Making friends and church planting
Making new friends and connecting them with the Church we are planting here in Madrid. “How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic of the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.” Leslie Newbigin.
Haciendo nuevos amigos y conectándolos con la Iglesia que estamos fundando aquí en Madrid. "¿Cómo es posible que el evangelio sea creíble, que las personas lleguen a creer que el poder que tiene la última palabra en los asuntos humanos está representado por un hombre colgando de una cruz? Estoy sugiriendo que la única respuesta, la única hermenéutica del evangelio, es una congregación de hombres y mujeres que lo creen y viven de acuerdo con él." Leslie Newbigin.
Learning from our previous church planting ministry in Guadalajara, Mexico
Church Planting Ministry - Guadalajara, Mexico (2011 - 2013)
In February of 2011 our family moved to Guadalajara, Mexico (a city of 9 million people) where we saw the Lord's blessing on the work and a Church of 35 believers was established during a two year period. The core group of the new Church plant in Guadalajara was composed of two families, our family and another Mexican family. From these two families the Lord blessed His work and the number grew to reach a total of 35 people. The apostle Paul's strategy in the New Testament to plant local Churches was the inspiration for our ministry. Evangelism, Discipleship, and the Preaching of the Word, was used as our main strategy to grow, about 80% of the membership of our new Church was composed of new believers who during our two years together mature to become more and more like Christ.
In December 2013 we were sad to leave Mexico (after serving there for a total of 6 years: 4 years in San Luis Potosi - from 2001 to 2004, and 2 years in Guadalajara - from 2011 to 2013) but very thankful for all the Pastoral and Church Planting Ministry experience we gained while serving God in this beautiful nation, at the same time the Lord filled our hearts with excitement for the future ministry in Spain.
In 2014, the Lord re-directed our family to Spain, where we are seeking to plant a Church in Madrid (a city of 6.5 million people).
Spain is part of the 10/40 window, less than 1% (0.5) of the population consider themselves Evangelical Christians. After our Church Planting Ministry in Guadalajara, Mexico, our passion has been to plant churches in strategic cities where there is no or little Evangelical presence. When leading the Short-Term Missions Ministry for our missions agency, World Witness, during a 6 year period (from 2005 to 2011) we were able to visit and do ministry in Madrid during three occasions.
Please pray for our family and ministry as we serve our Lord in Madrid, a beautiful city with beautiful people and yet so many are without Christ.
“I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.” (John 10:16)” Spain needs the gospel, 99.5 % of the population are not Evangelical Christians.
“If your greatest joy is to experience the infilling grace of God overflowing from you for the good of others, then the best news in all the world is that God will do the impossible through you for the salvation of the unreached peoples.” John Piper.
"The church has to be everywhere there are people but the people are moving into the city faster than the church. If you love what God loves, you will love the city." Tim Keller
Spain: Final Day English Camp Madrid 2017
By Sarah Phillips - First ARP Rock Hill group member
Our English camp has come to an end. You could sense each team member’s sadness as we realized that this was our last day with the children. The love that has grown for these children has blessed our hearts and it pains us to leave them so soon. The children enjoyed Friday because the theme was Spain! The groups were tasked with teaching us, the counselors, about their culture and what makes their country wonderful and special to them. It was fun for us as counselors to be able to learn from our children and they had so much fun trying to teach us how to pronounce the Spanish words correctly (we still need a lot of work!) We also did our best at learning the Flamenco Dance with fans that we decorated during craft time. Girls in the older group were able to show us the dance and taught the younger groups the steps. The evidence of the love of Christ showed as we wrapped up our session on Friday and we had campers crying and begging us not to go. This week has been such a blessing as we came here to love on the children of Spain and in return we felt their love and joy of life. Each member of the team has been extremely blessed and we cannot say enough about the beautiful children of Spain and the love our Heavenly Father has for them. We trust and pray that Jesus will use this past week of relationship building to touch their hearts and allow them to continue to feel His love. We continue to pray that the seeds we have sown will soon be ready for harvest as Jesus pursues their hearts. God loves Spain!
Australia: Day 4 English Camp Madrid 2017
By Hannah McKinney - member of First ARP Rock Hill, SC
On Thursday morning, we hosted the girls bible club at the Bonilla’s house, sharing the story of the Prodigal Son and the importance of forgiveness. As we continued to teach the word of God and bond with the girls, a strong presence of the Lord filled the room through laughs, lessons, and prayers. As English camp went on its fourth day, we taught and learned about Australia. The children enjoyed learning about and even dancing to the bizarre sounds of the didgeridoo. As the week was more than half way over, many of the children had opened up and become more engaged, asking many questions about words in English and involving themselves more in the lessons and dances, eager to learn. It was evident that each and every child was thrilled to be involved and looking forward to the next day. Later that same night, from the Bonilla’s apartment window, we could see some of the children from camp playing with their boomerangs they had decorated in camp that day. I could feel the Lord working through not only us, but also the children, as they grew and became comfortable with speaking up and stepping outside of their comfort zone to try something new. Encouragement could be found in the openness of the children in our English camp, with hopes that they would hold fast to the moments we had given them and continue to grow and ask questions, coming to know and accept our Lord as their own.
Ireland: Day 3 English Camp Madrid 2017
By Greg Harbin - member of First ARP Rock, Hill, SC
Wednesday started earlier for the team since the Bonilla family wanted to take us on an excursion to downtown Madrid. The city's Metro ride itself was a thrilling experience, but the sights and sounds of Madrid were beyond my expectations. We dined for lunch (the biggest meal in the Spanish culture) in the Plaza Mayor and the food was exceptionally delicious. We arrived back in Las Tablas in time for day three of English Camp where we learned about Ireland. We were blessed again to have all 23 children return. The children are quick studies and knew the basic routine already and were eager to learn. After decorating their passports and identifying objects that represent Ireland the children listened to some Celtic music and learned a few River Dancing moves. For recreation the children had to find hidden gold colored coins that were hidden in a nearby grassy area...impressively they found all 100 coins. Four Square (a game we learned while serving in Wales) is quickly becoming a popular activity and the older children insist on playing as long as their leaders will let them. For snack we provided them biscuits and green fruit (Green was the color of the day). For crafts the children made Shamrocks and decorated an Irish blessing poem. We covet your prayers so please continue to pray for this Mission team and the Bonilla family as we establish and grow relationships that will hopefully one day lead them to the Lord. In Christ,
Germany: Day 2 English Camp Madrid 2017
By Lindsay Looper - member of First ARP Rock Hill, SC
On Tuesday morning, the Bonillas took our team on a prayer walk around their community. We all took our own paths, walking and praying for the people of Madrid, and more specifically, the people in the community of Las Tablas (the Bonillas neighborhood). Later in the day, our 2nd English Camp was another success! We taught the children about the German culture through language, games, food, and holidays. I noticed that my group of 10-12 year-olds were much more comfortable and trusting of us after just one day of camp! Thanks be to God for the friendships and bonds that have been made so early in the week. It is so encouraging to see every team member show the love of God to the children at camp, and to each other throughout everyday!