Monday, November 20, 2006

Update From Rona

Dear Grace Church Family,

It’s hard to believe it’s already been three months since my arrival in Spain. What a whirlwind of emotions and spiritual lessons! As Stella Nuncio can tell you, Dan and Lisa Leatherwood are a very dedicated couple who have been working in a hostile and closed environment here in northern Spain for the past seven years. The Roman Catholic church is such a strong presence here that it’s hard for evangelicals to get a foothold into the community, especially in small cities like Tafalla (pop. 12,000). The storefront ministry the Lord has given them was opened just under one year ago, and is located on the main street of the city. Many people walk by it every day but few venture in. It’s an all-purpose facility where we hold Sunday services, a Wednesday night women’s bible study, and English classes. There’s also an extensive library of books, both in English and Spanish, covering themes as diverse as children’s literature, personal/spiritual growth, religion/philosophy, marriage, and parenting. Even some great American novels like Moby Dick and Red Badge of Courage are included among this diverse selection.

When I first arrived on August 23, I was whisked from the airport in Bilbao to their home in Artajona (about 2 hours southeast). I stayed in their spare room for the first four nights, and then joined Lisa’s mother Elizabeth for a six-night stay at a Dutch-operated “albergue” (inn/hostel) on the Camino de Santiago. These Dutch evangelicals use this as a ministry outpost to try to witness to the pilgrims who walk this arduous 500 mile trek from southern France to the west coast of Spain. Camino means “way” and the intent is to point them to THE WAY, our Lord Jesus Christ. Pilgrims are offered a Gospel of John printed in their own language (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, English) and shared with briefly during our dinnertime together. Although a lot of hard manual labor on the part of the staff, it was a truly memorable experience and one I’m not likely to forget.

I started taking care of two brothers (Javier, age 9-1/2 and Alvaro, age 7) on September 4. Their mother works as a radiology technician at a hospital in Tafalla and she needs someone to be with the boys during their two-hour lunch break, from 1-3 p.m., each school day. I give them lunch and then English lessons, both reading and writing. The boys are a handful and each day brings new challenges. Please pray for the salvation of Arantxa and Joakim, the parents, as well as the boys.

I’ve also cataloged all the books in the library so that there’s a computerized database. And now I’m working on a checkout card system so they can start sharing these books with members of the church family as well as those in the community. The Lord has blessed me with computer skills and administrative work experience, so I’m a “natural” for this job and I’m blessed to be able to help them in this way.

The English classes I’ve been teaching so far are mostly either one-on-one or have two participants. I teach teenagers mostly but also a couple of adults. The students here are required to learn both English and Basque (this is one of the four Spanish Basque provinces) and the teenagers are using these classes as a way to improve their English skills from a native speaker.

Our church is small and consists mostly of immigrants from countries in Central and South America. It’s been wonderful to worship with such a diverse group and to be made aware in a very personal way of just how great our God is, and to be reminded that He is worshiped throughout the world by people of many tribes and tongues. It’s a joy to sing praise songs that we sing at Grace, but to sing them in Spanish with my brothers and sisters here in Spain!

We had an early Thanksgiving celebration after church on November 12, with 17 people attending. Dan did all the cooking! He made turkey, stuffing, biscuits, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, jello mold, and apple and pumpkin pies. What a feast! It was a wonderful opportunity to share a typically American holiday with our church family and at the same time be reminded of how thankful we all are to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ. I was reminded of how unique a situation this is when I saw four people talking to one another—one from Guatemala, one from Chile, one from Ecuador, and one from Cuba. How amazing and wonderful this is!

The Lord has been using this time to teach me many lessons about dependence. He has proven Himself to be all-sufficient for my needs, and in my times of loneliness I am continually reminded of His love and grace. I want to thank you for your prayers for me and for the folks here. It has been a real blessing to hear from many of you via email or letter, and I am truly grateful for your part in this ministry and outreach.

My email address is or letters can be mailed to me care of Leatherwood, Calle San Pedro 14, Artajona, Navarra, SPAIN 31140. Also, I’ve uploaded almost 100 photos from my time here to the following site, so do check it out:

I will be heading to Turkey in January to serve as guidance counselor at Oasis International School in Ankara. I covet your prayers for that time of service as well as for my remaining couple of months here in Spain. May our God richly bless you in a special way during this holiday season!


Post a Comment

<< Home