Lighting the fire of Christ throughout an entire nation is no small task.
But try igniting that spark in Spain, where the hope of Jesus has been sporadic at best, for as long as anyone can remember.
That’s exactly the challenge that My Hope is tackling in 2011. And the embers are starting to burn.
Quite fervently, in fact.
“I want to see a miracle,” said Maximo Carrero, country director for My Hope Spain. “For many years they have tried to do something that will fire up Spain.
“They feel a big opportunity for God to do something marvelous.”
And by “they” he means “we.”
Carrero has seen a movement of Christians joining arm-in-arm with him and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, catching the vision of this nation-wide outreach that will touch every corner of a country over 46 million people call home.
But just how exactly did this country capture the the passion of My Hope?
And how did “they” embrace the idea of reaching thousands through a three-day nationwide television program that proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Like any movement, it started with prayer. And lots of it.
Then they called on Raúl Irigoyen.
Irigoyen has a wealth of My Hope experience, serving as National Coordinator in My Hope Panama (2003) and Country Director in My Hope Peru (2005).
His mission in Spain was simple: help cast the My Hope vision during a 14-city “Motivational Tour” to as many pastors as he could reach.
“(Raúl) talked to them about evangelism, the need for evangelism and what this project is trying to do,” said Carrero, who is working closely on this project with national coordinator Jose Pablo Sanchez.
The first leg of the tour (Jan 31-Feb. 10) reached nine cities: Madrid, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Valencia, Valdepeñas, Murcia, Málaga, Sevilla and Córdoba.
The second leg (March 19-25) covered Madrid again and five other cities: Las Palmas, Tenerife, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela and Bilbao.
“We were able to talk to 900 pastors and church leaders,” Carrero said. “And they think this is the time for Spain.”
Why now? Carrero has a hard time pinpointing exactly why, although he suspects the political unrest and recent economic meltdown have played a part in the timing of it all.
He can, however, point to one specific sign from the Lord to why he feels the Spain soil is more fertile than ever.
“Unity,” Carrero said. “We are asking for signals and one of the signals is unity. Without unity, we are not able to do it.”
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A big display of unity is how, by Carrero’s estimation, 80 percent of the Church denominations are working with the My Hope project.
Thus far, 21 district coordinators have been assigned throughout the country to help continue to cast the vision and train the pastors.
The pastors will, in turn, train the “Matthews,” in their congregation, who will invite family, friends and neighbors over to their home on one of three nightly television programs in December, featuring music, testimonies and classic messages from either Billy or Franklin Graham.
The My Hope Spain project goal is to get 1,500 churches involved.
“It is ambitious,” Carrero said. “But that’s how My Hope works. We try to reach as many pastors as possible. We try to motivate the pastors.
“Once the pastors are committed to the project, we train them and they train the congregation and challenge them to have Matthew homes.”
Carrero is very encouraged by the response so far.
“The project is starting to get some real momentum.”