A Truly Black Friday

I grew up in Torremolinos, a touristic town in southern Spain, and am a part of the Hindu community there. My father was one of the first to settle in Spain and have a business here amongst the community, so all the Indians know who I am.

The same streets where I used to party are the same ones that God used to train me for evangelism after I gave my life to Christ. Those same Hindus saw the drastic change my life took once I started walking in my calling as a disciple of Christ.

My wife and I lived in La Linea, southern Spain for about 5 yrs pastoring a church in Gibraltar until we were evicted due to lack of funds. Even though we were pastoring 2 churches at the time, the lack of tithing and offerings from the members had its toll on us. The initial notice of the eviction plus the theft of my inheritance gave way to my first heart attack at the age of 46.

Black Friday 2019, at 9:00 am six policemen with a van, a judge, and her secretary were at our door and gave us 15 minutes to vacate the house. We started putting things in bags knowing we were homeless and had no place to sleep when night would come. I actually started to pack asking myself what was completely necessary if I was to sleep under a bridge tonight, as we had no money to afford a hotel. One set of dress clothes for Sunday Service, and some basic clothes for everyday use, like sweat pants, jeans, t-shirts, socks and underwear, and one good winter jacket. I kept on thanking God for having stopped the rain that day, as it was still winter.

We were even told that our dogs would be taken to the local pound if we could not take care of them. That day I lost about 95% of all I had, all my memories, all my books, sermon notes I took the past decade, and anything material that I had gathered during my life. I was only able to save some clothes, my 2 Vintage guitars (both 25 yrs with me), my laptop, and my Bible.

We even lost all our official documents like residence papers, birth certificates…etc, which by God’s grace the landlord allowed us to take a few days later with some additional clothes.

The day we were kicked out of our home, God did not allow anyone to come to our aid.  No church member, none of my vast prosperous family in Spain …. No one.  I truly felt completely alone in this world and sat for a while in a state of shock as I had only heard about these things happening to others. But me? a Pastor? Someone who had willingly rejected opportunities to make money and instead chose to serve the Kingdom of God and depend on the mercy of others for our basic financial needs?  

My wife and I sat outside a mall in tears with our dogs (who were oblivious to what was happening),  and our car packed with whatever possessions we were able to save.  My wife and I were not so much concerned about ourselves, but our hearts broke when we realized that the dogs had not had any food or water the whole morning and we did not have much to spare and buy food for any of us. 

God led me to call a brother from another church to finish up some calendar work we were doing for our ministry in Gibraltar. I really had no heart at that moment to engage in any work and was about to cancel the whole project, but I obeyed the voice of the Holy Spirit. As I look back, this rejection was also part of God’s plan to show us that man is nothing and that only He is our provider.

Through this brother a local pastor gave us an empty apartment he had put on rent, no questions asked. The first sign of mercy and love we experienced when we met the pastor for the first time was that he invited us to eat something and his children started feeding our dogs with their portions of food.

As soon as we entered the apartment, it got rented out with the full asking price the Pastor wanted even though it was above market price. So we were still able to stay there for about 3 weeks. This pastor was having meetings in his house at that time. Now he has built two churches and his construction company is prospering.

On my first Sunday preaching after the eviction, I was led at the end of the meeting to ask if anyone had a place for us to stay until we found something we could afford and that would accept our dogs. The verse came to mind, “You don’t have because you don’t ask.” An African woman was visiting our church in Torremolinos from France for the first time and had a house in a small town about 45 minutes away. She offered it to us for the whole month of December and the beginning of January as she would be traveling abroad. Anyway, after bumming around a couple of towns and houses with our dogs for about 6 weeks, God finally opened up a small studio on the coast of Velez Malaga, five steps from the beach. 

An alumni from Black Forest Academy, my high school in Germany, (whom I frankly don’t even remember) saw my post on FaceBook and sent us an offering that covered the initial deposit for the apartment. It also covered the 3 months rent payment advance we were required because we have no proof of income. I need to add as well that a Hindu well-wisher also gave us an offering when we finally decided to leave Gibraltar (La Linea) for good, as well as some other pastors that found out about our predicament.

We have been in this área for about 3 years now. Left both physical Churches we pastored, and as led by the Holy Spirit right after the pandemic started, initiated our own ministry online a couple of years back called Karma 2 Christ Ministries.

The surprising thing is that the difference in the amount of rent we pay now from where we were evicted is only 50€ less.  And for well over past the first year, we were able to pay 3 months’ rent in advance as part of the contract. So we know that God allowed the eviction to show His power of supernatural provision, how He takes care of us, and to push us into the promised ministry we now handle.

Sure, the emotional scars, the shame, and the words spoken against us by even those we served and prayed for still hurt, but I guess through this we experienced a little of what Christ suffered from His own.

Many don’t like the idea that we completely live by faith, rejecting prosperous business and work opportunities, and that God continues to supply our needs. Sure, we can´t afford to eat in expensive restaurants, plan vacations or secure a financial future, but the kingdom of God is more than food or drink.

We truly have no experience or training on how to go about raising funds or planning financially for ministry work. 

All we heard was “Go, and I will walk before you!”…. so we did.

Anyway, I could go on and on. I guess we preachers like to share all the wonders God has done for us.  We want to encourage you with this testimony and not to point fingers at anyone for the troubles we have faced.  God is the one that allows certain people to be part of our lives and He is the one that makes all things work out for our good when we decide to love Him and obey His commandments.

 

This is His Promise:

(Romans 8:28) “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.”