When I wrote the previous message, we were still in Torremejía, a town just below Mérida. In the meantime we traveled further to the province of Málaga. We first spent two days at the sea in Torremolinos. That was nice, but we couldn’t really do much there and we felt we were out of place there.
While we were in Torremolinos we looked for an AirBnb that we could rent for a longer period of time and where we could stay with quite a few people. That is of course quite difficult, because the high season has now arrived and it is not easy to find a suitable place in the very short term.
We were looking for a house for 12 people. Our team at that time still consisted of our family plus Katherine and Rodrigo. But we knew that soon a family would join us. We had met them in Mérida.
The McClure family
In the previous blog I wrote how we ended up in the church of Mérida. On the first Sunday at that church, I met Josiah, a Pennsylvania American about 35 years old with a heavy American accent. He told me that God had sent him to Spain 7 years ago. He then left the United States without a plan, with little money, no supporters. He very much wanted to reach Spain with the gospel of Jesus. But that turned out to be much more difficult than he thought! Mainly because he didn’t speak a word of Spanish and he thought he would be fine with English.
When I asked him how lately had been for him, he summed it up in one word: dry . He had had words from God about a revival in Spain, but that seemed a long way off to him. He was meanwhile married in Spain and was now with his family (2 young children) in church that Sunday. This was the first time since the lockdown last year! So he hadn’t been to church for over a year! So that Sunday we were there, they were back in church for the first time in a long time.
I only spoke to Josiah briefly and for the next two weeks I didn’t see him again.
But a day or two before we were due to leave that region, he got in touch. “We would like to invite you for coffee. We would have liked to talk to you sooner, but we couldn’t because we were busy with the end of the school year.He and his wife Alejandra were both found to be teaching English at a school in Mérida.
We visited them with our family and we had a really nice time. We went for a walk in the heat of the day – no Mérida resident ventures outside around 3pm, it’s that hot! And while we were busy with all the little kids, we tried to learn as much as possible about each other.
We shared what God had done on our trip and he was very impressed. “This is Spain. These things don’t happen in Spain.“.
He also had something special to say.
Josiah told me he recently had a Zoom call with his students. He asked them if anyone had experienced anything in the past week. One of his students then said: “Yes me! Last week I was accosted in English by someone on the street! He was telling me something about God and I translated it for my parents. That was fun!”. Josiah then asked, “Do you know the name of the person who spoke to you on the street?”. Then the student said, “Robbert”.
Now Merida is a place with 60,000 inhabitants and I have not been on the street for long. What are the chances that I will address one of his students and they will also remember my name? Usually I don’t even introduce myself in such a conversation on the street. In any case, it was clearly a sign from God to Josiah.
A day later we received another invitation from Josiah and his wife to come over. We went to them again and shortly after I walked into his apartment something very special caught my eye. I knew immediately why they had invited us again!
First I have to explain something that has happened before.
We were in Poland at the beginning of this year, together with Bram and Annemarie. There God made it clear to us that we would go on a journey with them. I wrote in there previous blog post about. On the day of our departure from Poland, the person who invited us to Poland had some parting gifts for us. There was a present that she didn’t know whether to give to Bram and Annemarie or to us. This was a painting, namely the following:
She then said she wanted to give the painting to us together. I can’t really remember what I thought about it at the time – maybe it was a bit inconvenient to have this together. But since we would travel together anyway, we could hang it in the camper or take it with us!
Once we started our journey, our first stop in Spain was the city of Bilbao. There we discussed some tensions in the team. While we were having such a conversation, suddenly a beautiful white horse stood in front of us. It was late at night and it was dark. But there were a couple of powerful lights on that camp site, and the horse stood in the middle of the light, as if posing for us. That was a special moment. One of us then started talking about the painting of the wild horses that we had been given in Poland and I also remembered that when I was looking up some information about Bilbao I came across a picture on the Wikipedia page of Bilbao with wild horses on it.
A few days later we came across images of horses again and this became a bit of a thing. I had my thoughts about it.. to me it seemed that the horses stood for our team that was on the road in Spain and each horse stood for someone from the team. Or something. I wasn’t quite clear, but I had the impression that God wanted to make something clear to us and spoke through those wild horses that we kept meeting.
Now back to the moment we walked into Josiah’s apartment for the 2nd time. I saw the following picture hanging in the hall with them:
Wild horses! I said to Evelyn, “Come and see… I know why we’re here. They are part of our team.”. A few minutes later Josiah asked us, “I know it’s super awkward with our 2 little kids and we’re probably just a burden to you guys…so I understand if you say no… but God has made it clear to us that we must travel with you.‘.
wow! I knew immediately that God had indeed spoken this. I talked about the picture of the horses (why hadn’t I seen it the day before!?) and how God spoke through them. He told me this painting was already there when he rented the house 6 years ago! He hadn’t even figured it out himself… it had been hanging there for 6 years, waiting for us to walk in there!
This is God! I am so impressed with how he shows himself when you trust him and take risks! This is the way God speaks to people… in these very special moments! For those who are skeptical about God… look how many variables there are in this story and how slim are the chances of these things happening by chance. God is so much greater than we can imagine!
We immediately said to them: You are welcome!
For them this was a huge step. It meant that they had to vacate their house that they have lived in for over 6 years and give up the lease. For them too: no mapped out plan, only God speaking to go. It was difficult for them, but they just did it. Heroes!
Cuevas Del Becerro
So when we were there by the sea at Torremolinos we knew we needed a place for 12 people.
So we were looking for a house at short notice where we could stay with a group for a month. And it also has to be affordable. As I wrote before, that didn’t work until we came across an AirBnb that was remarkably low priced. A spacious house with garden. 3 floors, 2 bathrooms and a total of 12 sleeping places. No reservations for the next 6 weeks and very competitively priced just an hour away. The only downside: no reviews. We suspected that this house was only recently listed on Airbnb.
