Answers to Prayer for Spain
2009 has brought the usual run of outreaches across Spain. At the time of writing, (20th August) we only have reports from the Decision activities.
We praise the Lord for all that has been done though the Decision teams in Baeza (July) and Daimiel (August) and ask your prayer for the follow-up work deing undertaken by the local churches.
Decision was in Baeza, Andalusia (1st to 14th July), moving on to Daimiel, Castilla-La-Mancha in August (1st to 14th). A report on Protestante Digital informs us that 2000 people attended the various activities. The film Luther filled every last seat and 50 young people attended the basket-ball clinic. Over 200 children attende the Bible festival. Its earlier report, half way through the Daimiel Amiga outreach reports on the team of 40 being involved in a wide variety of activities, including a municipal reception, general tidy-up work in two industrial estates, the 'donation' of 37 bags of blood, a basketball tournament, Bible festival for kids and 'summer cinema' in the museum patio. (More information on their web in Spanish.)
This year there have been more outreaches than ever, or just one, depending on your point of view... Attention was very much focussed on Zaragoza, although we had reports from groups working all over the country.
The outreach in Zaragoza, involving the Agua Viva pavilion in the Expo and church-based outreaches across the city, was the main focus for the summer. Groups like Decision, Pocket Testament League,IFES / GBU and so on all gave one campaign to the city. You can read about it at the Zaragoza report page.
Despite the attention given to Agua Viva, evangelism continued to reach out this summer across Spain. PTL were in Azuqueca del Henares during July (building on the Easter outreach). Decision went to Palma del Río in August. Operation Transit again spread along the migration routes sharing with North Africans heading to and from their holidays, OM was in Narón, Galicia, while several other denominational outreaches were held: the Brethren in Murcia, the Baptists in Villarrobledo, etc..
Easter outreach at Azuqueca de Henares
This week-long outreach, involving the local Brethren Assembly and a team of outsiders, including a group from Britain, did a varied programme of activities, including open air children's activities and evangelism, door-to-door gospel distribution and English language classes and evening programmes in a rented cafeteria. The latter involved a talk, three concerts and a film.
This is to be followed up in July by an outreach to families led by the Pocket Testament League.
New Year Prayer initiatives.
Between New Year and Easter a number of prayer initiatives helped the churches to focus on the need for continuing the evangelisation of Spain. The Evangelical Alliance's United Week of Prayer was followed by the 40 Days of Prayer organised by Intercessors for Spain and a three phase 'Spain Prays for Spain' project, which in its last phase gathered thousands in Madrid for a prayer meeting in the shadow of the Real Madrid stadium.
Spanish Protestant Congress
This event has held occasionally since the end of the 19th century and gathers evangelicals and other protestants from across the theological spectrum. It is the most important gathering of its kind in Spain and key leaders were there. In all, over 2000 registered participants took part in the main programme, with many others attending the opening and closing ceremonies and the 'Act for Peace', including a Gospel concert on the Saturday night.
The 7th congress took place from 6th to 9th December, 2007.
Originally run by the Evangelical Alliance, the organisation of the congresses is now in the hands of the FEREDE, the Spanish Evangelical Federation and for this Congress the Catalan Evangelical Council. The justice minister attended the closing ceremony, but the organisers had hoped for a representative of the royal family, if not the king himself, to attend one session.
Overall, participants consider the congress to have achieved its objectives.
Integration Day for Madrid's Churches.
On 29th and 30th September the churches of Madrid and province held 'Open Doors Days for Integration' in Madrid's Plaza de España. The objective was to share the gospel and inform about the humanitarian and social work the churches are doing. Each church or organisation got a stall for its exhibition. In addition, there were programmes with artistic presentations and testimony.
From the photos you can see it was a great success! 1500 rations were handed out by the 'Food Bank', while thousands visited the event and the 35 stands. The rain held off, the churches worked very well together, the press was encouraging and 'dozens of people responded to the appeals.' It is hoped to hold a similar event again in June, 2008.
Summer outreach reports, 2007
Several outreaches had to be cancelled, due to a number of difficult circumstances, but we have the following news:
Decision in Villarrubia de los Ojos
Disappointment was the tone when Decision had to announce the cancellation of its summer outreaches, due to a lack of permissions, in Maliaño and Hoyo. But perhaps the Lord had in mind turning back to a more clearly evangelistic approach.
