Taking ground in prayer

 

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Sorry that this has been a while in coming. The lead up to Christmas was both exciting and busy. Along with many other things going on we moved to a new flat in a district called El Palo. We have felt God calling us to this area for a while now. We have found like minded Christians in the area that we are building relationship with and encouraging each other in reaching this area, which lacks much Christian witness, and we spend much of our time in this district. It was hard to leave behind what had been home for the last year and our lovely neighbours (who will clearly remain friends) but we feel this is a key step in our ministry here. God has blessed us with a lovely little flat close to the bustling centre of the barrio and a stone’s throw from the beach. We’re just starting to get to know the neighbours so please pray for key connections here.

 

In December we had the joy of hosting over twenty visitors from other parts of the New Frontiers family to gather together to pray into Málaga and, specifically, El Palo. It was a great time of enjoying time with old friends and making new ones and a powerful time of prayer. We were able to pray for specific individuals, prayer walk through the streets and to pray against specific cultural and spiritual strongholds. Prayer is a powerful tool in advancing the kingdom and it has been a great joy to be learning and experiencing more of this as a family in Relational Mission. We’ve already been seeing the first fruits of the spiritual work that was done that weekend with opportunities opening up to share the gospel and connections with some people of peace.

 

As we move forward please particularly pray for boldness and courage in sharing the gospel. We now have the language skills (although we continue to learn and improve) to share the gospel and we’re looking to equip and encourage ourselves to be more active in this. An area we particularly would like prayer for is faith to accompany this sharing of the gospel with signs and wonders. Please pray that miraculous acts of the Spirit can break through the barriers of unbelief to convince the folk here of the truth of the gospel we preach. Please also pray for wisdom as we seek to look for ways in which to engage with and bless the community around us, please pray for wisdom to know how best to utilise the resources that we have.

 

Thank you so much to all the people who joined us for the prayer weekend and to everyone who continues to hold us in prayer, we start 2019 full of faith and encouragement about what God is going to do in Málaga.

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Lost and found blog posts from September 2018

Here are a couple of blog posts which were written after the summer which were lost but now have been found!

 

God guiding us to a place

When we moved to Málaga one year ago we always had the intention that our first home here would be a stepping stone, a landing strip in a new country and culture. God has blessed us much more than we could imagine with that first home, we have great neighbours and have made good friends there. We’re close to the children’s school and genuinely love the house. However, we’re on the outskirts of the city and always felt drawn to be closer. We never had in mind that we wanted to plant a city centre church that would reach the various areas of the city but rather plant multiple local church communities that together, as a connected network, would affect the whole city. So we have been seeking God since we got here as to where that first community that he wants us to make disciples in. We now feel convinced it is an area called El Palo in the east of Málaga.

Increasingly we have made connections in that part of the city and feel a real spiritual draw to it. It is by no means the most attractive part of the city (and by no means the least) and many of our neighbours and friends cannot understand why we would want to move there but The Spirit has put a real love for the area and its people in our hearts. We also felt some prophetic prompting to move into this area (for example a prophetic word about looking for a place called ‘the finger’ as somewhere to live, El Dedo, which means ‘the finger’ in Spanish is an area in El Palo) and have talked it over with those we seek counsel and guidance from. Last week we visited what is the only evangelical church that we know of in the area. We spent the morning worshiping with a faith-filled and enthusiastic congregation of less than 20 in a district of more than 60,000 people! We are grateful for what God is doing in and through these faithful brothers and sisters but it highlighted to us the need for gospel sharing, disciple making and church planting in this area of Málaga. More recently we have met two American missionary families who have felt similarly called to El Palo with a very similar vision and similar values to us.

