‘I live every day like on borrowed time!’
I’ve suffered from some serious health problems these last years. This week I’ll receive the results of the last cancer screening, whilst still in recovery from the last surgery in December. Number ten already! At the same time, I must say that I’ve never been so busy as these last years. It is as I have the feeling that there is not so much time left. I am now 58 years old, but I always had the impression that I will not live long. After I lost my parents so soon, I realized death can present itself any time. I live every day like on borrowed time!
The Lord has allowed me to see so much fruit of the church's ministry, the fruit my father hasn’t lived to see. He started our congregation fifty years ago, but during most of his life it remained a small group. He left the work with Christian Literature Crusade to start a reformed church in the city centre to preach the gospel to young people who were coming to live in the area. It was during the last decade of the dictatorship of General Franco. My dad opened the first evangelical bookshop hidden in an office building in the Main Street of Madrid, which at that time was called after the old Spanish fascist leader, Avenida de José Antonio, now Gran Vía. We came to live in the area when I was 12 years old.
The streets of this area, where we as a family are still living, Malasaña, are named after the heroes of the war in the 19th century against the brother of Napoleon, who ruled from the Royal Palace of Madrid until Spain became independent. After the death of Franco came a long transition to democracy, and the church moved in 1980 to a working-class area in the south-eastern part of the city, Vallecas. We rented the old meeting-place of the Socialist Party, which was now legal. When my father retired, I became a minister of the church, but our congregation did not experience any growth until we moved to a more northern part of Madrid, the area which got the name of the Marian dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It was at the beginning of this century when Latin American immigrants started to come to Madrid and started to visit the services. The membership grew. The place became small, and we moved a bit further east, close to another main street of Madrid, Alcalá, to an area called Ciudad Lineal.
The church is growing!
Now we have around a hundred people coming every Sunday. Some of them have come to the Lord recently and were baptized by me, and others made a public profession of faith this last year. I am aware that for many churches these pandemic years have been difficult. I do not know why, but we have more visitors than ever before. Many are following my sermons by YouTube,but we also got the teaching ministry of another elder, David Casado. He has been an immense help for us these last years. (We lost another elder, Mario,who came from my old church, the Spanish Evangelical Church (IEE) a historic Protestant denomination which brought together Presbyterians, Lutherans,Congregationalists and Methodists in the 19th century. My family left this denomination when it became liberal and ecumenical, but it is not easy when you have this background to accept that discipline is also part of the church order, not only the right doctrine and administration of the Lord´s ordinances).
Teaching all over Spain
I am still teaching at various theological schools. Two have the status of a university and one gives a master’s degree. They are near the cities of Madrid and Barcelona, in Alcobendas and Castelldefels. I teach Ethics, History of Protestant Thought, Contemporary Theology, Apologetics,World Religions and Roman Catholicism, as well as New Religious Movements.
On the radio with ‘Doctor Soul!’
As you know, I studied Journalism before I went to do theology in The Netherlands. Much of my time is also devoted to write and to record radio programmes, now even for the public national radio. I got introduced to a regular program there when a medical doctor, Luis, who is also a DJ, was recently converted during the Bible studies I did with him and his wife Ana. He is the author of many books on soul music. Just a few months ago, I baptized them. Ana is a history teacher at secondary schools. Pray for them, please!
José's busy wife
Anna is very much involved in the church activities, like the women’s meetings. She does the layout of the monthly bulletin, and copies and sends it to everyone. She also keeps the financial records and is now preparing the report for the next annual church meeting.
We are so grateful for your faithful support during so many years. We still need your help! The church has grown and is taking on more responsibility for our financial costs, but so many of the members are immigrants with their own difficulties to survive in a foreign country. Thank you for your prayers! We really need them!’