For some months Decision director José Pablo Sánchez, also director of TVE's evangelical programme, had been working on placing evangelistic ad. spots on local TV stations. They had found a station in Villarrubia willing to take the spots and with the help of students from the Sefovan bible school in Madrid, they had spend days doing surveys, reaching a total of 1000 people. 100 of these accepted a John's Gospel and a few made a profession of faith.
Then on 19th July the leaders went to Vilarrubia with the determination to see if they couldn't rent a hall for a month from mid-August and that very day found an empty store, which was available and the owner gave them the keys there and then. They also visited a family who had requested a Bible study and didn't want them to leave!
During the outreach itself 24 people joined the team, films were shown every day and Bible studies were led. between 6 and 10 attended each Bible Studay, 8 to 12 each film and in all 21 made professions of faith, including 5 Romanians. Now some 10 new believers, together with several other interested people, are regularly meeting with Ruperto and Esther Ortega from the Daimiel church 18 km (11 miles) away. The Valdepeñas church, somewhat further away is also supporting them.
Protestante Digital reports an effective outreach was undertaken between late July and mid-August in this town in Galicia. Mime, puppets, theatre, clowns and sketchboard were used to reach out to the townsfolk and visitors. The team included some 100 members from a variety of churches and places. A week of follow-up of the contacts was included in the campaign.
Algeciras - Pastors' district
Despite the name this is not the Bible belt -yet! In fact, it is a very poor part of Algeciras, overlooking Gibraltar. On 25th August the outreach using theatre and music drew including 85 outsiders. 6 responded to the altar call. 10 went along to the follow-up meeting on Sunday, 26th. Your prayer for these people is requested!
Earlier '07 reports
Easter outreach in Alcalá de Henares.
This outreach (cf the Easter page was led by Ken Barrett of the local Brethren assembly, together with a British group from GLO and a number of Spaniards, both locals and from across the country. Much literature was distributed, the Gospel preached and children reached. And then it rained a lot! For the keys to the full report and photos please ask via the contact form.
Bible reading 'Demonstration' in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid)
This event, held annually in the city, had been pushed around by the city authorities, who did not want to allow the use of the main Plaza Cervantes for the reading. This time, the churches stuck to their convictions and went above the city authority to 'advise' the government they were to hold a demonstration in the square on the said day, 10th March.
The reading went ahead without incident and some 800 copies of Luke's Gospel, which was read, were distributed to listeners.
Carlos Anacondia tent campaign, Córdoba, February 2007
Four churches and an evangelistic ministry worked together to organise the event and a tent was used on the city's fair ground. For a month before publicity covered the city, including two completely covered city buses.
The first night was slightly rainy, but 1000 turned up, the second night were 1500 and the last night the total was 2200. Some 100 first decision contacts and 200 recommitments were made demanding immediate follow-up efforts, which are now being made. Some people were in church the day after the campaign. This included one person contacted through the churches' hospital team, who had been released from the hospital the same week, visited the campaign, made a first time decision and was to be seen in church the next day.
We have few news updates from the 2006 outreaches across Spain. Here are also a few earlier reports, plus links to more.
Here are the reports we have from 2006.
5000 were reached by the puppets of Titriteros para Cristo in Ciudad Real during early August. This ministry in now ten years old.
Decision's outreach photos are also on line. Up to 700 attended some parts of their programmes and large quantities of literature were distributed in and around the two base towns. 15 made a profession of faith.
Operation Transit, a literature distribution outreach to North Africans on the move overland between places of work in northern Europe and their homelands, saw 400,000 pieces of literature and audiovisuals handed out this summer. 185 prayers of decision were recorded.
Camp ministry is effective
This report comes from Operation Mobilisation Spain, as published in OM 'Headlines':
The 12-year-old son of a Spanish pastor was struggling with insecurity when he attended OM Spain's teen camp this summer. Much shorter than his peers, he refused to go swimming because he was ashamed of his body. But one evening, this young boy's life was transformed when he decided to follow Jesus. When leaders began talking about missions, he spoke up boldly, "I know what God wants for me. I want to be a missionary and as soon as I get home I will tell my church."
