As American as Apple Pie…in Spain (Holiday Edition)

I truly hope you are enjoying this holiday season alongside your loved ones! I recently celebrated my first holiday in Spain, and although it was tough being away from my family, the Lord definitely did a new thing in my heart and in my baking skills! 

As one of the few Americans at church here, I was asked to bake an apple pie for the church’s Thanksgiving dinner. We were low on pies for the dinner, so after being encouraged, I nervously accepted the baking challenge. For many, baking a pie may not be a big deal but when the extent of your baking skills is following instructions on boxed cake mixes, it can be a pretty daunting task! I had friends and family pray for this pie, and by God’s grace it turned out pretty good!! 

 As the Lord would have it, I learned a beautiful lesson from baking the apple pie!

I learned that I need to be bold enough to change my perspective about those things that may seem daunting and intimidating to me. Like Elisha, I need to pray for the Lord to “open my eyes” and to “let me see” what they really look like through His perspective. 

“When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. ‘Oh, sir, what will we do now?’, the young man cried to Elisha. ‘Don’t be afraid!’, Elisha told him. ‘For there are more on our side than on theirs!’ Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.”(2 Kings 6:15-17)

School Update:

As the school project team and I are moving forward to getting the Christian school started, there is so much research and so many questions, requirements, and decisions still left to make.  Fear and doubt can easily take over and fog our perspective on what God has called us to do.  This vision is definitely not for the faint-hearted so we have committed to press on and continually ask the Lord to “let us see”. 

I had the blessing to travel with Loretta, Pastor Raf’s wife, to Fuengirola (near Malaga in mainland Spain). We went to visit an established Christian school to glean from their experience. We had many divine intervention moments as we were connected to other people involved in Christian education in Spain. We had an appointment to interview the school’s director and she supplied us with valuable information and great tips as well. This trip was very encouraging and inspiring!

In these last few months, we have been scouting out various potential school locations and have spoken to many building landlords and landowners. We have also met with the city mayor and other town councilmembers to ask for permitted locations for schools. There is another location within the same area of the church, not pictured here, that we are really looking into and praying over. We are trusting in the Lord for His wisdom and discernment for such a big decision! Please help us pray for this! 

“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.” – Oswald Chambers

Feliz Navidad Desde España

I have learned that part of the process of adapting to life in a new country is making my new house feel like home.  So here are a few pics of some Christmas hints throughout my tiny flat…

Thank you for all your prayers!! The Lord has been faithful and He hears your prayers!! You are a part of this exciting faith endeavor of bringing the gospel to children and their families in Mallorca! I am available to answer any questions or if you would like more information on how to get involved in this work in Spain I would be more than happy to let you know what you can do. Thank you!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

God bless you!

Zully

Prayer Requests:

  • The School Project: Please pray for God’s guidance for all the decisions and regulations that we have to follow to start a Christian school in Spain. Also, pray for my role in the school, I have a greater administrative role in getting everything organized but also in assisting with managing the team.  
  • Transportation: I need the Lord’s direction about the right time to buy a car. 
  • Family: Please pray that the Lord would continue caring for everyone in my family. Also for the upcoming holidays away from each other (Christmas and New Year), everyone is telling me to be prepared because it can be difficult. 
  • Spiritual Life: To stay consistent in my personal time with the Lord and to be open to the direction of the Holy Spirit. That I would be strong under spiritual warfare and to be aware of the different forms that it may come in.
  • Finances: For the Lord to continue to provide as He has done so far. 
  • Discipleship:  For the Lord to continue providing opportunities to share with the girls at the church here in Spain and for my time with the girls that I have remained in touch with in the US and Mexico. 

ONE MONTH IN SPAIN AND COUNTING

I have been in Spain for one month! Wow!! Time goes by so fast! I arrived in Spain on September 30 and it has been a HUGE BLESSING!! I would like to give you a quick update on my first month in Mallorca, Spain! 

PRAYER:

“Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” — A.B. Simpson 

A few days before I left California, my home church sent me off with prayer! What a special time that was! I would like to express a huge THANK YOU to all those that prayed for me before I left! My home church (CC Downey), Saving Grace World Missions, Calvary Cerritos, my Care Team, friends, family… truly your support through prayer means so much and I am very grateful!! 

ONE WAY TICKET TO SPAIN:

“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” — C.T. Studd

The day finally came to go to the airport and say goodbye to my family. I am definitely blessed by each member of my family! Their constant love and support is amazing! I love them very much!! So our time to say goodbye at the airport was filled with many hugs and tears. It was definitely not an easy goodbye but your prayers for strength carried all of us through!  

In the midst of the emotions, there was a miracle at the ticket counter!  I had an issue with my checked bags and I was being charged almost $300 to let them go through. When the ticket attendant tried to set my suitcases aside, he noticed that they had already been placed on the conveyer belt! So, he then admitted he couldn’t charge me the fee anymore. I didn’t have to pay anything extra! God is good!! The impact of your prayers on full display!! 

