A New Mission to Spain
The Work of Ihor Dovzhyk
Our mission point emerged naturally after we started praying for planting a Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Ferrol, Spain. Before that, I came to Spain from my Baptist church in Ukraine with Operation Mobilization in 2011. Having resigned from the mission due to my getting married, and having then preached at a small Brethren congregation for several years, the only conservative Evangelical church in the area where we actually live, we began praying for planting a Reformed Baptist church in 2017. Since that, for several months I was preaching to only one person on Sundays — to my spouse (we don’t have children). Then other folks joined us — one of them is a Colombian sister, Eny, who specifically sought a place where the Doctrines of Grace are preached — and now we have a small group of five, celebrating our Sunday worship services with expository preaching, the Lord’s Supper once a month, biblical lessons on Wednesdays, actively evangelizing and waiting upon coming of some new lookers from the United States and Mexico by September 2019.
In the city of Ferrol in northwestern Spain, our small Reformed Baptist group of five is the only Baptist congregation in the city and its surrounding communities with a total population of 160,000. Of course, there are other few Christian churches nearby, but for the most part these are Neo-Pentecostal groups promoting the Word of Faith ideas and female preaching. We’ve witnessed what The Gospel Coalition said about the portrait of most Protestant ministries in Spain, “There’s no doubt that the heresy of the prosperity gospel has become the new orthodoxy” (https:// www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-gospel-in-spain/).
The only conservative Evangelical Brethren church in Ferrol area, mentioned above, was founded by the English missionaries as early as the nineteenth century and unfortunately declines due to aging of its members and, thus, decrease in number. Therefore here, as in all Spain, there is an acute need for planting biblical churches. Apart from our city pf Ferrol, several towns with a population of more than 5,000, sometimes even more than 10,000, have no Evangelical witness. Some bigger cities have small congregations with a distorted gospel, e.g. Naron, the closest city to Ferrol with the population of about 40,000, has only two small Evangelical churches: one with interdenominational and Emerging Church tendencies, and the other is a Neo-Pentecostal church rebuking Satan and practicing other unbiblical stuff, — each one totaling about 20-30 attendees. The town of Fene counts more than 13,000 inhabitants and has no Evangelical church. By the way, the Spanish shipyard company Navantia is located in Fene, and the recent contract with Saudi Arabia for ship building will cause employment increase for several years on, which may lead, in turn, to the rise of population. Valdoviño is another town without Evangelical church, and its population is almost 7,000. The population of Neda is 5,000, and there’s no Evangelical church. The capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, has a population of 95,000 and is also in urgent need of planting biblical churches. In short, there are many places with little or no Evangelical presence, and if there is one, we’re not completely sure that there’s no need to plant a church that would speak sound doctrine. Thus we’re working on planting a church in Ferrol and then, after establishing it until its full functioning, we pose to open new mission points in surrounding towns or farther.
Please come to help us (Acts 16:9). You’re welcome to visit us, join our group and help us in our work, whether it be evangelizing, preaching at group if you’re an expositor, and so on. We can’t cover your flight costs, but we offer accommodation and meal at our home. Spain, the least evangelized Spanish speaking country, is called a cemetery of missionaries, because more than a half of missionaries leave Spain after their first period of ministry and don’t come back again. Prof. Jerram Barrs (Covenant Theological Seminary) made a note that in such countries as Japan or France, about ten years is an average time that a person’s conversion takes from the first contact with a biblical believer until the conversion itself.
Spain is like France, Evangelicals, Muslims, LGBT and so on, but never accepting the Good News and always declaring themselves agnostic. So church planting goes very slow in Spain.
We also need your support in prayers. We’ll appreciate your prayers about our contacts with people which allow us to speak of the Gospel. Sister Eny has about four more or less constant contacts, and I am currently developing friendship with a Chinese Catholic Hugo confused about biblical Jesus. Generally we practice frontal evangelism on the streets talking to people and sharing tracts, but, being aware of Postmodern thinking, we don’t reject the possibility to get closer to people in friendship relationship in order to show them the Gospel in action, i.e. to let people see how God’s grace is working in us, and to communicate them the Good News verbally. That’s the practice shown by our Master, “Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour” (John 1:38-39). Pray for Hugo. Pray for other contacts. Pray for new contacts.
Particularly, please pray for our faithfulness to God, numerical growth and new missionaries to Ferrol. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the some with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2-4). We’ll hugely appreciate your praying for coming of a young missionary from Mexico, brother David Martinez, who will stay with us, Lord willing, for some weeks in September-October. Earlier the place of his long-term ministry in Spain was uncertain, but recently David was issued a scholarship by a university of Madrid, the capital of Spain, — and this is a good possibility for him to stay years in Spain in terms of managing his visa — so his long-term ministry in our region Galicia is discarded for now. This notwithstanding, we wait upon him for a short period this year before his studies in Madrid start. As well, in September two folks from a Hispanic Baptist church in Las Vegas, NV come to Ferrol for two weeks. They have already bought their flight tickets, and now with fervent prayers we’re waiting upon them. Please kindly uphold these two visits prayerfully (Romans 1:9-10; 1 Corinthians 16:9), that the Lord prepare their hearts for this work, guide them, provide us all necessary means for accommodation, that nothing can hinder their coming (1 Thessalonians 2:18) and that their and our evangelistic efforts bring fruit (Romans 1:13).
Also, I have a secular job taking more than 9h. Monday to Saturday. Please pray that the Lord give me a financial support for full-time ministry, so that, besides devoting more time to church planting, I can spend hours in knowing God more through in-depth study of His Word and seeking His power through prayer, lead daily family worship, have free time to finish my Master of Divinity with The North American Reformed Seminary www.TNARS.net etc. We’ll also appreciate you praying for my wife Yane’s health. A couple of years ago she underwent a surgery, in which six benign tumors were eliminated from her womb. And of course, we pray that the Lord give us a baby. Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to know more about our ministry in Spain. even as its geographical neighbor. Spain still has many inveterate Catholics, who never accept even a tract. On the other hand, Socialism is very strong in Spain due to the popular support and a civil war in the past, so many may listen to you exposing the Gospel just wanting to be apparently tolerant to all: