Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Schrader Family Heads Home

Joel and Ana Schrader return home after investing many year in Spain. Joel arrived in Spain in 1999 and four years later Ana joined him. Without a doubt, the chapter of life that they have invested in our country has yielded much fruit.

Just this morning, they boarded the plane that will take them back home. All of us will miss them greatly: Joel, Ana, Olivia and Isabella.

We love you guys. Thank you for all that you have given us and all that you have left for us.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

One More in the Souto Family

Our fellow staff, Edi and Isa, together with their three children Sara, Miriam and Daniel welcomed a new member into their family at the beginning of July: Nelson.

Nelson was the first child that came to the Dawn Refuge in Portugal. As we published earlier in this blog, the Refuge sadly closed its doors for good this summer. Nelson's situation regarding the future was quite unclear and uncertain, but there seems to be a storybook ending as Edi and Isa tell us below....

"We already knew about the situation with the Dawn Refuge and we knew that it wasn't going to be able to continue after the long summer break. As you can imagine, these have been some long, difficult months for us and we've had to accept the news with a heavy heart, remembering many, many memories and special moments that we experienced during the last 10 years. One of the issues that worried us most was the placement of the children who were still living in the Refuge, and especially for Nelson.

Nelson was the first child to arrive at the Refuge. At that time he had just turned five-years-old, and since there were no other children during the first few months he lived in our house. At that time our daughter Sara had just turned four and Miriam was not even a year old yet.

Now, as a 16-year-old, Nelson is the only child of that generation who is still at the Refuge. The others have either moved out on their own or have gone to live with families. So, for him, the closing of the Refuge was the worst news he could receive.

We've never seen our ministry as merely a job or a task, but rather a life commitment and we couldn't stand passively by, knowing that Nelson's main need was to have a family that he could depend on.

Isa and I were quickly in agreement. despite the fact that we are very different in many ways we almost always agree on the really important decisions. We talked with our kids and proposed the idea of inviting Nelson to become part of our family, knowing that this would require sacrifice on everyone's part. Sara told us, "For me, Nelson has always been a brother," and the decision was made.

When we spoke with Nelson and proposed the idea to him, he was only able to get one word out: "amazing." So now, since July 11, we are a family of six, three of which are teenagers!"

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Fuente del Peregrino--July 10-17, 2011

The week of July 10-17, the "Fuente" received, for a second year in a row, a group from the "El Cruce" Church in Madrid. Jorge, the pastor, dropped us a note with the following lines which we joyfully share with you:

"Thank you so much for keeping the Ligonde house going. Once again we had some great experiences with our team, with the neighbors and with the pilgrims. It was the first time that we had had 2 children in our group. Some of us weren't sure how it would turn out...but it went much better than we expected. They were an easy contact point with many people, especially the neighbors.

As we were talking with 2 girls from South Korea, they said that they were more inclined toward Buddhism, but they had some doubts and they weren't really sure. I was able to speak with them of another way to seek after God and about what there is after death. As I talked with them about creation and salvation, it was very interesting to discover the symbols they use in the South Korean language. What a surprise it was to realize that the symbols for the word "paradise" are two people in a garden! In the middle of the symbol for the word "salvation" there is a cross. We were able to talk about salvation in Christ who died on a cross. They were very surprised by these "coincidences" and wanted to visit a Christian church in Seoul to learn more about faith in Jesus. 

The last night we were there, we played the Jesus film with the prayer of salvation at the end of the film. After dinner, a young man came to me, quite impacted by the film. It had really touched him and he felt the need to make some changes in his life, especially regarding his family relationships. So, after the film, he wanted to pray to place his faith in Jesus. We were able to talk about how to take some concrete steps and we will stay in touch for more follow up.

Another pilgrim who was convinced about reincarnation of humans thought that he had been Jesus in his former life. He actually looked like the actors who played Jesus in the movies. Two people from our group were able to have a great conversation with him about who Jesus Christ really is and what HE did and still does. The young man left very grateful to have a greater understanding.

blessings and appreciation from the whole team, 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

The INFFA on channel TVE

The "Buenas Noticias" show (Good News) from channel TVE aired a report about the INFFA ("Instituto de Formación Familiar" or Family Training Institute) whose purpose is to train people to help and evaluate family situations. The director of the INFFA is our own fellow staff member from Familia a Familia (Family Life), Juan Varela.

The report was shown last Sunday and you can see it in its entirety by clicking here.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

You Have Changed My Life....

"El English Camp," a project developed for the el Zaidín neighborhood in Granada and led by teenagers ended its first series this past Sunday. Patry Méndez participated as a counselor with a group of Amercian summer counselors from Philadelphia specifically to partner on this initiative. Here she tells us more details of what happened during the English Camp....

