Thursday, 31 March 2011

Money and Stability Didn´t Get Me Out of Bed in the Mornings


Abraham Crespo is one of our newest team members in Agape. He officially entered Agape at the beginning of the year with the Athletes in Action team and currently is doing a one-year internship in Malaga. he is from Barcelona and first connected with Athletes in Action last summer when he went to Ohio for an AIA Summer Project. We asked him to write a few lines to tell us more about his story and how he got to Málaga to share the gospel through the medium of sports:

"It all started 2 years ago in the summer of 2008. I had my first contact with Athletes in Action on the basketball courts in Frigiliana, Malaga. I was totally captivated by the vision of talking about my relationship with God using the medium of sports. Although I had already been a volunteer with Agape through Urban Constortium and had even initiated a sports project, seeing that there were others that had that same dream really motivated me.

That same year before the summer came, God was speaking to me about my life plans. I wasn´t really enjoying my job as an electrician working at a big international company. It was a good job with lots of independence but the money and the stability didn´t get me out of bed in the mornings. All of sudden, in true hippie spirit, I went to Madrid to talk to my boss to tell him that the money no longer attracted me and that God has new plans for me. His response was expected, "You are crazy. We are in the midst of an [economic] crisis."

So in pursuit of the campus, I left my job with the idea of entering the university as a sports major to be a committed Christian in the sports world. After paying my tuition in the summer, I showed up to start classes but to my surprise, because of the Bologna Process the entrance requirements had changed over the summer and I couldn´t access the major I wanted with the studies I had already done. Then I told myself, "You´ve really blown it now." I didn´t have a job and I couldn´t study either....but God´s plan was just about to unfold. There were 8 months of "why?"s where my interior was broken so that God could build me up from the inside out. ( "And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” Mark 2:22)


So, at the end of this process, without a dime, I found myself in Ohio working at an Athletes in Action summer project where God confirmed this missionary calling."


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

MAGDALENA Showing in Terrassa


Agape, in collaboration wtih the Iglesia Unida de Terrassa (United Church of Terrassa) just finished a second showing of the film Magdalena: Released From Shame on March 12, commemorating International Women´s Day. Isa Fernández and Gema Pérez were two of our fellow staff that were in charge of this gathering. Isa gives us a few more details about the event:

"After the showing, we had a panel that addressed women´s issues: what women deal with during the time of Jesus compared with what women face today in the world and in Terrassa; balancing family life with work, the role of women in the church, the hope that Jesus gives us in dealing with illness....

The statistics about the disadvantages that still go on for women are chilling:
-70% of the world´s poor are women.
-Two out of three illiterate adults are women.
-More than 2/3 of the unpaid work in the world is done by women.
-7 out of 10 hungry people in the world are women and children.
-Throughout the world 20-50% of women experience some type of domestic violence during the course of their marriage.
-The majority of victims of war today are women and children, not soldiers.
-The majority of women earn, as a rule, about 3/4 of the salary of men for doing the same job, (not counting the agriculture industry) whether in industrialized countries or developing countries.
-Human trafficking is the fastest-growing international crime and one of the most important sources of income for organized crime. Between 600,000 and 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked and 80% of them are women and children. Even now in the 21st century there is trafficking of women through deception or the use of force. They are forced to leave their homes to be exploited in different ways. There continues to be a need for determined action and a fight against these situations.

During the Magdalena film, Jesus relates on a equal level with all human beings, bringing complete acceptance and unconditional love in spite of being elderly, man, woman or child, Samaritan, prostitute, sick, sinner. The love of Jesus is practical.  It´s not just theory. It´s not empty words. His love transformed situations in his society and met the needs of people. This is one of the messages that we try to convey during the film showings. In addition, we have invited all who attended the showing to participate in a women´s growth and study group that will start March 28th."

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Marcos...from Haiti


The reconstruction of Haiti will need to be a long-term commitment. 6 months ago the reconstruction began of the Ca-Ira Children´s Home in Leogane, Haiti which was designed by the architect Edgar Zeiss and will be built in phases during the next 3 years.

