Denia, Spain And My Small Part In God's Work

Denia, Spain And My Small Part In God's Work

Here's a look at a brief recap of my mission trip over Spring Break in Denia, Spain!

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Thank you to everyone for all of your prayers and support! God taught me so much about Himself, myself, and how I can best share about Him to others. And what better place to learn more about Christ than Denia, Spain?!

1. Transportation

Bryanne Sanchez

At three a.m. my alarm jolted me awake. I had slept for a total of one hour. We arrived at our church at four, and I slept during the two-hour drive to the Dallas airport. Checking in went smoothly and so did our flight from Dallas to New York. Then, disaster struck. Although I guess it was somewhat of a beautiful disaster. All flights into Madrid, Spain were canceled. Our group of 23 waited hours at the airport in a section without food vendors. We survived off of my sour skittles, trail mix, and peanut butter crackers while splitting into smaller groups that would fly to Spain separately. We were randomly assigned new flights, and I was half thrilled and half scared to learn I would be flying with five other girls into Switzerland and then Valencia. Thankfully, my best friend Kylee had also been handed the same ticket, so we embarked on this unreal journey together. We said goodbye to the rest of our team that had received hotel accommodations for the night in New York.

Navigating through the airport and unfamiliar security checks was not the most fun I have had in my life, but I felt like a real adult. I also remember that the burger I bought on the way to our flight had never tasted so good! I was eating real food again! Hours later, I was sitting beside Kylee on a six-hour flight to Switzerland. We were given two full meals, headphones, a pillow, a blanket, and we each had our own small screen in front of us to watch movies on! It was truly a great flight and I was able to rest a bit.

After landing in Switzerland, we were surrounded by chocolate and smoking lounges! The view of the mountains and Swiss homes from the airport's windows was stunning. Then, I cleverly decided our girls group name should be the #swisssix.

The Swiss Six safely landed in Valencia a bit later, and were greeted by three of the friendliest people! Thankfully, my friend Asia had been on the trip last year and recognized our greeters as pastors of the church and school we would be staying at: Alfa y Omega.

By this point, we were all thoroughly exhausted and I tried my hardest to keep my eyes open during the drive from Valencia to Denia, but my eyelids grew heavy and I don't remember much from the car ride.

Traveling home was a complete breeze! Our layover was in London, our flight attendants spoke with a British accent, and I learned how to entertain myself during the ten-hour flight. The most exciting thing that happened was nearly swatting the lady sitting next to me when the overhead announcements came on while I was in the middle of a fat nap. I'm just a jumpy person sometimes!

2. A Typical Day

Bryanne Sanchez

7:30 Wake up

8:00 Eat breakfast

8:30 Small group worship and devotional

9:00 Baby time!

10:00 Sixth grade class instruction

11:00 Primary school recess hang out/snack

11:30 Secondary school recess hang out

12:00 Service project/Serve at "Extiende Tu Mano"

2:30 Lunch

3:00 Free time to explore downtown/Visit small group church

5:00 Meetings/more free time/Visit small group church

8:30 Dinner

9:00 Free time/Prep for next day/ Rotate through showers

11:30 Turn in for bed!

3. The Lord

Bryanne Sanchez

Thank you for your prayers! It was evident that God's hand was in everything we did during our trip. Traveling alone was difficult, but God ensured that we were well cared for. I also believe it was a part of His plan for me to arrive a day earlier so that I could establish deeper relationships with the church pastors and volunteers. We stayed at a church/school/dorm named "Alfa y Omega" and it was easy to sense His presence daily through interactions with the children and people and our beautiful view of the city and sea. Our mission was to spread God's love as an example of how He has loved us. We spent time teaching students in the school each morning and taught them about how Jesus had been working in our lives.

One of my favorite memories was talking to two fifth graders during recess. I had established a relationship with these girls on the first day and had been meeting up with them on a regular basis when they were given time to play. They were familiar enough with English to ask me questions and I was able to learn more about their lives. I laid in bed at night and wondered how I could casually bring up God during our conversations. During our future time together, I started our conversation by asking the girls if they knew why I was at their school. When they admitted that they didn't, it opened the door to a conversation in which I told them all that God had done for me in my life. Our college pastor, Justin, had been telling us that we had come to Denia to plant seeds. I'm confident that God had His hand in our conversations and that these girls will surely grow in their faith.

I was also blessed to visit a house church in Benissa, Spain. It was reminiscent of a small group bible study and served those that did not have access to attend the church services at Alfa y Omega. Part of our church partnership's goal is to establish and continue growing these house churches that are reaching a range of people around Spain. In the home I visited, there were fewer in number, but our size allowed us to intimately share a few of our favorite verses and our testimonies. Joshua, one of the pastors at Alfa y Omega, translated the others' stories of how God had shaped their lives. There were even two women from Colombia who described the ways in which God had led them to this small group in Benissa.

