June 2024

Maxi: Remaining Positive

Many times, during our last month in Spain, the travel and assignments were intense. While with Pastor Maxi in Aviles in northwest Spain, I felt the Lord gave Mardie and I an ‘Emmaus Walk’ experience. (Luke 24:3-35) Last year, in late August, Maxi had a freak accident while painting his house. In the evening, following the Wednesday Bible study, we walked with Maxi through a quiet, forested area towards the Cantabrian Sea wall. It was like the Lord said to me: “Walk with Maxi, let him tell you what happened, listen to him, come alongside him.”

Maxi talked of how he was in a hurry, lost his balance, and fell backwards off a short stool. While turning he hit his right eye on the end of a short broom handle. The impact completely destroyed his eye. He has since had several operations and a prosthesis implanted. “It was already a very difficult time in our personal lives and ministry,” said Maxi. “But while I was in the hospital, the Lord used this incident to restore some broken relationships. Some who had been unkind and hurtful to my wife and family, came to ask for forgiveness.” Through all the many challenges Maxi and his family face, they look towards the future. “I don’t want to become bitter. I want to keep open to understand what God has for our future.” I am encouraged that Maxi is moving forward; he is a life-learner, he remains positive.

A Personal Note:

After almost ten years of ministry with the Salem group of churches in Spain, Mark and Kim, our son-in-law and oldest daughter, are moving to Beugen on the southeast corner of the Netherlands. Mark will teach and Kim will do member care at Cornerstone, a Bible College preparing students for international mission. Mark and Kim are well suited for the work, and both will contribute significantly.

With Mark and Kim living slightly south of Madrid, it has been wonderfully convenient for us to have a great family time while also visiting the pastors and congregations in Madrid and in the outlying cities of Spain. Thirty-eight years ago, we made our first visit to Spain. We pastored the church plant in Alicante for several years and have since made regular visits to the Salem churches. During this last month in Spain, there were many moments of nostalgia as we said good-bye to the ease with which we have become accustomed, over this last decade, of being based in Mark and Kim’s home.  

A transcribed interview with Dorcas, co-pastor and worship leader of Salem Cordoba

In the beautiful city of Cordoba in the Andalusian region of southern Spain, Dan interviews Dorcas Blanco. Dorcas is richly endowed with musical expertise and worship experience. She pastors the Salem church along with her husband, Paco.

Dorcas responds to the subject: Talk to us about the way in which worship and music has helped your church to grow.

Worship: a personal, artistic expression of our worship
I think that music is a personal, artistic expression of our worship. As we are Christians, we use music to express our love to God.

Worship: helps our team to grow
In answering your question, I would say that music impacts in our church in two ways. Firstly, I think that it helps our musicians and our worship team to grow as persons and with a relationship with God. It is not enough to play piano, to sing very well, it is not enough to play sax or to play drums. It is necessary to have a heart open to the Lord and to want to serve Him and to recognize that with our music we are contributing to express our worship and our love to Him. In this relationship He’s going to be personal with us, He’s going to talk to us and there is going to be a way to speak to Him and to listen to Him.

Worship: helps the congregation to grow
After that, I think that our church music also helps us to grow in the congregation. When we are leading worship and we are playing music together and worshipping the Lord, we are preparing a way and we are introducing an idea to people: “Hey, come with me. We are going to play together and we are going to sing to the Lord.” We sing in a public manner to express not one person, not two persons, not five in the worship team. All the church is introduced by us to worship the Lord. It gives our church a good way for everyone to express our love to God, to make a joyful song to the Lord and to know His presence and to say, “Come, God, come God. Speak through us and speak to our heart when we are worshipping, singing, playing.”

Dan: Excellence in worship and discipling young musicians and worship leaders to minister to the Lord will bring the entire congregation into the wonderful presence of God.
Dorcas: This is the point… it is going to help our congregation to grow! Come to Cordoba… you will be very welcome!