MISSION NEWS | Tess Holgate
Monday 29 June 2015
It’s not hard to get religion into a conversation in Spain, but there’s a deep history of religion that colours people’s perceptions of the church and Christianity. Two Australian missionary families have been living in Valencia, trying to have conversations with people about the gospel. One of the ways they’re doing that is by running English kids clubs for local children.
Last week 39 children gathered in an evangelical Anglican church in Valencia to learn about outer space, rockets and who really made the universe. They learnt that we can’t come to know the creator ourselves because of the problem of sin, and each day heard a different story from the Bible of Jesus and who He is.
Tania Snowdon, one of the Australian CMS (Church Missionary Society) missionaries serving at the Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal (Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church) in Valencia says, “church holiday kids clubs are not as common as in Australia nor are they put on by individual churches most of the time as they are very under resourced.”
As it’s the summer holidays in Spain at the moment, there are a number of holiday programs that run for kids. But this kids club was different from the other holidays programs run for kids during the summer holidays because it was in English.
“The kids definitely come for the English teaching, says Tania. “The majority [of the kids] do not go to church and families are so keen for their kids to learn English to help them go further in life.”
26 of the kids who attended were from the school community and local neighbourhood.
This is the third year that the church has run an English kids club over the summer holidays.
“The first 2 years we gave an invite to church to the families saying the kids would show what they’d learnt but none came,” says Tania. “But there’s a long time needed to build relationships and trust here!
“This year we invited parents/carers to come for the last half hour of the program to see what we’d been learning. We sung Christian songs in English, played a game in English and did the memory verse. We had a visit from the puppet who recapped what we had learnt (in Spanish so the parents could understand!). John Lovell (the minister) also said a few words and invited them all to church. 20 or so parents came.”
The following Sunday two families of kids who attended the English kids club went to church, as well as one of the kids by themselves.
Tania says she doesn’t know of any child who has become a believer, but she says it’s hard to know for sure.
“One parent has talked to me about her son who is often asking lots of questions,” says Tania. “We know the family outside of the kids club and I gave her son the Jesus Storybook Bible for his birthday. His Mum told me how he remembers the teaching point for every day and that they go home and read the stories again in the Bible. She has shared how it not only impacts him but that she gets something out of the story too. They have been along to church four or five times.
The key verse for the week was John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’. Pray for continued fruit from these kids clubs, and that many children would come to know God.
Tania, her husband Mike and their two kids have served in Valencia for two years with the Church Missionary Society.