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.

June 2017 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

“Come and see Radio is a program that invites you to explore biblical Christianity and that answers your questions about God and the Bible.” That is the intro for every new episode of ‘Come and See” radio (Radio Venyve). It has been three months since our last update and we are excited to announce that we have been able to raise $2,000 towards the $6,000 that we need to completely fund this ministry for 2017. We are so thankful for the churches and individuals that have given. We are looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in the future through this ministry. Last week we had the opportunity to host a group from Beacon Baptist Church in Jupiter, Florida that gave so that we could produce 30,000 postcards announcing the radio ministry. We have already been able to distribute several thousand postcards in Parla and Colmenar.

The Parla Baptist Church is seeing people saved and baptized. The greatest need that they have right now is a new building. The believers in Parla are praying fervently and searching diligently for a new meeting place. The building in which they are meeting right now is the same one in which they were meeting when the church was started. There is simply no more room to grow. However, the prayer is that they would be able to buy a building and not just rent. The only thing keeping the church in Parla from becoming fully autonomous is that they don’t have their own building. If they could buy a building they would be able to use the money that they are using for the rent right now to fully support a national pastor. Please pray with us about this need.

The church in Colmenar is growing little by little. We have several unbelievers that are visiting our midweek bible study and our church services on Sunday. Please pray for their salvation. We also have a new family of believers that have started visiting our church. They live about ten minutes from our church and were looking for a church, but didn’t know that we were there until a contact of theirs mentioned our church to them. They have already been a blessing to the church. Not everything is good news, however. In December 2015 we had the privilege of baptizing two believers (Javier and Harold) from Colmenar. The former has since stopped coming to church. The latter, however, is growing in the Lord and has a desire to serve. I share that to let you know that our challenges are very much like yours. We are only responsable for the process of preaching the gospel and discipling new believers, the outcome is up to the Lord. But we are confident that God is doing a work in Spain and that our labour for Christ is not in vain. If you would like to receive weekly updates and ministry musings in addition to the quarterly update that we send, you can visit www.operationspain.com and subscribe to our blog. Thank you once again for faithfully supporting our ministry in Spain. God Bless.

February 2017 Velasquez Family Update

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Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

I would like to share with you an exciting new evangelistic ministry that we have started here in Spain. The ministry is called ‘Radio Venyve’ (Come and See Radio). And what is Radio Venyve? It is an online radio program that invites unbelievers to explore Biblical Christianity and that answers questions about God and the Bible. Every week Flavius and I record a new program and stream it online. We have already recorded thirty-four programs and have over twenty-eight hours of programming. We stream our programs non-stop on a loop. Every program is well-prepared, engaging, and presents the gospel clearly.

But that’s not all. We don’t just want people to listen to the programs; we want them to take the next step and meet up with a believer face-to-face, attend an evangelistic Bible study, or visit a gospel-preaching church. That is why we just launched a website for the radio program. The website is very professional and easy to navigate. Our goal is to get people to fill out a simple form with their name and e-mail address so that we can share the gospel with them personally.

What we love about this ministry is that it is of the local church, for the local church. It can be used by any gospel-preaching church in Spain. Thanks to the internet, it has the potential to reach millions of people. It also aids us in our day-to-day evangelistic efforts. Very soon we are going to print thousands of postcards and create a survey about the radio program that will open up doors to sharing the gospel with people on the streets.

What part can you have in this ministry? First, you can pray. We completely depend on God for the success of this ministry. Second, you can share. If you know someone that could benefit from this website, share the link with them: www.radiovenyve.com. Finally, you can give. We are asking the Lord to provide $6,000 to fund the project in 2017. 

Here is the breakdown:

  • Website: $1,300 (This is how much we still have to pay for the design work)
  • Advertising: $3,700 (Facebook ads and professional promotional videos for 2017)
  • New Equipment: $1,000 (New microphones to improve sound quality)

Thank you for so much for partnering with us. Please pray for the furtherance of the gospel in Spain. To God be the glory!

