Pastor Joel Castro of Zaragoza, Spain, shares how funds from the Alabaster Offering provided a home for him and his family.
In 2005, God allowed us to organize the first Church of the Nazarene in the city of Zaragoza, Spain. Obtaining our church property was a miracle, thanks to the prayers of the first people who formed the congregation. However, another challenge arose: we needed a pastoral residence. Therefore, we rearranged the upper part of the church building to serve as the pastor’s home, although it was actually the pastor’s office. We believed that God had a plan in the midst of this inconvenience.
During nine years of waiting, the mission of the church never wavered. We invested in starting a second church in another neighborhood of Zaragoza.
One day in early 2014, we were surprised to receive a phone call from District Superintendent Ignacio Pesado. He said the Spain District Advisory Board was willing to guarantee us the purchase of the much-needed parsonage, thanks in part to funds from our denomination’s global Alabaster Offering that could provide our down payment. Glory to God! He was listening to our need.
While a mortgage was a challenge for our congregation, in those days Spain experienced an economic downturn and it was a good time for the purchase because the prices of apartments had dropped.
In August 2014, we purchased a nearby apartment. But it still needed to be remodeled. Even though we owned the apartment, we could not live in it. We believed God was asking us to be patient and continue in prayer to wait for the help of a Work & Witness team in the remodeling.
Six months later we received financial assistance from the Western Mediterranean Field Strategy Coordinator Bruce McKellips, and thanks to that offering we were able to begin part of the remodeling. Some of the work was done by people in our congregation and a group from the sister church of Barcelona. This was arranged thanks to the continued involvement of Pesado.
At the beginning of 2016, the missionary to Spain, Daniel Pesado, toured the United States to speak in Nazarene churches, and shared our need with the congregations he visited. It was the last congregation they visited, the United Community Church of the Nazarene in Indianapolis, who became interested in the renovation project.
Preparations were made so that by the end of January the Work & Witness team had completed the work that had begun months earlier. Rev. Bill Bean came with a group of 10 men to help us finish the floor, the painting, the kitchen, and the rooms with all the electrical hookups. By March of 2017, after having the services of light and gas connected, our family moved into our newly renovated apartment. Our two daughters were very happy for the blessings, and the older one actually said, “Dad, it was worth the wait.”
Glory to God! There is no greater wonder than seeing the hand of God working for the same mission to which He has called us. For that, I once again want to thank all the Nazarenes who helped us to see a dream come true in our ministry, especially to Bruce McKellips, Ignacio and Daniel Pesado, Bill Bean, and many anonymous people who expressed interest in the purchase and renovation of our apartment.