Indignation and despair.
When Jose Juan Pablo was asked to describe the current situation of Spain, the My Hope Spain national coordinator did not hesitate. He chose these two words — indignation and despair — during a conference call from the My Hope office in Madrid.
“There is despair,” Pablo said. “What you are seeing now in New York, or on Wall Street, you have been seeing over here, where indignant people are taking to the streets demanding change.”
Change is exactly where My Hope Spain comes into focus.
For a country dealing with more than 22 percent unemployment, an evangelistic program such as My Hope brings a level of hope rarely seen in the Spain society.
“There is a feeling that we live in a special time in this country when people need hope,” Pablo said. “We are in a deep moral crisis, a deep economical crisis; the unemployment rate for young people is around 45 percent. There is a feeling that we need to do something to give hope, and My Hope has come at just the right time.”
DEDICATION OF MATTHEWS SUNDAY
My Hope is a BGEA initiative in which the love and changing power of Jesus Christ is shared through nationwide television programs. The cog that makes the wheel go around is the Matthew host, who volunteers to open up his or her home to neighbors, friends and family during the three nights the programs air. Two Sundays were set aside to ephasize the importance of Matthews in Spain.
The first Matthew Sunday was July 16, when churches launched the project to their local congregations, and urged members to take up the role of a Matthew during the Dec. 15-17 T.V. transmissions.
The second was a Dedication of Matthews Sunday service on Oct. 8 where churches around the country reocognized and prayed for their Matthews.
“One of our fellow workers here (at the Madrid office) said it was really emotional seeing the people on the platform being dedicated,” said John Blake, the My Hope national mobilization coordinator, who is overseeing the outeach to more than 800 churches. “It was a very powerful service for their church.”
ALL 50 PROVINCES GETTING INVOLVED
One of the goals for My Hope Spain is to involve churches in all 50 different provinces, including two provinces in the Canary Islands (Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas) in the southwest and one (Baleares) in the Balearic Islands to the east.
According to Blake, the project has met that goal, but that’s not where the My Hope Spain outreach stops.
Gibraltar, a British Territory on the southern tip of Spain, also has churches involved, as well as two autonomous cities of Spain, Melila and Ceuta, both located on the continent of Africa, at the northern tip of Morocco.
“And we’re working on Andorra,” said Blake, of the small landlocked country in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France.
With up to 2,000 evangelical churches in all of Spain, My Hope has a goal of training 1,500. Thus far, just over 1,200 churches have said they want to be involved, with about 10 percent of those coming from the Gypsy Churches.
“We expect more of the Gypsy churches will come in,” Blake said. “We have a couple hundred churches each in Madrid and Barcelona.”
DOMINICAN DOMINO EFFECT
Several factors have played a part in capturing early momentum for My Hope Spain, which has seen about 95 percent of the churches asked join the project after they were contacted.
For starters, the anointing of the Holy Spirit cannot be ignored. Key evangelical denomination leaders caught the vision early and hopped on board.
But when Blake thinks back to the My Hope Dominican Republic project in March of 2010, how several of Spain’s top church leaders, including those from the Baptist and Pentecostal churches, traveled to the Dominican Republic and saw the effect of My Hope Matthew meetings in homes, he can understand where the energy is coming from.
“They came back (from the Dominican Republic) with a lot of excitement,” Blake said. “They came back and encouraged the leaders of the churches in Spain to get involved.”
Maximo Carrero, the BGEA country director, is also encouraged about the support and enthusiasm he has seen.
“I feel God is doing great things here,” Carrero said. “(My Hope in Europe) is totally new for us. When you talk about 22 percent unemployment — and for the young people it’s 45 percent — and that the churches are sending their offerings to support My Hope, that’s a miracle.”
The My Hope Spain team has placed a heavy emphasis on prayer the final two months. “All of the Matthews were taught and encouraged to spend time in prayer for the people they are inviting,” Blake said.
On Nov. 11, churches across Spain held prayer vigils—nights for their own congregations to commit to pray for My Hope as an entire church.
On Nov. 12, bigger regional churches hosted Concert of Prayer nights, where many congregations gathered at central locations for a praise and worship night as they unite with other believers in prayer.
“We believe in prayer,” Blake said. “We believe this will be a key issue to the whole project.”
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