Considering the wild ride we’ve been on this year, as so many of you have followed our visa appeals and prayed for us as we sojourned from Andalucía to California to Mexico and back to Andalucía, we are so grateful to just be home in Spain.
Many of you received our last newsletter stating that our time in Spain had come to an end, and many of you didn’t receive it as we got news in the middle of mailing them out that it might not be over yet. Our time of uncertainty is over, praise Adonai. God has answered! This is turning out to be a pretty good summer.
What is impossible for men is possible for Adonai! After having JD’s residency revoked and Sara’s visa denied, and having the appeal for both denied as well, God intervened through the lawyers of the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain and something unheard of happened, the Spanish officials recognized that they had made a mistake and reversed their decision, and JD’s residency was given back!
Sara’s situation is a little different as she was applying for residence for the first time, so even though the officials acknowledged they made a mistake, it is not possible to automatically give her the residency so we need to reapply for it. On the bright side, they have vowed to help us streamline the process, but we still need everything to coincide well for the papers to be ready for pickup at the Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles within the window of time that we have our return plane tickets back to California in late September.
Meanwhile, those of you who get our email updates know that we are now planted back in Puebla del Rio; indeed we’re getting back into the swing of life in Spain. One blessing for us was that we were able to keep our rental house and car in Spain, so we didn’t have to drastically “start over” when we returned. So before long we were back visiting all the contacts that we have. Already we’ve been blessed to have hosted several families at our home since we got back, and we’ve also had a good number of Spaniards have us over too. JD was able to jump right back to what he was doing before we left late year and has already taken the youth on outings. It is our objective to be a testimony to all our contacts and to lead them to the feet of the Messiah. We have also received lots of love from our Puebla congregation and the Tafalla church-plant too! Sarah Ruth doesn’t have to look far for someone to hold her, she has many willing hands wanting to carry her around!
JD spent several months immersing himself in the wellsprings of the Torah this spring in his masters program, so he’s been preaching on Moses and the Exodus lately, he’s preached on it now in San Quintin, Mexico; Puebla del Rio, Spain; and even in California.
We are very thankful that we got to spend two weeks with all of JD’s family this August. JD’s mom, Elizabeth, flew in and we picked her up and took her to Artajona to see Dan and the children, to where she lived and helped Lisa’s family for several years. How over-do it was to have us all united as one big family. It was a nice surprise that Dan was also teaching on Moses’ life, so JD was able to jump right in and take over for a service and dive into his studies on the Exodus and Burning Bush. It was also a special treat for JD to play along with his nieces again leading the worship for the Tafalla congregation where he was for three years before moving to Andalucia.
As a family we got to do several good church and camp related outings. One was a campaign in Estella, the closest city to Siete Robles camp, where we have put on the Cowboy Camp for years now. We were joined by the Exodus Mission Team from Belfast, Ireland. They were a great group of youth with a heart to serve! It would be hard to list all the dear friends and contacts who got to meet Sarah Ruth. We saw almost all our old friends in Tafalla, Artajona, Pamplona, Monjardin, and Siete Robles! What a blessing it was to encourage and be encouraged by so many dear friends! We had conversations with all of the Leatherwood’s neighbors who were friends with, even the neighbor who lived across the street, who was very close to Lisa, was visiting from Ecuador at the same time! How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together!
The week we returned to Sevilla coincided with the FIEIDE’s annual “AMIGA” campaign, this year in nearby San Lucar de Barrameda. Frank had us praying for our brothers in San Lucar putting on the campaign for months, so Dan Ashcraft and I went to support their outreach on Friday, August 24th and we were so encouraged to see such a well organized and exciting “Lion King” themed Vacation Bible School on San Lucar’s main promenade. At 10pm the Amiga concert began, with the Gospel Flamenco group Adulan performing in front of the San Lucar Culture Office in the park. Dan and I got two seats before they disappeared, the crowd was great, and it was a perfect night for some flamenco that sang of the love of our Messiah.
Now in Puebla we’re working on building deep relationships with each family in our congregation. It’s not a big congregation, so we have the luxury of being able to know each person very well and do what we can to edify them in their walk with the Messiah. Sunday night we had a movie night with “Courageous”. We had a very nice turn out with our members bringing their extended family for a great night together. The message and the principles that Courageous taught speak very directly to our Andalucian culture, as they do in the U.S. “As for me and my house, we will serve the L-RD.” I think everyone took something away from our movie night!
Shalom min Sefarad, J.D. Alcala Bennett