August 2017 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

Madrid is a city of 3.2 million people, which doubles in size when you add in the people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. Madrid is the capital city of Spain and is centrally located on the map. We believe that Madrid is key to reaching the entire country with the gospel. For these reasons and more we have started exploring the city and meeting with like-minded individuals and churches that have a burden for church-planting in Madrid in order to get a better idea of what the needs and opportunities are for church-planting in this great city. Our desire is to lay some groundwork for future church-planting endeavors in Madrid and beyond.

Although research is important for church-planting, training men is even more important. We are currently training two men from the Parla Baptist Church and one from the Biblical Baptist Church of Colmenar Viejo for the work of the ministry. Our desire is to help these men to grow spiritually by learning and practicing the spiritual disciplines, such as Bible intake (reading, memorizing, meditating), prayer, worship, evangelism, etc… We also want to give them the best possible formal theological training to equip them for the various challenges of full-time ministry. And as they learn the theory we want to give them the practical training they need in the context of their local church. Already these men are discipling others, teaching Sunday school lessons, leading small groups and preaching biblical messages. So far we have only focused on training men that are members of the churches we have helped start. However, the Lord is starting to open up doors for us to help train men from other like-minded churches in Madrid. That is why the end of September we are going to meet with the men wanting to train with us and their pastors to share our vision for a Madrid Theological Training Center. We are excited about the opportunity to train more men for the work of the ministry. We know that healthy, Christ-exalting, Bible-teaching, gospel-proclaiming churches will not be planted unless men with a vision for these kind of churches are trained and sent out to plant them. 

As more churches are planted for the glory of God we will see more lives changed by the power of the gospel like Agustin. We first heard about Agustin during our mid-week ‘Come and See’ bible study in Colmenar Viejo. Isabel, a faithful member, asked for us to pray for her niece’s husband (Agustin), who was going to be operated in his brain. They were told that he only had a five percent chance of survival. So we prayed. By the grace of God, Agustin survived the surgery. Before his surgery Flavius and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with him, wondering whether we would ever see him again. The surgery has left him with some speech and memory problems, but he is now faithfully attending church services every week. He has made a profession of faith and will soon be starting discipleship lessons with us. Praise the Lord! Thank you once again for your prayers and faithful support. God bless.

From Madrid to Heaven

“De Madrid al Cielo” (From Madrid to Heaven) is a very popular saying used to describe the city of Madrid. Nobody knows exactly the origin of this saying, but the meaning is clear: There isn’t a better place in the world to be than Madrid. The only step up, would be Heaven. I had the privilege of being born in Madrid. I can testify to its beauty and diversity and the warmth of its people. Madrid isn’t just a city that’s fun to visit, it’s a city that you never forget. I left Madrid when I was eleven and didn’t return until I was twenty-six. Even though I left Madrid, Madrid never left me.

When I returned with my family as a church-planting missionary, I noticed how much had changed and how much remained exactly the same. Clearly, one of the biggest changes was the amount of immigrants that there were in Madrid, mainly from Latin America. The other big change was not so much the city, but my perspective. I was now an adult and saw things very differently. What hadn’t changed at all was the need for the gospel.

After almost seven years in Spain my burden for this city only increases. I am praying that more churches will be planted not only in the metro area, but in the heart of the city.  (click here to read the article Church planting in Madrid) In order to raise awareness and encourage church-planting in Madrid, I have committed to personally explore every district of Madrid and assess the state of the gospel in each area. How many gospel-centered, gospel-proclaiming churches are there really in Madrid?

According to Wikipedia, the city of Madrid “…is divided into 21 districts (distritos), which are further subdivided into 128 wards (barrios).” Here is the map from the same Wikipedia link above. Each number on the map corresponds with the list of districts below.

