Spring is coming to the Valley of Guadalhorce; already the days are longer and the afternoons warmer. With it comes renewed hope for new life and new beginnings. Every missionary wants to write home with glowing reports of all the wonderful things God is doing on the foreign field. While some positive things are happening, this is not that newsletter. We don’t feel at liberty to share details but our family has experienced a traumatic event and the month of January was one of the most difficult times we have ever experienced since we have been in the ministry. Through it all we have seen God’s hand in the details. It has brought great comfort to know that He was preparing the way to healing before we even knew we needed it. People have disappointed us but God has been faithful. As a family, we want you to know that we need your prayers now more than ever. Please pray that God will continue to allow us to see His hand and that we will know His will for our lives with total clarity.
The ministry here has experienced a downturn as well. We have lost a couple of families; however we know that sometimes it is necessary to prune in order to continue forward with healthy growth! It was notable that this past Sunday we had four men from Bill’s basketball team in our service. It has been a joy to us that both men baptized in 2014 have remained faithful and continue to grow in their walk with the Lord. Also, Victor’s wife has been attending services some 75% of the time. She seems to be searching and we continue to pray that God’s word and the change she sees in her husband will bring her to a personal relationship with Christ. Please pray with us, not only for the salvation of Victor’s wife and two sons, but also that God will provide for their physical needs and allow someone in the family to find a job.
Here in Spain, January 6 is “king’s day” and is as widely celebrated as Christmas. Taking advantage of that theme, on January 3rd the teens of Cartama, together with a group of teens from Malaga distributed the gospel pamphlet “Know the King!” They were able to reach every home of Cartama Estacion, putting the pamphlets in each mailbox and roughly covering 10,000 people. Although we haven’t seen direct results from that effort, we pray that God will grow the seeds that were planted through their work.
For the first time ever Bill was able to take a group of teens to snow camp last month. He and four teenagers travelled by train to Barcelona where they were able to spend a weekend participating in outdoor activities and rallies. They came home tired but spiritually energized! We have been doing a lot of our youth meetings in conjunction with a church in Malaga, and this past Saturday night our teens organized and carried out a “Minute to Win it” activity that was a big hit. Eight teens from Cartama were there to participate. One thing that has been a big blessing both to us personally and to the ministry is that Jordan (age 16) has learned to play the guitar. He began with just a few chords in November and is already quite proficient and playing almost every week for both teens and Sunday service!
We plan to begin furlough at the end of summer 2015 and have decided to set up a household in our church’s parsonage instead of travelling as a family this time. In the past our furloughs have been “fast and furious” and we’ve only taken a three month furlough in what will be five years by summer. This year we plan to take a full furlough mainly because our boys need a good solid year of American education and the stability of living in one house instead of travelling the country. There is also the very real possibility that we need to raise extra support as our sending church and some other churches have been unable to send the full support they had originally pledged, which has been a hindrance in allowing the ministry here to go forward. Depending on the distance, the family will travel to some appointments in the north together in fall and winter and then Bill plans to make visits in the south in the spring.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support for our family. We remain faithful because HE IS.
Bill and Dena Rose, with Kelsey, Jordan, Joshua, Josiah, and JohnPaul
First and second images: youth handing out "Meet the King" booklets.
Third image:Jordan leading worship at the youth meeting that the Cártama teens organized!