Monday, September 25, 2006
We returned from Austria on Friday. We had a great week with the Sheltons. On Monday we spent the day in Vienna with a girl from the church. Then in the afternoon, the Hudsons came over. On Tuesday afternoon, Kai Soltau came over and we were able to spend some good time together. On Wednesday and Thursday we were able to see some more of the city. I am very thankful for the time that we were in Austria. Besides being able to relax some and see some of this beautiful country, we were able to spend time with others who are in the ministry and learn from them. Back in Spain, we hit the ground running with an evangelistic film for children on Saturday morning. We were very pleased that our neighbor came with her two daughters. She was very moved by the film and once again thanked us for inviting her (she made several good comments when we showed Treasures in the Snow). Yesterday we had a good day at church. I preached on God's grace as opposed to human merits from Romans 11.5-6. If we understand correctly what God's grace is, we will realize that we are in no place to bargain with God. He deserves our all!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
This week we have been in Austria. The scenery was beautiful in Salzburg, and we were able to spend a little time visiting the city. I was able to spend time with a missionary church planter here and ask a lot of questions. It was a blessing to be able to learn from this ministry and get ideas that we may be able to put into practice as we begin a new work in Petrer. On Sunday we were in Vienna with Stan and Grace Shelton. They have just begun a new work here, so it was very nice to meet with a little group of believers in a living room and see how the Lord is building His church here. We are looking forward to more times of fellowship over the next few days with the Sheltons and other Christians in the area.
Monday, September 11, 2006
I want to try something new here. I used to write an update every month here and then send it out by email as well. Lately it has been more and more difficult for me to get around to writing, and so I have dropped to every two months. My new idea is to write a short update every week for the BLog and then edit them together once a month with the most important information. In this way, if someone wants more information from us, it is available from the BLog. And when it comes around to the monthly letter, I'll just have to put the information together from the weekly summaries.
This week I don't have too much to write because I published the monthly letter just three days ago. I'll simply comment on the weekend. I did the youth meeting in Elche on Saturday. We had a Clemson student come from Alicante who will be studying here this year. We showed _The_World_at_War_ from the _Left_Behind_ series. There were good comments from the young people. Sunday morning I preached from Romans 15.1 about how we all have an obligation to bear the infirmities of the weak. The verse implies a beautiful contrast. Our obligation is to be involved in the problems of others (to help); but we have no obligation to please ourselves. This "others" mindedness should characterize our church and pervade all of the conversations and activities. I really feel like the people received the message.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Bell Nouvelles in short:
- blessings from BJU students
- good summer activities (camps)
- first contacts in Petrer!
- Lord's working in the Romanian couple
- new Bible Institute class
- evangelization in Petrer
- a place for us to live in Petrer
Dear friends and family,
I have so much to tell! These have truly been exciting months for us in the ministry. The months of Man and June were very busy for us, but they were full of blessings. In May we hosted the BJU mission team. Besides their ministry in the church which was a great blessing, we were also able to take them up to Petrer, our new target town where we will be starting a new ministry soon, Lord willing. The group of 16 students and the Casillas did a fantastic job getting literature out and talking to people on the streets and in a park. This was our first official effort in this town, but the Lord allowed us to even see some initial response. I almost felt like it would have been too much to ask, but I told the Lord that it would certainly be encouraging if we heard something back from the tracts. And when I went to check the mail that week, it was with a sense of awe and wonder that I opened a letter from a person responding to the tract and asking for a Bible and a video.
In June we hosted a group of 12 students from Bob Jones who came to study Spanish for a month. Through contacts at the University here, I was able to set up a program for them to study at the University of Miguel Hernández in Elche for one month. We were able to bring in some Christian graduates from our church here to teach the students, and we were able to place the students in families from the church. Along with the studies in Spanish and culture, we were able to include a daily Bible study for the students in Spanish, as well as encouraging them to use their Spanish to witness and get involved in the youth group at the church. How I praise the Lord for the wonderful opportunity to work with these students this summer. I know that they made a big impact on the families here, and I trust that the Lord planted a seed in their hearts that they will never forget!
In July I was able to take David Jonathan up to Guadalajara for the anual children's camp and participate myself in some of the activities there. Then I began my final preparations for a family camp in August up in Barcelona where I would be giving a series of 13 studies going all the way through the book of Revelation. The Lord, however, had one more activities to keep us busy in July. Back in March, the Lord brought a Romanian couple and their small daughter to our church after the mission in Oliva (a town about an hour north of us) closed down. But as it turned out, they had started living together before they got saved, and they desperately wanted to get married and do what was right before the Lord. They came before the church and told the congregation why they wanted to get married. Their testimony was so special. He told the church that he did not want to be a stumbling block for anyone, especially the young people. He told them that what they had done was wrong and was in no way a pattern for others to follow. We asked them to live apart until the wedding, which we were able to plan for the following week. We had never planned a wedding in such short time, but it was a simple yet beautiful ceremony that the whole church participated in. I truly believe that the Lord was glorified in this family. Praise the Lord for their tender heart and their desire to do what is right. Since then we have seen them grow as a couple and as a family. We are having weekly studies with them right now and it is a blessing to see their hunger for the word.
As soon as that wedding was over, we loaded up the car and headed north for Barcelona. We were able to see our dear friends in that area and worship with them on Sunday, and then we headed up to Girona for the family camp with Dr. Martin Valcarcel. Preaching through the book of Revelation two studies a day for just over a week was a real challenge, but it was also a wonderful blessing to my heart. The believers who were there were very kind and paid excellent attention and asked good questions. When we returned from Barcelona, we finally had some time to be able to spend extra time with the people from our church. It was great to have them over and do special activities with them that we do not normally get to do. We were also able to head up to Petrer and do a little more canvassing and start the process of looking for a place to live. Last weekend I took the young people from our church and the church in Elche up to Petrer again to do some more work with tracts. We were able to cover another section of the city with tracts. After we had finished, Maribel commented on how nice it would be if we just had a contact that was a believer who could help out. On Sunday night the phone rang! It was a man named Pedro from Petrer who is involved in a church which does not do a lot of evangelizing. He is excited to help out in whatever way he can as we seek to pass out tracts and share the gospel with others. We drove up again yesterday so that I could meet with Pedro and find out a little more about him. We had a truly blessed time together as he shared with me his testimony and his burden to share Christ with others. While I was talking to him, Maribel met a lady who is a believer; she is looking for a place to live in Petrer to move there from a city about an hour away. She was so encouraged because as of yet, she had not made contact with any church or believers in the city. We are praising the Lord for the way He seems to be opening doors for us in this new city. Please pray for us as we seek to find a place to live and continue evangelizing. Pray that the Lord would give us more contacts and open doors of ministry.
Just a few more matters for prayer from previous updates. I am still looking at the possibility of teaching a Bible class here at the University. I have turned in a proposal to the head of the Greek department and will be meeting with her soon. Please pray that we can get the approval that we need to go ahead with the course. It may not, however, come through for this year. I am leaving it in the Lord's hands. Also, I would appreciate your prayers for the Bible Institute. Our Greek class last semester went great. Lord willing this month I will be beginning an Introduction to the New Testament. Please pray that the Lord will bless in that class. Finally, our family will be taking a little trip up to Austria next week for 10 days. We found some very good tickets last year and decided it would be a nice break for the family and a good opportunity to see the ministry in another part of Europe. Lord willing, we will be able to spend some time with other missionaries, including some friends from college, Stan and Grace Shelton.
I'm sorry that this message is so long. I will try to get back into the swing of writing messages more frequently so that they do not get so long! Thank you again for your prayers.