Happy New Year! So I have been working in Barcelona now for a good few months and thought that an update is now overdue.
September saw the start of me working with GBU Barcelona and getting to grips with what that actually involved. I have to admit that at the start it was very challenging, mainly due to not having a flat sorted until the end of October. This was such a test as I was taught patience and to completely rely on God’s plan and timing; and as God provided, He blessed us with a great flat, one with a big living room in which we can host people that is also close enough to the city centre without being too busy! I feel like I am now settled in, not just into life in Barcelona but also into my work. It is a joy to be part of the GBU team here and they have really helped me understand on a practical level what I am to be doing day to day and how I can best serve within GBU.
At the beginning of October we had a weekend away with all the students from across Cataluña and Barcelona. We were 60 in total with the theme of the weekend being “Disciples 24/7, living for God in all areas of life”. This was a great time of training for the students at the start of the semester just before they got back into university life again. One thing over the last few months that has struck me is the faith of the students. They do face opposition to their faith and as a result are so dedicated in learning more about the Bible, in apologetics (how to defend their faith) and are intentional in the relationships and friendships that they form. Seeing them engage in seminary learning or online apologetics courses apart from their normal university studies is such an encouragement!
An important part of what I do here is studying the Bible with those who have never done so before. In September one of the GBU students, Aida, started a seeker Bible study with three international Masters students. Each week we have been studying Uncover John – Uncover is a resource consisting of one of the Gospels along with six Bible studies all designed to allow the seeker to discover who Jesus is for themselves. Two of these students came along to December’s evangelistic event, a Christmas meal, where they heard about the true meaning of Christmas and how it is relevant for them. Roughly 70 students attended this event which was an amazing turn-out!
Part of my work with GBU is looking after three of the eleven groups that are spread out across the city: the international group, Bellvitge and Mundet. The international group is for students from the different universities in Barcelona and who are studying either a semester or a whole year here. The group in Bellvitge is one of the smallest groups as there are only four students whereas Mundet is one of the biggest with roughly fifteen students. Part of my role in these groups is to encourage the student leaders and meet up with them on a regular basis, as well as help oversee the preparation of the studies each week.
So looking ahead into the next semester, the 20th – 23rd of February we have our Mission week here in Barcelona. The slogan this year is “Convinced?” and we are holding it in one of the four universities in the city. We will be running lunchtime events as well as evening events on a variety of topics, such as “Convinced that science has buried God?” or “Convinced that suffering proves that God doesn’t exist?”, as well as conferences on the refugee crisis and how Christianity has influenced economies. April sees us attending the IFES European Student Evangelism Conference in Germany where 2,000 students from all over Europe will be coming together to celebrate Easter and also learn about evangelism. This event takes place every five years and this year the conference theme is “Presence”. We are hoping that many students from Spain will attend!
I hope this has given you an insight into life for me in Barcelona and what the last few months have looked like! Thank you for all your support, prayers and encouragement.
Lots of love,
Praise and prayer points:
- Praise God for how I am settling into life in Barcelona and my work with GBU, and also for how I have a really good church here.
- Please pray for all those who are reading the Bible for the first time through Uncover as they see for themselves who Jesus is and what this means for them.
- Praise God for the students here and their faithful and bold witness for Him on their university campuses.
- Please pray for Mission Week in February, for all the preparation and planning going into it now, and that many students would come along to the events and bring their questions about Christianity.