Just as we mentioned 2 weeks ago, Marcos Fernández (pictured above on the right) is the first Spanish volunteer that has travelled to haiti with GAiN España to work on the reconstruction. A few days ago Marcos sent a video where he shares a bit about the reality that he is experiencing there.

You can access the video here.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

"My dear Joel, I´ll see you in heaven"


"My dear Joel, I´ll see you in heaven." These were the words of a dear friend, emotional during the tribute that was given to Joel at his going-home celebration. Joel Iglesias, beloved brother, friend and fellow staff member, co-labored with his wife Gloria for many years in the Family Life minsitry, caring for and ministering to couples, and helping them to experience the healing and restoration that only Jesus offers. Yesterday he said goodbye in Malaga after a 5-year battle with a terrible illness.

As it was said today at his tribute, Joel has gone but his labor lives on. We give thanks to God for his life and his legacy and we ask for prayers for his family.

Friday, 18 March 2011

EJE in Valldoreix


This past Feb. 26-27, EJE came back to surprise in Valldoreix, Barcelona. On this occasion, 21 young people attended and lived the experience.

Donna Cannella was one of our fellow staff who was part of the work team and she invited a friend to experience the EJE. Donna shares the following reflection:

"I´m so happy about how it went. Through the EJE we are seeing young people drawing close to Jesus. I´m so thankful to God for the opportunity that He gave me to accompany young people from a variety of backgrounds in this unique way."

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

"Q" Meeting


This past February 22, the Student Ministry in Valencia organized a meeting for university students with the goal of presenting "Q," (Christian Student Ministry.)

The response was very positive with 14 new people showing up that Nacho and María, the directors of "Q," had never met before.

Nacho sent us a few lines to tell us more....

"We held the meeting right at the beginning of the 2nd quarter and to our delight, God sent us twenty-some people, some searching for Him and others wanting more of Him. Now our prayer is that we will be able to respond  with faithfulness and wisdom to the trust that the Lord has placed in us that we would connect with all these students who are hungry for Him. We also pray that they themselves would respond to the call that God is giving them. We want to follow up each  person that came in order to help them grow spiritually."

Monday, 14 March 2011

Archivo Cero (File Zero) at the Granada Hall of Comics and in the newspaper too!


This past weekend Archivo Cero was present at the Hall of Comics in Granada. Our fellow staff Marc and Eva were very pleased because they got a visit from a group of young people that they had met at the Hall of Comics in Málaga a few months ago. When the group came up to the table, they told Marc and Eva that they were looking for them at the comic book fair and that they have been following the series and they even asked when the next chapter would be published.

Marc and Eva say that this is a sign that, little by little, Archivo Cero is sowing its seeds and beginning to see the fruit of followers among young people.

It´s also noteworthy that the digital newspaper Granada Hoy echoes the news of the Hall of Comics and snapped a photo of our fellow staff and the Archivo Cero stand. If you´re interested in reading the article about the event you can access it here.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Japan


As you surely have seen or heard in the news, a 30-foot tsunami, caused by an earthquake of an 8.8 magnitude on the Richter scale razed the northeast coast of Japan. Already more than 350 are dead and 547 missing.

In the middle of this tragedy, the good news is that all the staff and family of GAiN´s in-country partner in Japan are reported to be safe.

Monday, 7 March 2011

GAiN España´s First Volunteer to Haiti: Marcos Fernández

Marcos Fernández is GAiN España´s first volunteer to travel to Haiti to work on the reconstruction of the Ca-Ira Children´s Home. On Saturday, March 5 he began his adventure, but his collaboration and preparation began some time earlier.

At the end of February, Marcos spent 3 days at the GAiN Germany office in  Giessen to learn and prepare himself as a volunteer to work on the reconstruction project in Haiti.

