Pray for Carlos Bonilla and Mayra Giovanetti, reaching out to those who are bound in chains of oppression in Spain.December 21, 2011
Carlos Bonilla and Mayra Giovanetti Family 2011
Carlos and Mayra, with their children, are in Spain alongside the churches of the Baptist Evangelical Union of Spain (UEBE) in their ministries to migrants, preparing curriculum materials, and training lay persons in the local churches.
They write: Each
Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth, born of Mary, a virgin as prophesied in
Isaiah 7.14 and restated in Matthew 1.23. Back then and in our days, a virgin
birth is difficult to understand and believe in; so Mary suffered the
consequences of such a special and unique pregnancy and birth. Mary was
questioned, shunned, and looked down upon by many of her own as one without
dignity, integrity, or worth. Yet, Mary was chosen to be Jesus’ mom through
this virgin pregnancy and birth.
If Mary, a virgin when she conceived Jesus, was questioned, shunned, and looked down upon by many, how much more those who are prostitutes? Are you aware that even those who have come out of prostitution and are within our churches are also looked down upon by many, shunned, and questioned? We wish this were not true, but we often continue to struggle with accepting those Jesus came to save and whom He loves so dearly.
Spain holds a record that is not one to be proud of; the country in all of Europe with the highest rate of men contracting prostitute’s services (39%). These women and girls are despised, used, and enslaved. Those who get freed have a hard time getting a job, a family, and acceptance within society, even within the church. They are the scum we do not wish to have near, the ones we protect our children from, and the ones we wish did not exist.
But the numbers, the stats, and the ideal are one thing; it is something different to meet them face to face, to know their struggles, feel their pain, and share their frustrations. They invite us to take to heart Jesus’ words in John 8.7b: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Also in Mark 2.17, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
We tend to still departmentalize sins by categories and degrees, yet sin is everything and anything we do or do not do that is contrary to God’s commandments. More often than we admit, we are still guilty as charged in Matthew 7.3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
This Christmas Jesus invites you and us, with so many around the world, to get the Good News out to these and all men and women who need God’s loving gift of salvation. Let us love them as He loves them and as He loves us. Let us really walk in their shoes as we listen to their testimonies, their pain, and their struggles to be freed from prostitution, from sin, and from their inner bondage that is often reinforced by our own attitudes.
Blessed is He who says in Isaiah 1.18 “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” And in John 8.11b He invites us: “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Christmas is time to prepare New Year’s resolutions. Let us be resolute to break the chains and stop the pain. Women and girls depend on our accepting God’s call to restore dignity, integrity, and worth to these who are despised, used, and enslaved. With your prayerful support we are already responding in the true Spirit of the season.
- Pray for Mayra and Carlos as they serve Christ in Spain by reaching out to those who are bound in chains of oppression.