It feels as though God is starting to move in El Palo and is inviting us to be part of what He is doing. As we seek to move into El Palo (The Reays will be moving there in October) and enter in to this new season we want to invite a group of prayer warriors to come out and join us for the weekend of 30th November to the 2nd December to prepare the ground with prayer, to engage in spiritual warfare with the cultural and historic strongholds that have made this such a hard mission field in the past, to petition God for breakthrough in this area, to make a bold statement of faith in the face of the lies of the enemy and to seek God’s guidance as we move forward. If you feel that you join with us in El Palo for a weekend of prayer and spiritual warfare, to have a stake in what God is doing and help take ground for the kingdom of God we want you to come. Click on the link before to go to our Eventbrite page where you can sign up and find out more information about accommodation. As with everything in Andalucía there will, of course, be time for enjoying good food and chatting to friends old and new, although we can’t promise a whole lot of sunshine in December!

 

God guiding us to a way to reach people

We came to Málaga for one key reason, to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Through that we expect to see churches planted. Our mission is to make disciples, to see people saved through faith in Jesus and to help them grow in the fulness of life in Him.

As a family we have a deep desire to see New Testament style church communities planted throughout Andalucía, we hunger for genuine community, genuine discipleship, effective outreach, miraculous authentication of the gospel and community changing breakthrough of the quality we read about in Acts. We have been very influenced over the last year or two by what we are seeing God doing in primitive, simple church structures in disciple-making movements across the globe. These movements have a strong emphasis on finding receptive people, discipling these people to a place of saving faith and continuing to disciple them, supporting and equipping them to discover God’s truth primarily through the bible themselves rather than didactic teaching and the quick releasing of leaders to establish new discipling communities. This looks quite different to what we have experienced in the UK but the values and gospel that define it will be the same. We’ve been greatly encouraged by those with responsibility in leading the Relational Mission of churches speaking of a need to contextualise our values and express them in culturally appropriate way if we are to see natively lead church plants established.

A key outreach strategy in disciple making movements is the discovery bible study. This is essentially helping people who the Holy Spirit is working in and are open to the gospel to ‘discover’ the message of the gospel through studying the bible. This has the advantage (especially in a culture steeped in a tradition of the priest being the conduit of knowledge about God) of helping people to recognise the gospel straight from scripture and placing a heavy emphasis on not only understanding but obeying and applying the bible from the start. It also helps equip people to pursue a relationship with God, learning to hear His voice through the bible rather than relying on ‘educated’ leaders. Off course careful leadership and discipling is needed to prevent people going doctrinally off course but we are really excited about using this technique here. We already have one lady from a catholic background who would like to study the bible in this way with Sarah and are trusting God to give us more.

Our hope and prayer is that God leads us to people he is preparing and that we are able to bring these folk to faith and disciple them, to make disciples that make disciples. Through this we hope to see multiplying network of interconnected communities throughout the city and the surrounding villages. It will feel uncomfortable at times, it will look different to what we are used to and we’ll have a lot to learn but ultimately we have faith that, if we are obedient to His leading, God can use us in our weakness to change lives and glorify His name here.

Please keep praying for us a we pursue the Spirit’s leading in this next season, send us prophetic words and encouragements if you feel led or join us for an event in the city. If you feel excited by this why not ask God if He is calling you to be part of it with us and get in touch.

A Summer Break & Entering a New Phase

Sorry for the delay in this latest post but it’s been quite a busy summer. Children in Spain have a 12 week summer holiday (and our UK friends think 6 weeks is long enough to keep them entertained!). So we’ve had quite a lot of family time, taking a holiday, enjoying the beautiful area we live in and, of course, having fun at our fair share of fiestas. It’s also meant that life has felt a bit on hold, we’ve been away, friends have been away and clubs and activities we enjoy are taking a break over the summer.

We spent a few weeks in the UK in July, which was great to see friends and family and connect with some of the UK Relational Mission churches. It was great to connect with Hope Community Church in Brentwood and Lowestoft Community Church. A special highlight was to spend a Sunday morning with Community Church Cambridge as they prayed and sent out Malcolm and Karen Reay to join us. We’re really looking forward to this wonderful, faith-filled couple coming at the start of October. God has miraculously provided a house for them and is paving the way for them to serve Him here. Our time in the UK was tinged with a bit of sadness as well as a family that had been planning to join us this summer decided that they no longer felt able to. That was, of course, disappointing to us but I know that it will not stop what God has planned for us in Málaga and that He will continue to use them wherever they end up. It was interesting as I was looking back at some prophetic words we had from an Enough prayer meeting about 2 years ago that someone had prophesied that God would give us a team but that very quickly one would leave and not to allow it to set us back or knock our faith.

