The Happy Christmas Almuñécar project aimed to give a helping hand to the church and enable them to reach more homes, by raising funds to send a copy of John Blanchard's 'Ultimate Questions' (in Spanish) to at least 2,000 homes in the town.
With a great deal of support from EMF supporters, the funds were raised quickly to be able to print over 2,000 copies of 'Últimas Preguntas’ and enable the church in the town and to distribute these to homes, both by post and hand. It’s been a great encouragement to the church to see such strong support for the gospel in Spain, and see the gospel taken to so many homes.
Thank you to everyone who contributed so generously to this important work.
On the surface, Almuñécar is a seaside paradise, with a beautiful, sun-bathed Mediterranean beach, and the Sierra Nevada mountains rising up from the sea. But like many Spanish towns and cities, the beauty on the surface belies the spiritual need, and in a town of over 28,000 people, there are only a handful of bible-believing Christians.
The Iglesia Evangélica Reformada is a small reformed evangelical church in the town, where Manuel López Franco has been the pastor for 20 years, supported by his wife Alba Ortega González (in Spain, wives traditionally retain their parents’ last names). The church has maintained a faithful biblical ministry, centred on expository preaching, since its beginning in 2003. But the fellowship there also has an extraordinary passion to find ways to reach the town with the gospel, making the best possible use of the limited resources it has.
So, when Andrew Birch suggested the idea of distributing copies of Ultimate Questions, the church was immediately keen to get behind this. Of course, nothing is as simple as it looks, and even if the money were available to purchase the books, how would they get hold of so many copies quickly, and how would a small number of church people get them through the doors of the homes?
But the Lord provided: Thanks to the generosity of many EMF supporters, the financial support was raised quickly, and enabled the green light to be given to the work. Then Matt Hill, at Editorial Peregrino, managed to arrange a print run to get a new batch of 'Últimas Preguntas’ printed in time for the distribution; Manuel found a cost-effective way for postal distribution to over 2,000 homes, along with an invitation to the church’s carol service. But this still left a few hundred homes and businesses to be reached, so the church got together to distribute these by hand.
Please do pray, along with the friends in the church in Almuñécar, for fruit to come from this. But we can give thanks even now for an English lady, Barbara, living in Almuñécar and from a Roman Catholic background, who received a copy and began to come along to the church. Please pray for Barbara.
Striving together for the gospel
The fellowship in Almuñécar work tirelessly for opportunities to share the gospel. Every few months Manuel produces short radio broadcasts, aired on local radio stations 6 times per day, inviting people to the church, and with a brief gospel message. They run children’s groups, ladies’ meetings and men’s outreach meetings etc. They also ran a food distribution service for nearly 2 years during the pandemic supporting 24 families – finishing in December, with a special Christmas outreach with booklets and an outreach session. All for the sake of reaching some for the gospel.
This month they began a new venture to teach Spanish to visitors to the area, and already have several people attending from the UK, Netherlands, Hungary, Denmark and Sweden.
In Spain, where Christianity is often equated to Roman Catholic worship in church or cathedral, there is a suspicion of evangelicals meeting in an ordinary building. Manuel and Alba find that just having people come into the evangelical church building and getting to know some of the people helps to overcome the suspicion, and opens up possibilities for sharing the gospel.
Even though the church is small, and it would be easy to be overwhelmed by the need around, they’re encouraged to see fruit from the gospel over many years, and even now are preparing 3 people for baptism who were converted through the church.
Christmas evangelistic services
It was a great encouragement to the church to see over forty guests come along to their carol service – almost all non-Christians, and mainly reached through their food distribution work. And along with Bible readings and carols, it was a wonderful opportunity for Manuel to share the gospel, and afterwards the church folk were able to talk personally with each family. Given that there are only about 30 members in the church, and most Spanish people would normlly go to a traditional Roman Catholic service, this was a joy to see.