Fall 2018 Update … It’s All About People

Why Would a Man Leave His Daughter Behind and Come to Barcelona?

Let us introduce you to E*****. We met him and his pregnant girlfriend on a cold, dark early December evening. Christmas lights hung across the streets, shoppers filled the sidewalks, and tourists, with their eyes focused on their maps, bumped into locals. It’s “La Navidad” and many were eating “churros con chocolate” while breathing in the wonder of this beautiful city we call home; but not everyone. 

E**** and Mark sharing life.

This is where we met our Cuban friend. He had crossed an ocean, leaving his eleven year old daughter behind, and now residing amongst the marginalized, homeless population of our city. He was looking for one thing, a better life for him and his daughter. In his home country, opportunity for work was scarce and the life he wanted for his daughter would not be found, so he followed his heart. He was searching for hope.

After two weeks of living on the streets in Spain, he crossed paths with our international church through a ministry to the homeless that we partner with. Through this ministry, he and his girlfriend were able to find safety and warmth through a temporary housing solution. And on the night we met, he shared his story. 

Tears filled both our eyes as we shared the pain of leaving children behind. Using basic Spanish, he showed us pictures of his darling daughter and we showed him pictures of ours, but it didn’t stop there.  Opening the Bible, we began sharing scriptures with him and then we prayed together, for the peace of Christ to fill our hearts and the hearts of our children. This was a God moment. He is one of the reasons we are here. People will travel thousands of miles to find hope and Jesus did so to offer it.

Why Relationships Count in Mission Work

Meet M****. We did, on the first day of Spanish language school in January of 2018. She was literally a God-send to us. Her joyful spirit, fun-loving attitude, and compassionate heart were a perfect gift to us as we plunged head first into the deep-end of learning our first foreign language. She has always been one of our biggest encouragers. We thank God for M****.

Through months of grammar and conversation, we were able to build a meaningful friendship with her. The rare opportunity of sharing tapas after a Friday class will not be forgotten. So often, she encouraged us, with her British-Spanish accent, “You can do this.” 

And then something happened. At the end of October she passed by us quickly, unusually cold. Heather approached her, “What’s wrong?” Through frightened features, M**** told Heather that she had been robbed … “Everything.” Her apartment had been emptied by thieves. Hugs, tears, more hugs; it’s all we could do as we felt her helplessness. 

And that’s when God gave Heather an idea; a simple note and a Bible, maybe M****s first. When the gift was given and love was shared, an embrace was exchanged that needed no words. Gratefulness. Yes on M****’s part but even more so on our part.

We are grateful to live life amongst such amazing people here in Spain, grateful that we get a front row seat to what God is doing in the lives of dozens of friends who’ve largely viewed the church of Jesus as a taker and never a giver, grateful to share the gospel with people who are hearing and “seeing” it for the first time, and grateful for you and for all of those who are standing with us as financial and prayer partners. M**** feels your “hug.” E**** knows your hope.

// Thank you for partnering with us to touch lives here in Spain! Your partnership is crucial, enabling us to live, love, and legacy here. //

We Need Your Prayers … Here’s How…

1. For friends here that God has brought across our path.We are so grateful for these friends and for their love for us. Pray for them that they would come to place their faith in Christ. They are teachers, fellow students, neighbors, shop keepers, grocery clerks, waiters and waitresses, tour guides, gym members, and more.
2. For our language learning. We continue to work towards a stronger competency with the Spanish language. Thank you for praying for us. We are growing in the critical skill.
3. For the upcoming church plant. We believe that God has opened up a door for us in a specific city (to be shared at a future time). Pray for God’s perfect timing in our transition, for the location of the church in that city, and for the team that God is calling to come and love a city. God is stirring many hearts with His dreams for people.
4. For our finances. Please thank God with us for His amazing provision through the many generous churches, businesses, and individuals that support us. Pray that we will continue to see every need met.
5. For our children. Our youngest, Allie, is graduating early from Concordia University and has many doors before her. Our oldest, Ashley, is heading to medical school in the summer of 2019. We are so proud of both of them!

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).