Yesterday we got our kids up way before they normally rise, packed them in the car, and headed to the Olympic Peninsula to see some friends. Some of the most important friends we have.
Our coworkers, leader church planters, and mentors, Rich and Cindy, are home on furlough and the closest church to us where they had a meeting was Sequim. We spoke at the church three years ago and had a wonderful time, so we thought we’d take a day to visit them there. The pastor invited us to speak in the evening service, which was an unexpected blessing.
What makes this couple so important to us? Not only are they our coworkers in Spain, diligently proclaiming the Gospel, laying a foundation for people we might share with, and maintaining a positive reputation for the Centro Evangelico in Alcalá, but they are wonderful mentors.
Five year ago, they spoke at our church and shared their need for a young couple to come work with them. That night over Thai food, they presented to us the ministry in Spain and shared that it would be hard. That people are slow to come to Christ, they view evangelicals as a cult, and there is much discouragement among missionaries in Spain.
We took the challenge. One of the reasons is that Rich and Cindy are real people and they made us feel like we didn’t have to be super Christians to make a difference for Christ. They want us to come and they believe in us and God’s good plan for us.
It took them a long time to raise support to get to Spain as well. When they finally arrived, the couple they planned to work with ended up getting a promotion and moving to a new field. They tell us that every moment spent waiting will prepare us for the waiting in Spain. Waiting for people to acknowledge their need for a savior. Waiting for people to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the one and only. Waiting for them to make changes in their life that reflect a newfound faith. Waiting for them to identify with Christ in baptism.
They also tell us the ways that their church plant is growing. People in the neighborhood no longer cross the street to avoid being associated with the church. English camps serve more families each year and last summer there were more students for Vacation Bible School! A young Spanish couple is praying about ministry and we are praying they choose to settle in Alcalá and become the pastor of the church plant. If that happens, we don’t know where we’ll serve in Spain, but in a place where less than 1% of the people know Jesus, we won’t have to go far to begin a new work.
We are looking forward to working side by side with the people who played such an important role in our calling to Spain in the first place. We want to join the team, take over some of the excess work they have, and help them achieve the vision for reaching Alcalá de Henares.