As in every ministry journey I take, I try to maximize every minute I spend in the country. As I travel to the different corners of Spain, I witness a culture in moral decay, uncertain of its future, and facing economic challenges that make many people ask the question, “Isn’t there more to life than this?”
Here are a few sobering facts about the situation we are facing in Spain:
• The beautiful city of Barcelona has become the gay capital of Europe. The gay community was granted permission to erect a life-size gay statue on the sidewalk across the main entrance from Gaudi’s world famous Sagrada Familia cathedral. This world famous cathedral in the heart of Barcelona is blatantly desecrated by the “in your face” statue of the gay community!
• Prostitutes line the highway leading into coastal cities, trying to lure customers. You can’t go 50 yards without encountering one or more. In other countries, they are referred to as “ladies of the night,” but here the title would not apply. They were out to attract customers on a bright and sunny Saturday morning. Nothing can open your eyes to see the need like blatant reality in broad daylight!
• The presidential race debate is on gay marriage and is getting lots of attention.
I am not sure how all this strikes you, but I think we all would agree that the culture is sinking in moral decadence. Secularism has left the great people of Spain wandering in a wasteland of moral uncertainty.
But God always offers hope when culture does not. God is at work amid the moral ruins of Spain. Whether in Barcelona or the Basque country or the cities in the south or central regions, every one of our graduates is reporting unprecedented growth. The Lord is blessing their congregations and ministries, shining light in darkness. This is the very setting into which the Apostle Paul walked 2000 years ago. From homosexuality to prostitution to secular power brokering, Paul saw what we see. And he boldly proclaimed the Gospel – and the world began to change! We are grateful for the bright hope that we have in the new group of students the Lord has brought to us this year. The incoming class that started this fall gives us around 70 students for the year in our three programs. This is a great blessing when you realize that the average attendance in other evangelical institutions is between 10 and 15 students. We are thrilled at the fact that our students start their year with a strong commitment to evangelism and church planting as well as a great disposition to study. It was a thrill to see that, after only four days, the students were able to answer and interact with the complex arguments with a great degree of understanding.
Let me introduce you to a few of the people having a great impact in Spain.
• Miguel Angel , the second member of his family to attend our seminary, is distinguishing himself in a wonderful way in the understanding and reasoning of the arguments (apologetics) for our faith. When asked about his opinion on the course I was privileged to teach, he said: “I only wish I could run into my philosophy teacher of a few years ago!” He certainly has a heart for the Lord and high integrity in the study and the handling of the concepts. He is going to make a wonderful pastor!
• David, Miguel Angel’s brother who graduated a few years ago, is currently working for the Billy Graham Association in Spain. David travels the country opening up networks for a national evangelistic campaign called “Mi Esperanza” (My Hope). The campaign has already led thousands of people to Christ.
• Unai and Rebekah, who just added a sweet baby girl to their family, are a dynamic couple who are adding spiritual children to God’s family as well. They moved their church from its former facility because the auditorium was not large enough, even with two services! The new auditorium is now full again even though it is almost three times the size of the former one! When we consider the need of the country and of the continent of Europe, and when we see that the scores of graduates and students are making a big difference through the Gospel in their communities, we know we are on the right path!