Blessings taken away from this summer

In the last update, I mentioned that Raquel and I had decided I should spend this summer in the United States working. Both of us had an exhausting summer! I averaged about 72 hours of work each week, and Raquel worked at the pharmacy in Irun full-time. And while it is never easy to be away from our ministry for long, I wanted to share a couple blessings that came of my trip that were both encouraging and edifying.

Raquel at church while I was away
Raquel at church while I was away

I went back to Panama City, Florida, where I worked doing odds and ends repair work. Some of you will recall Hurricane Michael, which landed on October 10, 2018. It was the 4th-strongest hurricane to hit the contiguous US in recorded history! Not surprisingly, Panama City still looks devastated in many areas. And while I was paid for my work there, it was good to feel that I was making a very tangible difference in the lives of people who have (and sometimes still are) suffered greatly. I had opportunities to share the Gospel with the people living near me, and it was wonderful to be part of a great church while I was there. I’ve learned a lot from believers who have lost many earthly possessions, but are still trusting God and focused on serving Him.

An audiobook on my phone

Given the kind of work I was doing, I had lots of time to myself while working, so I decided to make this a summer of book reading. I ended up “reading” a total of 16 books during my time working. I love audiobooks! Added up, those books totaled about 250hrs of listening time, the equivalent of some 7,500 pages! Here in Spain, I often encourage believers to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities the audiobook format provides. In my regular schedule I mostly listen to audiobooks as I drive, but when I find other opportunities, I try to consume books! I simply can’t explain how much I learned and benefited from just the books I read this summer! I encourage you to consider fitting some extra reading into your weekly schedule. You’d be surprised how much you can benefit from good books while doing other things!

Here’s a quick list of the books I was able to learn from this summer:

  1. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth — Reza Aslan (written by a sceptic, about the “historical” Jesus
  2. War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy (a 61-hour, 1,400-page classic!)
  3. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption — Laura Hillenbrand
  4. Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone — Martin Dugard
  5. We Were Soldiers Once… and Young: Ia Drang – The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam — Harold G. Moore
  6. Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows — Ravi Zacharias (autobiography)
  7. Don Quijote de la Mancha — Miguel de Cervantes (unabridged, in original Spanish, of course!)
  8. The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great — Ben Shapiro
  9. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos – Jordan B. Peterson
  10. Trump: The Art of the Deal — Donald J. Trump
  11. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream — Barack Obama
  12. The End of Faith — Sam Harris
  13. The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists — Ravi Zacharias (a Christian response to The End of Faith)
  14. Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science — John C. Lennox
  15. The Basque History of the World — Mark Kurlansky
  16. The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad — Joyce E. Salisbury

If you’re interested, check out this page where I post my reviews of the books. Obviously, some of those books are written from perspectives with which I disagree, but I find that books I disagree with are often the ones I learn the most from! I encourage you to consider fitting some extra reading into your weekly schedule. You’d be surprised how much you can benefit from good books while doing other things!

Recent books I’ve read:
David Bonikowsky 's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Now that I’m back in Spain, it’s back to a tightly packed schedule. I’ve started an intensive Basque course that’s 4 hours every weekday morning. and I’ve got more English students this year than ever before, so please keep up your prayers!

God bless, David & Raquel
Ps. 34:3

The plaza in the center of Irun
The plaza in the center of Irun. The building in the back is the Euskaltegia where I go every day for Basque classes.
Before / After (in Panama City)
Before / After (in Panama City)
Ceiling damage from the hurricane
Ceiling damage from the hurricane

Summer plans

Hello friends! The ministry at the Seaport church has kept Raquel and me busy, but it’s been a blessing to the the Lord at work. We had visitors a couple of months ago (a very rare occurance). Two sisters contacted me by phone, and later came to church that weekend. One of them comes from an evangelical church, and one of them is Catholic. But since that Sunday they have come almost every week, and they are always extremely attentive. They are hearing the Gospel on a consistent basis, and they always follow along in the Bibles we’ve given them. Please pray for their souls. We really hope to see them get saved and form a part of the body of our church.

Service at Seaport Baptist Church

Service at Seaport Baptist Church

Cleaning day at church

Cleaning day at church

Raquel passed her end-term Basque certification, and has made excellent progress. I married a very sharp cookie! She is now working again at the pharmacy where she was last year, so Basque classes are on pause for the summer. She’s made friends with a lot of the other students, so pray that she’ll be able to keep up those friendships and follow them up with Gospel-sharing opportunities.

I recently finished publishing a Basque-English version of the Christian childrens’ book God’s Extraordinary Home, written by Jonathan and Lorena Templeton. They are missionaries in a nearby province who are quite prolific in writing Christian literature for children. Now there’s a Spanish version, a bilingual Spanish-English version, and a Basque-English version. I’d recommend checking them out, especially if you know of a family with children who speak Spanish.

Children's book in Basque

Children’s book in Basque

As I write this, I’m preparing to leave for the States for a work trip. I’m grateful for the many ways the Lord is providing for Raquel and me. But this summer I will be returning to the US for a couple of months to work. I will be doing construction in Florida. It isn’t a decision Raquel and I made lightly, but we believe it’s what God wants me to do right now. We have some upcoming expenses that we can’t afford with the money we receive in ministry support. And while I teach English classes during the school year, this summer will the be only chance I have to go work like this. Right now Roy and Lou Ann Keiser are working with us at the Seaport church, but after this summer I will be the only pastor at of the church, so I won’t have the same flexibility. Please pray for us this summer, that the Lord would protect me as I work, and that he’d continue to provide for us so we can serve Him in Spain.

Thank you as always for your faithful prayers and support. We are so privileged to be part of the Lord’s plan for the Basque Country, and it is in large part thanks to you all.

God bless,
David & Raquel
Ps. 34:3

Coffee and cupcakes at church

Coffee and cupcakes at church

Pasajes, the view 100 yards from church

Pasajes, the view 100 yards from church