Growth in Church

I apologize to those who read this on my website or on social media. This report will be more people-focused, so I won’t be sharing many specifics on the internet. Most of the update (along with all the prayer requests) have been redacted so I can post this online, but as always I encourage you to sign up for emails if you pray for us and want to be more informed about the ministry. You can sign up for emails at http://bonikowsky.org/subscribe/.

This past year has been very exciting for our church. We are seeing a greatly increased number of visitors. Some of them just pass through but others have stayed. In this update I’ll mention a few of the newer people in church and share how you can join us in praying for them.

In the summer of 2021, a young couple came to church for the first time. They were very young (recently married in fact) and it turns out they were looking for a place to grow spiritually. They had both come to know the Lord the year before in a more charismatic church in the area, but they had left as they were looking for a church that was more serious about discipleship. This was the first time I’d ever heard that from visitors! They are now in church every week, wanting to participate in everything. It’s wonderful to see their genuine desire to grow.

In late 2021 a man and his wife came to church for the first time. They were also already believers. On the Sunday when they first visited, he told me that since Spanish was not their primary language, it was very helpful to find a pastor who spoke more slowly because they could much more easily understand me! I think in some of the churches they’d been in, enthusiasm was prioritized over nuance! Ever since they came they’ve been a huge blessing in our church.

This year, two other couples came to church for the first time. They come from a Christian background, but once again it seems it was a Christianity-lite sort of church history. They haven’t been with us for long, but they’ve impressed us with their optimistic attitude in challenging living situations and their motivation to work diligently. We’re happy for the chance to serve them.

Please keep praying with us for the growth of our church, both spiritually and numerically. It is of course exciting to see new people coming to a church that is still very small, but our goal is as always to make disciples and equip them to do the same.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 2:46-47
A church fellowship meal
A church fellowship meal
Men's retreat at the Aierdi Farmhouse
Men’s retreat at the Aierdi Farmhouse
Regional ladies' meeting organized by Raquel
Regional ladies’ meeting organized by Raquel

Our Ukraine Aid Trip

On March 21st, I left Spain on a trip with 3 other Spanish pastors with aid for the people of Ukraine. We coordinated with a ministry in Poland that provides support to over a dozen churches in Ukraine. Churches all across Spain took up offerings of food and medical supplies, and though the original plan was to take a single vehicle, we ended up tightly packing 2 large, nine-passenger vans with supplies, which, after about 25hrs of driving, we were able to deliver in Krakow, Poland. We had arranged to bring back 14 refugees from churches in Ukraine on the way back, but by the time we arrived, most of them had been able to find alternate transportation, so our passenger space wasn’t needed. Still, we brought back the wife and children of a pastor in Odessa, as well as a young boy who’s the brother-in-law of another pastor in Spain. Even though I didn’t mention the trip to people in America until a week before we left, it was wonderful to receive donations from a number of individuals and churches. To those of you who gave, thank you so much. With that money, I was able to purchase boxes of medical supplies at a discount from the pharmacy Raquel used to work at, as well as battery packs and portable radios. What was most encouraging about the trip was seeing first-hand how pastors in Ukraine and Poland were working tirelessly (and at personal risk) to help those in need. Knowing that what we sent went to churches that keep faithfully preaching the Gospel is wonderful.

Boxes of medical supplies
Boxes of medical supplies
Unloading in Krakow, Poland
Unloading in Krakow, Poland
The supplies we brought
The supplies we brought
The 3 on the left and 1 on the right are refugees we brought to Spain
The 3 on the left and 1 on the right are refugees we brought to Spain

Last month, we were able to have a regional men’s prayer breakfast for the first time in over two years. People were so excited to come to a group activity at church that we barely had space for all the men in our church building. One man who joined our church during the COVID period was able to come to the first meeting of its kind, and he is looking forward to our next breakfast in May.

Men’s prayer breakfast

Another first for us was a choir number in church! We are still a small group, but I do hope to start teaching music one day and have that be an important part of our ministry. For the time being, however, I’ve encouraged those who would like to start learning to join the bi-monthly choir practice at our sister church in Irun. I was very much involved in the choir ministry there before we came to the Puerto church, and though we had a 2-year sabbatical, as soon as choir began again I continued to help. So for the time being some of our church members are practicing with Irun. Currently, two church members are in the choir, one more wants to join this next Sunday as well. None of them can read any music yet, but choir is a great place to learn! Since those of use from the Puerto can’t sing the prepared numbers with the Irun church (due to our own church services), we sang the first number the choir prepared in church. I played a recording of the Irun choir singing in their church, and we sang along with the recording! A few Irun members visited us to fill out the voices this time, but I plan to keep doing choir numbers in this way for the time being.

We 3 on the right are the church choir

Last week, during Easter weekend, we had an apologetics conference at Aierdi. There were 8 sessions about topics such as: What is Truth?, The Isaiah Scroll, and Designed with Purpose. I taught a session about the “search for the historical Jesus”, in which I went through the literary and archeological references to Jesus, and what the scholarly consensus is about Him. The goal was to help believers to think through and understand their faith. We had a large group, and I believe it was a blessing.

Apologetics session at Aierdi

Thank you all for your prayers as always. God bless!

David
Ps. 34:3

A meal with one of our church members