" ´I still don´t know what you guys have done to me, but you´ve changed my life and you´ve given me a special happiness that I was needing...´

These were the words of Quique, a 16-year-old from the El Zaidín neighborhood who participated in our ´English Camp´ that was held last week there. It drew out 16 new teenagers from the "barrio." The principal objective was to establish new relationships with the young people that live in this district and offer some community service since El Zaidín is one of Granada´s districts with the lowest level of foreign language in the middle and high schools.

With the help of this team of summer counselors, made up of young people from Philadelphia who came specifically for this project, we have been together with these special Granada adolescents who have gained a special place in our hearts.

For some of these young people, like Quique for example, it was clear that they sensed the atmosphere of love and good fellowship that flowed in the entire group. They served voluntarily and without any expectations of compensation, something that noone could understand, especially in the midst of summer and so much heat.

Now we are developing a follow-up project to stay in touch with these kids and keep working with them during the upcoming school year."

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

GAiN and the reconstruction of the Ça-Ira Children´s Home

As we have mentioned on various occasions, GAiN Spain is working to help re-build the Ça-Ira Children´s Home in Haiti which was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 2010. This home cared for 100 children that are now currently living in a precarious situation and hope to see the home reconstructed.

In the following recruiting video from GAiN USA, in addition to testimonies from university students´stories, you can hear a testimony of one of the young men from the home who tells us his experience of that earthquake. 

This month GAiN Germany and GAiN Canada have sent teams of people to work on the reconstruction of the children´s home. In December, GAiN Spain hopes to send its first team to help the same cause. Wanna come?

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Fuente del Peregrino--July 3-10, 2011

Ruben Rivera has been the director in Ligonde this past week. He sent us a message filled with good news...

"This week our team at the Fuente del Peregrino was made up of just 7 people. We are very happy because the flow of pilgrims coming by our pilgrim house has continued and because we´ve been able to care for so many people. The efficiency and care that the pilgrim house is known for has also continued, especially during the day.

The most encouraging news this week is that two people have accepted Christ after having been with us at the pilgrim house! Their names are Nevell from Scotland and Manuel, a 56-year-old fisherman from Barcelona, who, after almost dying at sea, left everything to search for God during many months on the Camino. He says that finally he found God this week."

Pictured above: Ruben and Manuel

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Existe Más Mundo Málaga in El Zaidín, Granada

The interest from Jusima and Coral has the biggest motivation to start Existe Más Mundo in Granada, specifically in the El Zaidín neighborhood. Patry Méndez met them recently and the concern and awareness that the two young ladies have to help others in their neighborhood inspired our fellow staff to start up the Exist Más Mundo project in the city. It will serve as a platform to develop the social work project in the neighborhood. Patry tells us a bit more about the hearts of these teenagers who dream of being able to help make the world a better place.

"Juseima (15-years-old) and Coral (14-years-old) have been the push we needed to start "Existe Más Mundo" in El Zaidín, one of the 2 districts where we are focusing in Granada. For me, in meeting them I have seen a great example of servant hearts and unconditional love toward others. In spite of their difficult situations and experiences in life, they have a desire that burns with great passion in their hearts. It´s about being able to make this world a better place by thinking about one´s fellow man more than in oneself, and in this way, demonstrating very strong values that have impacted me in a very special way.

Their desire is to be able to invest time in their own neighborhood, being sensitive to the needs that exist there that they see and experience day in and day out. With this passion, they have recruited more than 12 young people from the neighborhood to participate in "Existe Más Mundo" and every Thursday afternoon we meet with them and we teach a series on values. We are also preparing an action plan for the El Zaidín neighborhood the upcoming school year. We are very encouraged because we know that God has a plan for these kids who come from a variety of family backgrounds, some of them quite difficult with great needs. I believe this will open the door to show them the unconditional love that God has for them and also what He can do through them."

Monday, 4 July 2011

Closure and Celebration of Spanish Classes

As you have heard recently, Isa Fernández, Marian Bootello and Loida Martín have been hosting a Spanish course for Muslim women at the GAiN office in Terrassa. The 2010-2011 school year has come to an end and there was a big party to celebrate. Isa Fernández tells us about the year and how the end-of-the-year party went....

"It was great to celebrate another of these typical parties again where we eat all kinds of sweets! In addition, this year we had a small ceremony to give the students diplomas which so many of them were excited about.

One important thing I think we´ve accomplished this year is to integrate 5 of these women into other professional training courses: cooking, hotel management, pharmacy...or help them to get directly into a professional training course. We are now in the process of early registration for them in these courses, but if they actually get the chance to enter and complete these courses, I think it would be a great achievement for them that will radically change their lives.

What´s more, we are working with the local government in Terrassa to establish important partnerships and job roles for the upcoming school year 2011-2012."