Preparing to serve in Spain as ARP Missionaries
During the summer of 2009 my wife Judy and I moved to Charlotte, NC to attend Reformed Theological Seminary. At this point all we knew was that the Lord had put a burden on our heart to preach the gospel. As we approached our final year of seminary we began reflecting and praying more seriously as to where God would have us serve. Whether it would be here in a church stateside or overseas, we wanted to be open to serve Him.
By God’s providence, in September of 2011 Judy and I found ourselves sitting at a World Witness missions banquet listening to a variety of missionaries share their testimonies regarding the Lord’s provision in spite of a tough economy and other difficulties that had come their way. That evening we met a couple (Lonnie and Kathy Humes) serving in Spain describe the spiritual climate around the Madrid area. As a Spanish major in college, I had had two opportunities to visit Spain, yet it was not until this point that the spiritual bankruptcy of this country had come to my attention.
July 9-19, 2012 my wife and I went to Spain on a vision trip to see the need for ourselves as well as to pray for the Lord’s guidance as we considered moving our family there to plant a church where there are currently very few evangelical witnesses. Looking back on this trip it is beyond question that the Lord is confirming His call to serve Him in the region of Asturias (Northern Spain).
The Lehner’s have 3 children. Their son Wyatt is 5 months and was born in July, Aiden 2 and Abigail 4.
December 2015 Update
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way…” – Matthew 1:18
It is hardly possible to imagine a statement so packed with hope, anticipation, excitement, and wonder than what we see in Matthew 1:18. From the very moment Adam and Eve first sinned in the garden until this pivotal point in redemptive history God’s people longed to see the day when it would be proclaimed that the Messiah had come. And here in Matthew’s gospel we see this is precisely what had taken place. He had come! As we listen to the dialogue we see unfold between Joseph and the angel of the Lord our hearts are overjoyed. ‘Name him Jesus,’ Joseph is told, “for He will save His people from their sins.”
We celebrate at this time of year because the God we serve is not far off and removed from our brokenness. Rather, He is Immanuel. God with us. We have no better demonstration of the love of God than that Jesus, the very Son of God, was sent into this world to save us from our sins. To put this another way, at Christmas we celebrate the missionary heart of God in sending His only Son to die for us.
If we understood just how low Jesus came when He humbled Himself and became a man, I believe we would be more passionate in our prayers for the nations and for the needs of those around us.
It is the sacrificial love of God that compels us to go out into the world of sin and proclaim the good news of Jesus. This is what Diane Langberg, adjunct faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, learned over the last 40 years in her ministry to trauma survivors. She writes:
“I learned that the love of God bent down, way down into the muck and mire of this world, into the darkest corners running with rats. “[H]e was despised…he was pierced…he was crushed…He was oppressed, and he was afflicted” (Isaiah 53:3, 5, 7). I saw that his love led him to become like us so that we might actually become something like him. I understood more of what it means when it says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;… and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4–5). I saw that love, a beautiful thing, becomes utterly filthy for the one who is loved, in order to make the filthy clean.” *
This Christmas season may our hearts be filled with compassion toward those around us as we sing, “Glory to God in the highest,” the one who came down low so that we might have peace (Luke2:14).
Yours in Christ,
John and Judy Lehner
*Diane Langberg et al., Reformed Means Missional: Following Jesus into the World (ed. Samuel T. Logan; Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2013), 130.
We are now at 93% of our needed monthly gifts for ministry in Spain!
We are still looking for financial partners in this ministry. If this is of interest to you, both one time and recurring donations can be set up by clicking the button below.
- We are very close to the applying for our Spanish visas. Pray that the final document we need would come quickly so we can make our journey up to the Spanish Embassy in the D.C. area.2. Pray that the Lord would bless the work of our hands as we are busy packing and that we would have peace in the midst of all the transition.3. Pray that the Lord would use every aspect of this season of life to make us better ambassadors of the gospel, and that the hearts of the people of Spain would be open to the love of Jesus
Thank you so very much for your prayers for our family as well as your generous support! We are very encouraged to see how the Lord continues to supply all our needs.
May the Lord bless all you do in Southaven and beyond for his glory.