Greetings in the name of the L-rd!
Perhaps you might be asking yourselves about the latest on José and Ada Hernández. Well, we are in the middle of a non stop season. Thus, I want to give you an update on the personal and ministry things we have been involved. This is a longer report that what normally I send. But I ask you to take the time to read it all.
Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University
Part of our summer, beginning on the month of June was to provide independent studies to master degree level students at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. Courses as Church History and The Missional Church were taught to several students from the U.S. and Latin America.
Asbury Theological Seminary
Also, we had the visit of 22 students and faculty members from the Doctor of Ministry Program from Asbury Theological Seminary. It was an awesome time to be with Dr. EllenMarmon, Dr. Steve Ybarrola, and the students of the cohort G-d allowed me to put together a few years ago. They were here in Spain doing a ministry immersion as they experienced how ministry is done on a European context.
Family Violence and Conflict Resolution Training
Ada was involved in coordinating a family violence and conflict resolution training at the Iglesia Comunidad Cristiana Luz y Vida. A team from El Salvador came to provide that training to members of the congregation and people from the community.
El Puente Hispano Team
Pastors Olin and Nily Grau for the second year used Spain as the base operation for their ministry in North Africa and the Middle East. As it happened last year, Dr. Nino González and Rev. Ray Matos were part of the team. They provided pastoral care and a retreat to missionaries and local pastors in closed areas of the world to the proclamation of the Gospel. This was the very first team that stayed at the Ada Michelle Hernández Missionary House, even the house was without a kitchen at the time.
Rev. Gaspar Bustamante
Rev. Gaspar Bustamante, who at the time was the National Director of Frontiers in Argentina came to visit us along with another Frontiers leader. He spend with us five days helping in the renovations around the Ada Michelle Hernández Missionary House. Little we knew that G-d will be calling him to His presence 24 hours after he departed from us to the city of Málaga. We will never forget his life and ministry among us.
Abagail Last & El Camino Norte
We welcomed and provided support and guidance to a young gal from Pennsylvania. Her name is Abagail Last. She spent time at the Logos Training Center ministering through her music and the the Comunidad Cristiana Luz y Vida. At the same time, we provided logistical support to Dr. Peter Clark and the Vision Quest team that spent time at El Camino de Santiago, beginning at the French border and concluding their journey at the city of Santiago de Compostela.
The Preaching Club
As we have being doing since the beginning of this year, the preaching club met with the leaders we are preparing for the launching of the house churches in the Madrid area.
Systematic Theology Course
We concluded this month providing support and translation to Rev. Raouf Soliman as he taught a systematic theology course for our candidates of ordination located in Madrid.
We continue the first weeks of this month working with the Team El Puente Hispano, the visit from Abagail Last, and the conclusion of El Camino Norte. Furthermore, I continue with my teaching work with the Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University throughout the month.
Renovations at the Ada Michelle Hernández Missionary House
Most of our work this month was with the renovations at the Ada Michelle Hernández Missionary House. A team from the Comunidad Cristiana Elienai in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands along with brethren from the Comunidad Cristiana Luz y Vida made possible the hard work of doing the electrical re-wiring of the whole house.
Graduation from the Seminario Teológico de España Juan Wesley
Our second group of students graduated from the Church Growth Certificate Program offered at the Seminario Teológico de España Juan Wesley. It was a blessing to see how this group that started that journey three years ago was able to finish strong.
Appointment as Short Term Missionaries and Volunteers Coordinator in Europe
As Rev. Josh Fajardo makes his transition from Southern Europe Area Director into Europe Area Director, part of the development plan was to have a person coordinating the visit and work of people willing to come to serve in Europe for as little as a week and as much as two years. Hence, I was appointed with the task to serve in this role as a short term missionaries and volunteers coordinator.
GM Fellows Supervisor Training in South Africa
We begin the month of August with a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. The Free Methodist Church in Europe is working in partnership with the United Methodist Church Global Ministries as we are receiving Global Mission Fellows to serve in Greece and Spain. The purpose of this trip to South Africa was to be trained by the Global Ministries staff on my duties and role as a GM Fellows Supervisor. I also, participated at the graduation of 57 global mission fellows that will be serving in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas for the next two years.
More Work at the Ada Michelle Hernández Missionary House
During this month, we spend a great deal of the time on the hard work of replacing the floor at the kitchen. What we though it would be a quick work became a several weeks journey as we had to take the whole kitchen floor to the dirt, replace plumbing pipes, build a new concrete floor, and place the floor tiles. I never thought that such small space could take that much time to make these changes, but that was what it happened.
