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.

March 2015 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

“Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.” (Colossians 1:6) When the gospel is proclaimed it brings forth fruit! We have that promise in Scripture. In the three months since our return to Spain, we have seen numeric and spiritual growth in Parla and Colmenar. It all started in February with four baptisms! From the church in Parla, Lucas and Romina (brother-and-sister) were baptized. Then from Colmenar I had the privilege of baptizing Mayra and my own son, Ian. All of these were individuals to whom we had spent several months/years sharing the gospel. It was especially thrilling to baptize my son!

March started with two aggressive evangelistic campaigns for the city of Colmenar. First, we started English classes for young people between the ages of thirteen and twenty. We distributed three thousand invitations at all the high-schools in Colmenar. The flyer was two-sided. On one side was an invitation to the English class; on the other an invitation to a youth “Come and see” Bible study. The idea is to meet young people and share the gospel with them in order to start a youth ministry. Ten young people have already signed up. Please pray for this ministry! We were also able to saturate the city of Colmenar with invitations to our Thursday “Come & see” Bible study. This new evangelistic effort brought a new lady, Conchita, to the Colmenar church. She has been searching for the truth for years. She now comes faithfully to every service. She has been very open to the gospel message. Pray for her salvation. We have had others call about the Bible study. This ministry has been a great tool for us to present the gospel to many here in Colmenar.

Last week we took twenty members from Colmenar and Parla to a Youth Summit organized by my good friends Alberto and Francisco Puente (missionaries to Sevilla). It was a great time for them to learn more about the need for the gospel around the world. I was able to teach a class and translate for another good friend, Travis Snode (missionary to England) as he taught and preached. On the last day of the Summit an invitation was extended for anyone that wanted to get saved. We were all thrilled as Luis, Flavius’ friend, came forward. My father and I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with him for almost an hour. That day he trusted Christ as his personal Savior. The next day he came to church and gave a public testimony of his faith in Christ. Flavius is going to begin discipling him immediately. It’s great to see disciples making disciples and it’s great to see the youth group in Parla grow. Please continue to pray for the ministry here.

October 2014 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

The time has certainly gone by quickly for us during our furlough. In a couple months we will be back in Spain. It has been a blessing visiting so many of our supporting churches as well as a few new ones. We are thankful for every church that God has placed in our path. We are humbled by your generosity and love. We are partners together in the gospel. One of the benefits of a furlough for a missionary is that it gives him to time to pray and make plans for the future. We are excited about what God is doing in Spain and we are confident that He will continue to work. We just can’t believe that we get to be a part of it!

In September we had our first baptism in Colmenar! Angie’s sister, Guillermina, who is the first-fruits of the work in Colmenar, followed the Lord in believer’s baptism and it thrills our hearts. We pray for many more to be saved and baptized in Colmenar. The work is going strong in the new church plant. Several believers and unbelievers meet together every thursday for the “Come and see” Bible study and are hearing the gospel expounded upon as they go through the book of John. We plan to start English classes and a youth Bible study upon our return to Spain. In addition, we want to saturate the city with the gospel several times. Our goal is that every household in Colmenar Viejo have access to the gospel.

Sunday, September 19 was a highlight for our ministry in Spain. My father was invited to preach in another city and for the first time both churches functioned without the help of any missionary. This is a small but important step in the goal of the churches becoming indigenous. Carlos Temprano taught the Youth Sunday school class and gave the announcements, Cristian led the music, Paco Prada preached in both churches and Flavius gave a five-minute message. This is very important for us. We believe that our responsibility to to enable believers for the work of the ministry. (Ephesians 4:11-13). We told them from day one that we would not always be there and that God would raise up leaders from among them to carry on the work. They are witnessing this first-hand. There is much more work to be done. In order for Spain to be evangelized in our generation we must involve other people in the mission; we must reproduce ourselves in the lives of others; we must multiply our efforts. Please continue to pray for us as our furlough comes to an end that we would be bold in our witness and that God would use us to evangelize the lost, enable believers and establish more churches.

May 2014 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

“He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.” (Acts 5:42) On the day that Jesus extended that invitation to Andrew and John he opened up his home to them and patiently taught them the truth about himself. We want to do the same. We want to invite people to “Come and see” the gospel of Christ and take the time to teach them. God is allowing us to do that in Colmenar. For months we have been meeting up with people at coffee shops or at their homes to help them explore Biblical Christianity. Last month we decided to start a Bible study at the church with the name “Come and See”. Every week we have several adults that meet up with us to go through the book of John. They are reading the gospel according to John and finding the answers to their questions directly from the Scriptures. This has been very eye-opening to them. Please pray for Javier, Nicolás, Mayra and Nilsa who have yet to come to the saving knowledge of Christ. Also pray for Eduardo and Angie, who are faithfully serving Christ and inviting their friends to the Bible study. God has already blessed this Bible study as Guille, Angie’s sister, was saved last week! 