WELCOME TO SPAIN:

“To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.” — William Carey

I finally landed in Spain after about 15 hours of travel! The pastor here in Mallorca, Raf Manzanares and his wife Loretta, had a special warm welcome prepared for me in my apartment! What a blessing!!

One of my dearest and closest friends, Lisa Lampon, traveled with me to help me get settled in! She knew exactly how to help me! My apartment looks very nice and is in order thanks to her! Her support and prayers were a blessing. This was missionary care in a very practical and loving way, and as a single girl moving to a new country this kind of support was very much needed and appreciated. It was a blessing having Lisa in Mallorca! Love you sis!

LET’S GET WORKING:

“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” — William Carey

The school project has been in preparation mode since before I arrived.  Therefore, upon arriving it was straight to work on this exciting venture of faith! I was asked to take on more responsibilities within the administration aspect of the project so my days are filled with a lot of meetings, emails, researching, and coordinating. I know the Lord brought me here to Mallorca with that purpose.  The journey that began many years ago, is now tangibly before me and I couldn’t be any more excited and honored to serve the Lord in this way!  

There has been a lot to do as we are preparing to meet certain milestones we have set in place. These milestones will help us ensure that we can start our school next year. It is exciting, but definitely a venture that keeps us on our knees! 

The Lord has provided an incredible team from all types of professions and backgrounds that have been a blessing and their involvement has blown us away!  We have acknowledged that it is not for the faint hearted, so we have been united in prayer with the team as we fellowship together, stay in contact, and have meetings (both in person and online) several times a week. We know that the Lord will continue to lead us in His wisdom and strength to get this school started!

GOD’S LOVE:

“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:7

I have been blown away by the love and welcoming I have received by the body of believers here! Truly, I am learning a lot about a new level of love and hospitality that I have never experienced before. From catching rides to all sorts of places with new friends to enjoying meals at the pastor’s house and others from the church. I have gone shopping for groceries with new friends that are teaching me the ropes – where to shop and what to buy. It has all been a huge blessing!

As I am directly the recipient of that love and hospitality, the Lord is teaching me to freely receive His blessings. I often feel like I have to earn God’s blessings or prove that I deserve them. But what a lie that is!! A lie that can keep me from experiencing God’s pure love given to me FREELY because He is the source of love, and He is my Father that genuinely wants to love on me and you…without having to work or earn His love! Let’s receive those big and small blessings simply and beautifully because He loves us. 

PRAYER REQUESTS:

“The man or woman at home who prays often has as much to do with the effectiveness of the missionary on the field, and consequently with the results of his or her labors, as the missionary.” — R. A. Torrey

  1. My continual adjustment period of living in Mallorca. 
  2. My family back home – for their adjustment period too!
  3. For the Lord’s direction and wisdom for everything concerning the school project. 
  4. To complete the final steps in getting the official Foreigner’s ID card to legally live here. This process has been a lot longer than anticipated!
  5. For continual strength and dependence on the Lord. 

This update is a true reflection of the impact of your prayers! Thank you for participating in this ministry with me through your support – prayerfully, financially, through encouragement, and sharing this info with others. 

If you are new here, welcome! If you would like to know how to be a part of this ministry, please contact me via email: ruano@sgwm.com or Facebook Messenger (Zully Ruano).

It’s a blessing to serve together with you in this endeavor to bring the truth of the gospel to the lives of children and their families in Mallorca! 

God bless you, 

Zully

Trying to Fit God in a Box, God’s Sovereignty, and the Miracle!

God is Sovereign.

What a heavy-duty statement! 

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: “‘It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided.’” -Isaiah 14:24

God’s Sovereignty points to the fact that He knows the length of our trials, the reason for our waiting, and the outcome to our circumstances. 

God’s Sovereignty also points to the fact that He knows what He’s doing! My human logic and limited view of the future does not compare at all to God’s All-Knowing character…but I often try to squeeze Him into my way of thinking. 

I try to fit Him into my many boxes too like the “It Makes Sense This Way” box or the “It Would be Faster If…” box.  And the recent one He didn’t fit into was “The Visa Process Should Work Out the Way I Planned It” box! 

As many of you know, I have been compiling my required documents for the visa interview with the Spanish Consulate. I had finally received the important documents from Spain that are allowing me to request a religious visa. All I need is my interview appointment with the Consulate that should occur before some of my paperwork expires in August. Well, the next available appointment is not until September! When I found out, I nervously prayed, “Lord, my paperwork expires in August so when I refresh the appointment website page, can you please open an appointment in July or August? I really don’t want to wait until September.” For the next three weeks after that prayer, I have refreshed that page at random times during the day hoping and praying that God would open a date.  

