October 2023

Spain Update

God’s Great Goodness and Faithfulness

More than two hundred people gathered from a multiplicity of Spanish speaking nations to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Salem Church in Bilbao in north central Spain.

The congregation honoured Lead Pastors Jesus and Esther Giraldo Prieto for their thirty plus years of service. As a young man, Jesus was studying to be a Jesuit priest in one of the best schools in Spain. He and his twin brother gave their lives to the Lord and then endured the distain of their family for their new beliefs. Completing his theological education at our PAOC Bible College in Peterborough, Jesus prayed an audacious prayer: “Lord, send me to a hard place so that I can know your glory.” The Basque region of Bilbao, close to the French border, has definitely provided a challenging ministry situation and setting.

Standing with Dan from right to left:
Esther, Murray Cornelius, Maddy, Caleb, Jesus, Mark and Kim

The anniversary of this flourishing church community was an occasion of joy and celebration. The congregation was warm, responsive, and friendly. The children danced and celebrated in worship and praise. The leaders of the various church ministries were prayed for and encouraged in their ministry.

Those who attended the Saturday and Sunday gatherings, placed their fingerprints within the design of a cross. The depiction was presented to Jesus and Esther as a reminder of God’s great goodness and faithfulness.

Pastor Jesus presented with fingerprinted depiction of the cross

An Echo from the Past

Being in Bilbao with Jesus and Esther brings back memories built over three decades: seminars and prayer times with their leaders and congregation, discussions as colleagues, shared mealtimes together with our children, and walks along the beachfront as friends.

Once, after completing a weekend of ministry in Bilbao, we placed our children on mattresses in the back of our VW van so they could sleep for the ten-hour drive back to our home in Alicante. Our oldest daughter, Kim, wanted to be back in time to attend school Monday morning. (This was prior to the installation of seat belts in the back of any vehicle!)

Now, years and much history later, Mark and Kim live just outside Madrid and work with the Salem churches. Together, with two of their three children, they drove from Madrid to attend the anniversary celebrations in Bilbao. Visiting as well, was Murray Cornelius, our Mission Global director. It was Murray’s father, Bill, who facilitated our moving to Spain in 1986 to work with the Salem church in Alicante. God is faithful and God is good!