The summer has been a great time to recharge our batteries, look back over the last 12 months and look ahead. We feel that God has really been speaking to us in recent months about where to focus our activities and what shape our outreach and ministry should start to take. To keep things brief I’ll write about these in more detail in the weeks to come. As we move into this next phase we are excited to be hosting a prayer weekend in Málaga from 30th November to 2nd December. We would love to have as many people as possible come and prepare the ground with prayer, engage in spiritual warfare and bring prophetic guidance. If you’d like to come and join us at the prayer weekend, here’s the link for the eventbrite page to book in:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/malaga-prayer-weekend-tickets-49899595032

God is building a team

team-building

The last month or two have been a really exciting and busy time for us. We’ve had quite a few visitors (family, church support, potential team members) but each has blessed us in their own unique way.

A couple of years ago, right at the start of our church planting journey, even before we knew exactly when and where in Spain God was calling us, Mike Bollinger prophesied over us about God providing a team. When we moved last year we still didn’t have any team members committed to joining us. We believe that team is essential, that Jesus has designed His church to work as a family together and to be led by teams of elders. Not only that but we recognise the importance of the support and encouragement of others and the skills and gifts that they bring. So, moving without a team might seem a bit of a risk! However, it never felt that way to us, we were certain that if God was in this He would be stirring other people’s hearts to join with us. Well, we’re really pleased to announce that we now have two families committed to joining us in Málaga later this year! They are wonderful people who we are delighted to have sharing the journey with us and we are certain God will use them in great ways in the coming years. We hope to introduce them to you and share some of their stories over the next few posts.

We also had a great time with Maurice and Rachel Nightingale and not only enjoyed great company (and great food!) but also the apostolic gifting that Maurice carries. It was great to share our hopes and vision for what we hope God will establish in Málaga and have Maurice help shape that and bring some strategic input and influence. They left us brimming with faith and excitement about what the future holds, we really believe that God can use us alongside the other churches in Málaga to reap a harvest for Him and transform communities in this city.

There are a few exciting things on the horizon for this fledgling church plant and we are in the process of finalising some of them at the moment so watch this space!

 

It’s so good to be part of a wider family on a mission…

Together

When we first started talking about coming to Spain we knew that it wouldn’t be something that we would ever want to or could do alone. We are so glad to be part of the apostolic family that is New Frontiers and, within that, Relational Mission. We benefit from the gifts, guidance and experience of men and women who, over many years, have developed a culture and foundation that we build on together. We know that as we seek to pioneer and advance the Kingdom of God in Málaga there are many brothers and sisters of ours doing the same throughout the world and, indeed, Spain.

 

Christ has brought us not only into relationship with our heavenly Father but also into relationship with His other sons and daughters, together we are His church throughout the world. Within the global church God has equipped and called us to serve and relate to one another in varying ways. Within that global church we are particularly grateful for our relationships within New Frontiers and Relational Mission as a family with shared values and a common mission. We know that we are not alone as we pioneer in Málaga but that we are building Kingdom together with thousands of others, many of whom contend for us in prayer, bless us with guidance and friendship or serve us in other ways.

 

It has been a special pleasure this last month to spend time with friends leading and planting New Frontiers churches in Madrid, Huércal-Overa and Valencia. We gathered together in Valencia to dedicate a couple of days to sharing testimony of what God has been doing in our, sharing friendship and talking about what lies ahead for each of us, but most importantly we met to pray. God loves to respond to our prayers to bring Himself glory (John 14:13-14) and when we gather to pray we can have faith that He is listening and eager to glorify Himself in our situations. Prayer has always been an important part of life together as New Frontiers and we’re excited to start gathering every few months with others across Spain to pray. I’m convinced that as we commit to this we’ll increasingly see prayers answered and breakthrough in our work for God.