Is the Lord able to work a miracle and open an interview date before August? Of course He can! 

Can the Lord make a way when there seems to be no way? Yes, nothing is impossible for Him! 

I know for certain He is a God of miracles but I also know for certain that He cares for the condition of my heart. 

His Sovereignty reminds me to surrender. 

My logistical plans are not the ones that need to be aligned to God’s will, it’s my heart that needs to be aligned to His will.  I am quick to strive for the answers to the when, how, and the ever so popular, “Lord is this your will?” But it’s truly a matter of the heart. So I whole-heartedly surrendered and accepted the visa appointment in September.

Let me STOP right here…. I wrote the above BEFORE THE MIRACLE!

A few days after I wrote everything you just read, I received an email from the Spanish Consulate on July 3rd letting me know that I was granted an emergency visa appointment with them for Monday, July 8th!!!

I had 4 days (3 days really because of 4thof July) to get everything I needed for the appointment.  Since my heart was at peace with the September date, I left some things undone.  But God, in the way only He is able to work, allowed me to get everything done in 3 days and I was able to present all my paperwork to the Consulate on July 8th! 

Now it’s a matter of waiting for an email that states whether or not I received the visa.  Payers please!!

God’s sovereignty amazes me! Not only did the Lord open up a visa appointment for me, but He is also allowing me to go to Spain for one week in August! I received an unexpected phone call from Pastor Raf in Spain, letting me know of an important planning meeting we will have for the school we are praying to begin.  Everyone involved in the school, including myself, will be there. More on this one week trip to Spain in the next newsletter!!

I can’t thank you enough for being on this journey with me!! If I have ever needed prayer and support it is definitely now!! This journey has been quite interesting to say the least, but it has been a huge blessing!! It’s never too late to partner with me in Spain. Contact me and I can share ways that you can be part of this team! 

God bless,

Zully

Prayer Requests:

  • For God’s will over the visa approval. 
  • Strength in the midst of the spiritual warfare.
  • For the Lord to continue to provide in all areas.
  • For the August meeting in Spain.

Wait Lord, I Have One More Question…

In this time of preparation, I have stepped into a journey of faith that has been more than I expected….where the spiritual blessings have truly outweighed the spiritual warfare and trials!

One of the blessings I have been experiencing is God’s tender care for me as His daughter. A few months ago, someone prayed over me and shared these sweet words:

“Before anything Zully, God sees you as His daughter. He wants to take care of you, protect you, and love you like the Father that He is to you.”

And He has! Even in the way He answered the questions I made at the beginning of this journey. My Heavenly Father answered them in a very tender and beautiful way:

  • Why love people I don’t know? Why leave my family, friends, job, ministry…for people I don’t even know yet?
    • ~God’s Answer: Zully, I want you to learn to love the way I love. (John 15:12-13)
  • Starting a school is a huge task Lord, will I be able to do this?
    • ~God’s Answer: If you have faith as the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. But Zully, don’t forget that I am the Mover of Mountains, I am the Author and Finisher of your Faith. You’re not doing this alone. (Matt 17:20 / Hebrews 12:2)
  • Are you sure you want me to do this? Some things don’t make sense to me?
    • ~God’s Answer:  Noah was told to build something he didn’t even know existed; he had to follow instructions, measurement by measurement. Gideon was told to fight a very large army with 300 men, and their weapons were trumpets, empty jars, and torches. Joshua, a military leader, was told to simply walk around the city wall and shout at it in order to overtake Jericho. Zully, do you see a pattern? I’ve called you and prepared you, all you have to do is obey and leave the rest to me! (Oh, and get used to doing things that don’t make sense!)

However, in the midst of my questions, the Lord as my Father, reminded me that while I’m concerned with the what, the when, and the how, He is concerned with my heart. While I’m concerned with my timeline, He is concerned with my lifeline.  

So, He reminded me that some proper questions to ask should be:

How is my devotional time with Him?

Am I being sensitive to the Holy Spirit? 

Do I truly believe in the power of prayer?

How do I stand strong during times of spiritual warfare? 

He is a great Dad! I’m blessed to be loved, called, and cared for by a loving Father who makes sure my heart is well assured equipped, and encouraged.

But wait…one more question…the question I get asked often…When am I leaving? I am currently in the preparation process where some major things are not exactly under my control (raising funds and the long visa process). So in the midst of that, I know for certain who my Father is and that His timing is perfect! He is my good Father!

Thank you all for your prayers!

God bless,

Zully

Some photos from my dessert gathering:

Prayer Requests:

  • To wait faithfully for those things that are not in my control.  
  • To desperately seek God’s direction during this time of preparation. 
  • Wisdom for the visa process.
  • Strength in the midst of the spiritual warfare.
  • For the Lord to continue to provide in all areas.