The first thing that strikes me as I reflect on Luther’s words is that we wouldn’t be heading off to Valencia without at least some sense of God’s leading.
Nicky and I had felt a gospel burden for Spain for a number of years but had reached the point where we were thinking we would only be able to work out that concern from a distance. Last November I went on a brief trip to Spain to visit various gospel workers with the intention of supporting them and putting to bed the idea of ever working there. However, God clearly opened a door of opportunity and I took that as God’s ‘leading’. And throughout the whole process of walking through that doorway we have encountered God’s leading in every step we’ve taken.
However, I don’t think Luther is saying that God doesn’t lead. The amazing truth Luther points us to is that our God is sovereign over everything. And because God is who he is and because he ‘works all things for the good of those who love him’ (Romans 8:28), he is perfectly trustworthy as he guides according to his good plan. But he doesn’t always reveal the details of that plan to us in advance.
So, looking back I can say I know where God has led us so far, but only he knows where next. There are so many unknowns about our future in Spain, but God knows. On the evidence of his guiding hand in the past, we can face the future knowing that whatever happens is in those same glorious hands and we trust him implicitly.
Our initial plan is to settle in as a family, whilst learning the language. I already speak Spanish fairly well so we intend to devote a lot of time in the first six months or so in getting Nicky to a decent level so that she can begin to function independently. During that time we will also begin getting to know members of our new church family. The plan after that is for me to get more involved in leading the church.
Beyond that, various ideas are taking shape to grow and develop the gospel work there. We might start an evening service with a more contemporary feel to try and reach the increasing number of secular Spaniards. We might start a service for ex-pats. We might set up a Bible Training Course. I say ‘might’ for all these things because we need to see how the Lord leads!
I am going to be seconded to the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Madrid. It’s a small denomination (and part of the Anglican Communion) which arose from a mini-reformation in Spain in the 19th century. It took a bit longer for the influence of Luther et al to reach the Iberian Peninsula than for us in the UK!
We feel privileged to be going to work in Spain under the Crosslinks banner. There has been a faithful gospel witness for a number of years at the church we’re going to and we hope that, by God’s grace, we can continue and grow that work. We’re very conscious that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before.
The fact that we share Luther's view of our ‘Guide’ is an enormous comfort: he is leading and we will follow. All the details, timings, future events and even the funds are in his hands and we trust him.
Find out more about Julian and Nicky or donate towards their ministry. Julian will be at both Crosslinks day mission conferences this November - book your place today!
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