October 2015 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

Does the gospel work differently in Europe than in other parts of the world? Are Spaniards more hardened to the gospel than others? The Bible answers these questions clearly. The gospel is powerful to save in every place. Its power is not diminished by geography (Romans 1:16; Colossians 1:5-6). Also, all men are hardened to the gospel. Nobody is naturally inclined to it. Every man is sinful by nature and rebellious against God (Romans 3:10-12; Ephesians 4:17-19). So, why is it that so few spaniards believe the gospel and why does the work appear slower in this part of the world? I believe that one of the reasons is because it is harder in Spain to gain an audience for the gospel. In other words, for cultural reasons, it is harder to get people to even hear the gospel. Because less are willing to hear the gospel, less get saved.

So, what is our challenge as missionaries to Spain? Getting more people to hear and learn the gospel. One of the ways that we plan to gain a wider audience for the gospel is through the internet. Last month we started working on our gospel website (estudialabiblia.com). I went down to Seville and recorded three videos that will be featured on the home page. This is a joint project with several other like-minded missionaries. We believe God is going to greatly use this website! Another way to get more people to hear the gospel is by multiplying our efforts. We need more gospel-proclaimers! That’s why it isn’t a waste of time to invest in men like Eduardo, Paco and Flavius. Every disciple-maker that we train will mean more voices to proclaim the good news of Christ.

Another potential disciple-maker is Harold. A young man that was saved in April. I have been spending a lot of time with him. He is sixteen and struggles with peer-pressure at his high-school. Flavius is a great example to him. He is twenty and  on fire for God. I know that Harold respects him and in many ways would like to be like him. I am praying that God will grow our youth group. One of the ways that we are trying to reach young people is through the free English classes. We distributed ten thousand flyers directly in people’s mailboxes and we had three new kids sign up. A few from our last trimester of classes have returned, but we feel that the group needs to grow a little more in order for us to maximize our time and have a greater impact. Because of that I am going to go fishing for young people every Friday night with Flavius and Harold. We’re going to invite them to the classes and share the gospel as well. Thank you for your prayers and faithful support. God Bless.

August 2015 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

The two-year anniversary of the Biblical Baptist Church of Colmenar was a great success. Thirty-eight people came out to celebrate this special day. Fourteen of them were first-time visitors. What’s great is that several of the visitors were family and friends of the church members, which means it will be easier to follow-up with them. We are looking forward to school starting back up because that will mean that people will be getting back from their summer vacations and we can launch several evangelistic ministries. We plan to teach english to teens again and continue with the Friday night “Come and See” youth bible study. What’s new is that we are going to start teaching adults as well. This will be a great way to meet people and share the gospel with them. We are also going to finish updating our church website and completely redo our evangelistic website (estudialabiblia.com). Once it is finished we will be able to distribute postcards and use Facebook ads to promote the website. In addition, we will continue passing out gospel literature and evangelizing in the streets.

Summer is a great time for training men! Flavius has been spending over twenty hours a week with me studying Systematic Theology among other things. His love for the Word of God amazes me. A few months after his conversion he memorized the entire book of 1 John and he can still quote it perfectly. During these past two months Flavius and I have been memorizing Romans. The wonderful thing is that it was his idea! He has also been preaching five-minute messages every week and is doing a great job. He has been helping me in every way possible. I thank God for giving me the privilege to train this young man for ministry. Paco is currently on vacation with his family but when he returns I will be teaching him and Flavius a wonderful course about the gospel written by a missionary friend to Morocco. Please pray for men! As a team my father and I are working hard to prepare both churches for the day that we go off to start more churches. We want to leave these churches with men trained and prepared for the ministry. We also want the churches to be ready to support these pastors financially.

As part of the process of training men we had the opportunity to take Flavius and Paco to Morocco last month. We joined a group organized by Alberto Puente, missionary to Sevilla. It was a great encouragement to all of us. We were able to visit two missionary families and hear the testimonies of Moroccan believers. It is thrilling to see what God is doing in North Africa. It was a reminder that the gospel works!  We cannot buy into the lie of the devil that some places are gospel-proof. Wherever the gospel is proclaimed and taught, it brings forth fruit! Continue praying for fruit in our ministry here in Spain. We want to see more people saved, leaders trained and churches started to the glory of God!

