Right after Christmas, we had the opportunity to go to Spain for the Mid-Winter Rally. This is a mission conference that has been around for over 40 years, but we had never been to it before. The Mid-Winter Rally is predominantly American missionaries serving in different countries in Europe, and many of them have been on the mission field for more than 20 or 30 years. It was such a blessing to be able to hear their testimonies and be encouraged by their faithfulness.
One of my (Tiffanie’s) favourite parts of the conference was small group time. I was in a group with 4 other ladies, and this was a great time for us to talk about the message, our ministries, and grow in our faith together. We have already started a group chat on FaceBook since the conference where we are sharing ways we can pray for one another.
My small group – Gabriela, Julia, me (top), Jackie, Katy (bottom)
Luke’s favourite part was the prayer time. We had a different type of prayer time each day. One day we prayed through a chapter in the Bible together. Another day we split up in to groups of 3 or 4 and prayed for every country in Europe that was not represented at the conference. The last day we spent solely praising God for whatever was on our hearts.
Praying for the different countries in Europe
Throughout the conference everyone got a chance to go up front and share briefly about their ministry and give specific ways we could pray for each other. It was awesome being able to hear how God is working in so many parts of Europe, and a huge blessing to have people gather around us and pray specifically for Ireland and our work in Moycullen.
Talking about our ministry in Ireland
We did not know the majority of the people who were at the conference, and it was absolutely wonderful to make so many new friends and to pick the brains of missionaries who have been on the field for so long. However, there were a few people who were knew there who we were extra excited to see. Rick Cherok, the founder of Celtic Christian Mission and a professor at Cincinnati Christian University, is the one who originally pointed us in the direction of Ireland and introduced us to Stephen and Alisa, our current teammates. We went up to Northern Ireland in March to see Rick and group of students he brought with him from CCU. Well, not only was Rick at the conference, but also two of the CCU students who we had met before and had kept in touch with! It was so great to see them again and catch up on each other’s lives. We also made some new friendships with some different CCU students he brought with him this time.
CCU friends – Abby, Lexie, & Payton – (whole CCU group in middle left picture)
We were also excited to see our friends, Nick and Mallorie Burczyk, and their two sweet kiddos. They are part of our KM organization, and we normally only see them once a year in Germany and once a month on the computer when a bunch of us missionaries do a group chat and prayer time.
Nick, Mallorie, Cade, and Clara Burczyk – serving in Hanover, Germany
A big highlight for me was getting to see Chris, Nicia, and Kaylea Irwin. They are the family that I stayed with during my summer internship in Spain in 2009! None of us knew it then, but that summer in Spain not only pointed me towards missions in the future, but also towards serving in Europe. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see them again and reminisce about that summer almost 9 years ago! Once the conference was over, we left Córdoba and stayed with the Irwin’s for a couple of days in Granada. It was great to be able to share with Luke some of the same places that I went many years ago when we were only dating. We went to the Alhambra, a 13th century palace, and up to the Mirador de San Nicolas, a square which has a spectacular view of the Alhambra and Sierra Nevada.
Tiffanie and Kaylea from the 2009 internship and now.
During this trip, we also got to do some exploring and site seeing. In Córdoba, we went to the Mezquita, which was a 10th century mosque that was later turned into a cathedral. It was absolutely beautiful! We also walked to the Roman Bridge, and got lost walking the streets in Córdoba. We were in Córdoba for New Years Eve, so we went to the city square that night to celebrate with the rest of the city. The tradition there is at 11:59 you have one minute to try to eat twelve grapes, and if you do, then you will have good luck for the year. Unfortunately, these grapes had seeds in them, so eating all twelve was not as easy as it sounds! We had a blast ringing in the new year with our new friends there!
The city of Cordoba, the Roman Bridge (bottom left), and the Mezquita (bottom right)
All in all, we had a wonderful trip, we’re so grateful for the new friendships we have made, and we hope to be able to go to the MWR again next year!