Monday, November 23, 2009

November happenings...

The Boomerang Express comes to Spain

This summer the Boomerang Express traveled all across Texas for Vacation Bible Schools in many different churches. Our three year old niece told her mother when they were talking about Jesus being in heaven, “No, mommy, Jesus comes on the Boomerang Express!” Two churches in Texas donated their VBS materials to a Nigerian church here in southern Spain, making it possible for us to team up with other volunteers and have a Vacation Bible School for African immigrants in Spain. Songs, games, snacks, crafts, and Bible stories, traveled from Texas to Spain, and could be heard coming from the First Baptist Church of Roquetas de Mar, where folks from Nigeria, Spain, Romania, and America worked together to bring about a fun and informative experience for children from these countries as well. We learned about worshipping, following, serving, and obeying Jesus. Jesus is in heaven, and this year he came to Spain on the Boomerang Express.

Matilda’s story

We bought Matilda the sheep and put her and a friend in the sheep pen that we helped set up at one of our African friend’s houses. When we came back to Spain after being in the states for our operations, we went by to check on our friends and Matilda. She was nowhere to be seen and our friends had moved out of the house. We began calling to try to find them, but we could not get in touch with any of them. Then one night Malle called to say that they had moved because there was no work near the old house so they had to find a place where there was work. We were surprised to learn that they still had Matilda! The children were so excited when we went to their new house in the midst of still more green houses and saw Matilda living in her new pen. Joel bought some feed and took it by on another day for the guys to feed to Matilda, and they discussed getting new sheep as well. A few nights later Malle called to tell us something about the sheep, but Joel couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell us, so we went by the house and pen the next day, but Matilda was not there. We found out that she had been stolen during the night. We were all disappointed, especially the kids. Our sheep had been lost, then found, then lost again. The guys were already figuring out how they could fix the pen so that it would be more secure and any new sheep we buy will hopefully not be so easily stolen. On the way home Megan said, “Mom, Pawpaw has goats in a pen; and they never got stolen.” We talked about how that was one of the many reasons we lived in southern Spain, because people were sometimes so hungry or desperate that they would even steal a mangy old sheep like our beloved Matilda.

Conversations: Reincarnation, Religion, and Relationship

I have found in about 16 years of ministry that the key is a personal relationship with the Lord and not religion. As I have had various conversations here in southern Spain with people from different countries around the world, I am still finding the key to be the same. In recent conversations with a friend from Argentina who believes in reincarnation, and another man from Argentina, and a man from Sierra Leon, I realized that each individual was disenchanted with religion; therefore, we talked about the possibility and joy of having a personal relationship with God through His son, Jesus.

Please pray for the people we encounter here, that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts to a personal relationship with God.

Conversations… (cont.)

Here in southern Spain we have friends from many different religions: Evangelical, Pentecostal, Catholic, Muslim, Reincarnation, and Atheism. Our conversations with our friends are often interesting, but it all comes down to a personal relationship with Christ. Please pray for our friends; that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts to be interested in a personal relationship with Jesus. Please pray for us as we look for open opportunities to talk about faith issues; that we might “make the most of each opportunity.” ( I wrote this recently and before I could even get it posted to our blog, God gave us a great opportunity to plant seeds…)

Planting Seeds in Open Doorways

“Bienvenida a mi casa; mi casa es tu casa.” (Welcome to my house; my house is your house.) Thank you for praying for the location of our new project, “mi casa es tu casa.” We now have a great little house and the door is open! One volunteer has already stayed in the upstairs guest house and we have another team coming next week. We have also hosted an African lunch and ministry discussion in the lower floor ministry center. This Saturday night we will host the African and other immigrant pastors’ meeting. We will make chocolate chip cookies for them to try for the first time.

The most exciting thing that has happened through new “open doors,” was the wonderful opportunity that God gave us to plant seeds. Recently in our Spanish Baptist Union conference, Billy Hanks with the International Evangelism Association out of Salado, Texas spoke about how we need to “be good dirt,” based on the parable of the sower and the seed. He reminded us that “we never lead anyone to Christ, we just plant the seeds.” Tiffne was able to talk with two different friends from Africa about our belief that Jesus is God’s Son and that we can have a personal relationship with God through faith in Him. Joel had the opportunity to lead a prayer after an end of Ramadan festival asking for God’s blessing on the upcoming year and acknowledging His desire to have a personal relationship with us.

Please continue to pray for our friends that the Holy Spirit will continue to open the doors of their hearts that they might desire this personal relationship with a loving and merciful God.

Also, please pray this month as we hope to host some of our African friends for an American Thanksgiving dinner at “mi casa,” that this might open doors of opportunity to discuss our thankfulness to the Lord.

Baby Naming Ceremony

Thank you for praying for the three babies that were born the last few months. We were invited to attend a baby naming ceremony. One week after a Senegalese baby is born the family has the ceremony. Early in the morning, the father takes the baby in his arms and whispers in his ear his new name. Then the family kills a sheep and the women begin the preparations for the meal of rice, vegetables, and sheep – theb yappa. As the women prepared the meal on this day, we ate beƱes – fried dough, and we drank tha cre – milk, corn meal, apples, and chocolate all mixed together. After eating and visiting, an experienced person shaves the baby’s head so that he can grow new hair. We also drink a very strong tea called attaya together.

Please pray for baby Usman who has a broken collar bone. He is doing well. Please pray that the collar bone will heal correctly.

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