April 04, 2013

Spain: Taking it to the Streets

Preachers stand on a red box to deliver their testimonies to attentive crowds at Puerta del Sol, a busy and historic plaza in Madrid.

  • Sharing Testimonies

    Spaniards will often stop and listen to an entire testimony. Volunteers then mingle with the crowd, answering questions.

  • Drawing a Crowd

    Preachers stand on a red box to deliver their testimonies to crowds at Puerta del Sol, a busy and historic plaza in Madrid.

A young man stands on a small red box in the middle of Puerta del Sol, a busy and historic plaza in Madrid. Unlike in America or other parts of Europe, street preachers capture the attention of Spaniards, who will stop and listen to an entire testimony.

The young man draws a crowd as he speaks fervently about how the love, hope, and salvation he found in Jesus is freely available to anyone. When his testimony is over, volunteers raise copies of the Gospel and John and Luke high above their heads, a free gift to listeners. The volunteers mingle with the crowd, asking and answering questions about the presentation.

Started in 2002 by missionary Jacob Bock, Ontheredbox ministry sends preachers to Puerta del Sol plaza six nights a week. The ministry started one night when Bock and his friend were passing out tracts and decided to use their supplies box as a temporary platform. It was an immediate hit with the crowd. Now believers from about 30 local evangelical churches participate in preaching from the red box, sometimes accompanied by Christian musicians. Four or five testimonies are presented each evening. The speakers are intentional about leaving space in between each presentation so that volunteers can have time for one on one interaction with people who are interested in learning more.

“I have really enjoyed this method of evangelism,” said Marie Blanchard, TEAM missionary and teacher at the Evangelical Christian Academy (ECA) just outside of Madrid. “I’ve had amazing opportunities to share the Gospel.” Blanchard was invited to participate in the Ontheredbox ministry by an elder from her church, who hosts the ministry every Thursday night. She serves as one of the volunteers who hands out literature and mingles with the crowd.

Students from ECA also serve as volunteers and occasionally present their own testimonies. One Korean student from a non-Christian background gave his life to Christ during his high school years at ECA. He loves preaching at Puerta del Sol and sharing his story. “It’s just neat to see God’s power through his life,” Blanchard said. “He has a real passion for sharing the Gospel. He loves getting on the box, and he’s very intense. He’s an awesome evangelist.”

Some people request prayer during the conversations that start after a testimony has been shared, and the volunteers are more than happy to oblige. Those who express interest are connected with their local evangelical church. Over the years, several people from the crowds have come to Christ and now take their turn on the red box, sharing their stories of the Lord’s saving grace in their lives.

-Written by Lisa H. Renninger
-Photos provided by Marie Blanchard, TEAM missionary in Spain

For more about Ontheredbox ministry, visit their website: http://www.ontheredbox.com/.