Time OFF & New Challenges
Since we were without money for vacationing, we stayed at home most of the month of August. August is a death month in Spain. Most evangelical churches close down during the whole month as people flock to the beaches and the mountains seeking to alleviate the high temperatures that the summer brings. The towns of Rivas Vaciamadrid and Arganda del Rey become ghost towns as very few people stay. This is the month most missionaries go back to their home countries to rest, visit their families, and raise financial support. We had no money to make a journey to the U.S. But Pastors Victor and Sandra Artreche, who visited us earlier during the summer found out about our situation and decided to coordinate a fundraising trip in November among the Church of God, Cleveland congregations in the State of Florida.
This month was quite difficult as many of our earlier supporters that have been part of this journey for the last two years decided not to renew their sponsorship. Additionally, since the departure of Dr. Joanne Solís Walker from Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University we got the news that instead of three to four teaching courses I had every semester, I would be teaching one on this fall and perhaps it would be the last one. Hence, it has been a journey of faith as we transitioned from the summer into the fall.
Our Second Year Anniversary & Planning for the Future
We spent a great deal of this month doing planning for the next season of ministry here in Span as we have completed two years of service here. The FMC have two tiers of missionaries. They have the Volunteers in Service Abroad (VISA) and the Career Missionaries. Normally, missionaries will transition from VISA to career missionaries at the end of the second year. But the financial obligations are greater as career missionaries. We barely can make it as VISA, hence, being a career missionaries was out of the question. In front of these realities and at the same time with a profound conviction about our calling in Europe we requested to the Spanish government a new migration status. At the beginning, the folks from FEREDE though it would be difficult. But eventually the changes were approved by the Justice Ministry. Now we can pay into the Spain’s Social Security service rather than the U.S. and it will give us the opportunity to pay half of what we are currently paying on group insurance. Thus, we are making major changes in our status here in order to remain serving here in Europe.
FMC Event in Cornwall, England
The Light and Life congregations in the Cornwall area in England have a gathering and we were invited by Superintendent Michael Bretton to be there and participate promoting the ministry opportunities in Spain as the FMC congregations in the Cornwall area seek how to partner in ministry with the FMC in Spain.
Part of our work during this month was the visit to the Comunidade Evanxélica Koinonia (Koinonia Evangelical Community) in Pontevedra, Galicia. Pastors Fernando and Valeria García welcomed us as we joined them in their first anniversary of this congregation.
We spent time visiting the Catalunya Autonomous Region; specifically the cities of Barcelona, Lleida, and Tarragona. I met a United Methodist Pastor and his mission team from the North Georgia Annual Conference and the members of our FMC House-Church in Barcelona. Then, I went to the city of Lleida to preach at congregation that are from the country of Ghana seeking affiliation with the FMC. Also, I spent time with a fellow pastor serving with the Brethren in Christ Church in Tarragona.
Dr. Ullas Tankler is the Europe and the Middle East Area Director of the United Methodist Church. He came to visit Spain in order to see the facilities we have in place for ministry, the location the UMC GM Fellows will be living and to seek more partnership opportunities.
FMC Southern Europe Regional Event
We begin this month of November at the FMC Southern Europe Regional Event at the Spanish coastal city of Cartagena in Murcia. We help Josh and Susy Fajardo with the organization of the event, coordinating the transportation of leaders and speakers that came from Estonia, the United States, Asia, and Bulgaria. Also, we helped with translation from English to Spanish and viceversa.
Currently, Ada and I are in Cascais, Portugal (Lisbon Metro Area). I am teaching this weekend an introduction to missiology crash course for a congregation in the process of affiliation. On Sunday, I will be preaching at the FMC congregation in Corroios and Ada will be preaching at the FMC congregation in Downtown Lisbon. We are so grateful to FMC National Leaders Eduardo and Cindi Angelo as well as Pastors Gilvan and Vania Alexandre from the Igreja Evangélica Comunaho Plena for their wonderful hospitality and support.
On Monday, Ada and I will be flying back to Madrid. From the Madrid Terminal 4, Ada will go to the Terminal 1 to receive our first GM Fellow that will be arriving from Texas. But I will remain on Terminal 4 as I continue my journey to the U.S. making a stop in Miami and then flying from there to St. Louis. On Tuesday I will be in Greenville, Illinois visiting for three days the Campus of Greenville University as we promote our next semester program in Spain and the upcoming trip to Israel on the next Spring.
I will be visiting the State of Florida from November 16 to December 2nd. Pastor Sandra Artreche has prepared a visiting agenda of nine congregations, seven of them part of the Church of God, Cleveland. I am making plans as well to visit Bill & Judy Tillmann, Dr. Bob & Dianne Tuttle, Dr. Darrel & Peggy Riley, and Hector and Gigi Nieves. If you want me to visit you, please, do not hesitate contacting me. If you want me to speak in your congregation, we still have availability during the weekdays.
Well, this is the report of what we are doing so far. Please, continue praying for us as we continue moving forward reaching out Spain and the rest of Europe for Christ.
In His service,