Once I got settled in Gran Canaria Spain, There was a whole lot of things I needed to process with the Lord. My mind still had to catch up to what was happening to me. After I unpacked my bags, I went to my room which I’d be sharing with a fellow missionary/friend named Stefan.
Pioneer Missionary Life in Gran Canaria, Spain
While I was living in the missionary house, I lived there with the head missionaries (Paula and Joanna), and several refugees. On a week to week basis, we all spent alone time with God in the early morning, we had our house church service typically at 10 am, then we’d go the streets to find people who needed Jesus.
In my head, I couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t some type of structure set up for our schedule. What I mean by that is… We do church at 10 am, we visit the Gonzalez refugees at 12 pm for lunch, we preach in the streets to the poor on J street etc.
The problem with my thinking was that prior to going to Gran Canaria, I’d never been part of a pioneering missionary base before. If you’re a pioneer, there is no Gonzalez family. There are no people on J street waiting for you to preach. And, there’s no refugee family waiting to have lunch with you.
As a pioneer, if you want God to move, you need to pray and ask God what you need to do to see Him move. There’s no church with hundreds of people waiting for you to preach. Pioneers don’t need to join an existing organization that pays a high ministerial salary, has medical benefits, a masters degree program, a retirement plan, and an audience to share the Gospel with. Pioneers just go out and share the Gospel when God speaks to them. That’s it.
God Was/Is Teaching Me a New Thing
To be completely honest with you, I thought that my “impressive” church leadership background and ministerial experience, or so I thought, would help me to be ahead of the game on the mission field. I was wrong. I learned a lot of good stuff while I was a leader at local churches back in America. But when I went to Spain, I quickly learned that I had to forget about almost everything I thought I knew about being a missionary.
What I’d learned in church back home was the American way to be a missionary. With that being said, one of the hardest things I experienced while I was in Spain was unlearning everything I’d learned about missions.
One of the things I had to unlearn was the low level of importance that I had placed on water baptism. In America, most churches think that water baptism is merely a symbol of our relationship with God. Many American Christians, including myself before I went to Spain, don’t put too much of an importance on water baptism.
Well, I know about the significance of water baptism in certain Muslim nations. I know of a Christian man who said that if Muslims convert to Christ where he lives, it’s not too big of a deal. But, if a Muslim man/woman converts to Christ AND gets baptized in water, they can legally be killed immediately with no questions asked.
Another thing I had to unlearn was that only the pastor of a church can baptize someone in water. While no one actually taught me to believe that I cannot baptize people in water, I just didn’t think I had the authority to do it.
I also remember times when friends of mine told me that they wanted to get baptized “The right way” in a church by the pastor or by a church staff member. But, the Bible doesn’t say that the pastor is the only one who can baptize people (read Matthew 28:19). There were lots of other things I had to unlearn before I could start ministering in Spain.
Unlearning is Powerful!
While a lot of the things I learned in church in America, either directly or indirectly, may have been wrong, God can use anybody to grow us in our character. I did learn a lot of powerful things in the American church, so it’s not all bad lol
But overall, the first few weeks I was in Spain gave me more of a global perspective of what it truly means to preach the Gospel. We can’t say we completely understand what being a missionary means when all we’ve done is listen to church sermons and watch YouTube videos of missionaries in other countries.
A lot of people teach things that are completely wrong, we just believe everything those people say without ever praying or asking God about it. Heck, I’ve even taught things that are completely wrong because I really thought I knew what I was talking about lol Thank God for forgiveness otherwise there wouldn’t be any hope for any of us haha
God really messed me up in a good way and stripped away my pride during the first few weeks I was in Gran Canaria. Learning something new can be hard, but unlearning something you think you know so that you can really learn the truth is even harder. Pioneer missions 101: Forget everything you think you know about missions and let Daddy God take the wheel.
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