|Official languages||Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician, Spanish Sign Language|
After a brutal civil war followed by 36 years of dictatorship, Spain has been transformed into a modern democracy, one of the most enthusiastic members of the European Union. The Catholic church, closely identified with the Franco regime, has lost its privileged position and many of its members. However, most have turned to secularism and many to cults.
There is encouragement for evangelicals in the turning to Christ of one third of all Gypsies in the country (part of a Europe-wide movement of God amongst this race) and also the effective work of several Christian agencies in reaching and rehabilitating some of the huge number of Spanish drug-users. In the past five years many immigrants from Romania and Latin America have arrived, inlcuding a good proportion of evangelicals. It is proving difficult to integrate these into the established church culture.
Chris and Hilde Mathieson have been responsible for the development of the work in Spain since 1982. During the early years, the emphasis was on training the local churches and on short-term team outreaches. Based from 1989 in Madrid, they developed local outreach in the city's centre, work in schools and among people with disabilities, in addition to continuing the national itinerant ministry and campaigns. From 2001 to 2003 they were in the least developed region, Extremadura. They helped to coordinate church-planting and outreach in the region with Operation Mobilisation, with whom they have had a close relationship all these years. Between 2003 and 2005 they made their base in Switzerland, supporting Spain through itinerant and web ministry, including an information-packed web site. From 2006 they are back in Spain, on the island of Mallorca.
Chris, while being the Field Representative for Spain was for 8 years the European Chairman of OAC and is now European Secretary. He also acts as international webmaster and postmaster, keeping OAC's lines of communication open.
Opportunities to join in outreach in Spain are available through Easter or other campaigns. More
For a fuller picture of the situation in Spain and their own ministry check out the following sites:
... and the official page of the Spanish Evangelists' Conference.