The seminar to introduce Celebremos la Recuperacion (Spanish version of Celebrate Recovery) was a big success! The people in attendance at the seminar were very open to this ministry and interested in bringing it into their churches or para church organizations. The host church in Rivas, Comunidad Cristiana Luz y Vida (Light and Life Christian Community), is prayerfully discerning how to integrate CR into their cultural context and what their next steps will be.
As I (Ardis Nelson, member of the CR leader team at PLCC) mentioned in my last post, we (the Klein’s and me) arrived in Spain on October 2 or ‘ten-two.’ Luke 10:2 has been a symbolic scripture to me these past few months. I prayed at 10:02 for People of Peace to align with God’s desires for spiritual renewal in Spain. I wouldn’t be here if not for those People of Peace who have in turn prayed for and generously supported this mission of faith. So on ‘ten-two’ my footsteps onto Spanish soil again felt prophetic and anointed to me.
We quickly got our bearings and situated in our hotel in Rivas, about twenty minutes from the center of Madrid. Another member of the team from France, Didier Truchot, was arriving the next day. After the traditional large midday meal (comida), we turned our attention to more seminar prep. I turned the PowerPoint presentation back over to Marvin and turned my focus on yet another rewrite of my testimony. The next day was spent in much the same way—final prep for the seminar that started in the evening.
On our return walk from lunch, we saw a very strange site by our standards—and in Rivas as well. A lost sheep was being chased through town by the Policia. The metaphor didn’t get lost on any of us. We were here to tend to His sheep. How far would we go or to what lengthens would we travel to bring back a Lost Sheep? I came from Seattle—5,300 miles across the world. God was showing us the way.
Marvin opened the seminar that evening by sharing a bit of his testimony and introductory comments about Celebrate Recovery. We were concerned about how much detail to present and how the translating would affect our schedule. Thankfully we approached it with flexibility and alternated on and off between the teaching segments. We also adjusted to the timing of their meals and normal daytime schedule. The seminar ran from 8-10:30 PM on Friday and on Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
We ended the evening on Friday with time for Q & A. There were many hard questions asked and apparent confusion about the program. In America, we have the benefit of experiencing CR ourselves before we ever go to training. It was a real eye-opening experience to answer their questions and to hear their apprehensions. We were able to address their concerns and assure them that the next day would answer more of their questions.
On Saturday, Marvin opened the meeting with more of his testimony and how he came to experience CR for himself, and not just to lead it. It was a powerful message for an audience that included pastors and lay leaders. My Spanish family arrived at mid-day just as we took a short break. I was able to greet them and introduce them to some of my ministry colleagues.
After the break, Marvin introduced me to share my testimony, saying that it is like standing before them naked. I prefaced my sharing with some teaching about testimonies, and let the Holy Spirit lead the way into my own testimony. It was an honor to be the first woman to share a CR testimony in Madrid. And it was especially gratifying and humbling to be sharing it in front of my Spanish family. I would venture to guess that no one in the audience had ever heard anything like it—vulnerability, nakedness and all. That felt more real to me in this context than other times I’ve given it.
Later in the afternoon, Didier gave his testimony. He attends CR at the Klein’s church in Grenoble. This was his first time sharing his testimony, and his nerves were a bit heightened. His wife is a Spanish teacher in France. She coached him in sharing his testimony in Spanish.
Didier’s testimony was not translated into English, but I was moved later when I got to read an English version. He is excited to share his testimony with others and offered to share it via proxy with the CR attendees back home at PLCC, as Marvin does in Grenoble. (Marvin routinely reads other people’s testimonies because there are no French testimony videos.)
To end the seminar, Marvin and I each led an open share group. We had about ten people in each. The focus question was “How do you think this ministry would benefit your church?” I was surprised and grateful to see a few of the women being brought to tears in sharing around this question. (I heard that some men cried too.) That takes courage in this context. It was a testament to their hunger for this kind of ministry and the safety that permeated our time of sharing.
I closed the women’s open share group with my own sharing. I modeled sharing based on my personal struggles at that moment. I openly shared about how I was affected by my trip to Spain last year and my heart for the people. I expressed to them how hard it was for me to go on mission by raising funds based on the generosity of others and how significant it was to have my Spanish family present. I got teary, and tissue was passed, although we did explain earlier that was breaking the guidelines. I accepted the gesture, and also gently reminded them of the rules.
After open share groups we reconvened for a seminar wrap-up, more Q & A, and an opportunity for attendees to share any final thoughts. It was a great treat to hear the translator share when some of the attendees talked about their passion and eagerness to start this ministry.
Our team celebrated and debriefed a bit over tapas (typical Spanish small bites) for dinner. Although the seminar was technically over, we were scheduled for another presentation at church the next day. Below is a slideshow with more photos from the CR seminar.
I am very grateful and feeling blessed to have served on this mission (and to still be in Madrid for a few more days). As you can tell, the prayers over this seminar were answered in mighty ways! Muchas gracias to those who partnered with us on this mission of faith! I can sense the Lord’s pleasure at what happened here, with more to come. Please keep them in prayer as they seek God’s will and guidance to break ground for CR in Spain.
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.