Dear family and friends in Christ,
Centro Luz recently gained two new helpers and the team now has a good balance of Christians and non-Christians. The Centre is now in greater demand, not just because of the ongoing economic crisis but because another large association recently closed and many of their clients now attend the Centro Luz food-bank. They now have about 300 families on the books. As a result of this increase, Malaga’s central food-bank distributor (Bancosol) provides the Centre with an even greater quantity of food each week. We are so grateful to one of our supporting churches for their generous donation towards a new van but would ask you to pray for Ab and the team as they look for a new larger, more reliable one.
Asociación Benéfica Cristiana
The clothes-bank/shop team has steadily increased in the past few months, with a total of 22 volunteers helping over four different days. Although this covers the practical work of sorting, categorising, hanging and pricing the clothes, we are still in need of a more committed group of Christians. When conversations start becoming critical of clients, or turning towards gossip, it’s important to have people there who can help bring a different perspective, guiding folk back to more constructive conversations which bless and build people up. And when individuals open up about their struggles and concerns, we would like there to always be someone available to bring words of encouragement and to offer to pray with or for them, meeting someone’s spiritual needs as well as their practical needs. Our vision is for the Ropero to be a refuge for people, a place to breathe, a place of acceptance, support and encouragement in the midst of the struggles of life.
Maricarmen is one of Sarah’s colleagues who has been growing in her understanding of the Christian faith over the past couple of years. She has a natural sensitivity to spiritual things, and enjoys the brief times of prayer we sometimes have in the Ropero and when we have prayed with her for specific needs. A few months ago, Maricarmen agreed to meet with another local missionary, whose giftings are in prayer ministry and inner healing. The Spirit touched her profoundly during these times of ministry. As Dora is away over the summer months, please pray that God will continue to minister to Maricarmen in our absence and that he who began the good work in her will carry it on to completion. (Philippians 1:4-6) Once Dora gets back after the summer, the two of them will meet again.
In the last month Sarah has also been trying to work on some publicity for the clothes shop. With posters and flyers now in Spanish, English, German and Dutch, we are distributing them locally, particularly where there are foreigners living. Spaniards will not buy second-hand clothes unless there really is no other option. We hope that by targeting the expat community, we might gain more clients.
We are also trying to use Facebook more. If you are on Facebook, please do like and follow the ABC at “El ABC - ONG ALHAURIN”.
In February, just as we were about to go on a week’s holiday, Aaron broke his fifth metatarsal (side of his foot) and ended up on crutches for six weeks. Despite the crutches and borrowed wheelchair, we had a lovely holiday in Portugal. The highlight for Aaron was meeting up with his best friend, who had moved there last summer. We also enjoyed a meal with our neighbour’s son and family, who have also moved there. Upon return, sadly Aaron then broke the same bone in his other foot, with another six weeks on crutches. Thankfully he now seems to have made a full recovery and we are grateful for his gentle, patient personality, which has helped him cope with it well.
Sam’s highlights this term have been playing five-aside football for the local team. He has thoroughly enjoyed training twice a week, and his team recently won an area championship. School has been less of an interest, but we hope that a change of teaching styles and education system, while in the UK, will help inspire and motivate him.
Ten years in Malaga: 22 May 2007-29 June 2017
“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” (Mere Christianity; C. S Lewis)
In May, we completed 10 years in Spain which has been an amazing, God-given opportunity to share God’s love with so many people in and around Malaga. During this time, we have seen how God has affirmed, equipped and shaped not only others but us personally as children of God. We are missionaries but we are also ordinary people with many weaknesses as well as strengths. Those who know us personally know that we are very normal people, with hopes and fears, dreams and anxieties.
Working in trans-cultural mission is always a learning curve – grappling to understand the culture; experiencing God’s divine power; dealing with disappointments, celebrating breakthroughs. And through it all, we have learned so much about ourselves and our need to depend on God, who is changing us to be ever more like him.
This first decade in Spain has been a journey of faith, a testimony to the faithfulness of God and what it means to be a child of God. We want to express our sincere gratitude to you all, for the wonderful gift of your prayers, encouragement and financial support. We look forward to that continuing into this next stage of our journey.
Home leave in the UK
As we write, we are making final preparations before travelling to the UK for six months of home-leave. We have been slowly backing out of our work activities, as we delegate and hand over tasks to other colleagues. Pray for them as they take on new responsibilities and for God to guide them as they take the work forward.
Your prayers regarding the boys’ schooling have been answered, with both of them being accepted in local schools. Their Spanish schools have also agreed to keep their places until January, thanks to a provision for those families leaving for “temporary work purposes”. This was set up for families who move away to help with the seasonal agricultural work here in Spain, such as the olive harvest.
We are also very grateful to two families who will be loaning us their cars for a couple of months each. This will cover four out of the six months but we still need something for September and October. We would appreciate ongoing prayers for that.
Home-leave plans so far:
• July is fully booked: The boys will visit their new schools, then we will be travelling the country to one supporting church and then visit friends, see Felipe’s sister and family at the Keswick Convention, and attend CMS meetings and a conference.
• August is a much needed, quieter month as we focus on time with good friends and family, and also look for a church in Ipswich where Sam and Aaron can get stuck in and make friends.
• September: the boys will start school, for which we value your prayers. We will also be looking at how to best use our time in the UK, be that studying, involvement in local ministry or other training and equipping.
• October and November: Once in the UK we will be organising visits to our supporting, link churches. Prayers are appreciated for the logistics and that we can help the churches re-engage with our vision to see God impacting lives in this region of Spain.
Once again, can we reiterate how grateful we are to all those who have faithfully supported us during these last 10 years, and we look forward to all that God has in store for us in the coming six months, and beyond.