Serving God in Spain
The Lord in his providence and mercy continues to feed us, giving meaning and content to our life and existence (Psalm 90:14; 36:7-9; 63:3-5). That is why we keep on with this privilege of serving him and his people with confidence and joy. What a wonderful thing the truth of God is as it prepares and enables us to glorify him. It also transforms and strengthens our own lives, so that we can bring blessing and encouragement to His people and hope to the world. From this foundation, and by the grace of God, I work daily as the providence of God guides, trusting that I am a means of blessing in his hands. Personally I am very grateful to the Lord for his blessing on twenty-five years of pastoral ministry since my ordination; seventeen of which I had to fit in with an absorbing secular work.
In November 2003 an important new change came into my life. I was called to be pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Mataro, their previous pastor having retired. This town is 30 kilometres north of Barcelona, where I was born and where I now live. It has about 125,000 inhabitants. It so happens that I had already been the pastor of this church until 1991. More recently there have been difficulties in this church and only about ten people were meeting together. Now the congregation consists of fifty-five people.
We have started a Sunday school, a prayer meeting and a Bible Study, activities that had been discontinued for several years, and there is now a good spirit in the congregation. Young couples, with their children in the Sunday School (those parents were my teenagers in my former time with them), grandparents, other adults – they all express joy and thanksgiving to the Lord. How good and merciful he is!
Pineda de Mar
Another field of labour in my ministry is the Mission outreach in Pineda de Mar, a town 30 kilometres north of Mataro with 20,000 inhabitants and where we started to work with Bernard Coster in December 1994. After ten years of work there, the Lord has set his seal on the work, adding new people. There have been changes over these years. Now on Sundays, from 30 to 40 people meet with the help of the church in Mataro.
Bible correspondence course
Since the year 20001 have been Co-ordinator of the Ebenezer Bible Correspondence Course for Spain. There are about 220 students following the courses and the epistolary relationship with the students is both edifying and gratifying. A fruit of this work was the conversion of a young couple in Miranda de Ebro, a town of 40,000 inhabitants in the north of Spain, and also the beginning of a pioneer work there by Jorge, a young reformed pastor with his wife Micaela. We need many more workers for the work of God in Spain. May the Lord be pleased to send workers to his harvest (Matt 9:37,38).
Matters of Concern
From a more general perspective I believe there are reasons for concern due to an ever-growing materialism, pragmatism, relativism, and lack of principles and values in the society that surrounds us. This is being reflected in all spheres of society, from the family to the Government. There is also concern in the sphere of faith because of the advance of liberalism, modernism, secularism and neo-pentecostalism. Just today I received an invitation to the IV Tarragona International Congress 2004 (Spain), whose main speaker is called ‘Apostle’, and is the president of CNN,
Caracas, Venezuela. As regards secularism, I read in the press some months ago that they have sold 2000 temples in Europe. May the Lord grant wisdom to his people to understand our times and, from the truth of his Word, may his people shine in the midst of this darkness.
Reasons for hope
However, I also want to give thanks to God because in my immediate context, and in some measure in the rest of Spain, I see a church alive, which encourages us to hope. There is a concern and a sense of responsibility in Christian organizations, associations, and teaching centres. In January 2004, there was a debate organized by three training centres here (CEEB, IBSTE, EBE). The subject was: ‘Is neopentecostalism evangelical?’ There were three speakers; a Pentecostal, a Reformed pastor, and a professor. The unanimous response was: ‘No’.
In another training centre last term they had another course on Apologetics, which I also attended. This term I am attending a nine-session course entitled ‘Christian Ethics on Sexuality’. The subjects covered are these: Marriage and the Family, Sexual Education and Planning, Sexual Problems and Disorders, Sexuality and Singleness, and Pastoral Treatment of Sexuality. All these studies are suited to the needs of the church in today’s society and express the church’s concern and responsibility.
May the Lord help us and keep us in these days! Above all, I thank the Lord for the faith that his true Church has received in a Sovereign and just God who is also almighty to carry out his purposes, knowing that no work in him is in vain (1 Cor 15:58). To him be glory and honour, now and ever more (Romans 11:33-36).
This report is found in the current Vision of Europe published by the European Missionary Fellowship 6 Codicote Rd., Welwyn, AL6 9NB [email@example.com]
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