The house is located in the village of Cuevas Del Becerro, just over an hour from the city of Málaga. After prayer we decided to book the house for a week first and if we liked it we would book an additional month.
And that’s how we did it!
When we entered the village I was immediately enthusiastic. I immediately had the impression that we were in the right place. It is also a really beautiful village with lots of running water and therefore green. We also saw remarkably few people with face masks on the street – the first time we saw this in Spain. These people were apparently cut from a different cloth than the Spaniards we saw earlier in the larger towns!
We couldn’t go directly into the Airbnb yet, because we were too early. They were still cleaning. So we went to a bar to have something to eat and drink. When we walked into the bar we understood that it was just about to close. Oh yes, it was 2 pm, time for siesta. Someone came up to us and told us there was another bar open further down the road. He showed us the way. As we walked towards that bar, he accompanied us to show us the way. He was very friendly and we chatted with him for a while. When he understood that we were hungry, he offered us the baguette he had in his hand.
Boy, what a friendly people here and what a friendly man!
We briefly told him why we were in the village and that we are together on a mission to introduce people to Jesus. We invited him to our Airbnb, for the next day at 10:00 in the morning. He accepted the invitation and we said goodbye to him.
The next day I was waiting for him outside with Katherine. I felt a bit like someone who has been evangelizing on the street and invited someone to church after a good conversation. Someone then says: yes, I’m coming. But in practice one comes rarely show up . I’ve been through that a few times before so I thought. “He probably won’t show up.”
But suddenly we heard: lol! And there he was!
His name turned out to be Salvador. We drank coffee together and shared more about God. It turned out that he had sleeping problems and a lot of restlessness in his body. He was also addicted to alcohol and was therefore very overweight. We prayed for him and he was impressed by what happened to him! He experienced peace and he immediately understood that this came from God.
He was very happy with our arrival to the village and invited him to his home. There we shared the gospel with him and little by little we told him more about Jesus! He hardly knew anything about the Bible and he found it all very fascinating.
What was very special was that since our meeting he immediately decided not to drink alcohol anymore. His friends in the bar wondered where Salvador was and why they didn’t see him anymore. He said that he slept better and that he had so much rest when we were with him.
After more than a week it was time to baptize him. He clearly showed that he was changing his life and spoke constantly about Jesus and God! Then we drove to a lake together. I filmed the baptism and later made a video of it and put it on Youtube (see below).
Amazingly beautiful! We see a big change in Salvador. We read the Bible with him and his whole house is cleaned up. He speaks boldly about what God has done in his life to the people of this village where he has lived all his life! Everyone knows him here and everyone also knows about his problems and how he didn’t even want to live any longer.
He keeps repeating that June 17 is the day God came to him! He now wants to do the same things he does and even makes his house and land available to do a discipleship school! So we are busy preparing for that. He also turns out to be the owner of a large plot of land in the middle of the village – perfect for pitching campers and tents!
Rebecca and Sophie
But more happened!
Last Monday Salvador had a (medical) appointment in the city of Málaga. He asked Rodrigo if he would like to come to the meeting and Rodrigo suggested that we all go. That way we could also take to the streets. Josiah and Alejandra had also never seen people healed through their hands before. Then we could take them nicely and let them pray for the sick.
We had a good time! Several people healed. We met a Muslim family and we were allowed to pray for the woman. Alejandra prayed and she was cured of various complaints. The man offered money twice, which of course we declined. I had them read an excerpt from the Bible in Arabic on my phone. Then they understood what we were doing (they couldn’t speak English and only a little Spanish). The woman read Mark 16 out loud for: ‘ they will lay hands on the sick and they will heal .’. And she understood!
While we were resting, Rodrigo looked at the TLR Map and saw that there were 2 green pins on the map in Málaga. That’s special… they weren’t there before! We wrote to them and told them we were in Málaga and if we could meet them. It turned out that they were evangelizing in the exact same park as we were at the same time. We had just missed them, but an hour later we met at a pizzeria.
Their names are Rebecca and Sophie and they are from Canada. God had made it clear to them a few days ago that they had to go to Spain. Even before, God had told them that there was a team in Spain that needed help and that they would join a team. They were in England at the time and then took a flight to Málaga. They didn’t know what to do there and they had no connections. Just when they were a little frustrated ( what are we doing here, God? ) they received our message. That was very special for all of us! ( See the story from their perspective here! )
Now our AirBnb is too small for two extra people. Salvador said: people can also sleep at my house. Now Rodrigo sleeps with Salvador and Rebecca and Sophie with us in the AirBnb. Together we spent a few days cleaning up Salvador’s house. That was sorely needed! He has collected newspapers for 30 years and therefore there is an enormous amount of paper in his home. At first he didn’t want to part with it, but later he said: God gave me a new life. Those newspapers are part of my old life.
We are currently in the process of disposing of this gigantic amount of paper, several containers full! The neighbors and family think it’s great that those newspapers are finally going out of his house. They were afraid that they were too heavy for the wooden structure on the top floor and that they would sink through the ceiling!
At the same time, we are making plans for discipleship training in this village and to send people out. Salvador himself already indicated that we could put bunk beds in his house and use his field in the middle of the village.
So at the moment we are with a group of 15! We could never have imagined that when we left the Netherlands. I thought we would end up lonely in the south of Spain with our family – this is very surprising for us! We think it’s all very beautiful, educational and fun! We met even more people here, including Dutch people who emigrated to Seville for God’s Kingdom.
This is it for now! God is at work in Spain and we expect to see great things in the coming months. Thank you for reading! To be continued!