One of the reasons for going to Barcelona was our connections to the CU scene there. When Em and I were on Relay, Dorcas Gonzalez was also on the programme. Dorcas is now back in her native Barcelona working three jobs including working with the Spanish student movement. Her second job is translating English Theology books into Spanish to provide some resources for the movement. Her third, church kids work.
Visiting Dorcas, and talking with Jo Wilson (doing Relay Homestart in Barcelona) was humbling. To see that the resources we take for granted are just not available. Quality tracts, books and gospels that'd we'd readily be able to get hold of do not exist. And its not just the paperwork, the staff are short on numbers and stretched over big areas. And Ben Slatter (a former Relay Homestarter who is still there), says that the Spanish movement is among the better resourced student movements.
Here I find myself complaining that there's only me and my Relay to cover the CUs on my patch. And we find ourselves heartbroken as a team that we have no-one in Canterbury. And yet the church scene is strong, books are available, conferences are available. We are resourced beyond the imagination of those in Spain.
What do we do about this?
Firstly, I want to rejoice for things like Relay Homestart that are sending Relay workers out to work with IFES movements for 1-2 years after they've done Relay. This is a beginning.
Secondly, I want to rejoice that we are well resourced here in the UK. And also to be thankful to God for the ministry that does exist in Spain. Pray for Jo Wilson and those with her, working to reach Spanish and International students. The work is hard and the fruit is small. Pray that they rejoice above all that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10v20).
Thirdly, I want to appeal for more workers. Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 10v2. "The Harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into his harvest first, Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.". Oak Hill College call this The Other Lord's prayer. How we need it!
More gospel workers!
We need men and women to give themselves to gospel work here - in the workplace, in the lecture theatre, in the halls of residence... part-time, full-time and all the time. We need training (which is why I'm passionate about Relay, which I consider to be the best short-term gospel training available for young men and women in the UK). We need God's work in us to equip us. We need to cry out to the Spirit to gift the body with teachers, theologians, leaders, pioneers, evangelists, prophets, servants...
Consider opposition to be normal
2 Timothy 3v12 says that ALL WHO DESIRE TO LIVE A GODLY LIFE WILL BE PERSECUTED. What do we do with a verse like that? Will we throw ourselves into God's service? Will we face martyrdom and suffering as normal so that the harvest-fields of souls can be gathered in.
Preach the gospel
On MSN with Phil, we realise again how small the Christian world is. The only way to change this is to grow the Christian world - to bring in more people. Not for our glory, not to build megachurches but to bring glory to the name of Jesus as people bow before his Cross as their only hope. And the only way to do this would seem to be to preach the gospel, consistently, faithfully so that men and women would prize Christ above all else.