Comforting the People of Spain

March 11 Tragedy Opens Door to Evangelism
( [email protected] ) May 15, 2004 02:57 PM EDT

The March 11 terrorist attack in Madrid horrified and shocked the post 9-11 world, planting anxiety and hatred in the hearts the afflicted. However, Spanish Baptists say the tragic event has opened an opportunity for evangelicals to reach the public with the comforting hands of God.

The terror attacks "have really encouraged us as evangelicals to double our efforts," said Manuel Sarrias, general secretary of the Union Evangelica Bautista Espanola. "Spain is a mission field. Secularism is rampant."

According to Sarrias, the atmosphere in Spain is similar to that of post 9-11 United States. Often the mourners do not feel safe and insecure, and they are subsequently looking to religion for answers.

"People in general realize no one is in charge of their own lives," Sarrias said. "The church has to have a principal role in changing the lives of people. The message is for everyone."

Sarrias encouraged evangelical Christians to “seize the opportunity” and change the violence into what is good. Meanwhile, Sarrias said evangelicals must teach people to stop associating terrorism with all Muslims.

"As evangelicals in Spain we're trying to help people understand the difference between fighting terrorism and xenophobia," he said. "We're really trying to make it work. It's a very difficult subject."

At that end, Sarrias as asked Christians in the U.S. to pray for the Spanish, and also said he would like to see more evangelism teams come to the nation.