Paving New Roads in Spain
This year marks the inauguration for Avance España (AvanceESP), a sister program to Avance in Mexico. In this post, we interview one of the first AvanceESP participants, Audrey, as she settles into her life and ministry apprenticeship in Granada.
AvanceESP: Audrey, you have been here for just over a month. What has been one of the best things about the Avance España program thus far?
Audrey: The connections! Kevin and Leah have accomplished so much in setting up the Avance program in Spain. As a result, I have connections to various churches and Christian organizations all over the city. What a blessing it has been to spend time with the individuals involved in each organization and to have their loving and prayerful support!
AvanceESP: What has been one of the most challenging things for you?
Audrey: As a woman that loves to stay busy by actively serving, I have found it challenging to find close friends. I am in the Word daily, and I have a loving church community in which I serve. But, when I spend most of my energy investing in and mentoring others—which is so fulfilling!—sometimes I forget to also seek out a few friendships with more reciprocity.
AvanceESP: Since Avance is a mission immersion program asking all participants to come as learners, we try to frame our learning within context (i.e. Granada, Spain) and congregation (i.e. the ministries in which you serve).
Let us know briefly what your ministry placements are and in two sentences describe the place that you live.
Audrey: Currently, I have two ministry placements: La Iglesia Evangélica Bautista de Granada (IEBG) and Existe+Mundo (E+M).
My role at IEBG is to welcome, care for, and disciple young women in the church ranging from ages 18-22yo. I will also be involved in Sunday school with the younger children and summer activities!
My role at E+M is to help with digital marketing, to participate in caring for the homeless individuals of Granada, and to aid in the administrative aspects of E+M’s organizational structure and event planning.
My host family has four members: Cristina (Mama), Cristi (18), Dani (14), and Alicia (12). They are so kind, loving, and welcoming in every way. In their home, I am blessed with my own room that has a window displaying the entire city of Granada, including the Alhambra!
AvanceESP: In Avance España we try to frame all that we do around imago Dei (image of God) and missio Dei (mission of God). How do you see these two missional concepts play out in your daily life and ministry while immersed in this new context?
Audrey: As humans, we are created in the beautiful image of God. Although I am imperfect, I strive to reflect His image, His character, His being with accuracy. God has also created me with a unique purpose, and I choose to embrace my identity in Christ rather than in the expectations of others. Therefore, each morning I place my life in God’s hands so that He might speak to me and shine through me as I interact with others in love, authenticity, truth, and obedience to His calling.
AvanceESP: What is your favorite spot so far in Granada?
Audrey: I have enjoyed every part of the city so very much. Granada is filled with local and unique shops as well as well-known chains. In other words, it has a little bit of everything! But, one my favorite spots at the moment is the Río Geníl. I’ve spent some time walking along this river (even on rainy days!), and I find it simply enchanting.
AvanceESP: What is something you have encountered in this city that we can be praying for?
Audrey: Many people in Granada have no interest in hearing about Jesus. In fact, many individuals view evangelicals as unintelligent and feeble-minded. For example, when Cristi’s teacher realized that Cristi was a believer, she responded “Oh… I thought you were smart.” My request is that you pray for God to open the hearts and minds of the people of Spain. Pray that God will unveil their eyes and spark a curiosity for the truth like never before.