During his time in Germany, Marcos was able to learn more about the details of this huge undertaking that has been started through the reconstruction of the Ca-Ira Children´s Home. He had a chance to learn about other GAiN projects as well such as the Noah´s Ark Children´s Orphanage in Uganda, which had operational plans similar to that of Ca-Ira.

He also spent time in the warehouses to learn about they way GAiN works. He saw lots of materials for distribution to the needy including clothes, baby food and school backpacks for children. While he was there, he was able to help load containers that were heading for both Haiti and Ukrania. In one of the containers there were 100 donated mattresses for the Ca-Ira Children´s Home.

During his time in Haiti, which will be a 3-month stint with the possibility of staying longer, he hopes to learn French, get to know the country, be able to adapt to the culture and the environment, work with new people and carry out the hard work that is waiting there for him. Marcos will be transporting materials between Port-a-Prince and Ca-Ira. He will also be responsible for operating a backhoe which will be used to break ground for the construction.

When he was asked about his expectations for the project, he said, "It´s going to be a challenge. There will be lots of new things. The first few months will be the most difficult because right now there is no running water nor electricity and the food is very scarce; but within a year we hope that things will be different."

We are grateful to have people like Marcos with us who are able adn willing to invest their and their lives in this way.

Friday, 4 March 2011

GAiN España Sends Water Purification System to Haiti

GAiN or Global Aid Network is now in Spain. The humanitarian aid arm of Agape is now a reality in our country. Last year we were already participating in projects in Haiti through GAiN Germany; but as of this month, GAiN España is now sending aid from this country.

Ruben Rivera, the director of GAiN España, gives us some details about a specific help that was sent to the Ca-Ira Children´s Home in Haiti:

"We can say that finally GAiN España is a reality and the truth is our work couldn´t have had a better kick-off...
We are sending a water purification system to the Ca-Ira Children´s Home in Haiti. 

Thanks to the collaboration of our volunteer Alejandro Gómez, GAiN España, at this very moment, is sending a water purification system to Haiti that will provide clean water for the Ca-Ira Children´s Home which was destroyed by the earthquake in 2010 and GAiN is now reconstructing.

The Children´s Home has received and cared for poor and orphaned  children since it was established in 1988. The 2-story building that housed the children was completely destroyed by the earthquake, killing 5 children and 2 staff. There was also a school for 220 children and 20 professors that was also destroyed.

Our objective as GAiN International is to re-establish the Children´s Home, giving them care and hope through decent housing, food, clothing, medical care and education. "We want to create a place where children can simply be children."

If you would like to participate with us, you may give a gift through the GAiN España account:
2100 0886 00 0200209994 Memo: "Ayuda para la reconstrucción del Poblado Infantil Ca-Ira en Haití"

You can keep up with the GAiN España news via this blog and also on GAiN España´s Facebook page.

Pictured above is the water purification system that is being sent to Haiti.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Joel Turns 10


Joel, one of the children at the Dawn Refuge turned 10 years old on February 23. Our fellow staff at the Refuge sent us a few lines that described this special day for Joel:

10 YEARS OLD ALREADY!!
On Februrary 23rd our alert and playful Joel turned 10 years old. Although we prepared a party for Saturday, we didn´t want to miss the opportunity to celebrate him as a famiily on his actual birthday. At school, Joel gave out birthday party invitations to his friends. When he got home from school, we all went to wish him a happy birthday and Joel was so excited; and after dinner we were able to sing "Parabens a você," a Portuguese verseion of "Happy Birthday To You" and then the birthday boy blew out all 10 candles. His brother, Jorge, gave him a racetrack for cars, something that Joel loves. He also received a 4G pen drive, but Saturday he received even more gifts. Afterward we were able to play games where Joel was the star. It was all laughter and good times. 


A few weeks ago we asked Joel what he wanted for his birthday and he responded, "The presents don´t really matter so much. What I want is for all my friends to come to my birthday party."


We give thanks to God for such a great family at the Dawn Refuge. Each life is a miracle.