Our first Spanish student, Eli (Elisabet) Roca Llabres, is just starting her third year of undergraduate study at CMS Pioneer Mission Leadership Training. I found out about the impact of the course on her and her husband Clivi.
HH: Eli, you and your husband have been students here at CMS since September 2018. It’s always a pleasure to get to know students and you and Clivi are unusual in that you are not native English speakers, are younger than our average students and are a married couple. Can you say a bit about your backgrounds?
ERL: Hello! I am Eli, 27, and I come from the beautiful island of Menorca in Spain, but Clivi is 32 and from Brazil. We met in Murcia, Spain, 10 years ago and we have been married for four years. Both of us come from evangelical families and since we can remember, we have always been involved in church, especially in worship and leadership. We came to England two years ago with the main objective to study theology and then go back to Spain. We didn’t have a “bigger plan”, however, through the past 18 months, we have been discovering, asking God and ourselves, what is next?
HH: What first drew you into pioneering mission?
ELR: We didn’t know the term “pioneering mission” before starting at the CMS. However, we always felt drawn to mission in our close contexts. During our uni years, we were quite involved in mission and evangelism and this feeling grew through the years.
I would say that I am still trying to learn what pioneering mission means to me, but I would say that it has opened my eyes, my mind and my heart to look beyond what I knew before about mission. I feel more creative, more connected with God… and more myself!
HH: What have been some of the highs and lows of your involvement in mission?
ELR: One of the biggest highs for me is the opportunity to meet new people, connect and love them. I love spending time with others and I am learning how to get better in my relationships with others.
Some of the lows is the difficulty that we have sometimes found to find economic support. But, I am trying to see the “high” in this, trying to be more creative and thinking how can I do what I feel I have to do with what I have.
HH: What led you specifically to CMS in Oxford and our pioneer course?
ELR: To be honest, we started the CMS pioneering course as a transitional year. As I said earlier, I had no idea what ‘pioneering’ meant so we started the course to have some training in theology and leadership and we thought that CMS could be the best option for us at that time.
However, although we started as a ‘transitional year’, the spiritual and practical learning that we have been experiencing has had a huge impact both in our lives and our mission and, what started being a one-year course has led to two-years’ course for now (and now will be three years at least).
HH: Has the course helped you in your mission context? And if so, how?
ELR: It has helped a lot. We are learning a bigger idea of what mission is and therefore, we have had some ideas of pioneer mission in Spain.
Through this last 18 months, we have developed what we call ‘La Casa de Mateo’, which is a community cafe in Spain to help people to reconnect with others, with nature and with God. La Casa de Mateo is the House of Matthew. It is inspired by Matthew’s calling, when Jesus had dinner with him and his friends.
HH: What does the future hold for you in terms of mission and how can we pray for you?
We are really excited about “La Casa de Mateo”. However, we don’t have a specific church or missionary group to support us to help this happen. Please, pray for us that we can continue our training at CMS and that we find the resources that we need to make the cafe happen.