Existence Church was first introduced to the ministry opportunities in Spain over five years ago, when the team leader from the Barcelona area came and shared his vision of launching an outdoors club as a way of connecting to North African immigrants. Our church caught the vision, and donated enough money to purchase eight mountain bikes and backpacking gear for the club. The church knew that I was passionate about mountain biking, so they invited me to lead the first ever short-term trip to Spain. At that point the club was in its infancy, but it’s been awesome to watch it grow and bear fruit over time.
Fast forward to four years later, and I was stoked to hear that some of our friends had asked if we could join them for a mountain bike ride on our first day in town. We were more than happy to oblige their request! There’s something about getting into nature together that helps guys to open up and connect to one another, and this ride was no exception.
The daily schedule in Spain is vastly different than what we experience in the U.S. so when the ride ended around 8:00pm, we headed to a cafe for coffees and Spanish horchata. We witnessed something beautiful at this cafe, that embodied the original vision for the outdoors club that was cast so many years ago. We were able to sit and watch as two North African immigrants sat and asked questions about the Bible for nearly an hour. There was a little debate, but for the most part we got to see two young men, raised in a different faith tradition, attentively ask questions about Jesus and what makes Christians different from the rest of the world.
For a North African to come to Christ is no small thing, and it usually means they must turn their backs on their families, traditions, and everything else they hold near. Very few have the courage to move from a seeker to a believer for fear of losing everything. The day after our bike ride, one of the young men saw one of our team members on the street and told him, “I’ve been thinking a lot about the things we talked about yesterday, I think I’m going to ask my Imam about them and see what he thinks.” Our prayer for this young immigrant man, and so many others like him, is that he would not find the answers he’s looking for in the ways of his old faith, but that he would turn to something new and beautiful in Christ. We’re even praying that God would stir in the hearts of the traditional religious leaders of this community and move them toward Christ.
Finally, to everyone who helped get the outdoors club up and started, and to everyone who has donated since then, thank you! It’s because of your help that we are able to have this sort of conversation with young men who are seeking something greater in their lives. Please continue to support this ministry in whatever way you can, and consider joining us on a future short-term trip to Spain.