End-of-year chaos and cheer

Hello everyone, thank you as always for your prayers for us. I apologize for how long it’s been since my last report. There’s a lot to talk about, and here are some highlights from a busy end of the year.

Soon after the war broke out, we learned of a group of special-needs orphans from Ukraine who had been brought to Spain. We’ve been involved in praying for and helping them throughout the year, and for Christmas, we organized a project where every child was “adopted” by a believer who committed to praying for them by name throughout the year. We prepared cards with some info and requests for each child, and we trust the Lord will work through the prayers of His people. We also prepared Christmas packages for each child with their favorite toys, and a note addressed to each one with the name of a person praying for them. Please pray with us for these kids, especially that those who are visiting them would be able to reach them with the Gospel.

After having to cancel it for the past two years, we finally had the 17th MTR (missionary teen retreat) at the Aierdi Farmhouse in December. I enjoyed helping with the teaching and getting to know new missionary teens from around Europe. Teens who grow up on the mission field experience many unique privileges and challenges, and the retreat was a blessing to everyone involved.

Another ministry that came back after a few years of hiatus was our evangelistic Christmas cantata. It’s exciting to see more and more of our church members getting involved in the choir ministry (we join the choir practices of the church in Irun). The week before Christmas we presented the cantata in the 3 independent Baptist churches of our province (Irun, Lazkao, and our church in Rentería). I was very happy that after many years of inviting him, one of my friends came with his wife and two children. This was the first time he’d ever come to church, so this was a very important first step for him.

Church attendance has been all over the place for the past month, as most of our church members (including my family) have dealt with illness this winter. I was quite sick for two weeks this January, and many others have had to deal with a very nasty flu season. However, our church services have been exciting as we’ve had several visiting families come recently. Pray with us for two new families who have joined the church (both with two children). Both families have recently come to Spain and have been looking for a doctrinally-focused church.

The last bit of news, though certainly not the least, is that our family continues to grow. Lord willing, in June, we’ll be having a baby boy. He’ll be the third child in three years, and we couldn’t be more grateful to the Lord!

The family keeps growing!

Thank you for your continued prayer for us, we certainly need it! God bless,

Ps. 34:3

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 https://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