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Women Find Hope in Spain

A series of conventions in Madrid are drawing women outside of faith into a relationship with Christ and renewing the spiritual vitality of women already within the body of Christ.
It was like a whole new world had opened up to them. When Gladys Rodriguez, an Assemblies of God missionary with 23 years of service in Spain partnered with Lidia Caceres, the pastor’s wife of Centro Cristiano 4C in Madrid, to present the women’s Designed for a Purpose convention last year, more than 250 women packed the church — anxious to experience something new — and the convention wasn’t even advertised.

In May, Rodriguez and Caceres decided to hold a second convention, but this time they rented an auditorium and invited other churches as well as women outside of the church to attend.

“Nearly 400 women attended,” Rodriguez says. “As soon as it was over, women were asking when we were going to have another one because they didn’t want to miss it.”

According to Rodriguez, who is 53, in her ministry she’s encountered many women who suffer from mental illness and depression, who frequently abuse alcohol, and too often consider suicide a viable option to end the suffering.

“I’ve found that many women feel that they are existing rather than living; that they’re the ones constantly giving, constantly being asked or required to sacrifice, while receiving little in return,” Rodriguez says. “It’s important for everyone to feel loved and appreciated, to have a day where the focus is on their struggles, their needs, their comfort — and that’s what this convention is all about.”

For many women in Spain, church holds little personal interest to them as they have come to believe church is boring and God is a dictator. The convention introduces women to a fresh, energizing, and relational church that offers hope, joy, healing, and salvation.

“It was exciting to see women so fired up to receive more of the Lord,” Rodriguez says. “It was amazing.”

Caceres agrees. “The women’s convention, Designed for a Purpose, made such an impact in the life of the ladies from our church,” she says. “We can clearly see a before and after. Before the convention there was apathy among the ladies of our church, but after the convention so many were on fire to serve God. Others rededicated their lives to the Lord. We truly saw the Holy Spirit move and inspire so many.”

From the moment women enter the convention, they are showered with attention, greetings, gifts, and made to feel welcomed and at ease. Everything that is done, is done in a way to help each woman feel valued.

And it’s not just stressed-out mothers finding answers and renewed self-worth in these conventions. Rodriguez recalls how the wife of an ambassador attended the first convention, then sought her out. “She spoke to me personally about how much she loved it,” Rodriguez says.

Although there was great attention paid to each woman in attendance, the focus was still on God. This was made evident as physical healings took place, though Rodriguez shared the story of a miraculous emotional healing.

“A woman attended the event whose teenage daughter was brutally murdered a few years ago,” Rodriguez relates. “She was understandably traumatized and depressed — never finding peace or joy. But after the convention, she was smiling and so joyful. She asked that we would keep inviting her to these types of things. And since then, she started coming to church and now faithfully attends.”

Plans have already begun for next year’s Designed for a Purpose event to be held in June. Rodriguez hopes to secure an even larger auditorium for the 2019 event as she anticipates an even greater turnout.

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.