Monday, February 18, 2008

February 4-18

Even though it seems like it was a long time ago, it was just last week that we were in London. On February 4th I attended a conference on translation to read a paper. It was a very interesting conference and my paper about translation theory went well. It was also a big help for us to be able to get away for a few days. After the conference ended, Maribel flew in and we spent three days in London. On Sunday morning we went to church with a couple we had met before. She is a Spaniard who went to London to work and got saved. Her husband is Mexican, and his story is similar. They attend the Metropolitan Tabernacle in downtown London. We spent a few hours with them on Saturday night, and then went to church with them on Sunday. It was a blessing to hear their testimonies and see their spiritual growth. Back in Petrer, Missionary Flay Allen came to cover our service on Sunday morning. Both of the other families were able to be there, as well as our children.

Once back from London, we had to hit the road running. All of the activities were in full swing. On Wednesday Sergio came over to the house and we had our Bible study. Maribel moved the ladies' study to Valentine's day to celebrate it with the other ladies. They are preparing for a ladies' conference in Elche next week. Then on Saturday, Lorenzo and Ana Maria came over and stayed with our kids so that Maribel and I could attend a Valentine's banquet at the church in Alicante. We had a good time with 10 other couples. Some of them are new to the church, so it was nice to get to know them a little better. On Sunday we had our normal services. I continued my series on Galatians, speaking about our liberty in Christ. Paul describes it as no longer living, but having Christ live through him. This is what brings him the liberty from trying to fulfill the law to please God. Now he his free to please God through a life of faith in Christ. In the evening we all met in Lorenzo and Ana Maria's apartment to continue our study on the church. We finished up the different activities that we see local churches involved in throughout the New Testament. The studies are going well, and helping our small congregation understand the Biblical concept of a church.

January 22-28

This last week sped up and flew by us leaving us a tad bit behind on everything. I was able to start up my Bible study with Sergio again this week. It has worked really well to include David in the study. I am still surprised and pleased at Sergio's attitude. At first I suspected that he almost "put up" with the Bible study. But now he seems to be genuinely interested. I asked both boys to write a little text about what they were learning. Sergio surprised me and wrote a whole page! We were able to have a special "fun" time with some very special friends from the Alicante church on Saturday. We took them to the zoo. Lorenzo and Maria were even able to come along. This was a wonderful day with our family and friends.

On Sunday morning I preached my second sermon in my series on Galatians. I preached about Paul's re-presentation of the gospel from Galatians 3-4a. It was special to find out that Maricarmen from Alicante had decided to come up to be with us, and her unsaved husband came along. It was the perfect message for him to hear. I was very pleased to see him reacting to the message and showing he was following the progression of the message. We trust that the Lord will use this to continue to work in his heart.

January 15-21

Last Monday was the start of Bible Institute. I began for Dennis Flower who was still in the States after his father passed away. I taught the class on Monday and Wednesday about Church History. We have a good group of about 10 students who will be studying this trimester. This week we have also been doing some work on the house. I hired a mason to come and build some walls. We started with a wall at the back of the property to replace the old fence. And then we are building two walls down in the basement to take advantage of the space better. One will create a storage area and the other will give us a room where we can have homeschool. Up until now we have used one corner of the basement, but it was impossible to heat. This will also be a space that we can take advantage of for the church.

On Sunday we had our normal group from here. It was the first time Maria Eugenia and Sergio were here on a Sunday since the Christmas break began. We started a new series of messages on the book of Galatians. Besides looking at the background information on the epistle, we looked at the salutation. We noted the three major themes of the book that appear in those verses (a re-presentation of the gospel, a defense of Paul's apostleship, and a treatise on the Christian's liberty) as well as the specific emphasis on the gospel: Christ died for our sins to rescue us from this present age because it was the will of God. After the service we took the kids and went downtown for a parade and to pass out some tracts. Unfortunately we didn't see much of the parade, because it hadn't started yet, but we got to pass out some tracts. In the evening we all met at Maria Eugenia's house and continued our study on the church. We were noting where the early church met, when they met, and how they made decisions. All of this is very important in creating a Biblical idea of the church.

January 8-14

On Friday afternoon I traveled to Madrid by train to teach an all-day class on the book of Jeremiah. I had originally planned to drive up with Maribel, but in the end, our car was still in the body shop being repaired from the hail storm back in September when I taught the classes on Ezekiel up in northern Spain. Saturday was full of blessings. There were almost 50 people in the classes, and the Lord blessed the time greatly. It has been a special blessing for me to work on these studies on this special book. The classes began at 9:00 after a great breakfast and finished at 5:00. The time of fellowship was a blessing as well. I was able to see many friends from the Madrid area throughout the day. By 6:30 I was on the train headed back home, and my family was waiting at the station for me when I arrived.

We had good services on Sunday. We had hoped that Maria Eugenia would be back for Sunday, but she was out of town visiting her children. One family visited from Alicante this week. We enjoyed a good time of communion and then the service. I preached from Jeremiah, focusing especially on God's mandate in his calling. In the evening we got together at Lorenzo and Ana Maria's place to start a study about the church. I trust these studies will help focus our activities as a church.

One final blessing: Over the past few weeks my lap-top has slowly been dying. The backlight for the screen has been flickering on and off for a while now, but it finally died, making the screen impossible to see. I was not looking forward to what it would cost to fix the laptop or buy a new one. But in Madrid I was with missionary Marvin Robertson, who had a laptop almost identical to mine, except that he dropped his last year and the processor was not functioning. He allowed me to bring his computer back with me, and I managed to build one good laptop out of the two broken computers. I have to thank the Lord for His help in all of this. There were A LOT of pieces and bunches of tiny screws, but I managed to get them all into place, and my computer is working again!