Local Missionaries in Spain
Historical hub of the Counter-Reformation and now largely secular, Spain and its people can be hostile toward evangelical Christianity at times. While a majority of Spaniards identify as Roman Catholic, most rarely attend Mass. Hence paradoxically, the opposition that local missionaries most often face is a deep-seated secular worldview held by people who are intensely loyal in name to a religious institution they rarely heed.
Of the 77.5 percent of people in Spain who identify as Christian, nearly 89 percent are Roman Catholic. Of the overall population, 19.4 percent say they are non-religious, with some studies showing the percentage actually ranges from 20 to 27 percent. Immigration from northern Africa is largely responsible for the 2.6 percent of the population that is Muslim.
Spain is one of the few European countries that still officially accepts refugees, and local missionaries are welcoming those from Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa. Many of these refugees are Muslims, and workers are building relationships with them as they extend aid such as food packets, medical care and clothing. Local missionaries do much to help them relocate and assimilate into the country by offering counseling, language and job skills training, and assistance in finding housing.
Workers also provide aid to Christian converts from Islam who have been persecuted and to the workers who have suffered for leading them to faith in Christ.
Among the refugees that local missionaries are helping are Muslim women who have been trafficked, abused or widowed at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS), including those who have children as a result of the abuse. Local missionaries seek assistance to provide shelter and care for them as well as compassionate aid for abused youth.
Sources: Joshua Project, Ministry Portfolio, Wikipedia, Impact Survey
How to Pray for
- Pray that refugees from Muslim families who have trusted in Christ for salvation will be kept safe from harm, and that the Lord would also protect and strengthen workers who are leading them to Christ.
- Pray that refugees will see the love of Christ in the aid and orientation they receive to begin their lives anew, and that they will bring knowledge of Him to others in Spain, or to those at their ultimate destinations or to relatives and friends in their countries of origin.
- Pray that house churches planted in Spain among refugees and nationals would flourish against the forces of secularism and a post-Christian mentality.
More stories from Spain
A family of five fled war-torn Ukraine, arriving in Spain frightened and without hope. Local missionaries spent time developing trust with them, and the family began coming to meetings at the ministry’s refugee center and accepted Christ. “God made a radical change in their lives; now they have peace of mind,” the ministry leader said.
In the course of starting 95 churches in Spain and elsewhere over a period of six months, native Christian workers shared the gospel with both refugees and Spaniards. Among the Spaniards was a young woman who was pregnant at 15 and whose parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol. Often beaten and abused, she was visiting her brother in prison when she met a ministry worker bringing the gospel to the inmates, and the worker invited her to a church service.
A native Christian ministry that has planted hundreds of churches trains evangelists in how to train others, focusing on segments of society reaching their own people – gypsies proclaiming Christ to gypsies, soldiers to soldiers, and doctors to doctors, for example. The workers are trained in how to start small groups in homes where fellowships study the Bible, worship and partake of the Lord’s Supper, as well as encourage each other to proclaim Christ’s death and resurrection.
Among 15 inmates who put their faith in Christ after a native ministry leader preached at their prison was a young man who was subsequently released and began a new life. He recently called the leader to say he cannot stop reading the Bible. “God changed his life from a narco-trafficker to a new person,” the leader said.
Refugees from war-ravaged regions of Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine obtained crucial assistance from Christian workers at a native ministry as it opened 12 new refugee centers over a six-month span. Trafficked women from Russia received rescue and aid. A trafficked refugee the ministry helped to escape from an organized crime ring recently succumbed to cancer, and her parents and aunt were so moved by the ministry leader at her funeral that they put their faith in Christ.