Serving in Spain

Last week we were able to take a quick trip around Spain to see other missionaries. After we returned home we realized in five days we were able to see all the missionaries currently in Spain with BMM (minus one couple who is on furlough, plus a couple who serves in Zambia – bonus points). It was an encouraging trip for multiple reasons, but here are a few specifics:

  • Laughter is contagious – in any language.
  • Sometimes we have no idea why God chooses to move missionaries, but we can trust he knows best.
  • Success in ministry is faithfulness, not numbers.
  • The gospel is the power of God in all cultures.
  • Talking with someone who has passed through what we are currently struggling through can be a breath of fresh air.
  • Cherries are best eaten frozen.

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My crucifixion

God is committed to my dying every day, and He calls me to that same commitment (Luke 9:23). He insists that every hour be my dying hour, and He wants my death on the cross to be as central to my own life story as is Christ’s death to the gospel story.

Milton Vincent, Gospel Primer

Events from 2014: Spain Vision Trip – Moving

We took off for the first half of November to visit our coworkers, Jon and Lorena Templeton, in Spain. Our goals were to: 1) Spend time with the Templetons; 2) Help them move into their new apartment in Ponferrada; 3) Strategize with other Christian leaders on the best way to begin ministry in Ponferrada.

It was exciting to help the Templetons move into a new apartment for a variety of reasons. We got better acquainted with Ponferrada, it helped us to understand what living arrangements are like there, we got a feel for the interactions between neighbors, and we got to tease Jon about his incredibly small coffee cups. I am not sure what else one could ask for.

The city of Ponferrada has about 70,000 people, but because it is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, it is fairly compact. The whole valley has about 135,000 people so there is a good mix of city and village life.

Here are some pictures from the Templeton’s window and then around the city.







Thoughts on Raising Support

A missionary has to raise funds. At times that can seem like all he does. As I have been working through how I am going to deal with raising support, Jerry Bridges’ “True Community” has been an encouragement. Here is an excerpt from chapter six.

The Philippian believers had entered into partnership with Paul through their material assistance to him. They had done this from the earliest days of their acquaintance with the gospel. The Philippians had apparently been taught that koinonia within the Christian community involved a working relationship. They recognized that they had a missionary responsibility to those cities beyond them and that one major way they could fulfill that responsibility was to give to the ministry of the missionary Paul. They teamed up with Paul through their gifts to him. Paul recognized their status as partners with him through their giving. He not only thanked God for their partnership but also assured them of a return on their investment.

In verse 17, he says, “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.” He was confident that just as he would receive a reward for his labors, so the Philippians would share with him in that reward. Just as they had invested in his missionary enterprise as partners, so they would participate in the rewards of that enterprise as partners. Paul and the Philippians were truly partners in the gospel. Every Christian today has the same privilege as did the believers at Philippi of being a partner in the gospel enterprise. Each of us has the opportunity to participate in ministries far beyond our own personal endeavors, both in cities at home and in countries overseas. Every time we give to a mission, either at home or overseas, we are joining in partnership with that particular ministry, and we will share in the fruit of that ministry in proportion to our sharing in its costs.

Bridges, Jerry (2012-09-14). True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia (Kindle Locations 990-1002). Navpress. Kindle Edition.

Great book everyone should read, and it’s on sale today.

Death By Living by N. D. Wilson

Point: Life, like the food in your pantry, will spoil if you try to hoard it away instead of using it.

Read it. It would be well worth another read and I would recommend it someone who:

    Is still breathing
    Likes imaginative literature
    Feels like their life is going nowhere
    Has children/grandchildren/other people loving in close proximity
    Is considering retirement, but actually wants to make it profitable

If you read the full review, and it is helpful, let us know.

Ring Someone’s Bell

Sunday morning we attended church with Martin at St. James the Less Church. In the morning they have a team of bell ringers who ring the bells for quite some time.

The service was a traditional Church of England service. This morning they also had a Baby Baptism and Communion. The child was about 2 years old and his family was all there to celebrate the occasion. Neither Crystal nor myself have ever been to a baptism like this before.
The minister tried to explain that although the child does not understand what is going on, the church promises to raise the child in this teaching. We were not quite able to draw the connection on why you would baptize someone who does not understand what is going on, nor has placed personal faith in Christ. It was a sobering learning experience for us to see what many people believe.

Following the service we met some of the church members. One lady asked where we lived and we explained that we are from Minnesota. She was surprised and explained that her husband was from Minnesota as well. We told her that we lived in Minneapolis (again the city of her husband) and she asked which part. “We live in Edina” we replied. “That is where my husband grew up!” was her answer. Weird.

Following the service, Jennifer took us for a drive out in the country side to one of the oldest roads in the world. More on this to come (and an explanation on the tongue sandwich seen below).

On the road