Betel of Spain

26 11 2011

A month has gone by since I went to Spain. It has taken me all this time to process what an amazing ministry Betel International  is. Several folks supported this mission trip and I want you to know that God used your gifts in a unique way. He is so creative in reaching the hearts of the ones He loves.

I cannot explain the ministry of Betel any better than this brief video documentary about Betel International. In 1985, eleven years before opening in Britain, Betel (Spanish for Bethel) received its first destitute men and women off the streets of Madrid. Since that time more than 100,000 homeless, substance abusers and socially disadvantaged have been helped throughout Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, France, Central Asia, Australia, Ukraine, Mexico, USA, Russia, Finland, Bulgaria, N Africa, Czech Republic, Ireland, Mongolia, Argentina, Brazil and the UK. Betel residences host more than 2,000 recovering men and women in 80 cities in 21 nations

Peggy Laney is the missionary director at Myrtle Grove Pres. She has been to Betel in Madrid before and God placed a burden on her heart for the women there. They have survived  a completely destructive lifestyle and are being redeemed from alcoholism, drug addictions, prostitution and lives of crime. Through it all, they have lost any sense of who they really are and who a loving God has created them to be. Peggy became aware that in their journey of restoration, many have lost (or never had) a balanced knowledge of their femininity. She began to put together a conference for the ladies of Betel ministry. It was to include teaching them on some of the women in the bible who were used by God to bring salvation to mankind. God is able to use all kinds of unsavory back grounds for His glory. I, for one, am very grateful for this truth. Peggy and Cynthia Mattis did some outstanding teachings on Bathsheba, Tamar, Rahab and Jael. I had the privilege of sharing my testimony of how God has redeemed my life from alcoholism and heroin addiction after these powerful teachings.

Part of the conference was to include a time of “make-overs” for any of the women who wanted one. This was to be a time of pampering and nurturing. Peggy wanted a couple of hairstylists, a make-up person and some one to do manicures and pedicures. This is how I got invited in the first place. Peggy needed a hair stylist and Mary Tepper, the “mother” of the ministry, gave her my name. That is another story that only God knows all the details of.

I have posted some pictures in other posts since I have been back. I do not want to repeat the bits and pieces I have already shared in those posts. I only wish I could help you to know how much your prayers and donations of make-up and finances for me to purchase hair products once I got to Spain have meant to these precious ladies. Thank you for your generosity and for allowing me to experience giving back in a whole new way for me.

This is a sample of the make overs we got to do. This is Ani. She has been in Betel for 3 1/2 years. For all of that time, the girls at the house have been doing her hair. It was an honor to pamper her a bit.

He brought me up out of the pit.

3 11 2011

Ladies were excited as we threw "showers of blessings". Hair and make up products.

The missions director on our trip to Spain, Peggy, asked if I would share my testimony with the ladies there. It was an opportunity to give the unedited version to an audience of all ladies. Well, unedited except for the fact that the schedule required me to speak for no more than 20 minutes. I had no idea how to cram my lifetime into 20 minutes. I prayed. Hard.

Our journey to the conference outside of Madrid consisted of  a plane trip and a trip on the bullet train.  We left the USA on Friday and arrived in Spain Saturday afternoon. When we arrived at the camp I immediately set up a station to do haircuts and styles. I was already sleep deprived but God blessed and we turned out some happy make overs. Lisa did some lovely make up and we began to see some beautiful “chicas” at the conference. We were awake for more than 30 hours before we got our first nights sleep.

Sunday morning, Peggy asked me if I was ready to share. I honestly had no idea in my head of where to start or what to say and I told her so. I had prayed, read some scriptures and meditated on my favorite Psalm but my head was empty! That is when Peggy took the time restraint off and freed me up to just share my heart no matter how long it would take. Still, I had no idea what to say… but God knew exactly what He wanted me to do.

Peggy Laney and Cynthia Mattis had shared some teachings on women in the bible and the role they played in the history and genealogy of Christ. Did you know that an adultress, a prostitute and the wife of a wishy -washy man were all very important women in Bible history? Bathsheba, Rahab and Jael. The teaching on these ladies had set the stage and the spiritual atmosphere for me to tell my story.

I have been through a LOT of stuff in my 59 years and I am a walking miracle. I stood at that podium and felt an immediate connection to these ladies. Even though I needed an interpreter the language was not a barrier because our hearts were the same. The first thing I said is, “I am you.” As I shared my story the order of things began to flow. As I looked out into the audience of 70 women I saw heads nodding in agreement, smiles and at some points in my story, tears. I wept openly as I spoke about losing my husband of 28 years.

I am no different than these ladies and they are no different than me. God has a hope and a plan for my life. He has blessed me with so much and He will bless them with what they need too. Former prostitutes, adulteresses and wives of no account men. When we turn our lives over to a God who loves us, He makes ugly things beautiful. He redeems. He restores. His plan is greater…..