Jonathan and Gemma Donker Newsletter
Last week, Gemma had the opportunity to serve in a Christian Camp. She was leading the devotionals for the staff and doing pastoral care with them. One of the mornings she talked about the story of Martha and Mary and our need to perform and please people. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord replied, “you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:41-42)”. Gemma said to the team: “If you would spend the rest of your life sitting on a couch, the love that the Lord has for you would never change.” She asked the team members to close their eyes and asked them to imagine themselves sitting on a couch and to be aware of the presence of the Lord with them in the moment. In the beginning, most of them felt relaxed and free, but after some minutes they started getting anxious, and most of them had the urging need to stand up from the couch and start working.
It is interesting that as believers we feel proud to say that our salvation is by grace, and not through works, but at the same time we often have this need to perform and that makes it difficult to find time to be at the feet of Jesus.
Do we have the need to do things to fulfill our core longings (to feel loved, accepted, significant, understood, belonging), or do we work because we feel so full of the love of God, that in response we cannot do another thing than to serve him? If we are looking to fulfill our core longings through works, we will never fulfill them, we will get tired and burn out. But if we feel loved by God, we will serve Him with our gifts, and at the same time we will be able to stop (without feeling guilty), spend time in His presence. As we are aware of His presence, we will feel fulfilled because of who we are in Him.
Here are some testimonies after finishing the groups:
“After two years of therapy, my psychologist told me that I don’t have any problems, that I am okay. But through this course I see now that I have many problems”
“This course has been eye-opening. I should do it one hundred times again”
“I was diagnosed with a chronic fatigue, but everything is different now. There is a new joy in me and something has changed. I have the same strength I felt when I was 20 years old.”
“I thought that I was not a spiritual person, but now I can feel the presence of the Lord everywhere I go.”
“I felt that I was a bad mom and that I didn’t deserve to live. The Lord has taken my feelings of guilt away and now I can enjoy every single day with my kids”
“I don’t feel guilty about the sins of my past anymore. Now I can experience and live out of my true identity. In Christ I am a new creation.”
What a joy to be part of what the Lord is doing in their lives!
The 17 believers of these groups are ready to receive more from God. They want to continue getting equipped with us, because they see how the Lord has touched their lives and they want to be ready to bring this to their churches. We see that this is just the beginning of something amazing that the Lord is doing in Spain.
As you know, since March we have been meeting at home with a group of believers. This is not one of our primary ministry goals, but we sensed that it was something we needed to do.
We are meeting with 5-6 families with kids, and it is amazing to be part of this community. We are praying together and trying to discern what is the next step. We don’t have more room at home, so we need to start thinking about where we can meet next!
The Lord doesn’t stop to surprise us. We had the feeling that we needed to meet the husband of one of the ladies that had gone through the 16 weeks healing care group with Gemma. One day we invited them to have lunch at home. Xavi was finishing up his studies at IBSTE, a theological seminary in Barcelona. We met a couple of times with them, and they told us that the Lord had put our little town in their hearts. They have decided to come to live here and do ministry together!
Next month, Xavi, Olga and their kid Pol are moving to our town. We will continue to be involved with the church planting project, but Xavi and Olga will lead it. We believe the Lord has brought them with that purpose, so that we can keep focusing on our vision of training leaders / caregivers in inner healing and spiritual direction.
There is also a German / Catalan couple, named Marcos, Amanda and their two kids Thilo and Sofia (see picture) in the group. They have gone through the 16 weeks course with us, and the impact that it has had on their lives has been so big, that they are also planning to move to our little town to be able to be part of what the Lord is doing here!
Last year we were the only Christian family in this town. If God is willing by the end of this year we will be four! The Lord is good and merciful. He is building an amazing community here. Thank you for your prayers!
CHURCH PLANTING IN CATALONIA
Jonathan was invited to a couple of meetings of church planting in Catalonia. Just to let you know some dates, Catalonia has a population of 7.500.000. There are a lot of areas with many little towns (like ours). More than 70% of the towns with a population higher than 1.000 people do not have an evangelical-protestant testimony. Our town is one of those, and around our town there is a population of almost 100.000 without a testimony. The need is huge!
