Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November 20-26

On Monday I went and spent some special time with Lorenzo and Ana Maria. They are encouraged to trust in the Lord. I am excited to see their faith, but it is certainly not easy for them. They are fighting with the feeling that God brought them this far just to drop them unexpectedly. The truth is, I have seen enough in my own life in the past few years to be able to assure them that God has not dropped them. They will come out of this strengthened in their faith if they will just trust.

On Wednesday we celebrated Thanksgiving. I have a heavy teaching load on Thursdays, so it was better for us to celebrate early. We had 13 guests at the house, so that made for a very exciting day, especially since 11 of the 18 gathered were children! We had a wonderful meal and then a good time of singing and sharing our gratefulness.

On Saturday we had a special meal: Luciana, who worked with Lorenzo and Ana Maria up in Gandia several years ago, came down for a visit. Also, Ruben Pineda, the Mexican professor who is here working on his doctorate, will be going back to Mexico next week, so he came and ate with us. We spent the evening with Juan and Cristina from Alicante. It was a very full day, but a wonderful blessing to be with other believers.

We had a good service on Sunday. A family came up from Alicante to encourage us. Maria Eugenia and Sergio were not here for the weekend because it was her daughter's birthday, so they spent the weekend in Torrevieja, about 45 min. away. I preached the second to the last sermon in my "I am" series. I preached about Christ as the vine and the importance of our bearing fruit. In the evening I preached the last service of the 20th anniversary service in Alicante.

November 13-19

The big event of the week was a special prayer meeting in the Madrid area for men. It began on Friday evening, but I had to teach a class. So as soon as I finished (around 8:00), Maribel and I jumped in the car and headed out for Madrid. We ended up giving Ana Maria's brother a ride, since he lives in Madrid and was going to take the bus. On the trip I had a good opportunity to witness to him very clearly. I trust that the Lord will touch his heart and bring him to a point of repentance. The meetings in Madrid were a blessing. I preached on Saturday, but being able to spend time in prayer and fellowship with other men in the ministry was a special blessing. I preached a message about Jehu, the only king of Israel that really seemed to want to follow the Lord. I looked at his mission, his motivation and his methods. He did not follow the Lord whole-heartedly in those three areas. But those are the same areas that we need to examine in our own lives.

On Sunday morning we stayed in Alcalá and I preached there in the church. Back in Petrer, Lorenzo and Ana Maria met with Maria Eugenia and Sergio. I had recorded a sermon for them, so they spent some time in prayer and praise and then listened to the sermon. They all said that the service had gone very well. On Sunday afternoon, Maribel and I traveled back to Petrer, and in the evening we met together for a special time. It turns out that Lorenzo's boss decided that he did not have work for Lorenzo after only two weeks of being here. This was a huge blow to them, as you can imagine. But they are determined to trust in the Lord.

November 6-12

On Saturday we ate lunch with a family in Alicante. Then in the evening we participated in the special anniversary service in Alicante. Lorenzo and I played another duet. On Sunday I preached about Christ as the good Shepherd. I compared it to Psalm 23 from the week before: here the shepherd not only protects and guides, but also he knows the sheep and is known by them. This relational aspect (intimate) is what makes this figure so special. We can enjoy a personal relationship with Christ.

October 30-November 5

We had a few holidays this week, so it was not a "normal" week. Lorenzo and Ana Maria finished their move on Wednesday. I picked them up in Alicante with the rest of their things left over from the move on Saturday and brought them up to Elda. It is exciting for us to see them living here. The Lord is good! On Wednesday night we had a few other friends over with kids the same age as ours. It was like a huge slumber party for kids and adults. The kids had a ball, and we grown ups enjoyed the time as well. We watched two Christian movies with them and were able to go out for a picnic up on the mountain.

There are special meetings in Alicante this month for the 20th anniversary of the church. On Saturday night they had a concert of sacred music. Lorenzo and I played a duet (baritone-trombone). It was a blessing to see the young people from Elche and Alicante participate in the music. Yesterday here in Petrer we celebrated the Lord's table. We had one slight interruption. On her way to church, Maria Eugenia met a girl who asked her about her Bible. So she brought her to church! She seems to be on rather heavy medication, and she kept asking if she could talk to me throughout communion. Finally, when it was time to partake of the elements, I took her aside and talked with her. Please pray that the Lord will do a work in Maricarmen's life. We had a special speaker for our worship service. Ruben Pineda is the Mexican gentleman that I have mentioned a few times in the past. He came here to work on a doctorate in Biology two years ago. He and his family were very faithful in the church during their year here. He is now back to present the first stage of his research. So we asked him to come up and spend the day with us and preach. He spoke about Peter's walking on water, encouraging us to trust the Lord even when we find ourselves in difficult situations.