Elaine and Andrew are serving with WEC in northern Spain. ‘We feel called to serve people like us,’ Elaine explains, ‘ordinary, middle-aged, middle-income people.’
Elaine and Andrew have been in Spain for five years. They initially spent two years in Madrid, learning the Spanish language and culture, and have now moved on to a smaller town, where they have settled in and set about serving their neighbours. Andrew and Elaine’s small but lively church aims to meet the community’s social and cultural needs, running sewing and patchwork classes to build relationships with women, and engaging the men by playing cards or dominoes. They also befriend and support local homeless people.
The church initially met for worship in Andrew and Elaine’s home, which was not ideal for the Spanish culture. After six months, they church began praying for a public venue and their prayers were answered when they found a room in a café and then more long-term premises to rent. That 70 people from the community came to the church’s opening testifies to how the locals have grown comfortable with them.
... a moment of vulnerability led to a remarkable conversion
But while Elaine and Andrew do all they can to meet their neighbours’ needs, the church sometimes have to ask their neighbours to meet their needs, too. In fact, it was a moment of vulnerability like this which led to a remarkable conversion. Hurrying to prepare for a church service, and with no milk for the pre-service coffee, Andrew and Elaine asked a friend to help. Maria, who lives above the church, brought down a litre of milk and, slightly to their surprise, decided to stay for the service. At the end, Maria responded, saying said she wanted to become a believer because she saw such warmth between the church members. She still has many questions about God but is keen to learn and grow.
‘I love that story because it’s all about God using our weakness, rather than our strength,’ Elaine reflects. ‘We were vulnerable in that situation, and the lady who helped us wasn’t even connected to the church.’
Elaine and Andrew’s work is clearly making a difference, and the church is planning to expand its ministry in the near future, delivering English classes for the many young adults in the town who want to learn.
Could God be calling you to serve in a different culture? Come talk.
Find out more about our Friendship Evangelism ministry
Public evangelism isn’t always the best way to share the good news. In some nations, overt religious activity of this kind is prohibited. And in any case, sharing your faith in the context of a friendship is often the most powerful approach.
Many WEC workers specialise in friendship evangelism; sharing their faith with friends and neighbours in cultures where preaching is discouraged or even impossible. These workers build relationships with local people, accept hospitality from them and perhaps teach them a little English. Sharing the gospel happens very naturally through these relationships.
We need you to get involved
Do you want to know more about how to share your faith in a different culture? Fill in our ‘connect with us’ form or email us.