Sensing when to share the gospel, even with close friends, can be incredibly tricky in Spain.
“Every Catholic we know here would say, ‘I’m Catholic, but not practicing.’ They have nothing to do with the church, except for all the traditions,” said Giles Davis, SEND Spain Area Director. “There’s a sense that Christianity had its chance in Spain, but it failed miserably and brought death and pain. The last thing they’re looking for is Jesus.”
So, evangelism in this context becomes incredibly relational — but even then, Giles said, “if there’s any sense that you’re in this relationship so that you can share the gospel with them or if you invite them to a religious event without making it totally clear what the nature of the event is, that just totally kills the relationship.”
Many Spaniards consider evangelical Christians — who make up just 1 percent of the population — cult members.
“Spaniards assume that you’re going to try to force them to believe, and the moment you start talking about Jesus, you can almost watch 1,000 years of history and preconceived notions just flashing before their eyes,” Giles said. “They’re not even listening to you, because they think they know Jesus. You have to break through these things by showing them that the Jesus you’re talking about is not the Jesus they think they know.”
The Davises saw this play out in their own lives when Debbie Davis starting praying for an opportunity to share the gospel with a new friend, Daniela*. As she waited for a God-ordinated moment, Debbie made sure she was ready by carrying a little notecard on which she had written key Bible passages that would illustrate the gospel.
One day, Debbie and Daniela were hanging out, and Debbie was thinking that maybe this was the moment to pull out her card.
But then Daniela said, “You know, I was just talking with my family and they wanted to know what an evangelical lady was like and were you brainwashing me, and I told them, ‘Oh no, she’s totally different. She hasn’t forced anything on me. She believes what she believes and she lets me believe what I believe and she doesn’t push anything on me.’”
Debbie didn’t say anything, but she went away from that conversation and cried out to the Lord, asking, “Should I have been bolder? Or are you closing this door?”
God answered when, several days later, Daniela came to Debbie with a question: “You seem to have this direct line to God. How does that work?”
That was the moment! Debbie pulled out her card and shared the whole gospel with Daniela.
Daniela pondered the verses Debbie told her about for several weeks before she prayed to receive the Lord. Finally, Debbie and Daniela had moved from friends to sisters in Christ!
‘You let me decide’
Debbie and Daniela discussed the whole process later.
“I was so scared that you were going to feel like I was trying to force this on you,” Debbie said.
“Oh, no, quite the contrary,” Daniela replied. “You didn’t force anything on me. You just showed me what the Bible said, and then you let me decide whether I was going to believe that or not.”
“The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him,
So it is best for us to wait in patience — to wait for him to save us.” — Lamentations 3:25-26 (GNT)
* Not her real name
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