"It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation...But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain." -- Romans 15:20, 23-24
Paul’s ambition was to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, and eventually to do so in Spain. That dream is coming to fruition in Madrid as La Iglesia de los Discípulos de Cristo en Madrid strives to preach the word to the 6.5 million people in our city. We pray every day for God to connect us to people who are seeking him, and he is answering our prayers in amazing ways.
One example is the story of David and Milagros. David moved from Lima, Peru to Madrid 13 years ago to begin a new life. Ten years later, in 2014, he connected with Milagros (which means “Miracles”) over Facebook at the encouragement of mutual friends. They began building a relationship through Facebook, Skype, and several visits to Peru. After falling in love, they were married in May of 2016, with Milagros still awaiting her visa to move to Madrid and live with David.
After their marriage in May, Milagros, who has two sisters who are disciples in the Lima church, began studying the Bible. She was baptized in September, eager to get to Madrid and connect her husband with the church. In December, her visa was approved, and she quickly moved to Madrid and joined the disciples.
In February of this year, after two months of being together and Milagros sharing her faith with David through her words and example, he came to church. We reached out to him, and he agreed to study the Bible.
Over the next three months it was amazing to see David’s heart soften and open up as he came to understand and be moved by the amazing love that God has for him, and the forgiveness he offers us through Jesus. He decided that, “If Jesus did all of this for me, how could I not give my life to him?” David did just that on May 21, as he made his good confession and was baptized.
God has helped Milagros live up to her name, performing a miracle by bringing her and David together physically and spiritually. They have both been a great encouragement to the whole church.
The second example of God answering our prayers came about through the Madrid campus internship that just ended. Eleven interns from Boston and North River arrived on June 15 to spend a month with the church. They came with two goals: 1) to encourage the disciples, and 2) to preach the word to as many as possible at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, a university that boasts an enrollment of 86,000 students. It is safe to say that they accomplished both goals in inspiring ways.
We witnessed an amazing example of how, in the kingdom, love and brotherhood transcend language and culture. Several brothers and sisters had the privilege of hosting the interns in their homes or inviting them over for meals and fun times together. The church was blown away by their hearts to serve and love the disciples, even though only half of the group came already speaking Spanish.
On campus, God opened the doors wide for the word to be preached. Within a month’s time, over 30 campus students came to Bible talks, campus devotionals, fun events, and church services, despite being in the middle of final exams! Eight students who were met during that time are now studying the Bible, with many more still connecting and building friendships with the disciples. We have faith that many of these students will become our brothers and sisters soon.
Please keep the church, the city of Madrid and all of Europe in your prayers as we strive to preach the gospel to as many as possible. We are eager to continue seeing Paul’s ambition come to fruition in this generation.