Thanks to all of you for upholding us in your prayers and remembering the work of the gospel here in Spain. Spain is a very modern country with a very ancient history that has left its mark on the present. We naturally think of Spain as a Catholic country, because of the enormous influence the Catholic church has had on Spain throughout the centuries. However, we often forget that for many centuries a great part of Spain was under Muslim rule, and that Islamic Spain was only gradually reconquered by Catholic forces from the north of Spain until the final expulsion of Muslims (as well as Jews and other non-Catholics) took place during the reign of the Catholic kings Ferdinand and Isabella in the fifteenth century. Their marriage united the Iberian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon into a single nation—the Kingdom of Spain. They also established the Spanish Inquisition to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their realm. Finally, they financed Christopher Columbus on his ground-breaking 1492 voyage of discovery to the new world.
In modern Spain, the majority of people are still nominally Catholic, but the prevailing culture is quite secular, even atheistic, with multitudes of people interested in one thing only—making money and enjoying material abundance here and now—while they remain ignorant of the true biblical gospel of Christ and lack a living personal relationship with the one true and living God. It is no exaggeration to say that Spain remains a desperately needy mission field, despite the fact that it is no longer considered a “closed” country as it was throughout so much of its history.
As missionaries in Spain, we are thankful to be able to proclaim God´s truth in this land and to see Him working in the lives of a number of people. The number of evangelistic contacts we have made continues to multiply. The following are some recent encouragements:
Cristina and Javier
Cristina is a young woman from the town of Benalmádena, just a ten minute drive away from where we live. She is the daughter of a Spanish father and a Norwegian mother and grew up with virtually no religious instruction of any kind. While she was studying in the town of Cuenca in central Spain, she met a friend of mine, a fellow missionary named Sergio Gil. Sergio witnessed to her, and when she moved back to Benalmádena, he contacted me to tell me about Cristina and to encourage me to follow up the work that he had done in ministering to her the Word of God. For several months now, Cristina has been coming regularly to the meetings in Málaga—both the Sunday services and the mid-week Bible study—and it appears that the Lord is truly working in her heart through His Word. We are greatly encouraged by her receptiveness to the Bible´s teaching, which she herself now refers to as “the Word of God.” From what she has told us, she is reading regularly the Scriptures, praying, and desires to know God and bring her life in conformity to the teaching of the Scriptures. Praise the Lord!
To the Left is a picture taken at a recent Thursday night Bible study meeting– Cristina is the fourth person from the right.There is a double blessing in this, because through Christina, a friend of hers named Javier has also come to hear the gospel preached and there is growing evidence that God is working in his life as well. At one time, Cristina and Javier were in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, but as a result of her desire to follow Christ, Cristina let Javier know that she needed to break off their relationship. This impacted Javier greatly, who subsequently started to listen to sermons on the internet, attend meetings at church, ask questions, etc. Javier is presently studying nursing in Valencia, so he is not often here in Málaga, but he asked me if I knew of a good church in Valencia that he could attend, and I directed him to a small Reformed Baptist congregation that is just getting started in the town. The pastor is a young man named José Guzmán from Bolivia, and he recently sent me the following picture of himself with Javier (José on the right, Javier on the left):
The Lord keeps bringing visitors to the church, and in different ways our sphere of contacts continues to increase. Sergio Gil, the same missionary friend who put me in contact with Cristina, just sent me a letter telling me about another contact he has in the town of Benalmádena, just a stone´s throw from here. A friend of Sergio from elementary school name Raúl has remained in touch with him over the years, and presently, he is going through a period of his life in which he is feeling a great deal of anxiety over spiritual questions. Although he is Catholic and attends mass, he confessed to Sergio that he feels a great deal of unrest in the Catholic church and has not yet found the answers to the questions he is asking. Sergio passed me his named, and I talked with him the other day. Hopefully, we will get together for coffee and conversation next week. Please keep Raúl in your prayers.
As a congregation, we are joyfully preparing to receive a young woman as a member of our congregation—Cristiana, from the country of Nicaragua. Cristiana attended meetings at our church for about a year, then returned to Nicaragua. However, the political situation became so bad there that she had to return to Spain. She is still looking for a job, so please pray that the Lord will soon provide her with the work she needs. She remains encouraged by her participation in our congregation and is eagerly looking to become a member.
Another regular at our church is a young man from Columbia named Renzo. He recently completely his studies as a sociology major at the University of Málaga. He is a very serious-minded and committed Christian, the son of Christian parents. Though he loves our church, he is feeling quite homesick for Columbia and may be moving back to his home country in the near future. He will be making a trip to Columbia, and it is unclear at this point whether this will be simply a visit, or if he will remain there and not return. Please pray for the Lord´s guidance in this most important decision.I look forward to sending more updates and prayer requests throughout the months. Thanks again for remembering us here in Spain!
Love in Christ,
Martin (together with Paola and Melody)