A year and a half ago my husband Olli and I moved to Spain.
We did so not for the sun or tapas, but because we felt that God was inviting us to play a part in his story there. We are both passionate about God’s church and student mission, and we are aware that God is wanting to do big things in Europe in our time. And so we wanted to be part of it - to use our love of languages and culture to serve what God is doing with church and students in Europe. So we pitched it to Fusion, and moved to Spain long term with a 10 year plan and no idea what we were doing, but with a vision to collaborate with others in setting up Fusion Spain as a movement that will last, be culturally relevant and catalyse a student mission movement through local church. That’s the dream.
Fast-forward 10 months into our new lives in Spain and we were on the move again. The time had come for phase 2 of our plan to set up Fusion Spain (phase 1 involved lots of laying foundations - intensive language and culture learning, building relationships etc).
In September, we left our flat in Madrid, packed all that we could of the little we had into a tiny turquoise VW camper van, and set out on a 6-month roadtrip to visit each of the 38 Cities of mainland Spain that have their own uni. We had one meeting in the diary, an itinerary of how many days we would spend in each City, a challenge map of what to do once we got there, and had been cold-calling churches and gathering any contacts we could for a while.
"...as we thought of moving to Spain, and then as intentions became plans, this was a part of the plan that stuck, and kept sticking, being confirmed through the prophetic and encouragement time and time again."
We were sure that it was more than an idea, or a stupid plan, we felt convinced that it was God’s invitation to us to go and see what he’s doing and meet the people he’s preparing all around Spain - to go and find him and where he’s at work. It was an idea we first had reading red moon rising, 6 years before. In that book, as Pete Grieg tells the story of the beginning of the 24-7 prayer movement, years after he had a vision of God raising up an army, he’s trying to come up with a strategy of what he should do about that, and feels challenged to lay it down and go and find God’s strategy. So he sets out on a Europe road trip with his wife Sammy to go and see what God is doing and meet some of the people he’s raising up. As we read this, even way back then, we thought of Spain. It sparked something in us - what if this was one of those God-ideas, the ones that doesn’t make sense by our worldly, productive standards, that is way too extravagant a use of time and resources, but is actually exactly how God would lead us to learn his heart and find his strategy for a nation and a student mission movement?
So the idea was always there, bubbling away, as we thought of moving to Spain, and then as intentions became plans, this was a part of the plan that stuck, and kept sticking, being confirmed through the prophetic and encouragement time and time again.
And so that’s why we left everything and lived in a van for 6 months, right at the beginning (well, pretty much) of our journey in Spain. We wanted to meet churches, find people of peace, learn what was going on with students, see what opportunities they had to meet Jesus and connect with church. We wanted to pray on each campus and in each cathedral, learning to see this nation with spiritual eyes and imagine what awakening and movement could look like here.
How we thought it would go...
And so we set off. The van in itself was a gift of provision - more money than we’ve ever raised before, and it all came in in just a few weeks! A two-seater classic, as a friend had prophesied for this season. So we were literally sitting in answered prayer even as we set out from Madrid.
What we expected to find as we set out was people of peace; we expected to see miracles, to hear stories of students who had come to faith, to find people who God had been whispering to about students.
We expected to see radical hospitality, to be welcomed into people’s homes and find a different story to the one people tell about Spain. Because we set out in faith, and with Luke 10 as our guide - these are all the things that are supposed to happen, right?!
Part 2: coming wednesday 11th may