 

It was exciting to here all that God is doing in other parts of Spain through New Frontiers and a great encouragement to us. Cristo Salvador in Madrid (http://www.cristomadrid.es/) are one of those that God is doing great things through. They started with a very similar vision for church planting and walked a similar path to us in their early days. We were privileged enough to spend last weekend with them and Kevin and Vanessa Bartlett who came out to Madrid about 7 years ago to lead the church plant. They are such a wonderful, hospitable and encouraging group, it was a delight to worship with them (as well as enjoy the great city that is Madrid). To see them 7 years on seeing Spanish folk saved, cultural barriers broken down by the gospel and growing a church that is glorifying God in that city is a massive encouragement to us as we hope to walk a similar path here in Málaga.

 

We’re looking forward to gathering together as New Frontiers churches in Spain again in May in Huécal-Overa. We’ve got a few visitors both biological and church family coming over the next 6 weeks, which we are very much looking forward to. It is a key time for several folk who are thinking of joining us so please pray for God’s guidance for them in this time and also for practicalities such as employment.

End of a great year and the start of an even better one!

 

It’s been a little while since our last blog post so I’m going to make blogging more frequently one of my New Year resolutions! I also hope to start posting in Spanish as well and translating some of the other information on the site. 2017 was a huge year for us (we actually made the move to Malaga to pioneer and witness here) and we have faith that 2018 is going to be even more significant.

 

We’ve continued to settle in and make friends, the children are enjoying school and our language is improving. Christmas was a great time for us, it’s been really fun experiencing a new city at this time of year and learning new customs. The children were particularly impressed that here in Spain Los Reyes Magos (the three kings) bring you presents on Epiphany (6th January) as well as Papá Noel on Christmas Day! We got stuck into the local celebrations, with Sarah and Isabelle even singing with their choirs at the turning on of the lights in Rincón (Sarah even sang a solo!). Walking around a Christmas market in 20°C takes a bit of getting used to but we’re enjoying the fun of experiencing so many new things.

 

Here at Christmas Belen (nativity) displays are a big thing both in size and importance, imagine nativity scenes describing the whole nativity story twice the size of the average living room with inch high figures and then imagine them everywhere (the churches, cathedrals, town halls) and you get the idea. Although celebrations of the story of Christmas are everywhere people who understand the world changing significance of it are few and far between. Just as Paul shared in Athens the gospel as they worshiped ‘an unknown God’ our hope and prayer is that we can share with many the real good news of Jesus, make him known and see people finding new life in Him.

 

Isabelle and Joel got fantastic reports after their first term at school and we continue to be amazed at how well they have adapted to life here, we’re so proud of them both. Isabelle’s teacher has instigated a language exchange system for her class mates (a Spanish play date at their house and an English play date at ours) so they can help each other learn their new languages. This has been yet another great way to meet and get to know people, the last one ended up with 5 kids and their parents at our house, which we loved.

 

We took our first family trip back to the UK and needless to say it was a great time. We had lots of fun meeting up with friends and having parties with families. We also got to indulge in all the foods that we can’t find often over here (curry paste has become one of our most treasured possessions!). We were both worried that the children would be unsettled coming back to Spain but, praise God, they’ve both slotted back in as if they’d never been away.

 

God continues to connect us with people and we’re excited to see where that leads. Please keep us in prayer as we look to develop relationships with those who may join our team and those that don’t know Jesus yet. We have so much to look forward to in 2018 and we’re so glad that we have so many of you wanting to partner with us on that journey through prayer, friendship and encouragement.

