Spring 2018 … Keep Climbing and Find a “Wow”!

[Jesus] went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him… (Matthew 5:1)
Yes, we are climbing mountains here in Spain…
  • The mountain of language learning
  • The mountain of cultural adaptation
  • The mountain of empty nesting
  • The mountain of cross cultural ministry
  • The mountain of introducing secularized people to Jesus

To compare our transition from life and ministry in the States to Spain as mountain climbing is not that far of a stretch. Critical mountain climbing essentials include:

  • Having the right gear
  • Being mentally and physically prepared
  • Proper research, planning, and training
  • Going with a strong support team
  • Having a guide

The best part about this climb is that we’ve gained a higher and stronger appreciation for the many graces and gifts of God that surround, protect, and energize us. His presence and your “presence” in our lives are so very beautiful. We are overwhelmed with gratefulness!

Yes, “climbing mountains” is difficult and certainly not for the faint of heart, but we’ve also come to realize to “Never be Afraid of the Mountain!” In Scripture, great events happened on hard to reach mountain tops

  1. Moses met God on Mount Sinai
  2. Elijah showed God to be true on Mount Carmel
  3. Jesus called the twelve disciples on a mountain
  4. Spiritual re-birth became possible because of what happened on Mount Calvary
  5. The Apostles were commissioned to go into all the world on a mountain

Are you facing a mountain in your life right now? If so, let me cheer you on by saying, “Don’t be afraid of the mountain.” Only mountain climbers see the view from the peak; that place where God meets desperate people like you and me. It’s on the climb that we more clearly see who we are and who He is. It’s there that He changes us in deep and profound ways. Keep climbing friend. We’ll see you at the top!

At the end of April, Mark, along with two other leaders from ICB, took 20 men on a hiking retreat to the Monsant region in the south of Catalunya. This band of brothers climbed more than mountains; going were few dare to go. God met us and we have been forever changed.


“A Peak at Our NORMAL Week”

On Sundays at ICB (International Church of Barcelona), Mark co-teaches the Basic Discipleship Course for new believers and seekers while Heather is teaching in the Children’s Ministry. Together, we lead a Couples Community Group in our apartment on Tuesday nights. We also spend time mentoring a few of the young adults, interns, and departmental leaders here at the Church while preparing for our future church plant in Girona. Several times per week, we connect with many new, dear friends that have yet to say yes to Jesus. So many here in Barcelona have never even had a conversation about Jesus. It’s humbling to share the hope we’ve found with others. You are a part of this!

The majority of our time is spent in language learning. We are gaining competency and hope to have a good handle on Spanish by the end of the summer. Please pray for us in regards to this.


Spring Highlights


Easter Services and the Easter Egg Hunt at the International Church of Barcelona drew over 2000 people. We met at a special location, the Cine Comedia, in the center of the city where hundreds more passed by some of which enjoyed the free coffee and pastries. Something truly remarkable is happening here … Jesus is becoming famous in Barcelona!!!


Sant Jordi is a major holiday/event in Barcelona where tens of thousands hit the streets searching for flowers and books to share with loved ones. Our church held an outreach and we handed out 3000 ICB bookmarks to people on Las Ramblas (pictured) and had many conversations and moments of prayer.

We enjoyed many opportunities to connect with people from our language classes many of whom have never met a follower of Jesus. We spent one Saturday evening playing Catan with Christian and Carola from Germany. We love these dear people!

We continue to disciple people through our weekly Community Group gathering that meets in our home and in restaurants. These friends and others come from Amsterdam, Moscow, Kiev, Seoul, Shanghai, San Francisco, Minneapolis, London, and Boston.

Family gathered in Milwaukee to celebrate our oldest daughter’s (Ashley) graduation (Cum Laude!!) from the Concordia University of Wisconsin. She is preparing to go to Medical School in the fall of 2019. We are so proud of this hard-working, intelligent, compassionate, Christ-centered woman!

Just last week, we had the privilege to introduce Pedro, Jason, Baswa, Lela, Kasmir, Ali, Halil, and Monu to the gospel. Please continue to pray for these friends and many others – that they will encounter Jesus.


We Need Your Prayers … Here’s How…

1. For our ministry at ICB Spain (the local international church). We continue to grow in our understanding of internationals and ministry. Pray for us and those we invest in through the many ministries and outreaches.
2. For our language learning. We invest about 7 hours per day in language learning. Pray we will have both capacity and endurance through all the challenges. We hope to wrap up our classes by the end of August.
3. For many people we have, and will develop friendships with. Most of them have never met a Christ-follower or even attended a Christ-centered Church. We love hearing their stories, building friendships, and introducing them to Jesus.
4. For the upcoming church plant in Girona. Pray for the leadership team to have the mind of Christ, for favor with the local government, and for the people of Girona to have a hunger for God. Just two weeks ago, a visitor to ICB from Girona shared her deep hope for an english speaking church to be planted there and this morning we received an email from someone who is looking for an international church in Girona to be a part of but there isn’t one yet.
5. 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.

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