On Sunday we were sitting in the centre, getting ready for our last ever Sunday evening Service in Ibiza, when in walked Sam. Sam was a worker who came here last year to party and do what workers do; this year Sam has come as member of one of our two week teams, because he found Jesus! This was the first time we had seen him since last summer; he sat down to chat to us and one of the first things he said to us was, “I am one of the fruits of the tree you guys planted”.
What a particularly beautiful moment for our last Sunday!
Tracy and I took the service on Sunday evening surrounded by friends: bar workers, teachers, tourists, prostitutes, summer workers, Spanish friends and residents, team members and our new leaders, Abby and Charlie. We felt an overwhelming sense that what has happened here has been good and that God has been faithful. We actually have been overwhelmed by God’s goodness; a ‘mantra’ we are repeating a lot at the moment is “God is good and His love endures forever.”
The 4 of us arrived here in March 2005. We didn’t have a lot established - there was no centre, no grounded work, but there was a tremendous foundation of prayer. That foundation of prayer was what gave this work depth and set it up to grow. Thank you for standing with us through the growth: from the first prayer room, to the internet drop in centre, for the vomit van and wheelchairs, for workers packs and Jesus loves Ibiza Bibles, for lighters and condoms, for full Bibles for prostitutes. You have stood with us as we have developed strip club chaplains, massages for girls in prayer rooms, prayer requests on the streets, relationships with the health centre and local police, encouragment from the British Consul and even the odd shout out on Radio 1!!!
If you're a regular reader of this blog you know that we have faced some big challenges, but you prayed with us when we got the illegal taxi fine, were understanding when the farm didn’t work out, and generally stood with us as we have battled through some of the lows of Spanish administration and the challenges of living abroad.
When I think back over these last 7 years I am pretty convinced that lives have been changed; people have been prayed for and learned to pray themselves; people have been listened to; drunk and drugged people have been taken to safety; help and support has been given to people who have been injured, robbed and even raped; meals have been served; hospitality has been extended; people have been baptized; lives have been transformed. And it has been wonderful.
The beauty is that the work continues. It’s bigger than us and God’s relentless, unstoppable kingdom will continue to advance in Ibiza. We ask you to pray for Abby and Charlie as they lead and join in with what God is doing here on the island.
Our boys have grown here and it has been particularly beautiful to see them both wanting to come out and help with the work. Dan(14) has been out ‘on call’ on a number of nights and Ellis (16) has been working with our teams on the streets for the last 5 weeks. When they arrived here aged 7 and 9 we prayed that we weren’t messing up their lives! But once again God has been good. Yes, they are unhappy about leaving Ibiza, they are leaving their lives and many friends here - please pray for them.
We had a surprise going away party last week and a lot of bar owners and managers came to say their goodbyes - they made us a cake and said encouraging things about us and the work of 24-7 Prayer in Ibiza. One of the bar owners thanked us on behalf of all “The Westenders”. This touched us so deeply as we recall that years ago the nightmare UK paper Daily Mail called the west end Sodom and Gomorrah. We never saw it that way. Instead, this is what we pray for and believe about the West End, this is how we feel God sees it, “Never again will you be called the Godforsaken City or the desolate land. Your new name will be the city of God’s delight and the Bride of God, for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as His own”. This will continue to be our prayer of faith for San Antonio long after we have left.
All of this happened because of the ‘passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies’. 24-7 Prayer have joined in that commitment, sending early prayer teams to Ibiza and being willing to go to what people have perceived as dark places. We are blessed to have been sent here by them and supported and encouraged throughout. All that has happened so far is a beautiful example of prayer and mission working hand in hand and we feel privileged and humbled to have been part of that.
We travel back on Thursday night and value your prayers as we try to adjust to life in the UK.
You have traveled with us on the journey, you have helped plant the tree and for that we deeply indebted to you. Please accept our gratitude and appreciation for all you have done.
God is good and His love endures forever