 

 

Pioneer conference

4+R's+(2)20171013_182435We’ve just had a fantastic time at the Relational Mission Pioneer conference right here in Málaga. I still can’t quite believe that the conference came to Málaga! It was amazing to have so many from our RM family joining together to encourage one another in our new city, meeting old friends and making new ones, worshiping and praying together and benefiting from the wisdom and gifting of others through teaching. Two years ago we were at the Church Planting conference in Berkel (Netherlands) taking our first fledging steps in following God into a pioneering adventure in Spain and now we were sharing the stories over coffees and meals of how God has been blessing us having made the move to Málaga earlier this summer.

I think the thing that sticks with me most about this event was that this wasn’t simply a group of delegates attending a conference but a family gathering together to spur one another on in the mission. The was a real sense of unity, of excitement for what God was doing in and through others and of being caught up in something bigger than ourselves. There was laughter and there were tears, we shared in each other’s joys and also in some of the sorrows, I think it really summed up why we call ourselves Relational Mission. Having only recently arrived in Spain and just starting to build friendships locally it was such a blessing for us to have old friends with us encouraging us on the adventure and just having fun toegther. It was great also meeting so many new people and hearing what God is doing in their lives and calling them to, God was clearly working in people’s lives and I expect this week will be a significant part of the story in many people’s journey’s to come. God certainly used the week to connect us with people that I feel will be significant in our lives going forward.

The teaching was as good as ever and there was a mix of practical, doctrinal and personal teaching but always with Jesus firmly at the centre. As well as enjoying the gifts of folk in RM it was a real joy to have Clyde Thomas and Chris Taylor with us sharing what God has been teaching them in their church families. I know God was specking to me through some of the teaching and I’m certain I wasn’t the only one!

Many across the RM family have been faithfully partnering with us in prayer as we follow God on this adventure and we’ve been enjoying living in the blessings of many answered prayers over the last few months. So, taking a group out prayer walking through the streets of Málaga was a real highlight for me. It was fantastic to join with brothers and sisters in petitioning God for breakthrough in many areas in Málaga and Spain and felt like a real statement of intent as we walked and prayed together.

So, what will I take away from the week? Happy memories, new friends, some important things to ponder on and a great big shot of faith for the journey ahead. I can’t wait for the next Pioneer conference and hearing how God used this one in the lives of others.

We’ve arrived!

After what seems like ages planning, looking forward to, getting a bit anxious about and arranging our move to Spain we finally arrived here in the first week of August. Our first few weeks have been spent getting practical things sorted out (car, phones, etc.) and spending some much-needed holiday time together as a family. August is a great time to be in Málaga as the Feria de Agosto basically turns the city into one giant party for a week, with music, food, games and dancing everywhere. I think we’re going to enjoy this getting to know the culture thing!

 

The last month or so in the UK was a bit of a whirlwind, living amongst mounting piles of boxes (we obviously didn’t take Jesus’ advice to the disciples, Luke 9:3!) and trying to see as many of our friends and family as we could before we left. We’ve been overwhelmed by the love people have shown us, we had a great leaving party, I don’t think we’ve had so many of the people we care about all together since our wedding 10 years ago! Our family at Hope gave us a wonderful send off as well, Maurice Nightingale preaching fantastically on our Relational Mission value of starting new families of believers and friends from across the churches coming to pray for us and wish us well on our way. Hope did a stunning job of creating a real party atmosphere, we certainly enjoyed ourselves and I think everyone else did too.

 

The support that we have felt across Relational Mission and New Frontiers has been incredible. As we were packing up we kept receiving bundles of Enough response cards. For those of you that don’t know Enough is Relational Mission’s regular half-night of corporate prayer where churches across the nations gather to worship and petition God. We regularly pray for pioneers and church plants at these events and people can write words of encouragement, prayers, prophetic words, etc. on cards that are sent on to those that have been prayed for, we were blessed to be one of the families prayed for at the most recent Enough just a few weeks before our move. When we arrived in Spain we had a wonderful time reading over 100 of these cards together, you couldn’t feel alone with that sort of encouragement. The week we moved was also the week of Newday, New Frontiers youth event with 1000s of teenagers getting together the worship. We were thrilled to get a text from our youth worker telling us that the whole of Newday was praying for us!