Districts and wards

Map of the districts of Madrid

  1. Centro: Palacio, Embajadores, Cortes, Justicia, Universidad, Sol
  2. Arganzuela: Imperial, Acacias, La Chopera, Legazpi, Delicias, Palos de Moguer, Atocha
  3. Retiro: Pacífico, Adelfas, Estrella, Ibiza, Jerónimos, Niño Jesús
  4. Salamanca: Recoletos, Goya, Parque de las Avenidas, Fuente del Berro, Guindalera, Lista, Castellana
  5. Chamartín: El Viso, Prosperidad, Ciudad Jardín, Hispanoamérica, Nueva España, Castilla
  6. Tetuán: Bellas Vistas, Cuatro Caminos, Castillejos, Almenara, Valdeacederas, Berruguete
  7. Chamberí: Gaztambide, Arapiles, Trafalgar, Almagro, Vallehermoso, Ríos Rosas
  8. Fuencarral-El Pardo: El Pardo, Fuentelarreina, Peñagrande, Barrio del Pilar, La Paz, Valverde, Mirasierra, El Goloso
  9. Moncloa-Aravaca: Casa de Campo, Argüelles, Ciudad Universitaria, Valdezarza, Valdemarín, El Plantío, Aravaca
  10. Latina: Los Cármenes, Puerta del Ángel, Lucero, Aluche, Las Águilas, Campamento, Cuatro Vientos
  11. Carabanchel: Abrantes, Buenavista, Comillas, Opañel, Puerta Bonita, San Isidro, Vista Alegre
  12. Usera: Orcasitas, Orcasur, San Fermín, Almendrales, Moscardó, Zofío, Pradolongo
  13. Puente de Vallecas: Entrevías, San Diego, Palomeras Bajas, Palomeras Sureste, Portazgo, Numancia
  14. Moratalaz: Pavones, Horcajo, Marroquina, Media Legua, Fontarrón, Vinateros
  15. Ciudad Lineal: Ventas, Pueblo Nuevo, Quintana, La Concepción, San Pascual, San Juan Bautista, Colina, Atalaya, Pinar de Chamartín (Costillares)
  16. Hortaleza: Palomas, Valdefuentes, Canillas, Pinar del Rey, Apóstol Santiago, Piovera
  17. Villaverde: San Andrés, San Cristóbal, Butarque, Los Rosales, Los Ángeles
  18. Villa de Vallecas: Casco Histórico de Vallecas, Santa Eugenia
  19. Vicálvaro: Casco Histórico de Vicálvaro, Ambroz
  20. San Blas: Simancas, Hellín, Amposta, Arcos, Rosas, Rejas, Canillejas, Salvador
  21. Barajas: Parque de El Capricho (Alameda de Osuna), Aeropuerto, Casco Histórico de Barajas, Timón, Corralejos

Paul wrote in Colossians 1:5, “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” The only way the people of Madrid will have any opportunity to go to heaven when they die is if they hear and believe the truth of the gospel. It is my prayer that the saying “From Madrid to Heaven” will become a reality for the millions living in Madrid. Will you pray? Will you give? Will you mobilize? Will you go?

 

Church planting in Madrid

It has been our desire from day one to be used of God to start churches in Spain. By the grace of God we have been able to help start two churches already in the Community of Madrid (Spain has 17 Autonomous Communities). Within Spain, the most important and largest city is Madrid (It is in fact the capital city of Spain). Madrid is almost right in the very center of the country. As you can see, for these reasons and more, we consider Madrid key to reaching the entire country with the gospel.

That is why I would like to start a series of posts highlighting the different cities within the Community of Madrid and the districts within the city proper so that you can be better informed of the need and help us pray so that we can see several new churches planted in this beautiful city that desperately needs the gospel. In this post, I would like to give you some general information about Madrid.

What many people don’t realize is that Madrid is an Autonomous Community and a city. That’s why you have to be specific when you say something about Madrid. When I hear someone talking about Madrid, I usually think, “Are they talking about the Autonomous Community or the city?” It would be as if Georgia, for example, were the name of the state and the name of the capital city.

Almost 100% of the population of the Autonomous Community of Madrid is made up of those living in the Metropolitan area of the city of Madrid. The actual city of Madrid has a population of about 3.2 million according to the most recent census, and the metro area has a population of 6.3 million. There are 179 municipalities (cities and towns) in the Community of Madrid. Here is a list of the ten largest according to population:

Rank Municipality Population Area
km²
1 Madrid 3,233,527 605.8
2 Móstoles 206,031 45
3 Alcalá de Henares 203,924 88
4 Fuenlabrada 198,132 39.1
5 Leganés 187,125 43.1
6 Getafe 171,280 78.74
7 Alcorcón 169,308 33.7
8 Torrejón de Ardoz 125,331 32.6
9 Parla 124,208 24.43
10 Alcobendas 111,040 45

We have already started a church in one of these cities (Parla) and the other church is in the city of Colmenar Viejo, which is ranked 21 and has a population of almost 50,000.

In the next posts, I will give you more details about each of the major cities of the Community of Madrid, as well as the different districts within the actual city of Madrid. I will also give you information about the amount of gospel-preaching churches that there are in each of the areas. As I share information every week, please pray that the Lord would raise up laborers and that the Lord would use us in any way He pleases in helping plant more gospel-centered churches in Madrid and throughout Spain.