Global Partner Interview: Joe Grewe

Leon, Spain

Posted by Joe Grewe & Nathan Thiry on March 27, 2024
Global Partner Interview: Joe Grewe
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Today on the Faith Matters podcast Global Outreach Partner Joe Grewe joins us to share his story and an update on the Grewe family. Listen to learn about the ministry work he and his wife Hannah, have been doing with the church and seminary in Leon, Spain and their future plans.

Learn more about how you can keep up with and support the Grewes here.

  • Automated Transcription
  • Dan Jarms 0:00
    Today we have an interview with one of our global partners. Joe Grewe Nathan Thiry is going to be interviewing him

    Dan Jarms 0:12
    I'm Dan Jarms. And you're listening to faith matters a podcast to help update you on matters of faith Bible Church, as well as equip you in matters of the Christian faith.

    Nathan Thiry 0:31
    Hey, I'm here with Joe Grewe. Welcome, Joe. Hey, Nathan,

    Joe Grewe 0:33
    good to be with you.

    Nathan Thiry 0:34
    Yeah, you guys are back for a quick family visit. And we were excited to get you in the studio. You're coming tonight to talk to the elders and share about ministry in Spain. And I just want people out of our church to get to know you and hear hear about you. So thanks for joining us today. Yeah,

    Joe Grewe 0:48
    it's really, really sweet to be here. It's gonna be sweet to be with you guys and elders tonight as well. Yeah.

    Nathan Thiry 0:53
    Yeah. So I thought it might be nice to hear a little bit of your story, Joe, a lot of people that have been at Faith Bible Church for 2030 years have seen you around and know you and your family really well. But a lot of people who are newer, maybe don't so tell us kind of your story, your testimony how you can know Christ and got a desire to be a church planting missionary? Yeah, like you say,

    Joe Grewe 1:12
    I grew up here in FBC. My dad was an elder here. And parents really involved really all through my childhood, you know, we we grew up super involved in the church, attending all the events. And yeah, at the same time that I was raised in a home with godly parents just did not have new life in Christ. And that just became evident even to all I had so many godly influences around me and in the biblical church. My sin nature, surfaced through the midst of just a life that I was trying to externally show or attempt to show that I was a good person or or that I was a Christian when there wasn't an internal reality. And during my high school years, it just really became evident that the Lord had had not saved me and that I was, I was just following my just my own sinful nature, my own sinful desires, and really living a rebellious life against the Lord against my parents. And at the same time trying to maintain a good face with people from the church. And just as time passed, the facade slipped and as I went to college, and was freed from, in my mind freed from the godly influences around me, it really was able to follow the desires of my flesh and my sin was was revealed. Just really apparently, and and it was as I was rebellion against God, that God in His mercy humbled me through life circumstances brought me I had been at university in the Boise area, and through circumstances there brought me back to Spokane humbled me and just as I came back to Spokane, and came back to FBC, and started attending church again, you know, kind of like a dog with his tail between his legs and full of shame, because of my sin and, and it was, during that, that humbling time and that time of God showing me my sin that used others preaching the gospel to me, showing me grace and mercy that I didn't deserve and, and leading me and pointing me to Christ and used his word to save me when I was far from him, so yeah, just a long process, but a process where God sovereignly work to humble my heart, bring conviction of sin and show me my need of a Savior need of Christ and, and I still just remember clearly, reading the Word, and seeing Christ as the precious Savior that I needed to save me from my sin and the one who died. To cleanse me of my sin, forgive me, my sin. And so yeah, that was how how the Lord saved me how the Lord revealed the emptiness of my religiosity and brought me to my knees and showed me the sweetness of Christ and salvation that's in Him by faith.

    Nathan Thiry 4:42
    That's great. Praise God for how he humbled you and drew you to himself and answered your parents prayers. Yeah, I know people made probably make the connection but Darren, Vicki grew here your parents and Josh and John and Joel Joel each other your brother Yeah, I know. You know your fan. There's a lot of is the letter J? Is there? A little theme going on there? Yeah. Yeah. We're thankful for Donna Vicki and their ministry for so many years here faith Bible Church and Community Bible Church. So you got came to Christ. When was that in the 2000s? Of Ron, when was that?

    Joe Grewe 5:14
    Yeah, at the end of 2009. Okay.

