Latest from the Whites in Spain
Below is an update from our dear friends in Spain.
Dear St James' family,
Our apologies for not being in touch as regularly the last few months. We have found ourselves in a very full season and it has been a case of getting our heads down and working hard. I (Chris) have always felt part of my call has been to be creative and us those skills as a means to connect with the community, invest in people and their dreams and also as a means of income generation. For the last three month’s I have been working for basically the only city center church in Granada, which is run by a young Brazilian couple who are close friends. They have had a vision to have a city center base to reach out to some of the 60,000 students who come form across Europe to study. They finally found a warehouse in a perfect location that was available to rent and I have built within that space offices, classrooms, bathrooms, the main auditorium and what will become a community cafe and drop-in space for people to connect and build community. It has been fun to build again and a real honour to invest in someone else’s dream and help them achieve it. The nature of building has meant I have had to work very long days which has been hard for Liz and the boys, but it has been a once in decade opportunity and the main construction is complete so my involvement will be much less after summer.
Sadness and Frustration
In April a teenager was shot dead and another injured in a children’s park in our town where we regularly go. Having lived in Liverpool unfortunately we have experienced things like this before but the location, that it was in broad daylight, and in our sleepy Spanish town makes it unprecedented and very sad. This follows the murder of a policeman before Christmas and leaves the community feeling unsettled and confused. Amongst our friends there are many struggling with strange health problems which are leaving the doctors confused. Also a close friend our age with two young children might have to have his leg amputated. We are trying to hear God in all of this, we believe in and have seen God heal many people and are open to this but our friends have been often resistant to receiving prayer as this is culturally such a leap of faith for them. The last three month’s have been a mixture of frustration as we have struggled to gather people for our bi-weekly meetings along with encouragement with new families and contacts we have met some of whom have come to see what we are about. Please pray for wisdom, boldness and that we would clearly see how God wants us to do things. As a team we are hungry for and believing in a breakout in the supernatural both in healing but also in the prophetic as we speak into our friends lives that The Holy Spirit would give us words of knowledge and keys into situations.
Since our last email we have been continuing to fight for a place for Sam & Leo in the same school. I (Liz) met with the new head of education planning of Granada, in the 2nd week of him being in the position. He was empathetic and understanding to our situation and said he would do what he can to make space for Sam to go to Leo’s school. It will not be until September that we know for sure so we would appreciate your continued prayers. Everyone tells us the only way to get things done here is to fight, protest and be persistent. We don’t want to have to go the papers, as we have been advised to do as relationships are more important to us that just getting what we want. However we do believe this is the best for our boys. It may sound to some of you as a 'First World problem' but we are realising more how we have been living under a lot of passive stress the last 8 years, living in a foreign culture, doing life in our second language, raising 2 amazing but demanding boys without support from family or a church community and pioneering new things where the majority of our relationships are people who are demanding something from from us. So something like having the boys together would be amazing for them but also relieve an additional complication we have in daily life.
We are currently in the UK for our yearly summer trip. It’s a time to escape the 40+ heat of Granada, to catchup with family & friends and to have some time as a family to regroup and plan for the year ahead. We are just offi camping in Dorset for 4 nights with Urban Saints, a Christian Youth Ministry who run camps for families – this will be family time and a chance to really invest in the boys and have fun. We then travel to Minehead to visit Chris’s Mum and from there go to Kent. We then return to Somerset and will have time with Liz’s family and our friends at Welton Baptist Church. So unfortunately we won't be making a trip up to Liverpool this summer, it is such a long journey to fit in, when all our family are in the South. We felt it was too much to add in for the boys. But maybe we could fit in a weekend trip over to see you guys, as Easyjet fly Manchester to Granada.
We would value your prayers that this would be a time of rest, fun, and hearing from God as to what are the next steps for the coming year in Granada. We can make plans but we desperately need Him, without His plan and presence we can do nothing! Our friends Dave & Kellie who moved to work with us are expecting a baby shortly (their 3rd - they already have Lucas and Jasmine) please pray for a safe, smooth delivery and that they can quickly adjust to this new phase in their lives.
Thank you for believing in us,
Much love from the 4 of us!