Archive for May, 2011

Our Churches in Spain
May 25, 2011

Anita Keagy was invited to tell her testimony, with its application of an urgent call to seek God through reading and studying the Bible regularly, at both of our Brethren in Christ churches on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

The church in Madrid, where Bruce Bundy is the pastor, meets at noon. Bruce interpreted for Anita. This was her first experience in speaking with an interpreter, and she took to it naturally. The people were deeply moved at her story, and the Q and A time went on for 35 minutes.

Then we four went to the the Bundys’ apartment for lunch, which is the main meal of the day. It was about 3:00 when we ate.

Then off to the town of Hoyo, about 25 miles from Madrid, for the 6:00 service of our church there. Antonio Gonzalez, formerly a Jesuit priest, is the pastor. This was the sixth anniversary of the church meeting in this renovated store front, so they had a two-hour program of songs, Scriptures, dances and a slide show. Then it was time for Anita’s talk, She needed to keep it a bit shorter than usual, which she did masterfully.

After that, we returned to our hotel.

Today was election day here in Spain, and I was curious about what would be happening late at night at Sol, the scene of the protests, so I slept for awhile, then got up at midnight and went to Sol. I found the crowd to be about one-fourth the size it had been previously, but the number of signs and posters had increased, and a small band was playing in one area.

I went to one of our favorite restaurants, Cafe de Levante, for a cup of coffee, and a farewell to Raoul, my favorite waiter there, who, I had learned earlier, is from Ecuador. He doesn’t speak English, so our conversation is limited by my beginner level Spanish, but we do the best we can.

And so back to our hotel and to bed.

On Monday, May 23, we arrived home without incident, grateful to God for all we had experienced in this trip. Thanks to all of you who prayed for us. The retreat for our global workers was an exceptional time of connecting, learning, worship and prayer.

Here at home I see that the grass needs mowing, but I will get to that tomorrow.

I hope to post some more photos of Spain soon.

At the Center of Madrid
May 21, 2011

So here is my photo report to follow up my comments in my previous blog about the demonstrations here in Madrid at Sol, the heart of the city. The news reports that similar “Sol camps” have been set up around the nation.

First of all, here is Hotel Asturias where we are staying. A two-star hotel, so it is not quite as nice as the average Comfort Inn at home, but the cost is less than $100 a night and includes a free breakfast. We are well pleased.

As I mentioned before, this is located one long block from Sol, so we are very close to the heart of things. It is a privilege to at this place at this time.

Demonstrations in Spain
May 21, 2011

Our retreat for international workers ended on Monday evening, May 16. On Tuesday we flew to Madrid for several days of vacation and ministry.

Hotel Asturias, where we are staying, is one long block from the plaza (square) that is the center of the city. The plaza is known as Sol, or more properly Puerta del Sol, the Gate of the Sun. As you may be hearing in your news, since Tuesday Sol is the scene of mass demonstrations of thousands of people. Sunday will be election day for local officials across the nation. The demonstrators are mostly young adults, protesting the lack of jobs and the fact that, in their opinion, none of the candidates are listening to the people. The demonstrators are calling for true democracy.While the protesters are vocal, they seem not to have any agreement on just what should be done.

The crowds swell and become quite noisy at night. Huge numbers of police are on hand, but the protests have been peaceful and are likely to stay that way. Some of the demonstrators spend the night in Sol, sleeping in their sleeping bags or on mattresses they have dragged in.

Last night, Friday, Paul Keagy and I went out after midnight to mingle with the crowd. We felt quite safe and talked with people who were eager to explain the concerns of the protesters and express their admiration for America as having the kind of democracy they want here.

I will try to post some photos soon, but for now I will stop and publish this post.

Praying Together
May 15, 2011

At this retreat in Spain there are several teams of two people available to pray with anyone who wants prayer. JoLene and I are one of these prayer teams. It is a privilege to listen to an individual or couple talk about the issues of life and the needs they feel, and to pray for them.

In the face of the big issues of life we feel we don’t know how to pray adequately, so we take heart from these words in the Bible:
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according with God’s will.”
Romans 8:26-27

Spain 2011
May 15, 2011

JoLene and I are in Spain from May 11-23.

The main reason for the trip is a gathering of all the global workers of Brethren in Christ World Missions, from May 12-16. This retreat consists of about 60 adults from around the world plus their children plus the teaching and serving staff from North America- about 145 altogether. We are staying at Hotel Cabo Cervera in the town of Torrevieja on the southern coast of Spain.

This is the same hotel we have visited before, in previous retreats for our workers serving in Europe and the Middle East.

The theme for this event is “Connect for Transformation.”

Kristine Frey, editor of the Brethren in Christ publication In Part, is here and is posting daily blogs about the retreat. Instead of entering many detailed blogs of my own I refer you to her excellent blog:

Anita Keagy, from my home church, Manor Church in Lancaster, PA, is one of the speakers at this event. Her husband Paul is with her. After the retreat we and the Keagys and Connie Kinser and her daughter Tara, also from Manor Church, will fly to Madrid for a few days of vacation and to visit our two Brethren in Christ churches.

I will hope to post more blog entries next week when we are in Madrid.

Ultimate Issues
May 7, 2011

Recently, while visiting a pastor in his home, I noticed on the wall a framed copy of a portion of the Heidelberg Catechism. The pastor smiled and said, “I guess you don’t often see the Heidelberg Catechism on the wall of a Brethren in Christ pastor’s home.”