The apostle Peter declared in his Pentecostal message -
This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him - Acts 2: 23 & 24
There is a downside to having fixed religious dates in that it gives an opportunity, even in these days of secularism, to attend a church service perhaps twice a year, and feel good that you have not totally abandoned religion. Nevertheless, for me, the opportunity for believers to evangelize on these special dates overrides any misgivings.
On Good Friday we held a service in the English speaking church, with various readings by members of the congregation, centering on that week that changed history. The next day we gathered at the Campello esplanade with tracts for Spaniards and invitations for English speakers. There were very few British about (the recession stills bites) but one dear brother, on holiday from from Nottingham, was thrilled to meet us and a member brought him to the Sunday morning service.
It was a joyous Sunday morning as we remembered the angel’s words - "He is not here; he has risen!" And the singing was greatly anointed, the songs having been specially chosen.
MARGARET’S FUNERAL SERVICE - The Lord took my dear wife Margaret to be with himself on the 9th February, she is now more alive than ever, and rejoicing in his presence. What a wonderful wife and companion she has been. God gave her a love for Spain and the Spanish people; and she was especially delighted to have three Anglo - Spanish Your browser may not support display of this image. grandchildren. She gave 48 years of her life to Spain and her body now rests here waiting the day of resurrection.
The service was held in the "Cristo Vive" Church and convened, in English and Spanish, by Peter Austin and Antonio López. The presence of the Lord was very real as different folk came forward to share their memories of Margaret, there was as much joy as sadness as we rejoiced that a servant of the Lord had gone to her reward.
ENGLISH SPEAKING CHURCH SAN JUAN ALICANTE - The central photo that heads this Letter shows just how world - wide the Church of Jesus Christ is. From left to right we have Brazil, Venezuela, Scotland, Srilanka (they are Londoners really), Nigeria, Filipinas and England; and this is only a sample, even in our small church. Every time I minister I am reminded of those thrilling words from Revelation - "They sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals because you were slain and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God - Revelation 5: 9 & 10 ¡Hallelujah!
BIBLE SCHOOL MURCIA - It was good to be back after two years of absence, I was asked to fill in for one of the teachers who was visiting Cuba. It was good to see the, more or less, same number of students, in spite of the opening of a new school near Valencia so that students from that area can avoid the long journey to Murcia. I have now been asked to take on two classes at least to the end of the school year.
We often talk of the ‘generation gap’ but I can only say that I greatly benefit being with young people, and if you are one with them they don’t seem to worry too much either at your white hair. You will remember that the students come from the East Coast and Murcia only and inland from Albacete, which area has now been added to our region. A dynamic missionary planted a church in the city of Albacete a few years ago. Omar Arteaga and his wife are from Venezuela and now have over 100 in the congregation and several outreaches; he has sent a number of students to the Bible School.
SPANISH A of G CONVENTION - It was convened, as it has been for several years now, in Gandia on the Mediterranean coast, which is only just over an hour’s drive from Alicante, I had been unable to attend for 3 years and so it was great to see both growth and vision at the Convention. With ministers, delegates and visitors the attendance neared 1000, I can remember when I interpreted John Philips in a convention back in the 80’s, we were around 40 to 50 ministers, attending, if that, in a Madrid church building. In Gandia, we had to have the use of three large hotels.
EVANGELICAL RADIOS - The Spanish Government (in desperate need of cash it seems) have come down heavily on some 3,000 unregistered radios in Spain telling them to close down or face massive fines. This, of course, has affected many evangelical radios including "Ondas Amigas" ("Friendly Waves"· managed by ex - IBTI student Constantino Justo and is wife Jopie. They do ask for prayer that this situation may be resolved.
You may ask why these radios haven’t registered with the government. Believe me, it would mean months and months of paper work, only at the end to be told - no! Pray that the Lord will open the way for evangelical radios to operate afresh and propagate the gospel without hindrance.
The daily program by the "Cristo Vive" Church has not been affected, because they pay for an hour each morning on a secular radio. It is Colombian, targeted for Latin Americans, who are, generally, in no way prejudiced against evangelicals. Pray for them as they prepare these daily programs, it isn’t easy.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who have called or wrote to sympathize with me over my loss. As a pastor I have had to sympathize with many, but it seems impossible to know what it really means until you experience it for yourself. But, of course, knowing that your loved one is with the Lord makes all else bearable.
I have answered many of those who so kindly wrote, but if I did miss you out please forgive me, because, as you can imagine, it has been quite a hectic time. I do specially thank those who so kindly sent gifts to help with the extra expenses - may the Lord bless you greatly! There were one or two whose names I can’t seem to match to any address, and so I take this opportunity to thank them here.
Please take a look at our blog - http://www.christianchurchofthegoodshepherd.blogspot.com It is updated regularly with photos and comments.
Gordon Burgess tel. 34 595 02 31 mobile 6809621484 Email firstname.lastname@example.org