June 2015 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

The first Sunday of July we celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Biblical Baptist Church of Colmenar Viejo, Madrid. As this special date approaches I am reminded of why we started the church. It has always been our vision to start multiple churches. When we arrived in Spain in 2010 we joined my parents and sister and brother-in-law who had started a church in Parla, Madrid about seven months earlier. From the beginning we explained to the Parla Baptist Church that one day it would reproduce another church. We didn’t know at that time how soon that dream would be realized. Exactly two years after our arrival the Lord began to work in my heart about starting a new work. It was God who opened up the door. I had been having Bible studies in the home of Eduardo and Angie Sedoski for several months in 2012. This couple had been saved in the Parla church but lived fifty minutes away in the city of Colmenar Viejo. It was so far away that it was hard for them to invite people to church. As we started making contacts in this city of 50,000 people it became clear that Colmenar needed a gospel-preaching church. A few months later it was born.

What has God done? The first thing we have witnessed is multiplication. We are now saturating two cities with the gospel. Everything we attempt for the glory of God has twice the impact. Evangelism, Discipleship and leader-training is happening in two places at the same time. Here’s another blessing: we are reaching new people that otherwise wouldn’t have had access to the gospel. How has this happened? Colmenar Viejo was saturated with invitations to the inauguration two times. We have distributed thousands of gospel tracts throughout the city. We started the “Come and See” Bible study on Thursdays and several unbelievers are being taught the gospel every week. We saturated the city five times with invitations to the “Come and See” Bible study. We started free English classes for young people followed by a youth Bible study. Our average weekly attendance for the church is between fifteen and twenty. Two recent converts are Javier and Harold! The former is one of Eduardo’s friends. For over a year I have personally shared the gospel with him and he has attended the “Come and See” Bible study. He has given a clear testimony of salvation and will be baptized shortly. The latter is a young man that was invited by his girlfriend. He is being discipled and growing in the Lord. This is why we believe in church-planting. What would happen if we started more?

This leads us to the task of training men. We will only see churches started in proportion to the men trained. Pray especially for Paco and Flavius, both members of the church in Parla who are preparing for ministry. We want to see more men trained. Thank you for your faithful prayer and support. Rejoice with us at what God has done!

Dialoguing with teens

It has been two months since we started a free English class for teens in Colmenar Viejo. We now have a core group of ten students that attend the class faithfully. Most of these teens were invited by people from the Colmenar church. From the beginning our goals for the class have been the following:

– Make contacts with young people.

– Teach them the gospel.

– Make disciples.

We thank the Lord for what he has already done through this ministry! Through the class we have met thirteen young people. Not all of them have stayed but we now have new contacts. We have been able to share the gospel with all of them through the “Come and See” youth bible study that we have immediately following the English class. Not everyone stays for that but every week several attend. We have even been able to meet some of their parents. One mother has started attending church services recently.

One of the greatest blessings has been the salvation of Harold, one of the teens from the English class. He is fifteen years old. I meet up with him every week and teach him the Bible. He is now faithfully attending church services as well. Lord willing, he will be baptized soon.

I write this to compel you to pray for the youth of Colmenar Viejo and Spain. It has been wonderful to share the gospel with these teens and answer their questions but at the same time it has been heartbreaking. It is evident that some of them have never heard the gospel in any way before. Before the bible study I ask them to write down on a piece of paper a question about God or the Bible. We then answer the questions one by one. Here is a sample of some of the questions they have asked:

What are your reasons for believing that God exists?

If God exists, why doesn’t he manifest himself?

Is it necessary to believe in God?

Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have attributed things that they could not explain to a superior being, but that did not make their beliefs real. Why should we believe that God is real?

If God exists, why doesn’t he stop natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes?

Why did Jesus die? How could he rise again on the third day?

If Jesus did rise from the dead, how can I connect with him?

If you commit lots of sins, are you definitely going to Hell? Does Hell even exist?

Will you pray for these teens? Will you pray that God would give us wisdom in answering their questions? Will you pray that they would become disciples of Christ? Will you consider becoming a missionary to Spain?