Betsy Blanchard

Prayer Letter/Ministry Update

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January 5th, 2021

Dear Praying Friends,

This year I decided to wait until all your other Christmas greetings have passed through your inbox. Here in Spain, we don’t end our Christmas season until Epiphany—The visit to Jesus by the Magi from the east. The tradition has always been that January 5th during the night the ‘Reyes Magos’ come and leave the gifts for the good little boys and girls, though unfortunately Santa has gained his place of honor over the last 30-40 years.
So, in all good conscience I wish you a Happy New Year and a Merry 12th Day (Epiphany)! What a joy to Celebrate the Birth of Our Savior!

As with so many of you, this year of my ministry life has been dramatically affected, in good and not so good, ways by COVID. All the plans we started with were shifted dramatically, with some amazing results, as we took our hands off and waited on God’s clear leading through it all, especially in the days of our first lockdown.

As a result of having permission to travel to deliver food, the joint projects of Cinderella’s House and Project Pearl, have seen God lead in some strategic new ministry opportunities and have made some exciting new strides, some quite different to what we would have expected! We were glad for many new connections in the province of Almeria, where there are large numbers of Sub-Saharan African men stuck in agricultural day labor in miserable, sub-human conditions; while many young African girls & women are in forced prostitution.

On such trip to that area my coworkers, Paula and Bernice met a Ghanaian youth (18) asking for help to renew his residence card, which he acquired as a 17-yr-old unaccompanied minor at the center where he was sent upon arrival in mid 2018, where he lived until his 18th birthday in 2019. Pau had a prompting from the Lord to listen & help him. We first sought to corroborate his story & connected with the center where he had lived & received rave reviews about Dennis. Then with nearly 2 months of prayer and some research about his possibilities of receiving help here in Malaga, we brought him from Almeria in July.

While helping meet Dennis’ general needs is a joint effort of both projects, he is living with me as my ‘adoptive’ son . He attends an intensive high school program especially for immigrants, receives extra Spanish language & math classes from Paula and her husband Josué & when there’s time he also takes art lessons and is mentored by a local Christian art teacher, who sees much talent in him. Dennis is doing some lovely work! He also helps a great deal here at home. He is a lovely believer, with a deep desire to grow in his faith walk & daily obedience, serving the Lord as God leads. His becoming a part of our lives has been a joy to the whole team, but especially to me. He truly is as caring and helpful as though I was his mother, and he feels the freedom to call me ‘Mum’!

We are still awaiting his renewed residence card, which should arrive at any time. The only draw-back is that it is a non-working card. So, school is truly a God-send for him at present, which he has recognized as a great opportunity God has given him for this season.

As far as the coming months, as long as COVID continues limiting our lives, we will continue much the same—taking every opportunity God gives us to build into the lives of those to whom God leads us.

Some additional joys this year were beginning 6 hours of Spanish and basic education classes with some Nigerian women at our community center, who have faithfully participated from the moment lockdown was lifted. It has been a delight to see them grow & learn, as well as deepening in relationships & having opportunities for many meaningful conversations about following Jesus. We also deepened relationships with other exploited women locally through our food delivery program, when they had no income & great needs. Also, God gave Bere an opportunity to build a unique relationship with a Burkinabe man from the greenhouse area in Almería, who had established a small sewing business to support his family back home. With our help buying materials, he started making hundreds of reusable masks, helping his business during the craziness of COVID and providing a much-needed service.

His heart’s desire and longing was to return to Burkina Faso and his family to develop a business there and set up a small sewing school. Through a generous gift from one of our Alliance friends, we were able to send him home, and are maintaining contact to help move the joint educational component forward. We are also helping a woman in a similar situation, who’s goal is to set up a school through a couple of friends back home, and help subsidize it from her work in Spain. Please pray for continued open doors for us, both here in Málaga and in Almería.

A BIG Thank You for your faithful prayers for my ministry here in Spain! I am very conscious that this has been a most difficult year financially for many of you. Yet the giving to the Alliance’s Great Commission Fund has continued to keep me and so many others on the fields of service where God has lead us to serve because of your sacrificial giving. A special thanks to those who participated in the GCF Sunday offerings and those who made such special efforts to help those in need around the world or in your own communities, as we jointly work to alleviate the suffering of those worse off than we. May God continue to be Glorified! And may you know that your efforts are NOT taken for granted.

If you choose to support my regular monthly expenses for life and ministry here in Spain you can make your safe, tax deductible giving through: https://secure.cmalliance.org/give/
Or, on the same website you may choose to give to the specific ministry of Cinderella’s House Project listed under “Spain- Cinderella’s House Approved Special” or to my work funds. Thank you for your support!

On a personal note, most years I have had the privilege of spending Christmas with my oldest son, Jeremy and his family in Basel (my only European family). But none of us felt it was wise to travel either to or from the US or Basel this year. So, I bought a real tree, and Dennis & I went all out decorated the house this year, and celebrated throughout the season with various friends. It has been a very special Christmas Season!

Alas, tomorrow the decorations will all come down and on Thursday holidays officially end and we’ll settle into our ‘new’ routine for 2021.

May ‘Emmanuel, God WITH US’, be your experience through every step of each and every day of 2021, whatever it may bring! Experiencing this deep reality means we have NOTHING to fear!

In His Loving Hands,
Betsy Blanchard

Prayer and Praise

•Thank God with us for our Community Center, shared with our coworkers from Project Pearl, where we can connect with women who have not yet left their situation of sexual exploitation and bondage, give classes, prepare for outings, store food items to give out during the pandemic, plan new ministry options to our target group, etc.

•Pray that God will continue leading clearly and giving us peace in each transition, especially as adjustments are made for addressing safety issues for COVID.

•Please consider joining my personal prayer team, called "Daily Prayer Partners" (or DPPers for short). Let me know if you are interested joining this vital team of prayer warriors.

Thank you for joining me on this journey of faith as we Live the Call Together...

I count on your PRAYERS! They are my lifeline!

Spain

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Updated: January 05, 2021

Status
Field Assignment
Country of Service
Spain

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