August 2016 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” I believe that the ultimate purpose of the church is to glorify God. In other words, the church exists to display the glory of God through the proclamation of the gospel and through the way in which we live our lives as members of the church. That is one of the ideas that I will be teaching from the Scriptures during the month of September in both churches (Parla and Colmenar). The theme for the sermon series is quite simply ‘The Church’. The reason I will be preaching on the subject of the church is because very soon we plan to formally organize the group of baptized believers in Colmenar as a church. I want them to be ready for that day.

The work of gospel proclamation continues in both churches. In Parla, several unbelievers have been attending the  ‘Come and See’ Bible study. Every week Paco and Flavius go through the gospel of John, explain the passages and answer their questions. In Colmenar, our plan is to start the live radio programs in September and promote them through Facebook ads. In addition, we are going to go through the city and ask people to give us their questions about God and the Bible for us to answer during the radio programs and then invite them to listen. We pray that God would open up doors for us to share the gospel with people as we fill out a short survey for the radio program with them. Our desire is to involve as many believers as possible in this project. Flavius is now in charge of the radio ministry. He selects the themes for the programs, prepares an outline for the program, edits the audio and uploads the new programs each week.

The work of training men continues. I am almost done studying systematic theology with Flavius and now Paco is going to start studying the same course. Also, I have started preparing a course on church polity which I will be teaching them every Saturday. I want them to be ready to lead the church when the time comes for them to be ordained as pastors. I believe one of the greatest responsibilities they will have as pastors is to faithfully teach the Word of God to the church. For that reason starting in January they are going to be preaching a lot more. Every other month they are going to be taking turns preaching through 2 Peter. In preparation for that series, they will be reading the entire book several times in order to determine the theme and they will outline the book and divide the book by sections or units of thought. Then we will discuss the messages together before and after they preach them. Please pray for me that I would lead these men by example. But most of all, pray that they would follow Christ. Thank you for your prayers and support. God Bless.

June 2016 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

Today is the last official day of school for my kids, which means summer is upon us. Things tend to slow down here in Spain during the summer months, especially in August, but we have a full calendar. We will kick things off in July with the third anniversary of the Colmenar church. We hope to see several visitors come for the special service and picnic that we will have afterwards. Also, we plan to launch our online radio station this week. Flavius and I have been recording programs every week and are excited that we finally have enough programming to launch the radio ministry. Not only do we plan to stream prerecorded programs, but we want to have live programs as well and answer questions from callers. We will be promoting the station through Facebook ads. Pray that many would click on the ads and hear the gospel.

The ‘Come and See’ Bible study in Parla is going well. It is being led completely by Paco and Flavius. What thrills my heart the most is that their teaching ministry is the outflow of their personal walk with God. These men are men of the Book. Not only that, they are readers. It is my privilege to purchase good solid books for them every month. If you would like to be a blessing to these men, one of the ways that you could do it is by helping them purchase books. Believe me, they will read them and use the knowledge gained to teach others! The people in the church have worked hard distributing invitations to the Bible study and we have already seen the church grow as a result. Continue praying for the Parla church.

Flavius is now officially leading the youth ministry in Parla. He is currently teaching them through the book of Romans. The book of Romans has had a huge impact on his life and he wants to share the message with others. As a matter of fact, he is only four chapters away for completely memorizing the book! Cristian has started leading the music and Paco continues to teach the adult class. Two ladies, Anca and Veronica (Paco’s wife) are teaching the children. It is wonderful to see these believers growing and teaching others. It has been our desire from day one for the churches that we plant to become indigenous (Self-governing, self-supporting, self-propagating). One of our greatest obstacles towards that goal is purchasing a building for both churches. We know that God is able to lead us to the right buildings and provide the funds.

In July we are taking our young people to Portugal for camp. Pray that they would return with a renewed desire for God. Pray for Alain, Steven, Andrea, Juan, Lidia, Conchi, Geovanna, Andres and many others, for their salvation. God Bless.

April 2016 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

This month we celebrate the six-year anniversary of the Parla Baptist Church. I still remember when we arrived in Spain in 2010. My parents and my sister and brother-in-law (Jeffrey Andrews) had already been meeting in a store-front for seven months before our arrival and God was already blessing. Eduardo Sedoski had come to Christ through the gospel website and Paco Prada had come to the church after receiving a gospel DVD in his mailbox. Much has happened since then. Another church was started and several have come to faith in Christ and are growing spiritually. One of the greatest blessings is to see fruit that remains. Eduardo and his family are now serving with our family in the Biblical Baptist Church of Colmenar and Paco is faithfully serving and teaching alongside his family in Parla. God is good!

