The Bennett Thanksgiving “Short-List”
November 17, 2017 | John David and Sara Bennett
“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11
The Lord has been so gracious in all the blessings He has gifted us with since we arrived like Pilgrims in Los Barrios on July 1st. Since we arrived we’ve also had lots of uncertainties like the first pilgrims faced in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We’ve moved our small children from one place to another, and are trying to make a stable, godly home life where our daughters can grow in the grace of the Lord, just as the pilgrims sought to do when they set foot in the New World in 1619. As the pilgrims celebrated their survival and also the bounty of Providence they had received, our family can identify with William Bradford who oversaw the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621:
“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are.”
Our family is grateful for the new ministry that is forming where there was nothing. We recognize the way the Lord has been our help and our steadfast pillar of fire by night. We also recognize all those who have made our progress possible through their sacrificial giving and prayers. We see you as being the active hands and feet of Christ, holding the rope for us as we try to church plant in Los Barrios, Spain.
Sara’s grandma wrote to us this reminder, before she went to Heaven, to always remember and count what the Lord has done for us: “Well, you can imagine how happy this weak, almost 88-year-old woman became, as I began to count my many, many blessings that the Lord has done in my life! And you know, these are just the beginnings of thousands of blessings all these almost 88 years and the most glorious 60 plus years since Jesus came into my heart.” -Sarah Ruth Poppe, October 26, 2013.
So, with these words in mind, we give thanks for these tangible answers to prayer that we have lived and give testimony to:
We arrived safe with all of our luggage in Sevilla: May 29th
We had a place to stay for a month in Campo de Gibraltar while we looked for a rental: June 2017.
We entered our current rental home the same day we had to leave our temporary housing: July 1st, 2017.
July 14th: Sarah Ruth had a one-year follow-up with her ophthalmologist, who noted her continued improvement, with her eyesight now up to almost 100% (with glasses). We are so thankful that her hyperopia was detected when she was two.
We took youth from both North Africa and Spain, from non-believing homes, to a Bible Camp at Los Naranjos Christian Camp. July 25th-30th
August 2nd-4th: We received the visit from AMPP (A Mission Proclaimed Productions) board members and film crew, who came to produce a special film project for our ministry.
We received our certificate of membership in a civil association that gives legal recognition and coverage for our ministry in Spain: August 29th, 2017.
Sarah Ruth Trusted Christ as her Savior: September 4th, 2017.
September 19th: After being told there was no room for Sarah Ruth in our neighborhood’s school and waiting several weeks to see where she would be admitted for kindergarten, we received a call from the Cadiz Education Board that they had made space for her as a transfer student. Since then, we’ve had many doors opened with our neighbors as we walk to school with many of them.
September 27th: We were blessed to be able to spend time with other TBM missionaries and staff at a retreat at Los Naranjos Christian Camp, where we help directing the English camps.
On October 1st we held our first Sunday of house church.
On October 5th we held our first Los Barrios Prayer Meeting in our home.
October 17th: We were blessed with the opportunity to attend a Church Planting Symposium in Albania, organized and funded by Shadow Mountain Community Church. We returned refreshed, encouraged and inspired for the work ahead.
On October 27th: We started a weekly discipleship meeting with one of our neighbors who wants to grow in Christ.
On October 31st the Los Barrios City Hall helped us begin the process of registering our ministry in this city, so that we can have an operating license to begin activities.
On November 14th we visited an ideal location for our church plant and ministry center, and made friends with the Bible-reading elderly realtor, who we see as someone who could be our man of peace or seeker in this town.
So, as you can see in this incomplete list, we have seen the Lord working. You might remember how the Lord Jesus made reference to His Father’s continued work in John 5:17 “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
We can see the Father’s hand at work, opening and closing doors, protecting us and guiding us in new friendships and opportunities to share the hope that we have in Christ. We are praying specifically that the Lord would guide us in regards to our biggest hurdle at the moment, opening a small commercial space where we can begin doing outreach activities to invite people to. Please pray for the perfect location to pop-up.
As you sit around the Thanksgiving table, we want you to know that we are thankful for you and what you mean to our family. The work that we are able to accomplish here is thanks to the Lord working through you. When we say that you are our partners we mean it, and we hope to see many more of you come visit us in the years to come, as we have already had many special guests.
Serving with you in Spain,
– For our daughters, Sarah Ruth (5) and Abigail Mae (2), that they will grow in the love and knowledge of the Lord.
– For our marriage, that our love for each other and for the Lord will continue to grow, and that we don’t make each other crazy.
– We are also praying for teams and individuals who are planning to come help us get the motor of this church-plant and its outreach ministries started. Please pray for each short-term missionary who has a desire to come partner with us in Los Barrios in 2018.