Prior to this visit, I thought it was an overused phrase to express how God had planned everything to lead up to where one is now in their life. Be it overused or not, I can see that God is the same throughout the world! It was mind-blowing to hear the parallels between many of our testimonies. We had God in common, and that was all the connection we needed. After exchanging stories, we had the opportunity to pray with one another. Although it was difficult to follow along in Spanish, I knew we were praying to the same Lord with similar requests.

Hearing the other college students' testimonies was also powerful. I realized that I know many of the students in my college group, but I don't fully KNOW them. After the Denia trip, I had made up my mind to apply to become a college group leader. This position would allow me to lead Bible studies with another student, lead Columbus Avenue events on campus, and grow closer to those I see at church every Sunday. I had not been trying my hardest to connect with others in my church because my three best friends also attend church with me, so I lacked the motivation to seek fellowship with others. Now, I see the importance of developing relationships with those around me and sharing what God has done in my life more often.

I really have more to share about how God was moving in my life this week, but it is difficult to pin down in writing.

4. Service

Bryanne Sanchez

Our team was broken into smaller groups of five that traveled to different places together. On Monday, it was my team's turn to serve at "Extiende Tu Mano," a branch of the church that focused on outreach for the homeless. My team and I helped prepare lunch that was later served to the homeless. I learned that this gesture of personally serving the homeless was very impactful for them and Christlike. We also took turns washing the dishes left over from lunch. Washing dishes is hands down my least favorite chore ever invented, but washing dishes for others was much more meaningful. It's amazing that something as simple as washing dishes can lead to a powerful conversation about Christ with others. I had the privilege of talking to another woman who was helping us in the kitchen about her life story and it was clear that God was shining through her labor.

Over the course of the next few days, we sanded approximately twenty doors, painted these doors, trimmed and raked overgrown hedges, cleaned the pool, moved and rearranged countless tables, desks, and chairs, and tidied the animals' pens. The work we performed was not hard, but it was tiring at times. Yet I still cherish the times we spent as a team beautifying Alfa y Omega, which God had already blessed a thousand times over. Plus, Fernando, the maintenance leader, was an absolute joy to work with because of his funny jokes. He may or may not have called me a diva when I asked for gloves to pick up the thorny branches we had to remove, haha!

5. Fine Dining

Bryanne Sanchez

I ate bread, bread, and more pan! Meals were served at later times during the day! Breakfast was at 8:00, a.m. lunch was at 2:30 p.m., and dinner was at 8:30 p.m.! We were given hearty snacks between meals, though! At every meal, we were given a basket of bread as one of many side dishes. Breakfasts typically consisted of two slices of toast, crackers, jam, butter, yogurt, an apple, corn flakes, and a muffin. We weren't slacking in the grains food group! We were also given the option of spreading their version of Nutella on our toast; it was different because the hazelnut and chocolate were separated into two layers! Lunch was always delicious and my favorite meals were the seasoned pork chop, chicken pasta soup, penne pasta, and of course, the traditional paella that Spain is famous for. My favorite dinner was a type of chicken roasted on a skewer. Surprisingly, we also had hamburgers twice!

When we ate downtown, I splurged twice on specialty waffles and also tried mint and strawberry gelato! For dinner, I sampled a variety of tapas, which are sort of like appetizers. I learned that I do not care for the type of ham they serve, but everything else tasted great! I would have happily gone back for seconds had I been hungry enough.

6. Dénia

Bryanne Sanchez

The city took my breath away with each view. When we toured the historic castle in Dénia, we could see the entire stretch of city, sea, and mountain. God definitely knew what he was doing when he created Dénia!

7. Marshmallows

Bryanne Sanchez

The first night when the #Swisssix arrived, we were scheduled to have a welcome dinner with the youth group at Alfa y Omega. They asked around to see if the American marshmallows had made their way here yet, and sure enough, I had volunteered to pack the marshmallows in my suitcase that morning! This was an important matter to everyone because in Spain the marshmallows melt off the stick and cannot roast. After I brought down the bag of our Jet-Puffed marshmallows, everyone took turns roasting about five marshmallows each. It was a unique bonding experience that first opened my eyes to the differences between America and Spain (albeit small).

8. Fallas

Bryanne Sanchez

We missed the famous "Fallas" festival by four days, but we were fortunate enough to see a few of the elaborate cork statues set up in honor of the celebration. Over the course of our week stay, we saw the set-up of these themed statues on every major corner downtown. They were to be burned the following week as a way to release the "sins" of the city. There were many tourists because of the upcoming festival, and small children liked to play and throw mini, loud fireworks to scare others while impressing their friends! Dénia's nightlife was always so lively, especially in the preparation of Fallas!

