CERDANYOLA, Spain—Every week, Iglesia Evangelica Bautista in Cerdanyola, Spain, provides groceries to about 50 neighbors in need, thanks in part to help provided through the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.
The church partners with the local government to raise awareness of the ministry in the neighborhood, and the results have been humbling, said Daniel Banyuls, pastor at Iglesia Evangelica the past 15 years.
The need for help in their local community is great, with many people suffering from the continued impact of the economic crisis of 2008. The opportunity to provide even a few staples—such as milk, bread, rice and meat—has had ripple effects in the area.
While the church has been in existence 50 years, Banyuls said, for its first 30 years, most people did not know its name or anything about the congregation.
When the church began the feeding ministry 20 years ago, the community began to take notice. Now, most people there know about the church and have seen the members serving as an expression of their faith.
“As a Christian, it is a way to be known as the city—to be a light and a testimony here,” said Pedro, a church member 36 years who volunteers each week at the feeding ministry. “The neighbors know us through this social ministry. This is a great way for the church to be known through this area.”
One neighbor, Antonia, visits the ministry every two weeks to receive food for herself and her paraplegic son, who has been paralyzed 12 years. Antonia is unable to work because her son requires full-time care at her home. Without the assistance of the food ministry, her family would be unable to make ends meet.
“Through this feeding ministry, we are fighting material, educational, emotional and spiritual poverty,” Banyuls said.
Last October, as refugees flooded into Europe, Banyuls realized his church and community needed to help.
He began spreading the word about collecting donations for refugee camps in Croatia, and later extended support to Greece, as well. It has become one of Spain’s largest networks of support for refugees in neighboring countries, Banyuls said.
In June, the network shipped its 11th container of supplies to Greece—a shipment filled with everything necessary to begin a school in the refugee camp. From desks and chairs to pencils and paper, donations flooded in from the community as well as from ministries and churches throughout the country.