My weekly summaries dried up in December due to extreme busyness! But I will try to run through the weeks to recall all that was happening.
November 25-December 1
This week was a busy week preparing for my trip to the USA. I was, however, able to meet with the students at the university for another Bible study. It was also a special week because of Thanksgiving. The Tony Hart family came down from the Madrid area to spend the weekend with us. We had our Thanksgiving meal on Saturday, though, to accomodate our schedules. We were pleased that Camilla Becker who lives down near Elche could be with us that day. On Sunday Tony preached for us in the morning service on the topic of gratitude. That afternoon I rode up to Madrid with them and was in their church in Azuqueca for the evening service.
This was the week I was in the USA. It was a whirlwind of activity, but a wonderful blessing. My major reason for going was to give a series of lectures on Translation Theory and the Bible. The lectures were very well attended, and I enjoyed the time greatly. I was also able to talk to many different classes. It was a special highlight for me to preach for the seminary students on Friday. My cup was full and running over! On Sunday morning I had the privilege of preaching for the hispanic ministry at Hampton Park, and then I was off to the airport to catch my flight back home. Here in Petrer, Israel preached a message to finish off our series of sermons on the miracles of Christ in John.
When I got back from the States, I had another two weeks of classes at the university. Those two weeks were extremely busy. But praise the Lord we were able to get everything done. I continued our Bible study with Emilio and Ester, and even got a chance to meet with Antonio and Gloria over lunch to continue witnessing to them. We were invited as a church to join the Elche church for their adult Christmas meal. María Eugenia came with us that night. Dr. Bob Jones was the speaker and I had the privilege of being his translator that night. On Sunday the 14th, we celebrated the Lord's table in the morning before the service and then I preached about Christ as the gift of God. That evening we went down to Elche to be in their mini-Bible conference. Dr. Bob gave an excellent challenge on a ministry of prayer.
On Sunday the 21st, Israel preached on Mary, the mother of Jesus. We were glad to have some visitors in the service. Bibiana, a Spanish lady we met in Alicante several years ago and visited in London earlier this year, was back in Spain to visit and brought her mother to the service. In the afternoon, we had our monthly church meal which was also a Christmas meal. After the meal we had a Christmas program. We read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke and interspersed different Christmas hymns and special numbers. It was a nice time of fellowship as a congregation.
This was the first week of vacation. It was a wonderful breather for the family. We were able to have fun together and visit with friends and family that we have not had too much time to do things with in the past months. We decided not to travel anywhere, so we took advantage of the time together. On Sunday I preached from Zechariah 4 about the Spirit's roll in setting goals and making plans. Bibiana and her husband Rene were with us again this week, and once again they brought a visitor with them. In the evening we visited the church in Alicante and heard Israel preach.
December 30-January 5
We had a special service on December 31 this year. I invited the Dodgens to come and Mike to bring a challenge. We had a good group at our house to remember the blessing from the past year and set goals for the coming year. It was another good time of spiritual challenge and fellowship. On Sunday morning I preached about the wisemen, in preparation for Kings' Day (Jan. 6). We were very excited to see Antonio and Gloria back with us after several weeks' absence due to her cancer treatments. I was very pleased that María Eugenia agreed to prepare a study for the children on Sunday night. I led a Bible study for the adults while she taught her lesson to the children. A believer from the church in Valencia came all the way to Petrer to be in our service and encourage us. We were very thankful for this blessing. Also a family from the church in Alicante was with us as well for the evening service.