Next month we will celebrate “Friend Day” in Parla and Colmenar. Every year God has blessed us with several visitors. Some have even been saved and added to the church. This will be our first friend day in Colmenar. Keep this special service in your prayers. This year I will be preaching a message on the subject of “Come and see”. Pray that we would be able to move into our new building in Parla soon. We have had some complications and probably won’t be able to move in until September. Soon we will be baptizing several new converts. What a joy to see people saved, baptized and added to the church and growing in their Christian walk! In April, Flavius, a young man from Romania was saved. He is growing in the Lord and is involved in everything. Please pray for Martín, Felipe, Romina and Lucas, for their salvation. Carlos Temprano, the first person the Lord allowed me to lead to Christ in Spain, is helping me teach the youth Sunday School class. He will be leading the youth group, with the help of my father, during our furlough.

The tickets have been purchased! We will be in the U.S. from July 22, 2014 – January 9, 2015. We look forward to seeing many of you again. Pray that God would allow us to raise more support as we have lost some support during our first term and the ministry here is growing. Thank you for your prayers and faithful support. God Bless.

 

March 2014 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:42) I would love for that to be said of the churches in Parla and Colmenar. We are working towards that goal. We strive to teach and preach the gospel on a daily basis but more importantly, we want to involve others in the mission. The only way that our efforts will be multiplied is by preparing the believers for the work of the ministry. It’s exciting to see God use them! Miriam, a lady from the church in Parla, has been faithful in sharing the gospel with her friends. As we mentioned in our last letter, she invited Carmen to church and after months of hearing the gospel she was saved. We are thrilled to report that another one of her friends was saved a few weeks later! 

Please pray for wisdom as we look for a new building for the church in Parla. We want to see more people saved and lives changed and we simply don’t have any more room to grow in our current building. In preparation for future growth we are training several believers to disciple others. We cannot do the work alone! In Colmenar, please pray for two individuals that we are meeting up with every week to teach them the gospel. We believe that they are close to being saved. We just had a men’s meeting in my house. I was able to share the gospel with nine men from Colmenar and neighboring cities. Several showed interest in having personal Bible studies.

We need to share some important news with you. We are going to be taking a short six-month furlough from July 2014 – January 2015. Please contact me if you would like our family to report on the ministry in Spain in your church. We hope to see many of you again. We will be visiting a few new churches as well.

Please pray for two specific needs:

  • Favianna’s U.S. Citizenship. We hope to obtain it during our time in the states.
  • Support level. We have lost some support during our first term. We are currently at 87% of our needed support.

My parents, Julio & Andrea Velasquez, will be working in both churches during our absence as we did during their furlough. We have poured hours into training the believers to evangelize, disciple and teach others and we know they are going to continue being used of God in those areas. Thank you for your prayers and faithful support. God Bless.

 

January 2014 Velasquez Family Update

Dear Pastor, Congregation and Friends,

I memorized Ephesians 4:11-14 a long time ago because those verses help me remember my primary responsibility as a missionary. Verses eleven and twelve mention that God has given gifted people to the church (pastors and teachers) for a specific purpose: “…the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” My job is to disciple and train believers to maturity so that they can experience the joy and the privilege of serving Christ. Recently my parents have gone on a short furlough and have left me with the full responsibility of both churches. Instead of this being a stressful time for me I have enjoyed seeing how God is using the believers in Parla to do the work of the ministry. I live fifty minutes away and I go to Parla only to preach on Wednesday and Sunday. They are taking care of the day-to-day work. I have never seen the church so excited. They are experiencing first-hand the joy of serving Christ. They are sharing the gospel. They are inviting friends to church. I spend my time helping the leaders of the various ministries in Parla to serve more effectively. By the way, they are doing a great job!

We started the year in the best possible way. Carmen, a lady that has been attending our church since May 2013 announced after the Wednesday service (January 1) that she had decided to accept Christ as her personal Savior! God used a faithful lady in the church to impact her life. Soon she will begin discipling her. It’s wonderful to see disciples making disciples. I’m currently studying the Bible every week with two men. On Mondays I meet up with Javier in Colmenar and on Wednesdays I go to Parla and spend time with Antonio. Please pray for their salvation. God used people from both churches to influence these men.

We had a special Vision service in both churches and we discussed plans for the new year. Here are a few goals:

  • Place a gospel tract/invitation in every mailbox in Parla and Colmenar.
  • Organize three special evangelistic services in both churches (Easter, Friend Day, Christmas).
  • Organize two evangelistic men’s and women’s meetings in both churches.
  • Organize an evangelistic campaign in October for both churches.
  • Start English classes in Colmenar to make contacts.
  • Distribute 15,000 gospel DVD’s in Colmenar.