I am convinced that the grace of the Lord is working in a special way in Spain. I have been living in Barcelona for eighteen years, and I remember how difficult it was to find a Christian church that would faithfully teach the Word. We knew that the state of Christianity in Spain was devastating, but the reality was even greater than we imagined. Today, I can see with my own eyes how the Lord is awakening hearts to the true gospel in the midst of an increasingly contrary and rebellious society. When I see that every Sunday new people come to join us to worship the Lord, I am very happy. When I talk to them, they confess that they feel a lot of joy in finding a biblical church. It really encourages me to continue trusting in the mercy of God, and to say, “Your compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
The Local Church in Barcelona
We are facing a very important challenge. We desire to form leaders, preachers and teachers who are of faithful character and qualified for the ministry of the Word. Thanks to the Lord we have found about fifteen brothers with a great motivation to grow in the virtues of teaching the gospel. They are participating in the “Preaching Workshops” that we began this semester. Some of them are already teaching and others hope to have the opportunity soon. Two brothers will be part of the church’s “preaching team” in a short time. Others need to be a little more patient. We trust that the Lord will give us the wisdom to commit the great truths of the Scriptures to “faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2).
A few families have decided to leave the church. I feel sad for them, especially for a couple who arrived about five years ago after leaving a church with bad doctrine. I remember the words that the husband spoke to me when he was saved at our church, “Now I am a true believer. I have been attending other churches for thirty years, but did not know Christ.” However, this month he and his family decided to leave our church because he does not think that our worship is dynamic enough.
Never before in the thirteen years our church has a member died. But this month, our brother Jesús (the father of Elizabet, the wife of pastor David Barceló) went home to be with the Lord. We felt sad, but we know that he met our Savior. We are also very consoled by the security that we have in Christ. Many of his relatives and friends, who are not believers, came to the funeral and we had the special opportunity to present the gospel to them. David Barceló preached from Psalm 23. We trust that there will be fruit according to God’s will. In the midst of the sadness of the moment, there was also very good news from one of Jesús’ grandchildren. He came up to me and told me that he wanted to be baptized because he has understood the gospel and knows that the Lord has saved him. I have known him since he was a child, and now at seventeen he has been born again. Glory to the Lord.
Now that HeartCry missionary Igor Ramos and his wife Eliane are with us, I have been able to plan more frequent visits to our several mission points. This has brought joy to the brothers who previously had to wait three or four months to receive a visit. Now we can do it every month. Because of this, the brothers in cities of Algeciras, Valencia, and the other mission points, have gained new courage.
In the visit I made this month to the mission point in Valencia we were able to meet a group of brothers who came to hear the gospel from Castellón (about 100 km away). This encouraged us to find a place for meetings because until then the group met in a house. We thank the Lord who in His providence allowed us to find a place that they can rent for Sunday morning. It has a capacity for forty people. The rent is cheap because they charge only for the three or four hours that the meeting lasts. We continue to believe in the importance of this mission point in the third largest city in Spain because there is no healthy church. However, not all is good news. One of the young people who faithfully attended has now stopped coming. I was able to talk to him and encourage him to return, but to date he has not returned. I ask for your prayers for him. His name is Damián.
This month, the Lord once again taught me the great transforming power of His precious gospel—simple and with no frills! During my last visit to Lanzarote I had a conversation with a woman from Equatorial Guinea. We did not have much time to talk, so I simply told her, “You are lost and need to go to Christ. You need to look for Him with all your heart because you have no hope apart from Him.” When I saw the woman respond with tears in her eyes, I understood that it does not take many words or very elaborate speeches. Once again, the Lord taught me that salvation belongs to Him and only to Him. Her name is Digna and she continues to attend the meetings in Lanzarote. I ask for your prayers for her.
The experience that we are acquiring in our work in missions leads us to see that it is much more difficult to try to revitalize a church than to start a new church. Churches that have a difficult past, with a history of inward struggles, battles, and divisions carry baggage that is very difficult to remove. That is what is happening with the church in Terrassa. We have been working intensely for two years with the desire to see it revive, but we do not see many results. We are praying and analyzing the situation of this small church and we have decided to send one of the teachers from our church to be its minister. His name is Samuel and we hope that the Lord will allow us to see some “green shoots” of new life spring up. I ask for your prayers for our brother and the church in Terrassa.
This month I had an MRI to see the changes of a small tumor that I have in my brain. The tumor does not grow, but it affects the left auditory nerve so that I have lost a lot of my ability to hear. The doctor advises me to use a hearing aid. I am grateful to the Lord because I do not need surgery. Also my older brother is very sick. He has a problem with a gene that affects healthy blood production and this has led to acute leukemia. He is under medical treatment but there is no cure for that disease. What really worries me is that he is not a Christian. I pray to the Lord for his salvation. Brothers, I ask for your prayers for us. Thank you for your spiritual and financial support. I pray that the Lord will bless you.