Sometimes it’s good to look back and remember what God has done as you make plans and look forward to the future. That is exactly what we are doing this month as we make plans for 2018 in the areas of evangelism, discipleship and leadership training. We look back across the seven years that God has allowed us to serve here in Spain and we see what God has done. He has done much more than we could have ever imagined. One of the things that God has done, for which I am very thankful, has been to work on my own life. Serving as a missionary has caused me to see my sin and my weaknesses like never before and to recognize my utter dependance on God. I still have a long way to go, but I am thankful for His sanctifying work in my life. I am thankful for the wife that God has given me and how she has been willing to leave her family behind and join me on this crazy journey called being a missionary. I love her so much and I feel that our marriage has improved and our relationship deepened during this time. I can truly say that I love her more today than when I married her back in 2006. I pray that God would continue to change us as we labour to proclaim the life-changing gospel to others.
The work of setting up a Training Center for raising up leaders is still moving forward. The Madrid Training Center for Applied Theology will officially inaugurate in January. In addition to our two churches, we will also be working with the New Life Baptist Church of Sanchinarro in the task of training men. It’s exciting to think about how God is going to use this ministry to impact existing churches and future church-plants for the furtherance of the gospel in Spain and abroad. Last week we had a small taste of what the classes will be like at the Training Center. The students had the privilege of spending three hours with veteran missionary Aaron Bashore, as he discussed the tools of a disciple-maker with the six men that participated.
During the next few months I would like to keep you updated about a huge and urgent need for the Parla Baptist Church. This church desperately needs a new building in which to meet. The Lord has greatly blessed them and they are now averaging over 60 people in attendance every week, but the building they currently have is too small to properly accommodate all of them. They simply cannot grow any more unless they get a new building. We are praying that they would be able to purchase a building that is at least three times the size of what they have now. They have already found a building that would be perfect for them, but it will cost around $90,000. We are praying that God would provide the funds for this new building as soon as possible. Very soon, I will be sending more information about how you can help. For the time being, please pray and let us know if you would be interested in helping. God bless.
“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.
Six years ago today we arrived in Spain as church-planting missionaries, with lots of excitement and hope. We had no idea what God would accomplish six years later through our lives and ministry, but we did know what God wanted us to do. We knew then, what we now know: our mission is to make disciples of Christ and gather those disciples into local churches with a desire to reproduce more disciples and churches. The results are up to God and when he gives gospel fruit all the glory belongs to him! Since November 2010 we have seen God—through the proclamation of the gospel and with the power of the Holy Spirit—give new life to spiritually dead people, raise up two new churches in the province of Madrid, and save, call, and equip two men for pastoral ministry. May God and God alone be glorified!
We are thankful for what God has done, but we are asking him to do more through us. For several years, we have been praying about an area in Madrid called ‘Sanchinarro/Las Tablas’. As far as we know, there are no gospel-preaching churches in this district of more than 200,000 inhabitants. I recently met a couple of missionaries that are living in that area and planning to start a church there. We hope to be a blessing to them and help in any way we can. We want to see many churches planted in Spain and want to be involved in these church-planting efforts either directly or indirectly. One of the ways that we hope to help existing churches and new churches in Spain is through evangelistic projects. We are currently involved in two: Radio Venyve (Come and See Radio) and an evangelistic website called venyve.net (comeandsee.net). We are collaborating with several like-minded churches and missionaries to see these projects come to fruition.
As exciting as these projects are, they cannot take the place of the local church. We believe that healthy local churches led by biblically qualified men are the key to reaching Spain. That is why we ask that you pray for the Parla Baptist Church. This church desperately needs a new place to meet. They are looking for a building that will allow them to grow and have a permanent presence in the community. That is why they are hoping to purchase a piece of property. One of the greatest benefits of them owning their own building will be that they will have the funds to fully support a pastor.
As I reflect on our time in Spain, I’m thankful for the men the Lord has given me the responsibility to lead and train. One of these men is Flavius Tabardau. The beginning of November I had the privilege of performing his wedding. What made this wedding so special was that he married my sister, Deborah. I am thrilled that God brought them together and I know God is going to use them greatly. Thank you so much for your prayers and faithful support. God Bless.
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).
We had an exciting weekend at the church in Colmenar! It all started with the baptism of Javier and Harold. Both of these men came to know Christ through the testimony of believers from the Colmenar church. Javier is Eduardo’s friend. For several years Eduardo shared the gospel with him. Last year I started meeting up with him once a week to answer his Bible questions. One of those days he confessed to me that he had believed the gospel! Saturday was the culmination of more than two years of praying for Javier and patiently teaching him the gospel.
Harold is sixteen. He was invited to church by Mayra. Very soon after he started attending the church services he shared with me that he had placed his faith and trust in Jesus for his salvation. The Lord used a gospel film to show him his need of Christ. I immediately started discipling him. It has been wonderful to see the change in his life. We spend lots of time together during the week studying the Bible.
Then to top things off Flavius preached his first full-length message on Sunday. In the message he clearly expounded the gospel of Christ! It’s weekends like these that I am reminded of why we came to Spain as missionaries. Thank you for your prayers.
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.
We had a great day at church today! We had two new visitors and the gospel was preached. We ate churros and chocolate and thanked God for the wonderful year that He has given us. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with a group of believers that love to go to church and fellowship.
On behalf of the Velasquez Family I want to wish you a Merry Christmas! May we all meditate on the true meaning of this season. God became flesh and dwelt among us. He came to die and give his life to reconcile man with God.
We are currently studying through the gospel of John at both churches and during this month I have had the wonderful privilege of preaching in chapter three. Last Sunday I preached on the gift of God. The gift is from the Father and the gift is His only begotten Son. The Father sent the Son to die for the sins of the world and the Son gave His life willingly. The gift is for the world; “to whosoever”. The gift is received through genuine faith and depends on the finished work of Christ on the cross. The result of the gift is the new birth and eternal life.
We will have the doors of the church in Parla open this year. They insisted on gathering together to worship on this special day. They have organized a surprise. I have no idea what it is. I thank God for the people to which He has allowed me to minister. They love God and they love each other. Lord willing I will send some pictures of our Christmas service. God Bless and Merry Christmas!