting to open up and be free, even if they are a little more difficult to handle when they do so, haha. In Values Class, Sami taught the kids about perseverance through the movie “Finding Nemo”. The theme of BasketCamp this week is “In The Movies”, so it’s cool that they are incorporating movies to teach kids life values. Aaron and I taught the kids some rhythm games in Music Class, a bible verse being sung in the song form of “We Will Rock You” by Queen and a song that they will perform at the end of the week. The English and Basketball Classes went super well also and team members mentioned that they are excited to see the kids progress throughout the week.
After camp, we went to lunch and went back to our hotel. Our parents on the other hand, went into town with some of our team.
In the evening we had a BBQ at the church and enjoyed typical Spanish food as well as typical American BBQ food. It was so great to end the day spending time with our Madrid friends who have become family. We are so thankful for the relationships the Lord has led us to build here.
What an amazing first day of camp!!
Days 5 & 6
We started out day 5 strong! Woke up, worked out and got breakfast then headed out for our second day of Basket Camp! The second day was great! We were able to adjust things that didn’t go great from the day before and also add some fun activities to keep the kids engaged. Snack time is always the time when the kids get to build up their energy again and get ready to finish the day with their last two classes. Also, it’s a time when Quimi competes with a boy we met last year named Karim. They have this ongoing competition and yesterday they had an arm wrestle match – 2 out of 3 games. Karim won, haha looks like Quimi is going to have to make a comeback!!
The kids were all into!! They loved watching Quimi compete with Karim, but they also love their snack time; usually a half sandwich with chips and fruit! Yum! This is the perfect snack to keep them energized to finish the rest of camp!
As we ended basket camp we rushed to get to the hotel to change and leave to “El Centro!” We got dressed and took the bus to a restaurant called Topolino. It is an Italian buffet with a Spanish style, but it was so delicious and filling! I especially loved how we could walk up and get our own food, they had a great assortment to choose from! I’m pretty sure everyone left with full tummies!
After Topolino, we headed out to tour Palacio Real! Beautiful, gorgeous and just amazing!
The Palacio was incredible. As we walked through the inside, I was in awe of the intricacies of each room we were able to see. Sadly, we were not able to take pictures of these rooms, but we were able to take some pictures of some of the inside parts before we walked into the actual touring rooms; this just means you guys need to come to Madrid and see it yourselves!
After touring this incredible Palacio, the team split up into two groups. So last year we went on a self-tour of the Real Madrid Soccer Stadium, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and this year I thought I would stay back since I already saw it last year. Some of our team had not seen it yet so while they toured the Stadium, some of us others went to see this huge park called Parque del Retiro. They say this park is an equivalent to say Central Park in New York City. It is not as big but in Madrid, it is widely known.
Our friends loved the Stadium! While some of us enjoyed a nice stroll through Parque del Retiro and a motor boat ride!
We even took a selfie with a Mickey Mouse costume because he was representing America for the 4th of July!
Soon after we met up with the rest of the group at the beautiful Mercado San Miguel! We ate dinner here and then headed home after a very long day!
Day 6 started out with a bang too as we headed to the church for Basket Camp and even though the kids seemed a little tired at first, after a few class sessions and by the end of the camp they were all so excited and dancing with us! It was a great Wednesday Camp day and I am so excited for the next few days we have left. We’ve gotten to know these kids so much, they are always happy and ready to learn something new, which makes our time way more fun and enjoyable!
After Basket Camp, we headed immediately out to Toledo! It is this cute little tourist town, that has a lot of historical value for Spain. It is gorgeous and really cool to visit. We took the train this time around and it was quite the experience! Since we had to leave quickly, we had lunch at the train station while we waited to board. It was these delicious things called Kebabs, not what us Americans think of when we hear Kebab, but it was more like a tortilla wrapped with chicken and steak and this really good sauce! Very tasty!
And our Spain girl friend Priscila got us these Dunkin Donuts that we could snack on the train! So sweet of her! They were pretty dang good! Then we got on the train and arrived at Toledo in 30 mins!
We went back to see the Cathedral we saw last year, it was breathtaking as usual. Then we went store hopping to find some souvenirs and just walk the streets of Toledo.
Later we went to this little dessert store we went to last year and found the cutest tiniest ice cream cones!! They were adorable.
Day 6 ended with this extremely beautiful sunset, I’d say Spain is treating us very well.
Days 7 & 8
Day 7 we prepared our kids at BasketCamp for their final day where they will show their parents all that they had learned this week! The way these kids got into everything we were doing was so awesome! They loved singing and dancing to the songs we did during the opening and closing sessions. You could also tell they were really enjoying their classes because they would chant the chants we taught them in between classes or they would ask to do activities again. It rained all day so the basketball classes had to adjust to bring their classes indoors. You would think that would be a bummer, but our coaches did such a great job adjusting, that it wasn’t even a big deal. The kids still learned dribbling drills indoors and didn’t miss a beat.
After camp, some amazing ladies from the church prepared a typical Spanish meal for us to have for lunch! They made a chicken paella and a seafood paella!! They were so delicious!!! Paella is a rice that is cooked and prepared with a meat of your choice and vegetables. They make them on these huge skillet pans and it is epic!
After lunch, Aaron and I got together with a new friend we met at the church. He also does digital marketing like Aaron does and he wanted to meet at the Google Campus Madrid to talk and connect. We had never been to a Google Campus before! It was such a cool space. They just have all these workstations and rooms for conferences and what not. It was really sweet. Becoming a member is free and they give you a cool little welcome packet too.
Once we finished there, we met up with the some of the rest of the team to hang out in the Madrid Center where all the shops and touristy spots are. I love love love all the beautiful architecture in Madrid. The buildings are breathtaking and everywhere you look, you see history. It was super rainy all day, but in the evening it cleared up and ended up being an awesome night.
Day 8 was our last day with the kids, noooo. It was a jam packed day of camp and then exhibiting for the parents some of the things they learned! It was so fun to the kids get excited about the things they’ve learned and excited to show their friends and their parents. They showed off their basketball skills, shared the values they learned, used the English that they learned and chanted the bible verse of the week.
At the end of this last day, each kid went home with a basketball. They were so pumped and wanted us to sign them after, haha. We kept encouraging them all week to come to the concert that evening as they would get to sing along with us and even play the shakers they made in music class. Many of them came and we were so thankful for such a great turnout!
Sami, Aaron and I started the concert out with a few songs to get everyone involved. Then, we invited the kids up to sing and dance with us. They were so stoked! I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I knew a lot of the people were not regular church goers, so they probably weren’t going to know any of the songs we were going to do. I was hoping and praying that the Lord would draw them in and help them to join in.
It was so beautiful to not only see the kids get into it, but the parents as well! On the last song, I even asked the parents to get on their feet and do the hand movements with their kids. They had a blast! I am so thankful for the way the Lord brought that concert together. It was so great!
These two sweet twin boys kept wanting to take pictures with us. They even specifically asked that we go outside with them because they wanted to take a picture with us under the rainbow. I melted. So so sweet.
I can’t believe the week is over! So much went into this week and I am so thankful that we were able to be a part of it. Our friends, Priscila and Laura who are IBE’s Pastor Fernando’s daughters, have become more like sisters to us and we are so blessed by their friendship and the privilege to serve the Lord together and to serve those sweet kids! What an incredible week!
We loved working and hanging out with this team! What an honor it’s been to be a part of this amazing week! Thank you guys for following along!