The group woke up and ate a yummy breakfast of cereal and homemade banana bread! We are being served beyond any expectation. After breakfast we studied John 4 and contemplated how that passage should change us. Shortly after, our dear friend Tere joined us. So, we loaded up and drove 45 minutes to Astorga. If it had not been Monday, we could have gone in those places… but the outside was a beauty of its own. There we saw a castle, a beautiful town, and an Episcopalian church. We were enriched with some history and the view of a preserved Roman wall that would have, at one point, surrounded the entire city. We ate lunch in the shade of courtyard trees and then drove to a town about 10 minutes from Astorga.
This town was made entirely of cobblestones and clay. The beautiful antiquity of the buildings and roads were perfect photo opportunities. We talked and walked front to back of the town. Fun fact: in every Spanish city there is a cross when entering and leaving so any passer-through would remember to pray. We walked back and drove home to Ponferrada where we all rested (literally, naps everywhere) until we met up to leave for one of the few evangelical churches in Ponferrada. There we met up with Israel the pastor and the original church planter. We walked into a building of red chairs and lots of stairs. After greetings, Israel talked (and Jon graciously translated) about the history of Protestantism in Spain. Discouraging to say the least. Spain missed the Protestant Revolution started by Martin Luther a just a few countries away. Spain went 400 years without the ability to read the Bible. Spain recognized the Evangelical church in 1992. To put this in perspective, in 1992 Bill Clinton was elected and Spain legally permitted a person to register as Evangelical. The Church is dividing on beliefs instead of joining together. There has been a slow growth of Protestant believers… but Israel is not discouraged.
Israel has sacrificed for his beliefs more than most Americans today. We need to pray for authentic evangelism, spiritual holiness, solid beliefs without doctrinal rigidity, ecumenism based on the Bible, and movement of the Holy Spirit. We all have a lot of work to do in transforming our own hearts and so does Spain. The Gospel is a beautiful narrative that needs to be woven into every fabric of our lives. Imagine the wildly vivid quality of the fabric of the Spanish people.
With new perspectives,