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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spain in Mourning

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has proclaimed three days of national mourning. At least 80 people were killed in a horrific train crash near Santiago de Compostela last evening, the night before Spain’s holiday for the Apostle James. Many Roman Catholic pilgrims plan to end their pilgrimage along El Camino de Santiago (St. James’ Way) on this weekend. It is thought that many of the people on the train were traveling to this important religious fiesta.

My heart is broken for the families who have lost loved ones. At least thirty are in critical condition in area hospitals. This is a tragedy.

My mind goes back to the other notable train deaths—on the 11th of March, 2004, caused by terrorist bombs.

I remember that friends from other countries mourned in solidarity with the Spanish people. They sent us notes of condolence.

I also remember that the country was shaken—as it no doubt is today. So many deaths. A normal activity like riding the train. People on their way to a celebration—that won’t happen this year.

So much loss. Everyone will know someone, or they will know a friend who knows someone.

I remember the last time.

I also remember how fast the people got on with their lives. Maybe a week later, hardly anyone was talking about life and death. The window for ministry was over.

You would think that people would want to make sure about their souls.

You would think that they would think about death. The Bible says, it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

Spain is a Catholic country. Most people have been baptized as babies into the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore, if you ask the average person if he belongs to a religious group, he will say, “Of course. I’m Catholic.” But, you’d be surprised how very few take faith seriously. Very few ever go to church, except for baptisms, funerals, and weddings. A lot of Spanish people don’t even believe there’s a God.

Years ago, I remember a friend in Madrid telling me, “You hear a lot about the millions who are eagerly waiting to hear the gospel. What they don’t tell you is about the millions who couldn’t care less.”

That’s our mission field, the one we know we’ve been called to. And that’s where at least 80 partygoers lost their lives yesterday.

Please pray that those of us who know the Lord Jesus would be attentive to any open doors we might have for witness, especially over the next week. Also, please pray that God would do something amazing in hearts and open them to the idea of God, of a hereafter, and of their need.

Thank you.

For God so loved the world (including Spain),
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved. 
(John 3:16-17)


  1. So sorry to hear this. I'll be praying for comfort for those who lost loved ones and for open hearts all around Spain and for opportunities for outreach for you.

    1. Thank you, Margaret! God bless you and the family.

  2. This has been on our news here in Australia. Will be praying for opportunities for you to witness. The open door after these kind of tragic events seem to get shorter and shorter.

    1. My husband is doing a lot of running this morning, and I'm praying. He has witnessed to so many of these people over the years. No spiritual interest yet, but at least they are our friends. :o)

  3. I just caught a clip of this on the news last night. Will definitely be praying. It seems that people couldn't help but think about eternity at such times - may they continue to think and find the right answers rather than get distracted with daily life so soon.

    1. Thank you for praying. The people in this part of Spain don't even think there's any kind of an eternity. Hard to think about something you don't believe exists. But God can!

      Thank you for your comment, Barbara. Praying for you, too.

  4. Si que es triste esto que pasó yo no me enteré de nada hasta hoy. Estoy orando por las familias que en estos momento lo están pasando mal, espero que hallen de alguna forma al Señor como Salvador.

    Bendicioes ;)

    1. Sí, es importante que todos nosotros estemos atentos a las puertas abiertas para testificar a nuestros amigos a nuestro alrededor. ¡Que el Señor te bendiga, Tere!


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