A few days later, the boy's brand new cell phone was stolen. Worried leaders wondered how he would react. But the youngster spoke up again, "Before I came here, I was desperately asking my parents to buy this phone. By losing the phone, the Lord has taught me that I have to put my trust in Jesus and not in things!"
Pocket Testament League and Alturas outreach in Palamós
Report and photos
OM's Global Focus outreach in Arenas de San Pedro
Full report and photos available
Decision's summer outreach is also online. Here follows a note of encouragement:
Inter-Mission teamwork brings fruit: L'Alfás del Pi. We have had the most encouraging report from this outreach. Decision organised the outreach, Pocket Testament League (LTB) sent the literature and Cursos Bíblicos (Alturas) is doing the follow-up by email. While we were at the Alfas campaign, someone sent an email to Cursos Biblicos in Barcelona: 'My name is JR F., I am 47 and work as a nurse. I work in the Alicante Blood transfusion Centre. Yesterday, the 11th, I went to L'Alfas to collect blood. When we reached the health centre, there were some 30 young people waiting to give blood, to help the ill. We asked what association they belonged to and they told us they were Christians. A lady called Gloria gave me a small booklet entitled Peace, Truth and Love in which I found the invitation to request a free Bible Course. I am very interested. I would love to have Christian faith. I would love not to doubt the existence of God. i am very selfish, because when I have gone though upsets in life, i have tended to ask help from God, only to forget him once things got better. Could you help me with this existential problem? Could you indicate me some direction?' Pray for JR!
Festimadrid reaches 75,000
Keep this in mind as you pray for FestiAndalucia 2007!
Over June 24th and 25th, this major Christian street festival featuring musicians from the Hispanic world and speaker Luís Palau took place in the Plaza in front of Madrid's Las Ventas bull ring.
Many of those attending the event were Latins or Gypsies, two groups with a far higher than average evangelical presence. Popular singer Rocío Jurado was invited onto the stage to be prayed for, as she had a diseased pancreas. Sadly, Señora Jurado died in June, 2006. We have not heard if she had made a profession of faith.
As a result of Palau's preaching, several hundred came forward to be prayed for as they asked Christ to be Lord of their life. Pray that these 'decisions' will bear true fruit to eternal life and that many will be able to settle into evangelical churches in the area where they can learn more of God's Word.
Rocio Jurado with Luís Palau and 'El Puma'
In addition to the main festival, Palau spoke at a several other meetings. And there was also a parallel children's festival. Proceeds from drinks sold during the event went to Tsunami relief charities.
More in our P4S archive!
More on the Decision archive.
General anwers to prayer for Spain over recent years:
1. Spanish democracy is now over 30 years old. During these years the situation of the evangelical churches has significantly improved.
- There has been a growth in numbers both of churches and membership.
- There have also been a number of improvements in the legal situation for evangelicals in Spain, through freedom of religion, assembly and speech recognised in the constitution and subsequent laws, via a law governing the specific relationship between the state and the evangelicals (together with Muslims and Jews) and
- the recognition of the bodies established by the evangelical churches on a national and regional level to represent them to the relevant authorities.
- The opportunities for evangelicals to teach their children 'Evangelical Religious Education' in schools and to work as chaplains in hospitals, prisons and other institutions.
2. The revival among the gypsies (Roma people), a marginalised group in Spain, has been a very positive influence on the development of Spain as a whole. More
3. As prayer has gone up to increase the numbers of evangelicals in Spain, there has been a major wave of immigration including a high proportion of evangelicals and sympathisers from Latin America and Romania, as well as from some African countries. Churches are still learning to cope with the cultural issues arising!
4. On the political front, terrorism remains in the headlines frequently, but the gradual decline of ETA has brought new hope to the Basque regions.
5. Social legislation has not all been for the bad. While Socialist values issues hit the headlines, more is being done for the needy, including through evangelical projects.
6. Spain has taken a more significant role in world affairs through aid projects and involvement in UN and other peacekeeping initiatives. This widening of horizons is also visible in the churches, where many are now more open to missions than ever before.