Dear family and friends in Christ,
“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” Bob Pierce - founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse.
Greetings from beautiful Suffolk
We had forgotten how beautiful the English countryside is, a land of astonishing views and landscapes.
Having been in the UK over the last four months, we realise how ministry in Spain has been such an integral part of our lives during the past decade. In the first two months back, it was difficult to mentally disengage from our activities with the food banks, from the intensity of some of our friendships and from the lifestyle in general. Our time here has shown us that ministry life has sapped our energy and we have needed this extended visit to the UK to re-focus as a family, helping us to have some quality time with each other.
We are all fallen creatures, and this season has highlighted our weaknesses and the need to tackle those areas of our lives which require more care and special attention. Please pray for the grace of God, both as individuals and as a family. We give thanks to God for this tremendous gift of time to recharge.
Reconnecting with God through ordinary Christians in local churches has been a source of refreshment and great encouragement to us. We see strong signs of a Christian culture and presence around us, despite it being said that the church is declining. Britain is still a nation with a strong, rich Christian heritage. We can’t help but compare that with our situation in Spain, where Christianity is relatively weak and churches are reticent to see change and establish new things. In the middle of a very godless society, relationships take a long time to establish roots and evangelisation is very slow.
Being honest, at times it would be easier to cut and run, but we believe God has not finished his work in Spain and Malaga. He continues to give us a heart for the broken-hearted and disadvantaged.
Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth. This is our calling as believers – to bring light to this broken world. And so our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will speak loudly into our hearts. “Lord, let my heart be broken by the things that break your heart.”
We give thanks to God that, with a gift from one of our churches, the centre has now purchased a new van. This was a real answer to prayer. With the arrival of the unbearable summer heat, in August the centre always takes a break for three weeks. After this, new people begin arriving and the team slowly rebuilds. Pray for the volunteers, that God will give them a new touch of energy and a real sense of joy as they re-establish their routines and their relationships with the centre’s beneficiaries.
The ABC also had a break in August, having given a double quantity of food in July to help see people through the two months. The food distribution and clothes bank/shop then opened again at the beginning of September. Please continue to pray for more committed Christian volunteers with a heart for this essential work and a desire to engage in building relationships and being salt and light to both beneficiaries and the other volunteers. Pray too for Nancy, Maricarmen, Marivi and Mariangeles as they continue to coordinate the ABC’s activities. Pray especially for relief from various health issues that they and/ or their families are facing and, importantly, for financial provision for Nancy and her family, so that she can dedicate her time to the ABC.
As we mentioned in our last letter, July was spent travelling around the UK. One highlight was a week at the Keswick Convention along with Felipe’s sister, Barbara, her husband and two boys. Another of our nephews from Chile, who had been on a six-month YWAM training course in Holland, also joined us. We also met up with some long-standing friends, a few of whom live outside the UK, and it was lovely to re-connect with them.
September saw school start. For all who have been praying for Sam and Aaron, we thank you. Both boys have settled into their classes really well, having navigated the very different school system and made new friends. Aaron initially struggled with the more informal teaching style, saying that he “never knew what to expect”. He also found assemblies quite unusual (they don’t have them in Spain) and was particularly amused by the customary salutation: “Good morning, children.” “Good morning, Mr Cornish. Good morning, everyone.” On the academic side, both boys seem to have made good progress. Sam has been much more motivated than in Spain and has been keen to participate in class. Aaron’s English and reading have improved a lot and he received an “improved reader” certificate in assembly the other week.
The boys have also made some good friends. Sam is a key player in the neighbouring village football team and enjoys weekly Saturday league games and his team are currently at the top of their league! Aaron has loved having a few of his classmates live just up the road from us, so meets up with a couple of them to play.
We have also been enjoying quality time with Sarah’s dad, who has been very gracious in accommodating us and adjusting to the stresses and challenges of a family with teen/preteen boys. Over all, it has been good to re-connect as a family, and we have enjoyed going out for day trips as well as a lovely week’s holiday in the Peak District in July. Sarah has also been helping Dad “de-clutter” the house, garage and garden with the help of a skip and a paper shredder.
In our last letter we asked for prayer for a car to borrow during September and October. We are so grateful to friends who extended their initial car-loan to enable us to use their car from September right through until the end of December. God is good!
For the computer-savvy...
For those of you that use a computer, can we suggest that you familiarise yourselves with the Church Mission Society website, where you can see all manner of information regarding the organisation. There are interesting articles on mission, news of projects in the UK and abroad, prayer needs, mission opportunities and, of course, information about us!
Through the website you can also give, either as a one-off or as a regular donation, either to the CMS general fund or towards specific mission partners like ourselves. We rely on the regular giving by individuals, in addition to the support given by our link churches. Even £5-10 a month makes a big difference.
For those using Facebook...
Please search for the group “Yanez family updates” and ask to join the group. Once there, you can follow us and see more regular updates of our work, with photos and prayer requests. You can also see updates about the ABC if you search for the page “El ABC – ONG Alhaurin”. Please give the page a “like” while you’re there.
So once again we want to thank you so much for your prayers, messages, phone calls, visits and financial support. May God inspire each of you and give you wisdom as you seek ways to be salt and light in your families, local communities, in the UK and in the wider world.