There really is so much more to tell, but I would fall even farther behind on schoolwork if I were to go into any more detail. :) I am so thankful and blessed to have been a student on this trip.

We serve a powerful God who rules over all nations. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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18 Bible Verses That Prove God Would NOT Be 'Pro-Life'

Stop using the Bible as an excuse to take away women's rights.

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"Abortion is WRONG because God (the highest authority) says so! Not because I say so, or "religious" people say so or the government says so...because the CREATOR OF ALL HUMAN LIFE SAYS SO."

This argument is bullshit and I'm sick of hearing it, because it just isn't true. All these Christians claim that the Bible and God says that abortion is wrong, and it's clear they've never read the Bible. Have you ever seen them use a biblical verse to validate their claims? Yeah, me neither. And you know why? BECAUSE THE BIBLE IS NOT PRO-LIFE. They pick and choose vague verses to attempt to back up these ridiculous claims, completely ignoring the damning evidence that the Bible, and therefore God, actually supports child murder, infanticide, and abortion.

Unlike pro-lifers, I'll actually provide some evidence:

1. Numbers 31:17 "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him"

2. Deuteronomy 2:34 "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain"

3. Deuteronomy 28:53 "And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the seige, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee"

4. 1 Samuel 15:3 "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass"

5. Isaiah 13:16 "Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished"

6. Isaiah 13:18 "Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children"

7. Ezekiel 9:6 "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house"

8. Hosea 9:14 "Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts"

9. Hosea 13:16 "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up"

10. 2 Kings 2:24 "And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them"

11. Psalm 137:9 "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones"

12. Numbers 5:21 "-here the priest is to put the woman under his curse- "may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell"

13. Hosea 9:16 "Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb"

14. Psalm 135:8 "He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast;"

15. Psalm 136:10 "-to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever"

16. 2 Kings 6:28-29 "And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.So we boiled by son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son"

17. Leviticus 26:29 "And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat"

18. Jeremiah 11:22 "Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:"


Stop using your religion to try and push propoganda that "God says abortion is wrong because it kills innocent children." Clearly your God doesn't care about killing children. There is more than enough proof that the Bible and God are NOT pro-life. Stop acting like you're good Christians upholding the values of God when you clearly haven't picked up the Bible and actually read it. God doesn't agree with your backwards thinking. Maybe try do your research before spewing your religious bullshit to try and take away women's rights.

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My Experience With Guardian Angels

They help you get through life.

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I vividly remember the day in Sunday school where our teacher talked to us about guardian angels.

"They help you through life," she said. "They want you to go to heaven."

I can remember thinking how cool it was that there was an angel just for me. Someone to help me through life and be there for me when I was hurt. We were given guardian angel coloring sheets and I happily colored mine all sorts of different colors, then proudly hung it up in my room where it stayed for years until I put it in a keepsake box where it is to this day.

That day in Sunday school made me much more aware of the symbolic representations of angels in our culture. I would walk around in the stores and find the little statues of angels that you put in your garden and show them to my mom or dad. I would look at the stained glass windows at Church that had angels all over them and trace them with my fingers. My favorite time of the year has always been Christmas because of all of the angel decorations that would be displayed across yards and the ornaments that would be all over our tree.

Another reason I loved Christmas so much was because we would go to my grandma's house and she would have a plethora of angels all over her house.

This newfound obsession with guardian angels made me believe that I could see mine. I was a very shy, quiet kid so many of my friends were imaginary friends who I would play with. One of my imaginary friends was my guardian angel, who I pictured as a little girl around the same age as me with blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

She was with me through many of my childhood adventures. If I was on the swing set, she'd be in the swing next to me. If I was playing with toys, I'd always leave her one. If I had a glass of juice, she'd have one too.

As I got older, I came out of my shell more and my guardian angel began to appear less and less. When I reached high school I had basically forgotten about her, even though I still wholeheartedly believed in guardian angels.

Until one day when I was coming back from a swim team practice. My brother was driving me and my younger brother home. I was in the passenger seat, barely paying attention to the road in front of me because I was reading a text message on my phone. Somehow, I decided to look up just in time to see that my brother had been distracted and started to drift into the oncoming lane of traffic where a truck was heading straight towards us. I panicked and grabbed the wheel just in time to serve back onto the correct lane.

And somehow, in my state of panic, I noticed in the corner of my eye the same little girl with blonde hair, blue eyes that I had always pictured as my guardian angel was standing on the sidewalk next to the road. When I looked back there was no one there.

While I can't confirm that this little girl was my guardian angel, it was still a crazy experience. I've thought a lot about what happened that day and found comfort in the fact that there may be an angel looking out for me.

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