“Hi Mario and Gema! Guess what, we are coming to Spain!”
We meet new people every week. Some we will never see again. Some we will see again. Some we don’t know if we will or will not see again.
Almost two years ago, we hosted in our Kunming home a cyclist couple, Mario & Gema, from Spain who cycled for 18 months from Indonesia to Spain through China. We had fun cooking food for each other. They introduced us to Spanish croquette, potato tortilla, and fruity sangria drink. We introduced them to the Chinese hotpot. When they left, they left a handmade thank you card with a sketch of the town of Torla and an invitation to take our family of five to three outdoor activities at the Torla-Odesa National Park in the Pyrenees of Spain, as they are both mountain guides working at the national park.
Two years later, in reverse, we were hosted by Mario and Gema in Spain! If it wasn’t for the pandemic, we would not have traveled to Spain first to wait for Africa to open up. It’s amazing how God worked everything out in His perfect timing.
Camino calls, Camino provides. Life calls, life provides. God calls, God provides.
“Who would like to come to the pulpit to read the scripture for the mass?” a gentle-voice priest gestured.
“I would,” I raised my hand and I read Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
It was the day after our 5-day pilgrim’s walk to Santiago or better known as the Camino de Santiago. After attending several masses in Spanish which we couldn’t understand, we looked forward to attending a mass in English to end our pilgrimage. To our surprise, there were only the three of us, Annie, Joani, and I. Instead of a Spanish priest, in front of us stood Father Manuel, a priest from the Philippines.
“Look at what I have calculated!” Hugh said excitedly as he showed us some numbers on a small piece of paper. “This is the largest harvest we’ve ever had. We harvested 482 large bins of grapes, which is 12,050 Kg or 12 tons or equivalent to 9000 bottles of wine!”
“I can’t even comprehend what that number means,” exclaimed Annie.
“Can I call it the Su Family Vintage 2020?” I proposed to Hugh and Jane, the vineyard owner. “We want to reserve some bottles when it is ready to drink in 4 or 5 years?”
“I want to serve the Su Family Vintage Wine at my wedding!” Laughed Nathan.
“Be joyful in Hope, patient in afflictions, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
“Look! The sky is all blue! I won!” Olivia pointed out immediately as soon as we landed in Lisbon Portugal from the UK, where we had clouds and rain almost every single day.
“Looks like in Portugal Olivia will be winning over Joani every day,” I laughed over Olivia and Joani’s friendly competition to see who can see more blue sky or who can see more clouds because Olivia loves sunlight and Joani loves clouds.
After more than two weeks of cold, wet, and damped weather in the UK, we were all jumping for joy over the hot but dry weather of Portugal. As we feel our bodies warm up by the sunlight and beaches here, little did we know that our family relationship was also being warmed up by our travel in Portugal.
“How did you meet this British elderly couple?” Olivia asked.
“They looked lost. Then we talked. Then I invited them to our apartment in China. And now we are going to their house in the UK.” Annie replied nonchalantly.
We felt like we were living in a fairy tale that went like this: a boy saw a rabbit caught in a trap. The boy freed the rabbit. The next day, the rabbit returned as a princess and gifted a chest of gold.
Traveling in the UK taught us about kindness in return. For us, instead of a princess and a chest of gold, we were surprised with lifelong friends and homes to stay in a foreign land!