AYC Trip to Portugal and Spain
My heart is flooded with joy and my eyes with tears as I write this brief account of my AYC trip to Spain and Portugal. Though I don’t believe I could adequately put into words how deeply each individual on our trip was touched, I hope to bring you a brief glimpse into Apostolic Youth Corps.
When I embarked on my first AYC trip this past July, I was unprepared for the many ways it would change me. Truthfully, more than anything, I was fearful and apprehensive about leaving the country and about what would be expected of me. Pretty pathetic? Yes! But also very true. Yet I felt God literally pulling at my heart and I knew, despite my reservations, I must go. That began eleven of the most transforming and empowering days of my life.
Our first devotion was held in a hotel meeting room in the picturesque, yet spiritually dark city of Lisbon, Portugal. The presence of God rained down on that room and I began to realize just how big this trip was going impact the city of Lisbon and us. From that moment, each service, devotion, and altar call allowed us a glimpse into the heart-changing world of missions in Spain and Portugal.
While North America is somewhat flooded with affluence and apathy, Europe is choking in cold tradition and dead Catholicism. The Catholic cathedrals are bereft of life; their walls boasting valuable art; their altars entombed saints; their money proving powerless.
Many of us wept as we toured the stoic cathedrals into which they place so much empty trust and value. Yet in these bleak cities, the message of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed! We were able to call on the powerful, sweet name of Jesus and feel His presence touch the lives of the Portuguese and Spanish people. Their worship in every service was deep and passionate, and they work for Him with tenacity and a smile. These beautiful people are desperately hungry for Jesus!
We were privileged to see breathtaking historical sites in both countries—the birthplace of the Spanish Inquisition, the oldest aqueduct in the world, medieval fortresses such as Palacio de Pena, ancient cities of Segovia and Toledo, and the Royal Palace in Madrid. Each day I made memories and gained dear friends I will have the rest of my life.
I truly appreciate every moment of our trip, but nothing could compare to the things that happened to my heart and mind while in Portugal and Spain. Three months later, I can wholeheartedly say my entire life is different. My expectancy is different, my level of faith is stronger, and my fearful heart is gone. If I could inspire you to do one thing next summer, it would be to participate in an AYC trip. It will ROCK your world forever!
Editor’s Note: If you want to find out more information about the 2012 Apostolic Youth Corps trips, please visit www.apostolicyouthcorps.com