I believed in Jesus Christ as my savior when I was 8 years old after AWANA. I grew up in a Christian home with a mom and dad who were active in their faith and discipleship of me, which has always been a great blessings. By the time I reached high school, I became more active and serious about my faith, and began to think more about the need for Christ in Western Europe. It bothered me that although the statistics reveal that Europe is full of lost people, with less than 1 percent of people professing faith in Christ, I knew very few missionaries serving there. This was God’s first prompting for me to one day look into being a missionary myself, thought it took some time! After we were married, my wife and I started, slowly, to look into missions. After hearing our coworker speak at our church about the need in Spain for young people, we knew we had been called to Spain. We look forward now to serving with our fellow believers in Spain to see Spaniards come to know Christ.
I had two friends in middle school who relentlessly invited me to church and youth group, which I refused for a long time. I finally admitted my need for Christ as my savior at age 15. I dedicated my life to serving the Lord in missions on a summer mission trip to Mexico, and God used circumstances and experiences at my secular college to teach me about sharing my faith in dark places. In my adult life, God has continued to foster that by giving me a burden for my neighbors and the “field” we have now. God gave me a renewed heart for people and I am grateful He sees fit to use me in Spain, a very dark and spiritually needy place. Some of the ways God has prepared me for ministry in Spain include studying Spanish in college, a passion to disciple young women and a career in mentoring, and a desire to plant more than a church – a family of disciples who make disciples.
Spain has a story too. The statistics imply that Christianity, in some form, dominates religious culture with 77% of people claiming to be Christians. Of those, 98.6% of those are Roman Catholics. Other surveys indicate that less than 1% of the population profess evangelical beliefs, including that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. The reality is that Catholicism has a historical and cultural grip on Spain, but as an expression of faith, it has become irrelevant.
Today’s Spaniards are post-modern. The younger generation in particular rejects the idea of absolute truth. False beliefs are quickly multiplying – a natural consequence of the departure from religious faith. In addition, high unemployment, especially among young people, contributes to depression and high rates of substance abuse.
The need in Spain is great. But God, in His mercy, is already at work, and He has called us to be part of His plan to bring people to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Spaniards are friendly and dynamic. They love to debate and discuss philosophy and they are willing to dig deep to understand concepts. Relationships and time take a higher priority than money and material possessions, so friendships can be deep and lasting. In addition, in turbulent, hopeless economic circumstances, Spaniards are interested in the One who can meet their deepest needs. God is using these characteristics to grows the church in Spain.
stats and data from http://joshuaproject.net