In those meetings, Christian leaders are trying to bring unity between all the different denominations to reach Catalonia for Christ! Jonathan felt so privileged to be part of that! It was a group of 50 pastors and leaders from different ministries. It was good to see leaders with a big heart for the Lord, people and evangelism!
INNER HEALING RETREAT
August 20th to 27th we are going to lead an inner healing retreat for pastors and missionaries.
Sadly enough, Spain has almost no resources for pastors and leaders that are struggling with different situations like burn out, depression and anxiety. Maybe you know that Spain has 1% of evangelical believers, so it is difficult to find Christian resources to help the leaders. Many pastors are interested in the work that we are doing, but because of the distance, often they can’t come here to do the 16 weeks curriculum. That is why we have decided to do an intensive course, to give them a different option.
This course will be open for 8 men and 8 ladies. Jonathan will be working with the men, Gemma with the ladies. We are excited because 8 of the participants will be missionaries from our mission here in Spain!
We have rented a house that a Church has in a little medieval town (Besalú). Gemma’s dad is going to be the cook for the group, and her mom and a friend will help with our kids, so that we can focus on the program during that week.
We are excited about this opportunity. At the same time, we know that spiritual warfare is going to be real, so please cover these leaders, the week, and our family with your prayers in the time of preparation and during the time of the retreat.
JPC kids Camp (Youth for Christ)
In the beginning of the letter we explained to you that Gemma had the opportunity to work with the staff of a Christian camp here in our area. While she was working with the leaders, our girls, Júlia and Ona, were campers at this camp.
During these last two months, Gemma has been working with one of her friends who is not a believer. The daughter of this friend went to camp with Júlia and Ona and she decided to follow Christ! This brought a lot of joy. The family of this girl is in a very difficult situation. Please pray for Noa (At the left side of the minion in the picture), that she can continue to feel the love and presence of our Lord. Pray for her parents, that amazing things will continue to happen in their lives.
Gemma’s testimony at the camp has been amazing. Some leaders of the full-time staff members of this mission were so impacted by the Lord, that they want to know how we can continue to be involved with this ministry.
NOVEMBER IN THE STATES AND FINANCIAL SITUATION
During the first two years of ministry, our sending mission (Global Outreach) requires from their missionaries to go back to the States to do some follow up with them. This means that in the beginning of November, we will be in Tupelo, MI.
During this year we have been doing ministry at home. It has been a blessing to be able to start in this way but, at the same time, it is a big sacrifice and we also see the need to put clear boundaries to be able to build a healthy family and a healthy ministry. Working with individuals and groups almost daily in your home changes the routine of the family and it makes it more complicated to have a normal schedule while raising 3 kids.
So, to grow as a ministry and to find a location where to work from, we need to raise more funds, especially for ministry expenses. That’s why we will stay for a month in the USA to have some more time to do that.
If you are involved in God’s ministry in Spain through prayer, but not financially, would you consider starting to help us financially monthly?
If you feel led to organize a meeting in your house to invite family and friends with whom we can share about what the Lord is doing in Spain, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are going to be in the States for 4 weeks, and thus far we only have a couple of meetings scheduled so we are open for challenges! We will spend some days with the people of our mission in Mississippi and some time in Ohio, but if we need to travel to other States, we will try to do it!
It is an honor and a blessing to partner with you! What a blessing to be family and friends and to know that one day there will be no more borders and we will all be together with our Lord. Until that day comes, e-mail us, call us, send us your prayer requests and family pictures! We love you and love to hear about you. You are important to us!!!
Jonathan, Gemma, Júlia, Ona and Eloi
- For the leaders that we are equipping, that they can continue their spiritual journey of transformation.
- For the leaders that we are going to start training. That they will let the Lord do what He wants to do in their lives.
- For the community of believers that the Lord is building in our town.
- For a bigger place to start meeting as a church and do ministry.
- For Xavi, Olgaand Pol. For their move to our town, a place to live and their process of raising support.
- For Marcos, Amanda, Thilo and Sofia. For a place to live and a job close to our area.
- For Noa and her parents.
- For the preparation of the inner healing retreat in August and protection for the participants, ourselves and the families involved.
- For our trip to the US and the continuous process of fundraising for our family and ministry.
- Click here for more information on how to support the Donkers in their ministry financially.