Valencia July-August 2018
Summer has arrived with a clear sign that we face a hot season reaching already the 33ºC mark on the first week of July. Although we are somehow accustomed to these temperatures still it is a shock. Last couple of weeks Valencia was on the European political map as the authorities opened its ports to receive a contingency of 649 refugees immigrants who were fleeing North Africa risking their lives in the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. During the summer time the asylum seekers risk everything to reach European territory; thousands are drowning and yet they keep coming. The new Spanish government had a change of policies towards immigration which human rights observers welcomed wholeheartedly. This is a very sensitive issue, and although we are not as yet involved as a Church, a request has been made for cooperation with the authorities in the Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros, (Internment Centre for Foreigners); it will involve ministers of the Gospel offering support and counselling. Pray for the right people to be involved, and that our contribution may have a spiritual impact.
Representing our church, one of our pastors, Javier Piquer leads the Council of Churches of the Valencian Community; this is an important responsibility, which now together with the executive of the Council is having clear openings to change government policies regarding education and the teaching of religion in schools in view of the numbers of Evangelical Churches in Spain/Valencia. There are several people trained as teachers of the Evangelical Religion, and we are now waiting upon parents to make a request to have their children taught Educación de Religión Evangélica (ERE). We are running several radio broadcasts inviting parents in the city to request this opportunity. Pray for families not to miss this opportunity.
Two weeks ago we concluded the course Bible & Coffee, finishing an Introduction to the Bible.
This was a precious occasion for deepening an understanding of Scriptures. We give thanks for all people involved, especially in the preparation and delivery. Pray for the planning of the next set of Bible Studies which will involve doctrines and practical teachings; this most likely will take place in September. Andrés, Javier and myself are doing this teaching.
The Editorial Peregrino Conference was affected by a sudden bout of illness of our main speaker Mez McConnell. We had to cancel the event and rescheduled the conference for Saturday 2nd June. The Lord had the overall control and we were able to notify churches and eventually met with a good number attending the event. As I mentioned before, we published Mez’s book “The Church in Hard Places” and it was an occasion for ministering to people who are doing pioneering work at street level. We give thanks for Mez’s life and how the Lord spoke to many of us at the Conference. We pray for him and his family and the work he is doing in Scotland. The Editorial Peregrino Board was able to meet as planned, and we are looking forward to publishing a good number of books during 2018. We are just about to publish Helen’s first fictional book with a wonderful story. Remember Matt Hill and pray for his well being both physically and spiritually.
The first phase of food distribution for 2018-2019 came around quicker than expected, hence on June 29th we were able to give away 11.6 tons of food to close on 160 families.
The day was full of surprises, good conversations and extra help from the young people from the Church. I have always wanted to involve the young people, and this time they came in force and the difference was remarkable. The logistics and preparation take an awful long time, and I am very conscious that we are sowing good deeds and good words. Lately we had at least 5 families who are attending our services on the Lord’s Day. Each family with a story and prayer request. Ask the Lord for healing in relationships and restoration in marriages which have broken down. It shouldn’t surprise us that 4 out of the 5 families have broken marriages, involving children and the usual heartache. Pray for wisdom and for the Lord to speak into their hearts. On this particular need, pray again for Bonnie (Social worker) and myself as we interview these families. Continue to pray for the overall work of our NGO Asociación Ekklesia Solidaria. Together with the ending of the academic year, we closed for the summer the help we extended to the young children (primary school age) from these families with their school work; revising and teaching in some cases. They have appreciated the effort very much, so we continue to serve.
I mentioned last time that I was mentoring a young man from our congregation Eduardo, who began a long distance Biblical Studies with EET (Escuela Evangélica de Teología). He has just finished his 3 months probationary trial and he is now requesting prayer for the future. Remember him and his wife.
Very happy to report that both Joel and Elis have finished their studies and are already enrolled for their final year 2018-19. It was success all round: Helen’s exam last Sunday went well but the system is incredibly complicated. Pray for the Lord’s guidance for the future. As a family, we continue to be very grateful for your faithful prayers and support.
Thanks for being there.