Our desire is that the churches planted through our ministry in Spain would have the same impact as the church in Thessalonica did in the first century of Christianity. The Bible says in 1 Thess. 1:8, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not speak anything.” This church performed exactly what we desire to do for the honor and glory of God in Spain. Our vision is that every man, woman, boy and girl in the city of Parla and beyond would have the opportunity at least one time in their lifetime to hear the life-changing message of the gospel. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could write a letter to all of our friends and supporting churches sharing how we don’t need any more missionaries in Spain because it has been evangelized? Once again, you may be thinking, “these missionaries are going to be very disappointed when they realize that their dream is impossible.” Well, I’m glad that it’s not my vision or my plan; it’s God’s. We just have the awesome privilege to be involved with what He’s doing in this world. All we can do is offer Christ our lives and obey Him with every ounce of our being and trust that He “will build His church.” (Matthew 16:18) In the 15th chapter of Romans we find the apostle Paul giving a summary of his missionary endeavors. All he did was faithfully obey the Great Commission until he found that there were certain regions were the gospel no longer needed to be proclaimed. Paul writes, “Yea, so I have strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named…but now having no more place in these parts…(Romans 15:20, 23) Do we serve a different God in the 21st century? Scripture declares that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) I believe that we need to get back to the Bible and we will witness the same works performed in our midst today.
The Lord used the second chapter of Ezekiel to reconfirm his calling in my life. Verses 3 and 4 declare, “And he said unto me (Ezekiel), Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiff-hearted…” I see several similarities between Ezekiel’s ministry and ours. Spain is a country that has historically been resistant to the gospel. I remember studying Baptist history and when it came to the section describing the Baptist presence in Spain down through the years it occupied a small paragraph in one page. As a matter of fact Spain has been without a major Gospel preaching movement for at least 1600 years (that includes all evangelical and protestant denominations). Spain has been a Catholic stronghold for centuries. The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), one of the most militant orders within the Catholic Church, originated in Spain. The few true Christians in Spain during the Reformation were persecuted and kicked out by the Spanish Inquisition. Even though Spain became a democracy and provided religious freedom to its citizens in 1978, the people still remained very faithful to their Catholic faith. In recent years, the country has gone from 98% Catholic to 73% and most of them never go to church. The latest wave of opposition to the gospel has come from a new generation, which has rejected Catholicism and embraced Atheism and Humanism. It is sad that many of these young people have turned away from God altogether because the true gospel of Jesus Christ has been unavailable to them.
I don’t write these things to discourage you or so that you may feel sorry for us, on the contrary. We have a great open door in front of us. We must evangelize Spain! I will be honest, the people in Spain are not lining up in front of our little church waiting for us to give them a Bible or share the gospel with them. They have become hardened as a result of neglect on our part (they have had almost no gospel witness) and persecution. Just like Ezekiel, God has called us to work with stiff-hearted people. The middle section of verse 4 (Ezekiel 2) says, “…I do send thee unto them…” This reminds me that He is “…not willing that any should perish…” (2 Peter 3:9) No matter how hardened and disobedient the nation, He is so merciful that He sends a prophet (in our dispensation he sends missionaries) unto them. A good example of that is when God sent Jonah to preach to Nineveh. God loves the people of Spain although they don’t seem to love Him too much. Let’s look at the last part of verse 4, “…and thou shalt say unto them, thus saith the Lord God.” Do you know what the people of Spain need? It’s the same thing the people in China need, the same thing that people in Africa and India need. They need faithful men and women to be God’s mouthpieces and unashamedly proclaim the good news of salvation.
Then verse 5 says, “And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there has been a prophet among them.” In other words, whether they accept the message or reject it is not up to us. We cannot save anyone. All we are called to do is make sure that in the Day of Judgment not a single unrepentant Spaniard has an excuse. This is something that we can do in our generation. We are certainly praying for a sweeping revival and that many, many souls will be saved, but whether or not these things come to pass will not determine our success. We will be successful when every individual has been completely evangelized. C.H. Spurgeon said, “If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” You see, inevitably many people will reject the gospel. We cannot control other people’s choices. What we can do is make sure that we have done everything in our power to keep them from Hell. All we ask is that you would pray for us as well as the other missionaries in Spain (and those preparing to go). We have big task before us, but guess what? We serve a big God. Our philosophy is based on our theology. It is impossible to read God’s Word with an open and sincere heart and not realize that we have a purpose to be alive. And that purpose is not to warm a bench week after week, but to worship and glorify God with our lives and obey His commands until He comes. “…As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21)