This was the first ever photo we posted on our blog. It was the inspiration for name of this blog ‘Clapping the Son’. Every day of the summer, sunset strip is full of people who have enjoyed all that Ibiza has to offer that day, and take time out to listen to some chill-out music, watch the sunset and clap, almost as a ‘thankyou’ for the day, before going into the night.
And just as people celebrate the sun, we wanted to celebrate Jesus here in Ibiza. Celebrate the life he gives, celebrate his creation, celebrate his attributes, his character, the way he pursues mankind – his gentleness, his grace, his relentless second chances and his pointing his creation towards the Father. We have enjoyed celebrating every day what Jesus does here.
In our time here we have seen many things. We have seen lives healed, we have seen people physically healed, we have helped thousands home, we have seen God reveal himself in the brokeness and we have experienced him in the joy. We have been blown away by what God has done. We have been amazed how God has spoken, how we have felt his celebration, and how he has invited us to get involved.
We have now done 3 seasons. If we were to fulfill the minimum commitment we gave to 24-7 Prayer to lead this work, then we would be planning on leaving next season! How crazy is that! We can’t believe where all the time has gone, whilst at the same time wonder how on earth we have fitted it all in. Our lives since arriving here have certainly been full and some days we feel like 10 years of life experience has been squashed into the 3.
But we do not feel, nor ever have that we would just be here for the minimum time. We have always seen this as a longer commitment. Not just to a ‘work’, but to invest our lives into this island until we feel God says otherwise. We have learnt on many previous occasions that God likes to take our time frames and shake them up a little. The verse from our wedding day were a reminder that God is in charge of the times and seasons.
Whilst we were away recently at the 24-7 Gathering in Madrid, someone shared a picture of someone sitting on a horse, but it was a wild horse, one that was throwing the rider all over the place and was requiring all the riders strength to hold on. When the person got off, he realised that it was just a practice ride, like a bucking bronco ride at a fairground. The rider did not realise at the time that it was just a practice run in preparation for the real thing. The person giving the picture reflected that they felt that although the ride already had felt a little crazy and sometimes feeling like being bucked all over the place, God was now inviting the person to get on the real horse, and experience the real ride. A number of people felt this was for them, and also I felt this was for me and us in Ibiza.
The fact that it had been a practice run did not in any way diminish the nature of the journey, or what had occurred during the time of practice. But what it had done was to prepare and shape the person to be a better rider in the future to be able to handle the real thing and an increased adventure.
Now I am not sure what that would mean for our situation. If you have encountered just one of our nights here in San Antonio during peak season, I am not sure what could be more real! But I think the sense is more about God going deeper rather than the work getting more crazy. I think the real things are being ready for God to do more than he ever has, that we will see more evidence of him in our lives, in the work and that we would see people encounter him in ways they could not imagine. It is this that we hope for. And we jump on the horse in anticipation for what is ahead.
This is in the context, of course, of next season looking a little different for us. We have a baby on the way and our permanent team in San Antonio is currently back to Abby and I. In our natural eyes expectation of greater things normally comes through seeing growth and increase in physical means. But Gods was are not our ways and this is His work. If our life here is really about celebrating Jesus in Ibiza, then we need to make sure that the claps that we are getting for the work we do, are directed toward Him and that we get out of the way. The attitudes, the servant hood, love, care and affection that people see in the volunteers involved in our work, come directly from Him. Because that is who He is.
So we do feel as spurred on as ever. We carry the sense that actually this is beginning. We carry the sense that God still wants to continue his work here. And we carry the sense that we haven’t seen anything yet.
This is not just about San Antonio either, although it is where Abby and I are based. We sense it in Sa Penya also through Danny, Lydie and Asha. We hear the same noises, we see the same God at work, we feel the rumblings of a God who is longing to reveal himself through the community that is forming there.
We sometimes as humans can get a little bit arrogant that Gods work relies on us. I know I can. The idea that if we are not doing it, it won’t get done. We need to remember that he is God and we are not. Although our works should certainly be evident due to our obedience to his call and desire to let others know about Jesus, I have come to learn that when God asks us to get involved it is because he wants to reveal more of himself to us, and in joining in with him we get to do that. He commits to make us more like him. Our part to play is to stop fighting against him and allow him to shape and mold us. If his way is to put us on a proverbial wild horse as a practice then so be it. We are honored that we get to join in with what God is doing here in San Antonio and the whole of the Island.
Thank you for walking with us during these last 3 seasons, we look forward to the continued journey together!