Today marks two months since I (Ardis Nelson, a member of the CR leadership team at PLCC) taught at the seminar to introduce Celebrate Recovery to churches in Rivas, Spain, a suburb of Madrid. Since that time, I have returned to the busyness of my American life and the ‘business’ of locally serving at CR. It hasn’t been easy to come down off the spiritual high and mountaintops of France and Spain.
After a month of re-acclimating, I shared a mission presentation at our regular Monday night CR meeting. I included many photos and a video of one of our sightseeing excursions to Segovia, Spain (video below).
In the previous mission updates on this blog, I shared all of the good news from the mission. At home in the safety of our CR meeting, I shared more about my invisible call to pray into these countries, the religious climate, and the corresponding spiritual attacks. It seems Satan wanted to remind me of those attacks and silence my voice that night at CR because my PowerPoint didn’t work properly. I had to speak without my notes. Thankfully, grace abounds in these meetings.
The CR group where I spoke in Grenoble has reported some new regular attendees after I gave my testimony. They passed the one-year anniversary for the ministry and started the next year with the launch of Step Study groups.
Please lift CR in France in prayer for continued growth of the ministry and healing for participants.
Within the past week, I connected with CR International at Saddleback Church, CA (where CR was developed) and with Pastor Josh in Rivas. I have good news to report on both fronts.
Months in advance of the mission, CR International provided our team with numerous training documents, including an electronic file of Spanish CR materials. We worked with some of their PowerPoint slides and created a bi-lingual presentation for the seminar. I am excited to report that our PowerPoint presentation is being integrated into the CR International curriculum for teaching in other Spanish speaking countries.
In Spain, I’m pleased to report that after much prayer and discernment, Josh’s church and some of the other represented churches are taking a thoughtful and deliberate approach to introducing recovery into their culture and churches. Several potential leaders have been identified and stepped forward to serve.
These seminar attendees and others in the churches are reading and working through Life’s Healing Choices by John Baker. We provided Spanish copies of the book at the seminar. It was this same Spanish book, Ocho Decisiones Sanadoras, that I gave to members of the church in Rivas when I first met them in July 2013, planting seeds for biblical recovery and life transformation.
Introducing recovery through this book will help to minimize the stigma often associated with recovery and to integrate the same material and healing culture into the church. Josh even reported that the marriage and family ministry will be studying this book in the coming year. To quote Pastor Josh, he said it would be “organic” with small groups multiplying into more small groups studying this book. I’m excited to hear such positive news.
Truthfully, I’ve been jumping through hoops and pushing myself hard this last year to gear up for the mission to Spain. I didn’t understand how this could possibly be launched so quickly. I didn’t question God, but I did question the timeline and at times was ready to give up. I had to surrender the timing to God and to diligently ‘work my program’ along the way.
It was a year ago that I started my email communications with Pastor Josh. At the end of our first meeting last December in Seattle, I told him about CR and gave him a copy of Life’s Healing Choices. A few weeks later he invited me to Spain. It is still hard for me to believe at times—especially how quickly the Lord made this happen.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know the One who does. What I do know after living and breathing recovery and CR for over ten years is that you can’t rush healing and expect good fruit. It is a process. It will take a lot of time and emotional and spiritual healing work to grow leaders from scratch, and to dig deep roots for a solid recovery culture. With Life’s Healing Choices as a foundation for their ministry, I believe biblical recovery (and eventually CR) has great potential in Spain.
Please lift CR in Spain in prayer to grow up leaders through these small groups, for multiplicity, and for healing across the church and the nation.
I am grateful that God used me in Spain, leaving a footprint on their path into recovery. I am passionate about recovery. I am passionate about my 12th Step (sharing the Good News). It is because of what the Lord has done in me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I think how I live my life post-Spain (after coming down from the mountaintops) is more an indication of His work in me than before. It’s back to the daily grind of life and working through my hurts, habits, and hang-ups. I’m grateful He’s not done with me yet.
Thanks again to all who supported this mission of hope and healing to France and Spain. I am honored and humbled to make this report to all who partnered in the cause for Christ across the world.
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.