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Teamwork in the streets: Part 1
Jacob & Julie Bock

By Charity Sites

A unique beginning

Jacob and Julie Bock went to Spain 21 years ago.

“I just knew that God had called me to Spain to preach,” Jacob says.

The couple’s first two years of ministry were spent with missionaries Don and Bonnie Stuckless in a church planting effort in northern Spain. After moving to Madrid, the Bocks began a child evangelism ministry and spent six years doing outreaches on the street.

Children’s ministry requires creativity, and Jacob and Julie were not afraid to do the unusual to draw a crowd. During their outreaches, Jacob rode a unicycle provided by Speed the Light. If that didn’t catch attention, he juggled flaming torches.

But 12 years ago, Jacob felt the Lord speak to his heart.

“He asked, If I took everything away and you just went out and stood on a park bench and preached, would you do it?” Jacob recalls. “I thought, Wow, if You take away all my toys, how will I do ministry?

Jacob admits that taking the next step was a process.

“I realized God wanted me to give from my nothingness,” he says.

In the end, he believes Kilometer Zero — a street ministry in downtown Madrid — was born as a result of his surrender to the Lord.

Taking it to the streets

Six years ago, Dave, a new believer from America, heard Jacob preach in a Madrid church. Afterward he approached Jacob.

“I’m a real estate agent,” he explained. “I can sell anything, but I don’t know how to win a soul. Would you teach me how to witness?”

Jacob asked Dave where he lived, and the two men agreed to meet the following week at Puerta del Sol (“Door of the Sun”) — the main plaza in Madrid. Jacob assumed they would witness together one time — nothing more.

“OK,” Jacob told Dave on the appointed day, “let’s just pass out some tracts to people standing around the square. If they read them, then we’ll ask what they thought.”

For the next two hours the men talked to people from 13 countries. Dave asked if he could join Jacob and do it again the following week, and if he could invite a friend.

The next week Jacob and Dave each brought a friend to witness with them. They went back again the following week, and the week after that.

“The next thing we knew,” Jacob says, “about 10 people were witnessing on the street with us.”

Meeting other Christians on the streets of Madrid is rare, but curious believers soon began stopping Jacob and the team and asking what they were doing. The new street ministry grew as more and more Christians from a variety of backgrounds began participating.

“We went out once a week for a year and a half,” Jacob explains. Kilometer Zero had begun.

And the people came

One day while Jacob and the team were handing out tracts, a group of Christian folk musicians from South America arrived on the plaza. They recognized Jacob from a previous visit to Spain.

“We just came from a gig down the road,” they offered. “Could we play a song here?”

Knowing they were Christians, Jacob eagerly agreed. As long as they didn’t use microphones, their music was legal and the authorities would not question them.

As the group played music from South America, about 100 people formed a crowd around them. Jacob was amazed. He saw the potential for larger-scale open-air meetings.

There are more sinners standing here listening right now than will go to a church in an entire year, he told himself.

When the music was over, Jacob addressed the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he shouted, “we didn’t put out a case for you to throw your money into. Instead, this is what I want to tell you.”

With that, he shared the good news of Christ. When he offered them literature, people ran up asking for it.

Jacob realized people were actually listening and receptive, and a fruitful street ministry soon developed.

A plastic beer crate once used to hold the team’s tracts and Bibles became a platform as Jacob flipped it over and stood on it.

“Nobody ever dreams of standing on a box on a street corner, without a microphone or stage, and just preaching,” Jacob says. “It was never something that I hoped to do someday.”

But God leads His servants and gives them just what they need for the task. Because of the team’s obedience, people kept coming.

One by one

In Spain, people have freedom of speech as long as they do not carry firearms or cut off the flow of pedestrians or cars. However, sometimes the crowd of people around Jacob and his team grows large enough to block traffic. A brief intermission ensues as police clear the way; then the team continues preaching.

While the preaching attracts the crowd, the personal interaction of the team members reaps the harvest.

“Every night on the street, we pray with the lost,” Jacob says.

Several people have accepted Christ and now give their testimonies and preach at Kilometer Zero.

What began as a two-man effort has now grown to more than 100 people. Eventually the group split in half to minister on two separate nights. Two nights soon became three, then four and now five.

“We never really told anybody that we were on the plaza,” Jacob says. “People just heard we were evangelizing downtown and wanted to learn.”

Jacob and Julie Bock are committed to the Lord’s mission, whether it involves riding a unicycle or standing on a beer crate and preaching the good news of Christ.

“We felt the Lord say, Get out into the street, full of the anointing of God, and just do it,” Jacob says. “That’s the foundation of our ministry.”

Several months ago as 12 team members met after a night of street ministry, Jacob asked, “Who is with us tonight because of Kilometer Zero?”

Eight of the 12 raised their hands. Through dedicated, obedient and visionary missionaries like Jacob and Julie, Puerta del Sol — Door of the Sun — is becoming a “door to the Son” as people in Madrid come one by one to Christ.

Charity Sites is a missionary associate with AG World Missions Communications.

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