My family and I got to know Dénia in 2001/2002 when we spent a year in Spain on a sabbatical when our children were young, Travis, 8 and Clara, 6.
We found Dénia through a close friend, Felix Ortiz, a missionary in Barcelona who my wife Sue had met when studying in Spain in college. He told us of a unique Christian school, Colegio Alfa & Omega, that a friend of his, Jorge Pastor, had founded on the Mediterranean coast, an hour south of Valencia. During a scouting trip to various Spanish cities, Sue met Jorge, who besides running the school is also pastor of the thriving local protestant church. There she found an exciting and welcoming Christian community with an Evangelical Spanish school that our kids could attend with an available house within walking distance. I still remember how excited Sue was when she returned home. Very strong signs from God that Dénia should be our home for the year.
After being there for a month or so, we casually asked Jorge if there was anything he needed help with at the school. He told us about the library which was currently in disrepair and unusable. I’m not sure he expected much out of us, but we totally sunk our teeth into the project, finding and purchasing library software in Madrid, cleaning all the books, putting covers on them, and assembling library furniture. We spent some time at the local public library to figure out how Spanish libraries catalog books. Finally working with the teachers, we scheduled and held library time and read books to the kids. It was an amazing experience. But the important part wasn’t so much the satisfaction of seeing the library completed, but the process of building relationships with Jorge, the faculty and staff, and even some of the parents. Sue and I also taught English to the 4 year olds and served as assistant scout leaders. Both of us belonged to small groups in the local church.
I am a native Texan but have lived in Menlo Park, California, with my wife Sue for the past twenty-five years where I work in the software industry and belong to the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church.