La Puebla del Rio, Sevilla March 1st, 2013
We’ve now been back home in Spain for two months. How time has flown by! As a church in Puebla del Rio, we’ve been studying the whole book of Nehemiah. JD has had enjoyed great times of study in Nehemiah, not only for the sermons, but also in his Old Testament Seminary class, that had him reading several books dealing with the exile of Judah and the three returns of the remnant under Zorobabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. By the time Nehemiah came to Jerusalem, Jerusalem had been reinhabited and individual homes had been built over the seventy years between the return with Zorobabel and the return with Nehemiah, but under Nehemiah, the stone walls of Jerusalem were lifted again, and the gates were rebuilt and shut. The first exiles had returned long ago, but had lived in uncertainty and in constant threat from their enemies. Nehemiah was the man God chose to bring closure to the time of uncertainty. Once the doors of Jerusalem were back on their hinges and the city safe, it brought in a new era for Israel. We have been on a very long journey with our calling to Spain since JD made a commitment to go to Spain twenty years ago. In some ways we are just beginning to see the fruit we have worked a long time to taste. Our home is getting in order, our routine getting ironed out, and our ear for Andalusian Spanish getting re-honed. We’re attending neighborhood birthday parties, planning our own for Sarah Ruth, representing the church with Frank at general assemblies for Sevilla Province and for all of Andalucia, getting the youth comfortable coming over to our house, delving into the basics of the Gospel to see if our teens really know Christ. Having coffee with our neighbors and discussions of the Bible and the church in the neighborhood barbershop. Things like that. It takes time to break down walls in this country, but you can get through with persistence and faithfulness to your calling. When the locals see that you aren’t blown away by any petty setback, you earn, with time, your place in their oikas of friends.