Report for 5/1/2014
I had the privilege of visiting three small congregations in Spain during a twelve-day trip this month. Two of the congregations are in the area of Seville and one is in Badalona, a northern suburb of Barcelona.
The congregation in Dos Hermanas, a suburb of Seville, began about 25 years ago when a group of brethren read material of Bill Reeves and Wayne Partain and realized that the national church organization and ecumenical tendencies that they were being pressured to accept were unbiblical. They pulled out and have formed a small but vibrant group.
John Pate and Jerry Falk started the congregation in Seville. Jerry then began to gain the confidence of the church in Dos Hermanas. He is highly respected and loved in all of Spain. I can see his healthy influence among the brethren not only in their profound respect for the authority of the scriptures, but also their deep love and family-type closeness.
The church in Badalona, a northern suburb of Barcelona, is small, but the members are close and have a deep knowledge of the scriptures. It began as a mainstream group, but was strengthened through teaching by Efraín Perez and the reading of good material written by brethren Partain and Reeves. Picture of a group of brethren eating at McDonald's to the right.
Disciples in Spain and all throughout Europe are surrounded by a secular, materialistic and antireligious culture. One sister told me that a new friend who found out about her faith told her almost incredulously, but you seem so intelligent, as if faith and intelligence were incompatible.
A particular challenge faces the second generation of Christians. Who can they marry? There are few choices among Christians. Several have non-Christian boyfriends/girlfriends. Some of those may obey they gospel but many will not. Some young disciples are finding possibilities in the USA, but marriage will probably mean that they will stay in the States. However, their connections in the States have also motivated a young couple from here to make plans to go to Barcelona. That excites me! (Picture of young people from Seville, above right)
I was particularly glad to have Stephen Rouse with me to encourage the young Christians. Hes already set up some Skype studies with several young people, both believers and unbelievers.
Pray for your brethren in Spain
We are excited about two baptisms: Darryl, who was met through street evangelism and who has been visiting for several months, and Erika, a friend of Marina Guzman. Marina is one of our best contact getters. In fact, she and several other women in the congregation excel at this.
However, there are challenges with some others who have been baptized. Two in particular are beginning to miss services.
Were also excited about our new meeting area that is adjacent to our old rented hall. Picture below. We still have use of the rental hall on Sundays and Wednesdays, but the new area, which used to be a store, is ours exclusively.
We have a number of visiting preachers. Gary Fisher gave us an extensive series of studies on the book of Judges and Jerry Falk will be presenting lessons this next weekend.