Seven Years in Pineda De Mar, Spain
SEVEN YEARS IN PINEDA DE MAR, SPAIN
by Diego Guirao
It has been seven years (though it seems like only yesterday) since my family and I arrived in Pineda de Mar, with the hope of serving the Lord in this work, together with Bernard Coster’s family and some brethren. We continue the work with that same hope, convinced that God, in His providence, has led us to this place and has His own purposes (Acts 16:6-10). Our encouragement and hope are based, therefore, on our faith and trust in the Lord and His promises (Matt.28:18-20; 1 Cor.3:6-8; 15:57-58).
We are grateful to the Lord for His blessings. He has kept the church and the families that make it up from evil, and He grants us the grace of seeing our children grow and develop. Bernard Coster’s two older sons are completing their higher education in his native country (Holland). Two of our four daughters have finished their studies in Psychology and Nursing respectively, and Loida, the youngest, is training to be a primary school teacher. She helps in the children’s work in the church. The oldest is happily married to a Christian, but they will not be able to contribute to the growth of the church here because they live in Southern Spain.
Something that makes us deeply sad is the serious illness (cancer) of our seventy-one-year-old brother Jose’ Castillo, pillar and faithful helper in the work of the Lord in Pineda de Mar, although I am very glad and give thanks to God for his steadfastness, faith and good testimony in these difficult times of trial. We are asking God to heal him and we hope He will do so.
We continue to hold the Bible study and prayer meetings every Friday, a women’s meeting on Thursdays, and a worship service on Sunday mornings. For some time I have been holding meetings on Sunday evenings in the home of a couple of believers in difficult circumstances who find it hard to fit in the church, but it has not been possible to do this on a regular basis.
There have been some new people present at the meetings: the husband (an
unbeliever) of one young sister in the Lord who got married recently, and another young woman and her mother, both of German origin, who are believers but whose husbands are not. Lately, an immigrant couple from Colombia, Cesar and Elsa, have also started attending with great keenness, together with their two sons, aged thirteen and two. However their employment situation is very unstable. We pray to the Lord for all these contacts, trusting that He will continue to establish this church. I thank Him especially for the spirit of love and harmony that exists.
Some time ago I was able to speak personally to the town’s Mayor and gave him a Bible and some Christian literature. I asked for permission to have a bookstall, but we have not received a reply yet. More tracts and literature have been distributed from door to door and we hope that God, in His grace, will bless the seed thus sown.
Encouraging One Another
On Wednesday evenings I help a church belonging to the Brethren Assemblies by undertaking the preaching in their mid-week meeting. In Spain, churches are small and few in number and we need each other. In the Maresme area, of which we are part, there is a group of eight churches from different denominations – two are Reformed, one is an independent Baptist, three belong to the Brethren Assemblies and two are moderate Pentecostal – and we have some joint activities. In January we celebrated together a week of prayer; in February all the pastors got together to pray and to put together a programme of activities, and in April the churches held a joint conference.
For the last twelve months I have had the honour of being President of the Spanish Ministers’ Reformed Association (AMRE), which has a total of nineteen reformed ministers. We meet several times throughout the year in our churches and hold conferences, with the aim of studying God’s Word and encouraging the unity, fellowship and life of the church in the different regions of Spain. I think that this is, and will continue to be, a great blessing for the reformed work in Spain. At the meeting before last we had the addition of two new ministers, and at the last meeting another minister was added to our number
The subjects of the last few conferences have been: ‘Soteriology in the Psalms’, ‘Violence in the Old Testament’, ‘Missions, and for the last one – held in Churriana, Malaga (Southern Spain) in January 2002 – the subject was based on Hebrews 10:25, ‘Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together’. The next conference will take place, God willing, in Cuenca (central Spain).
Bible Correspondence Courses
Another important ministry in which I am involved is that of the Bible correspondence courses, the office for this work being on the church premises. At first it covered fourteen of the seventeen Spanish autonomous regions, but for some time now I have been working with all of them. This is a ministry that co-operates with all the churches in the work of evangelism. It was started in Madrid back in the 1950’s by a brother called Valentin Munoz, whom I replaced in 2000 when he retired, and to whom I would like to express here my gratitude for the work done in our country of Spain.
I thank the Lord because course applications are increasing all the time and the existing students continue their work with keenness and enjoyment. It is a very satisfying job due to its pastoral nature, which develops to some degree in the relationship that is established via the letters.
There is also a reason for joy and gratitude to the Lord for a particular fruit of the courses at this time. In April it will be two years since a young married couple, Francisco and Sonia, started in Miranda de Ebro (Northern Spain). We subsequently visited them. They have now been converted, and very shortly a young reformed pastor, Jorge, with his wife Micaela and their two children will start a mission point in this town of around 40,000 inhabitants, which is a strategic enclave with very little evangelical witness.
For all I have mentioned I give thanks to God also for the privilege of serving Him, and for all the churches, missions and brethren that make this work possible; thanks to all of them too, in my own name and on behalf of many who have asked me to let you know of their gratitude. I still implore you to pray for all these works and projects, that all may result in the greater honour and glory of the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and in the blessing of His work and His people in Spain.
The Vision of Europe, July-September, 2002, European Missionary Fellowship, 6 Codicote Road, Welwyn, AL6 9NB
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