Thursday, May 6, 2010

A report from Spain and England

I've just spent the last two weeks in Spain and England on MOCLAM business. It was a great trip - very busy, but also very productive.

Its always great to meet people who are enthusiastic about providing training resources for Christians, especially in places where the scope of materials is fairly limited (for example, Spain). The friends I met in the north of Spain (Gijon and Bilbao) are keen to be sharing the gospel with people in a very materialistic and 'style conscious' society, which makes their work very difficult. Coming from Mexico I really noticed how expensive everything was, how glamorous most people were and how few kids there were around the place. Apparently the national birth rate (children per couple) is about 0.4. I asked a few people why this was so low, and the basic answer was 'kids get in the way of the life we want.' Hmmmm - no wonder its such a hard field to plough in Spain.

One of the interesting problems we face providing resources into Spain is that Spanish in Spain uses a different word for the second person plural pronoun. This means we need to produce a new edition of our materials, with vosotros rather than ustedes. Fortunately this is relatively straight forward and hopefully can be done quickly.

There is also something of a 'snob' problem providing materials to Spain from Latin America. I'm not sure Spanish people are all that thrilled about being taught by the 'colonies' but hopefully producing the materials locally can give things a more 'home grown' flavour.

In England I had a refreshing time hearing the Bible taught brilliantly at St Helen's Bishopsgate and at Christ Church Durham. It was so nice to sing songs in English - I found myself having tears in my eyes singing 'When I survey' at St Helen's. I'm not sure the trainee sitting beside me quite knew what to make of that!

I had productive meetings with publishers and distributors, as well as meeting some people who are very keen to give money to help the work of MOCLAM!

To top it all off I had 3 days with some great friends in Durham. Just hanging around, playing with their kids, being 'normal' was so refreshing.

My project for the next two weeks is to prepare my teaching notes for a Summer School intensive on Old Testament 1. I have a group of 4 students who I'm going to meet with 4 hours per day for 5 days to do the whole course. Sounds intense? Well, get this. They have 10 days between the end of their exams and the beginning of their summer classes - and they are going to spend 5 of those days with me studying Old testament. I think thats pretty impressive!

Thanks as always for your support and prayers.

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