Monday, 29 November 2010

Obra Social Agape and E+M, Destination: Almería

Last week a group from the Obra Social Agape Team and the Existe Más Mundo directors from several cities traveled to Almería. The objective was to see the work that Pedro Reyes and his wife Pirkko are doing in this city to be able to replicate the example of ministry that they are carrying out there.

Pedro and Pirkko began this ministry in the mid-90´s and today continue helping immigrant families from North Africa that live in the Puche neighborhood. The work that they are doing touches the whole person: attending to the physical, personal and spiritual needs of the families. Throughout these many years, Pedro and Pirkko, thanks to their testimony and their hearts, have been able to become integrated into and a vital part of this very needy neighborhood. They have distributed not only food and materials but also hope and love.

The directors of Existe Más Mundo went with the particular purpose of getting to know the neighborhood, the families and the work that is being done there. The idea is to be able to take teams of student volunteers to Puche, Almería to participate with Pedro and Pirkko.

Pictured above is one of the neighborhoods where Pedro and Pirkko work.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Advent is Here

Our fellow staff member Fanny Benítez started writing a series of devotionals about Advent a couple years ago. These writings began to feed an idea and a dream that continues to grow. As of today, these meditations have been turned into a devotional book that talks about Advent. The book is set up with a day-by-day structure, written with a very simple and pleasant style, but biblical and deep at the same time. It addresses questions such as: What is Advent? What is the heart of Advent? What is the message behind the traditional Christmas symbols? What can we learn from the characters of the first Christmas?

This is a great resource that can help us prepare our souls to celebrate a deeper Christmas, full of meaning. The book has already been edited and is on sale. Those of you that are interested can get in touch with Fanny. Just as she suggests, it´s not only a practical book for each of us, but it can also be a great gift for our disciples and financial supporters.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

European Round Table in Tallin

Tallin, Estonia was the site for this year´s European Round Table (held November 13-16) where National Directors and Leadership Teams from all the Western European countries came together.

It was a good chance to learn first-hand about the structural changes that have been made on an international level in Agape/Campus Crusade for Christ. It was also a significant time to talk together and work as a team to address the different priorities and challenges that we have ahead of us in the coming years.

Our leadership team had a chance to visit the city and the facilities where the next "EASCM" (European All-Staff Conference Mission) will be held in the summer of 2012. The most significant difference in this upcoming conference in comparison to past conferences is the component of "mission" that this event will highlight. It won´t just be one more conference, but rather, we hope to see all of the Western European countries represented working together in a big international outreach that we pray God will use this to help many Estonians come to know Him personally.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Emsimisión on Channel 2 (TVE2)

This past Sunday a report was shown on channel TVE2 about the work the Emsimisión does in Africa.

Emsimisión is a religious entity associated with Agape whose goal is to help those who live in extreme poverty. During their most recent trips to Burkhina Faso several of our Agape staff have been able to participate in their projects.

Below is a link where you can see the television report from last week in its entirety:

Buenas Noticias TV EmsiMisión

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Next Generation

From November 7-12 the latest event of the Next Generation Initiative took place in Tallin, Estonia.

This initiative was organized by Agape Europe and led by Felix and Sara Ortiz for young staff leaders around Europe. Among the attendees, from various European countries, able to participate in the training time were Samuel and Mariona Palacios, Eva Aldea, Nacho Marques and Mar Resa.

Over the last 2 1/2 years during 5 different gatherings topics such as the future of our faith and the church on our continent were addressed and the participants were invited to offer ideas for the best strategies and outreaches to take the gospel to new generations.

The photo of the group, taken in Tallin right after the "graduation" ceremony, includes the participants and the trainers.

Friday, 19 November 2010

MAGDALENA Showing in Terrassa

In cooperation with Chrisitans for Terrassa, we just held our first showing the film Magdalena, geared toward women, this past November 6th. After the showing, we had a panel discussion on topics that women deal with: the situation for women in the days of Jesus as well as the current situation for women in the world and in Terrassa in particular, balancing family life and work life, issues of women and their roles in the church, the hope that Jesus gives us when dealing with illness, etc.

It has been a pioneering experience and has reaffirmed the importance of using our influence for women because today in the 21st century women, just as all huma beings, need the touch of the Master just as much as they did more than 2000 years ago.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Taking Steps of Faith

Ana Schrader (pictured left) and her husband Joel and their 2 daughters are the directors of the student ministry at the University of Málaga. A few weeks ago, Ana shared with the city-wide staff team about Bea´s testimony and we thought it would be great for her to share it here with you.

"I believe in God. I trust that His Word is more real that my circumstances, my feelings and my own understanding. This is what God has been teaching us and the students here in Málaga. You can see this example in Bea. 

I´ll never forget the moment that I met Bea a year ago. Probably the best words to describe Bea at that time were discouragement and anger. She was very angry with God. It was her first year at the university and just a short time had passed since she had given her life to the Lord. She was looking for spiritual nourishment and also looking for university scholarships. One of her dreams had just died: to be accepted to medical school. She was devastated. Life for her at that moment seemed like a big nightmare. It was then when we started to meet with Bea to read the Bible and learn what it means to have faith. 

Today Bea is a totally different girl. Even though she´s still human, a human with a great propensity to worry and become easily discouraged, she has learned to take these fears and worries to God and take steps of faith based on His Word.

Her first step of faith was this past spring. Bea had the opportunity to go on a summer mission trip to Los Angeles, CA with Campus Crusade for Christ; but she needed 3000€ to make this trip! How could she ask for financial support from other believers when she had only recently given her life to Christ? She hardly new any other Christians! Yet, she took a step of faith and started to call believers that she knew and some that she had never even met and God surprised her. The people that she thought would help her financially didn´t. In spite of this, God provided for her the 3000€ plus 800€ more! He did it all in a way that she never could have imagined.

Another step of faith for Bea has been to learn how to win other students on campus to Christ. To her surprise, there were several students willing to talk and share their own perspective about God.

Now she is taking another step of faith on campus....she is trusting God to give her the opportunity to lead a small group weekly Bible study with some other girls. As of today, it seems like it would be impossible that there would be girls taht want to attend this Bible study, but again, she is letting herself be led by the Word of God and not her feelings. 

Please pray with us that God would bless her yet again and do the impossible in a way that only He can do."

It´s always encouraging and helps us grow in our faith as we see how God continues working, how he continues reaching students and how those students start to multiply. God is definitely worth believing in. He is a God that makes possible the impossible.

Monday, 8 November 2010

One More

Charlie has arrived from the U.S. to work as a STINTer this year with the Student Team in Málaga. Now there are 3 young adults who, having finished their university studies, have been incorporated into the team in this city to help win students to Christ.

With this message, we introduce you to Charlie:

"Hello. My name is Charlie. In May I graduated from Grand Rapids University, Michigan, U.S.A. I studied film production. I wanted to make movies in Hollywood but God wanted me to take his Message of Salvation to the students in Málaga. I´m excited to be here and to work with Agape."

We welcome our new partner in the gospel, desiring that God would bless him during his time here in Spain.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Not At All Typical Weekend

The weekend of October 22-24 was a "not at all typical" weekend in Barcelona. The Eje was held for the first time in this city and a group of students from Madrid headed that way to help organize the tasks that go along with an event of this kind.

The Eje is a tool that is geared towards teenagers and young adults where they take part in some unforgettable experiences, full of special surprises. There were a total of 61 people that enjoyed the atypical-ness of the weekend.

As some of you already know, in order for one to know the details of the Eje, he or she must take part in an Eje weekend. We can only say that God continues to use this tool and that He continues to surprise us all, as much the work team as the participants.