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Hardin Simmons University
Hardin-Simmons Cowboy Band were invited in 1997by the Mayor of Cáceres to perform in the city Fair (May 23-30, 2001). Under the expert direction of Don Hanna, the band marched in colorful parades with horses through Cáceres, performed nightly in the municipal pavilion at the fair, led four evangelistic worship services in the neighorhoods of Aguas Vivas and Sta. Bárbara, as well as in the local men's and women's prison units. The city of Cáceres paid more than half a million pesetas to provide all their local travel in Spain and a delicious three-course meal each day. Twenty-five Spanish families opened their homes and welcome the HSU students as members of their families.
Letter from Joy
"Thank you so much to each of you who has prayed for us all while the Cowboy Band was here in Cáceres. It was an incredible week that only God could have brought about, and He blessed "exceedingly abundantly, more than we could ask or think" (Eph. 3: 20). Each day we felt the Lord's strength and the support of your prayers, even as unexpected setbacks would arise and the Lord would win the victory. Daily we could see the Lord at work in the lives and hearts of the people of Cáceres. Twenty-five local families went out of their way to open their homes to band members and make them feel welcome."
"During their seven days in Cáceres, this energetic, enthusiastic, and quite extraordinary band from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, played in 4 evangelistic services, 4 parades and 8 concerts. Few, if any, people in Cáceres did not hear or see them. Their orange shirts, cowboy hats and leather chaps made them easy to spot anywhere they went. Little old men in black berets, young mothers pushing strollers, businessmen in suits, shopkeepers peering curiously out of their doors, all stopped to listen to the band in the streets and find out why they were here. People watched in amazement at their lively style as they played and sang in plazas and parks, at the prison, military base, fairgound, theater and bull ring. City officials, local musicians, theater-goers, soldiers, prisoners, parents, children, teenagers, old and young alike - everyone loved the band. One night, the Cowboy Band and Provincial Spanish band (in which Grace and Faith play) performed a concert for about 800 people at the city theater. Spanish pastor Roberto Velert wove the Gospel message into the concert as he told people how we need to be in tune with God, just as the musicians in the bands were in tune with each other. At the largest single event, 3,000 people- including the mayor and several councilmen- packed into the shady side of the Plaza de Toros (bull ring) in 44 degree Celsius heat (111 degrees Fahrenheit) to watch not only the final concert but also enjoy a taste of a Texas rodeo performed with Spanish horses."
"No obstable was too great for this dedicated group. They overcame jet-lag, long days, short nights, language barriers, cultural differences, and soaring temperatures. One day when a parked car was blocking the road and keeping their city bus from passing, (and honking the horn proved fruitless), ten strong guys in the band lifted it out of the way! Many stayed up late at night talking to their Spanish host families. One conversation lasted until 7.00 am when the host commented, "I wish I had a faith like yours", and the Spanish speaking band member explained to him in detail how he could. Another led a young Spaniard to Christ the night before he left. Several other young men came forward in the invitation at the prison. One inmate was in tears as he gave his life to the Lord."
"Everywhere they went, the band gave out postcards offering a free Jesus video to each family. So far we have 498 requests and the postcards still keep coming in by mail."
One hundred and fifty attended the victory banquet where gifts from Texas were given to host Spanish families. There were only 49 Texans, which mean that there were about 100 local Spaniards present. When their bus left Cáceres at 4 a.m. about fifty Spaniards were there to send them off. There were many tears shed and plans made to visit Texas. One couple have already bought their airline tickets.
Immediate Follow up
Led by Jim Browder, "First Voice" a music ensemble of ten volunteers from FBC San Marcos, Texas arrived June 9-15, 2001 to help us distribute videos and perform in our church and neighborhood park. In the Sunday morning Baptist service over forty visitors came to hear the Texans. Many families who hosted band members attended the first Baptist church service. In four days we distributed over 300 videos and Gospels of Luke. In the process of delivering the videos, more families are filling our new request forms and receiving their videos too. Our goal original goal was to distribute 1000 videos and gospels. We hope to exceed that goal. Praise the Lord with us for all that He has done and pray for all these families as they are exposed to the Good News of the Gospel.
Check back here for more photo galleries on FBC San Marcos Team and Gospel distribution.