Derek and Jane French live in Bilbao in Northern Spain with their children, Gabriella and Luca. They work amongst students, supporting the work of GBU, a Spanish Christian student organisation affiliated to the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES).
Derek leads a team teaching, discipling and evangelising at several universities. They also train Christian students so that they can lead other groups on their own campuses.
In addition, Derek and Jane are involved with the Bilbao International Church, preaching and leading various groups, and with MOCLAM, an online theology course for the Spanish-speaking world (the Spanish version of the Moore Theological Course).
Protestants have suffered historically in Spain. During the Inquisition of the 16th Century, the Catholic Church burned at the stake hundreds of thousands of Spanish Protestants, as well as Jews and Muslims. There was discrimination against non-Catholics under Franco, but the constitution of 1978 provided for equality of rights for all religions.
Today, over 90% of the population of Spain are nominally Roman Catholic, but 30% of those baptised are no longer affiliates, and as many as 50% are no longer active. Increasingly, atheism, materialism and cultic activity are filling the spiritual vacuum. Gambling is also a major problem.
GBU – Grupos Biblicos Unídos
GBU’s vision is to reach non-Christian students with the gospel and to nurture Christian leaders who will contribute to the growth and development of evangelical churches in Spain in the future.
GBU also seeks to contribute to the transformation of Spanish society through evangelical graduates and professionals who in the past have been helped by GBU.
Currently, there are 17 GBU groups throughout Spain, involving more than 500 university students.
Find out more about GBU: http://english.gbu-es.org/