10 12 2009

Sunday and Tuesday were fiesta days in Spain. Sunday was the Day of the Constitution, while Tuesday celebrated the Immaculate conception of Mary. So this weekend, we had a bridge. There are a number of flexible days floating around the calendar that schools can put where they like, and they all put one on Monday making a long weekend. Nearly everyone takes the holiday, to get stuck into Christmas preparations, head to their farms or get  away for the long weekend.

I’d love to have gone to the snow which opened for the season this weekend but that will have to wait until January when I can convince someone else to come with…

So instead I went to visit David and Christine Dobson in Montorro. David and Christine are originally from England. They’re involved in church planting and have been missionaries in Spain for a lifetime. They’ve been in their current town for nearly 20 years.

They’re soooo lovely and I had a fantastic weekend chatting with them, drinking tea and eating fresh baked cakes and warm veggie soups, raiding their bookshelves and joining Christine in putting up the Christmas tree. I went along to one of Christine’s English speaking classes for two teachers. One is a primary teacher and the other is the head of music, who in her spare time composes music and writes books with her husband (they’ve just published their second novel) and does English classes on the side 🙂 When the tape recorder wouldn’t play I wound up reading the text for them. As if it isn’t hard enough without adding a totally new accent!  Half the time the things Christine was correcting them in – I’d say differently anyway. Exactly how many syllables does ‘library’ have? And if you want to torture someone Spanish – get them to say “Captain James Cook sailed the Pacific Ocean on a voyage to the northwest passage”.

A bit about Montorro and the Work…

The town itself is beautiful – a classic village in southern Spain with narrow winding streets circling up to the Catholic Church with its spire, which you can see for miles. David and Christine live on the hill and looking across at the town. The river winds its way from the new bridge, up the valley to the old bridge which divides the town in half. It’s only recently that the town has seen a thawing between those that live on either side of the bridge – and we’re talking a 20 minute walk from one end of the town to the other! 

David and Christine came to Montorro as English teachers and opened a school called the Bridge as a way to connect with people in the town. They were accepted and welcomed into the town where few manage to crack through into the community. They’ve seen many people come and go, both Spanish and extranjeros who have found it too hard to be accepted and have moved on.

The two Catholic priests are barely on nodding terms with the Dobsons and many times they’ve had children groups running, then one week none will return – because the priest can withhold first communion… While less and less people identify themselves as Catholic or go to mass – evangelicals are still seen as a sect. It’s fine for the Dobsons to be protestant because they’re English – but for a Spaniard to convert is inconceivable. So there are very few Spanish people in the church. Christine and David have a ministry to the Romanians, some of who attend the church and who they help with food and clothing.

Both David and Christine continue to give language classes. Christine was planning to go through Christmas carols with her children’s classes this week. They need prayer as they keep working at how to move people from these classes on to thinking about Jesus.

There’s not a high level of movement in and out of the town – so most people have seen the Christmas outreaches over the years, and they’re aware of the Evangelical church and disinterested. Pray for David and Christine as they work out fresh was to engage people in this really hard mission field. Pray that God would move in the town and bring a hunger for Him, a conviction about the bible, and raise up people for Himself from those in Montorro.



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