 

It’s amazing to have people standing with us in prayer and we’re definitely enjoying the fruit of it. We’d really like to encourage you that God is already answering the prayers that you and others have been praying. God has put people in our path that have really helped our move go smoothly and easily. One thing we were particularly praying for was that the children (particularly Isabelle as she is a bit older) would make friends easily. We now have next door neighbours and neighbours two doors up with bilingual daughters Isabelle’s age that will be going to her school with her, one of whom also has a brother around Joel’s age. The children have been playing together lots and we’ve been getting to know the parents, who have been amazingly helpful and friendly. We’ve also started to visit some churches in the area. They have been really encouraging about what we are doing and have offered to help if they can. There’s a bimonthly church leaders and ministry workers meet up for those in the city which we have been invited to so we’re looking forward to meeting more folk there.

 

Now things are a bit more settled we’ll try to blog more frequently, it’s also worth checking out our twitter account for more news and prayer requests. So far everything has gone so much better than we could have hoped for and we just pray that God’s grace and favour continues to make that so. Please keep praying for language learning and fruitful relationships and please particularly pray for Isabelle and Joel as they start school in the next couple of weeks.

God’s gracious provision

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Our new home!

The last month has been a bit of a tough time for us with regards to our move to Spain. Our departure date is getting ever closer and the realities of all those practicalities we need to sort out come sharper into focus. The biggest of which is a place to live!

A few months ago, partly in an act of faith and partly because of ever increasing prices and ever decreasing seats on flights we booked our one-way tickets to Málaga airport for the beginning of August, just after our daughter’s school breaks up for summer.  Well, it was a bit disheartening when we were told by several estate agents that the chance of finding a rental property starting in August (prime holiday rental period) around Málaga is pretty small. Full of faith we were undeterred and ploughed on, certain that God would sort something out.

However, as the weeks went on and the number of available properties decreased our faith started to be tested more. We seemed to contact every estate agent we could find, follow up every property advertised but we were getting nowhere, each week there was more disappointment. Our expectations began to drop and we were willing to accept almost anything, even getting to the point where we were ready to move into a temporary holiday home while we looked later in the summer.

Needless to say, moving your family to another country is a stressful business and when you can’t even find a place to call home it gets even more so. During this time, I found myself reading the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in my personal bible studies. It really struck me afresh how moved Jesus was when he met the family and how he broke down in tears. I found myself wondering why was he so moved, after all he knew that he could raise Lazarus (John 11:41-42)? To me it seems Jesus was moved by their sorrow, even though he knew the outcome, the celebration and joy that was coming, he stood with them and shared in their sorrow. As I meditated on this I found it so comforting and faith-building, Jesus was with us feeling our sadness as we struggled to find a home but also was the one who could change it all in the blink of an eye.

We set a deadline of Monday just gone as the last day we could look for places before we would need to secure temporary accommodation. The Friday before we called on our church, friends and twitter followers to pray about a flat we had been in contact with an estate agent about, it wasn’t perfect but it would do. That afternoon we received a call from the estate agent saying that the landlord had accepted an offer from someone else but that she had just walked out of a house meeting all our requirements and within budget! She emailed some photos and it was perfect, so much better than we had hoped. God is so good. Our brothers & sisters joined with us in prayer and He responded much more abundantly than we asked for!

We’ve signed contracts now and so the last big hurdle to our move is dealt with. We’re now looking forward with great excitement to our move in around 10 weeks. There’s still lots to sort out but we know it will all work out, we just have to keep trusting and asking our good Father for the answers.

What a month!

What a month February was for us. Relational Mission Prayer & Equipping, a trip to Málaga with a great group of people exploring their callings, SENT 18-30s event, a Relational Mission Cluster Sunday with Mike Betts and then to top it off a weekend of First Phase Pioneer Training with some of the Relational Mission Team! So we’ll just talk about the trip to Málaga now and fill you in on the rest next time.

