Saturday, September 10, 2011

Like a Fork

Like a fork, our orientation year consists of 4 prongs: to explore and understand Spain culture and geography, including making friends; to visit and engage with other church planters/pastors/missionaries to learn from their experiences; to acquire more language skills and pass the exam in November, plus keep on top of legal paperwork and appointments. The fourth prong is the budding church plant already in process which requires meetings, mentoring and organizing. So we will evaluate the last 2 months in these four areas.
Spain Culture: This also ties in with the church plant. We met new people-friends of friends: Dora, Idesmia, Pilar, Reuben and Lourdes. Peter is training for a 21+ mile bike run with Reuben for this Saturday. Sharon and Lourdes will walk around (most of the time at the mall!) and cheer them on at the end.
With joy we received our fellow workers and friends from Lecheria, Venezuela: Helmut and Herminia Schatte, along with their son, Pablo and her sister’s family- 6 altogether. One early evening in a plaza downtown we found ourselves in the middle of a hostile encounter between thousands of Roman Catholic World Youth Day participants and hundreds of protestors angry at what they perceived to be unwarranted expenditures to host this week long event. We thought it best to be on our way, which was a good call as soon thereafter it broke down into bottle and rock throwing, injuries, and arrests! The Sunday that they were here with us we all met for church at a park.

As part of orientation, and also to get to know Gustavo and his family better, we drove east to the Mediterranean Coast and stayed a couple of nights with them in their vacation spot.

This week we will submit a proposal for a trial run of an English Club for our apartment complex to start in October. Please pray for a favorable response to our request as this will provide an avenue to get to know our neighbors.

Learn from other Ministries. We participated in the All-Europe TEAM missionary conference the first week of August near Budapest, Hungary. The day before the conference started we stayed in the city and walked our feet off seeing the sights in this old capitol.

We visited the Agua Viva church about 25 minutes away from us in Madrid. They are about the closest sister church. We were well received and they seemed willing to help us out in several ways. We need to follow up on this visit. A tentative trip is planned to visit some of the southern ministry areas in October or November.

Language and Legal: Sharon started Spanish classes for 3 days to practice up for the exam and will switch to having a tutor to concentrate on weak areas. Peter sometimes studies the practice manual. We both have to get to work on this. Coming up soon…resubmit papers to renew our visas for another year. In mid-October, hopefully, we will be granted our Spain driver’s licenses. Please pray that these processes will require a minimum of time so that we have more time and opportunities to be a witness in our target area.

Church plant: The last couple of weekends we have provided a quiet restful place for one of the members who works nonstop as a houseboy for a well to do family. He usually only gets one day off and if he stays there his time ends up getting consumed by them so he rents a couch elsewhere. After almost 3 years he has paid off a huge debt caused by a business partner. He has stayed here illegally and plans to apply for legal residency. This raises lots of issues. How to show love for him. What should be our role in his life?

Last week we planned our first overnight campout. We took 3 teenage boys with us, (none of them are believers) to the mountains that are just an hour north of us. Everything went pretty smoothly, even though it was our first experience here and we didn’t know the lay of the land or how our equipment would handle. The only thing missing was the campfire. In the Madrid area no open flames or grills are permitted anywhere. We are eager to do it again, this time for 2 nights.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.