It’s great to see the results of training men. For the past four years I have spent approximately twenty hours a week specifically training men for ministry. Now our gospel witness is multiplying. In a couple weeks the church in Parla is going to start a ‘Come and See’ bible study like the one we have in Colmenar with an evangelistic focus. What’s great is that it will be totally led by Paco and Flavius. They will be teaching, answering questions and leading the discussion. In addition, these men are preaching, discipling others and leading various ministries. God is using the women as well to evangelize the lost, disciple other women and teach children. We know that if we want to start more churches in the future we will need to be busy “…perfecting…the saints, for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).

We are currently developing tools for the furtherance of the gospel in Spain! We are cooperating with several missionaries and pastors to produce a first-class gospel website. It is a lot of work, but we believe every minute invested in this project will be worth it if the gospel is proclaimed and Christ is magnified through the site! We hope to launch the site in the Fall. Another tool we are working on is an online radio station for the church in Colmenar. My dear missionary friend, Aaron Bashore, helped us set it up. Flavius and I will be working on the programming. We hope to reach thousands through the station.

Thank you for your support and prayers. We desire to partner with you in Spain for many years to come. As a matter of fact, we finally received our permanent Spanish residency. That means that we renew our residency every five years and it’s a very easy process. We believe that God has led us every step of the way and that we are exactly where He wants us to be at this time. Please continue praying for us as we preach Christ and trust the Lord to work in the hearts of men.

Come and See

It’s been about a year and a half since we started our ‘Come and See’ bible study on Thursday nights. It has been a great evangelistic tool. Every week we meet at the church, sit in a circle, and study the gospel of John. Amazingly the attendance is sometimes greater on Thursday night than it is on Sunday because in addition to our regular church members we have several ‘seekers’ that come to the mid-week Bible study.

Why did we start ‘Come and see’? We wanted to give people the opportunity to study biblical Christianity directly from the source (the Scriptures). So many people in Spain think they know all there is to know about Christianity and Jesus but are shocked when they discover that Christ’s testimony of himself and their idea of Christ aren’t the same. That is why we are going verse by verse through the gospel of John and letting the Scriptures speak for themselves. However, I always give preference to their questions. Many weeks I don’t have time to finish the lesson because they have so many questions.

I am thrilled to say that since we started the ‘Come and See’ Bible study we have had five of our regular attenders get saved and baptized. All of them are still with us. Another blessing is that we have always had ‘seekers’ with us. Right now we have two unbelievers that faithfully attend and another that attends sporadically. What is exciting is that those that have been transformed by the power of the gospel are able to share their testimony with these ‘seekers’ and say to them, “I’ve been where you are; I know what you’re thinking.”

‘Come and See’ has also been a great tool for discipleship and training men. It is a great time for new believers to have their questions answered and for mature believers to answer their questions. When we started ‘Come and See’ only Eduardo and I knew enough bible to answer questions. Now I have two other men that are explaining the gospel and patiently helping our ‘seekers’. Last Thursday was especially a blessing. We have a new lady that is attending the Bible study. She is friends with Angie (Eduardo’s wife). She asked these questions: “What is the difference between this church and the Catholic church and why did you start this church?” Instead of answering the questions myself I let the believers in the group answer them. I must say, it was a special moment for me. I saw people that had asked me the same questions in the past answer her questions very clearly and from the Scriptures. Please continue to pray for ‘Ven y Ve’ (Come and see).

 

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.

Monday Ministry Updates

I want to inform you that starting next week I will be writing something every Monday about the ministry here in Spain. I want to do a better job communicating with you. I find that when I announce a goal publicly it gives me an extra incentive to follow through with it. That is what this short blog post is all about. I want to thank you for reading our updates in the past and praying for us. God is at work here in Spain. I look forward to sharing news on a weekly basis. God Bless.

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!