As we said in our last post we had been planning a trip to Málaga in February to explore some more neighbourhoods and sort out some practicalities like schooling for our children. What was a wonderful and unexpected blessing was that three couples that we have been building friendships with approached us to ask if they could join us (see Isabelle’s artist’s impression above). We said yes of course! And what a blessing they all were to us. Had they have known how wet it would be that weekend or just how cold and basic our accommodation was they might have thought twice though!

A few days prior to our trip I had been at Relational Mission Prayer & Equipping, which is a gathering of leaders in our family of churches for prayer, encouragement, teaching and vision and news sharing. It is always great to get together at these times and to meet friends and hear what is going on in the other churches. We love being part of the Relational Mission family and sharing in their values and vision and it is always encouraging at these gatherings to hear what God is doing in the rest of our church family. What was particularly special for me this time was that virtually the whole of the first day was given to prayer. It was a privilege to be asked to share our plans for planting in Málaga and to have people pray and prophesy over us. There is something very emboldening and encouraging about knowing that a whole family of churches is standing with you as you pursue a call and these times are so important to us on the journey. What was really amazing was to receive prophetic input about our upcoming trip to Málaga and some specific things to guide us as we set about finding a school and an area to live in, but more of that in a minute.

Understanding the church as a family is integral to who Sarah & I are and so to have a small group of friends who want to partner with us join us on our recent trip was very special. It was lovely to have extended time together to get to know one another. Each of the couples are fantastic people with great stories and wisdom to share. To be able to gather together in prayer ‘on the ground’ was powerful for us, we really can’t wait to get there now! It was also great to have people of wisdom with us listening to God, sensing His Spirit and weighing the prophetic words that we had been given that week. Two of the couples had been in Málaga for a week or two before we got there and were so helpful to us in laying a foundation for our visit, arranging things and meeting people. What was incredible was the connections that God made for us, from a YWAM missionary who lives just outside Málaga and had visited Sarah’s parent’s church a couple of weeks before our trip, to the leaders of an English-speaking church that we had been trying to contact that one of our group bumped into at the beach!

Many of the words given to us at prayer and equipping spoke about Isabelle’s school being key to us knowing where to live and that she and we would know which school that would be. Another key word for us was being reminded to look for the moment that the Spirit of Jesus changed our plans and go where he was leading (I’d been preaching on this just a few weeks before so I definitely thought I should listen!). We had a couple of school visits lined up but the week before we went to Málaga one of the couples already there had recommendations of a particular school in Rincón de la Victoria, a town just on the eastern edge of the city, and felt stirred that we should look into it. We hadn’t intended to look at that school as we were planning to look more centrally but felt we should at least go for a visit, so we made last minute arrangements to visit the school literally straight from the airport (what was that about changing plans….). Needless to say the school was amazing, the staff were so friendly and the feel of the place wonderful, Isabelle loved the place straight away. We still went to visit the others schools, none were as good as the first, but amazingly after all our correspondence the school in Ríncon de la Victoria was the only one that could even offer us a place for Isabelle and they could take Joel in the pre-school also! One of the other words we received at Prayer & Equipping was to look for a fig tree as sign of where to live, it was only the other night when I was reading about the area that I realised that Ríncon de la Victoria’s seal and flag show a cave and a tree, this happens to be ‘the fig tree cave’!

As well as looking at neighbourhoods and schools and getting to know the others with us better we visited Betel, which is an amazing drug and alcohol rehab ministry with a wonderful church family. To worship alongside around 100 people who have been saved out of a life of addiction by the power of God was an incredible experience and to share lunch with the church family and receive their hospitality was very special indeed. It is so exciting to see what God is already doing in Málaga and just fuels our excitement to join with what He is already doing and partner in advancing the Kingdom there.

So, our trip was a fruitful and very enjoyable one. Please continue to pray for us as we look for accommodation and continue to prepare as a family and church for our move this summer. Please also pray for those that were with us that God would guide them and make clear what their involvement in what we will be doing in Málaga should be.