When the invitation to take part in a mission trip with Brother and Sister Hawkins to The Netherlands (Holland) and Spain came our way, we never imagined what we were about to witness. The Lord truly confirmed to us that He has other sheep that are trying to live right to the best of their knowledge and ability. Our trip consisted of three stops. The first one in Amsterdam, Holland; Girona, Spain and finally Madrid, Spain. In Amsterdam we were to meet up with a Spanish speaking sister named Angentina who was visiting the Bonaire National Convention when she first heard about The Church of God. She liked the preaching she heard and exchanged information with Brother Hawkins. She also provided her pastor’s information from back home in Amsterdam. Upon making contact with the pastor we were invited to come and minister at two of their local churches. The first service was a district meeting which was held Saturday night on January 30th, 2016 at their local church in Den Haag. The message to be delivered by Brother Hawkins was on Divorce and Remarriage. As the message was being preached the response of the congregation was that of amazement and some of bewilderment as they took it all in. It was evident that this was not a topic often spoken about in their local churches. The message took a concept that tends to create much confusion in the denominational world and clearly highlighted what God’s mind on the subject really was. Needless to say, by the end of the night there were many people desiring to present their personal cases to Brother Hawkins and get some clarification of where they stood before God. Some just wanted prayer for strength while others testified of repaired marriages. One couple in particular was convicted about the situation they were living in after hearing the message. We stood in awe at the work that the Holy Ghost did in their lives that night and at the same time our hearts felt for them as they prayed for God’s guidance for their future. A lady pastor by the name of Issa was present that night. She pastors one of their local churches in Haarlem. This was the local church we were to visit the following morning. Brother Hawkins preached on sanctification, the second definite work of grace. The entire congregation responded by coming forward and they were prayed over. The same couple from the previous night was in attendance this day as this was their place of worship. The Holy Ghost continued to minister to them both and comfort their hearts as they sought God’s direction. An opportunity was given for Brother Hawkins to explain a little bit on the subject on divorce and remarriage as some were not present the night before. When the service was finished the pastor asked if we could come to her home and further explain this matter as there were some who wanted to hear more. When we arrived to Pastor Issa’s home it was a full house. Mostly everyone had gathered together after church which the pastor stated was a rare occurrence. Everyone anxiously awaited to hear Brother Hawkins expound more on this biblical truth. After a beautiful meal and fellowship we started this discussion. Pastor Issa openly apologized to her congregation for teaching an erred message on this subject in the past and for counseling contrariwise in her ignorance. Her precise words were “I had never heard, no one in the time of my Christianity, no one has ever explained this – this way – so clear, so direct, so passively – the Word of God, with verses. You interpret everything with the Bible. This is the truth. This is all the clarity we need.” May God continue to do a work in the hearts of these sheep and lead them into all truth and all righteousness.
We said goodbye to Amsterdam on Monday morning and headed out towards Girona, Spain. In Girona we met up with Sister Ledy Mendoza and her daughter Sister Kati. Currently, they are both members of The Church of God in Honduras. During our stay there we had home services, visited with their family members and even visited a Hispanic denominational church where Brother Hawkins was asked to preach. In one of the home services Sister Ledy’s son-in-law and granddaughter gave their hearts to the Lord! We encouraged Sister Ledy and her family to continue with home services and to continue in the faith.
On Friday the 5th of February we made our way to Madrid, Spain which was the last lap of the trip. There we saw many familiar faces as Brother Jason and myself had previously visited in 2013. Pastor Karla and the brothers and sisters were very happy to see other Church of God visitors. We also met brother Luis Vela and his family for the very first time. They are current members of The Church of God in Bolivia and have now moved to Barcelona, Spain. They traveled six hours by bus to be in Madrid for the weekend. On the first night there we had a wonderful service were the Holy Ghost was truly present. Brother Jason preached on sanctification and the congregation came forward with their needs before the Lord. There was a great refreshing of the Holy Ghost for many. The following day was to be a very busy one since there was baptisms, business conference, new members being taken in, and the Lord’s supper and feet washing on program.
Sunday morning we made our way by bus to Río Alberche which is a river in Toledo, Spain. As we waited for the bus to arrive some played guitars and others sang praises to the Lord at the bus stop. The joy of the Lord was truly there as we rejoiced in what was about to take place and to be able to come together in this fashion. On our way there we noticed some of the mountain peaks still had snow on them, so we quickly figured out that the water was going to be far from warm. In spite of the cold we rejoiced to see three souls go into the waters. They all testified about their willingness and desire to serve God. With the Lord’s help all the activities on program took place and the brethren were very encouraged when the evening came to a close. As we parted ways a spirit of unity could be felt among all of the brethren.
We thank God, the Church, and Brother and Sister Hawkins for allowing our family to come along with them. Words fail us to be able to pen down what we witnessed in each one of these cities. God showed us first hand what He is able to do when there are hearts ready and at His disposition. Continue to pray for the seeds sown, we know that in due time God will give the increase.