Almost three years have passed since we said, “Agur” = “Good-bye” to Basqueland. It has been ten years since we moved from the USA to Getxo (Bilbao) to plant a church in that municipality of 150,000. Then we think back to thirty years, when we left Canada with our three adolescent children – our first time in Basqueland. We’ve met so many of God’s family throughout Basqueland. We’ve seen many become part of His family too.
“You must come! You have to see what God is doing in the church you planted! We want you to come to Basqueland, come to Getxo.”
After looking at the calendar on the kitchen wall – our very full calendar, hubby said, “Next weekend would be a good time to go to Getxo.” Flights were booked, carry-ons packed. I made sure to check the weather remembering the cold rainy days in Basqueland. The first two days were actually like that! The final two were sunny and warm. And it was so green. I had forgotten how beautiful and green Basqueland is.
The church – Iglesia Betel de Euskadi – treated us royally. One of the pastors and his wife picked us up at the Bilbao airport, took us to a beautiful accommodation - with breakfast included! Saturday a noon a young couple, part of the leadership team, met us. We enjoyed a good meal and time together with them. (He was our son’s best friend back 30 years ago). After an afternoon siesta, we were taken to the Saturday evening youth time. It was thrilling to get big hugs from the older young people who are now part of the ministry of the church. They were part of the University students Bible Study group back in ‘our time’.
Our time! It was in 2007 a storefront was purchased – thanks to supporters here and in North America. The group of folk who met weekly in our apartment now had a place. Prayer meetings began for an hour in the evenings – Tuesdays to Fridays. Sunday School began, Youth times, Bible studies with University students, Sunday morning services, meals together, Missions emphasis, a center for outreach – and the congregation began to grow. After four years it was time for us to leave. A young Spanish couple came to give leadership to this newly planted church. Soon we heard there were two Sunday morning services. “We need a larger place!” the pastor said, and they began to look.
Sunday morning we walked into a large renovated warehouse. The auditorium on the main floor, Christian Education, Extension Bible School, offices on the second floor. “I wonder who I’ll recognize.” I thought as I looked at the full auditorium. Then “Oh look – there’s………, and over there………!” It was a very emotional moment to be invited up to the platform, look out over the congregation and see folk from six years ago and then to see many, many ones I didn’t know. That was good!
This church now has two congregations meeting in the storefront where we began. There is a large congregation who meet at the warehouse, in another area, and a growing congregation meeting in a town along the coast. Their vision is to continue reaching into towns and into downtown Bilbao.
“Praise God” is what we say. “Thank you Lord!”
What came to mind is what I read in 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV) - “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.“ Teaching men and women who teach others, who teach others, who teach others.That is what has happened and continues to happen in the church in Getxo.