    Nathan Thiry 5:16
    Yeah. And then how did you get involved here at Fitbit, which was after that, right after

    Joe Grewe 5:21
    the Lord saved me, I just I began to meet with one of the elders and go through the Christian Christian maturity guide, I think is what it was called. I can't remember. Yeah, so just studying theology, studying God's word, growing little by little, and starting to serve in any way possible and getting involved in in youth ministry. And so that was that was really just right after coming to know the Lord got involved in the church and in the body being discipled. And then as the years passed, starting to disciple others as well. And one of the key things that happened was a year after the Lord saved me that was still immature, in my faith, but growing, and the Lord gave me the opportunity, actually to visit Tenerife, where I remember that Yeah. So to spend a couple of weeks sharing the gospel infinity fee. It was just something that the Lord really used in my life as I as I witnessed your life as I witnessed Dave's a Dave belch is life and ministry on the island and Steve Albrecht as well, just serving the Lord proclaiming the gospel. It was something that the Lord really used in my life to show me the need for gospel proclamation not only here in the US, but around the world and the need for mature man to shepherd biblical churches around the world. And so that was kind of the spark that lit the fire in my belly to, to consider missions and and, you know, it wasn't an immediate thing, but a lingering desire that just kept growing over the years and doing some equipping classes and growing in my understanding of missions. Just continuing to have a desire to serve the Lord overseas and began expressing that to the elders here and seeking to continue to be discipled. And to see if that's what the Lord would have have me to do with my life.

    Nathan Thiry 7:31
    I remember your your time in Tenerife with us it was really sweet. I was impressed by your your basketball skills. I was impressed by how much water you drink. But mostly I was really impressed by how you'd love Christ and you wanted to serve. And so yeah, tell us about your family. So you had a desire to serve overseas in church planting context in Spain, and God brought some someone into your life. Tell us about about that.

    Joe Grewe 7:55
    Yeah, just in the process of being discipled here in the church and the elders, continuing to disciple and test and and eventually affirm a calling, affirm the need to come to be equipped for ministry and do that through seminary. And just in that process, I ended up doing a couple of years of seminary at Southern Baptist seminary, started down there and was down there. Yeah, just continuing to be equipped for ministry and continuing to have the desire to serve the Lord in the Spanish speaking world specifically. And during a brief visit, over Christmas to back to FBC back to see family. I met Hannah, Hannah Norris at that time. And just in God's providence, somebody that I had heard about through actually you and Julie and she had heard about me through en and Claire rash and others and and by God's providence, we sat right next to each other and during the greeting time when Dan told us all to to greet those around us. I was able to greet my my future wife. I didn't know it at the time, but she was leaving the next week to go and spend six months with Dustin and Heidi green up in Costa Rica. And and I was leaving shortly after to go back to seminary, but we said well, we'll try to meet up when we're both back in the summer and and we did and started dating and got married and the Lord provided me with the perfect helpmate and my my dear wife.

    Nathan Thiry 9:43
    That's great and matchmaking through greeting time. That's yeah, it'd be a new strategy

    Joe Grewe 9:47
    Dan didn't know but it was. It was it was a big blessing.

    Nathan Thiry 9:51
    So you nearly got married. I remember 2017 The amazing ticket to see y'all get married up in Hannah's home state of Alaska. Yeah, beautiful place where God's creation is on display. And then you move to did you have you had some get your first kid here before you moved her know what your your kids?

    Joe Grewe 10:12
    Sure yeah. Yeah so right after getting married, we headed to Southern California to LA in I finished seminary yet and masters I crammed a year and a half into three years and enjoyed serving in the church and during that time we had our first daughter Pearl down there in our in our second year in seminary. And she's almost five now. And then towards really guess was after graduation seminar we had a second daughter Lena. So she was born here in Spokane. And then we also have a third little one Joey who's our, our Spaniard was born a little over a year ago in Lyon.

    Nathan Thiry 10:58
    Nice. Tell us about your family. What do you what do you like to do for fun? What's your family life like?

    Joe Grewe 11:04
    It's just a lot of fun, really, no matter what we're what we're doing. The kids are at the age where doing anything outside is enjoyable riding bikes. Just throwing rocks in the river, there's a river near our house. Exploring parks, we live in a beautiful city, Leone, which is in Ghana, north central Spain. And just a beautiful city, lots of parks, lots of green areas, and lots of little towns around there that we love to go and visit and just see see new things and obviously in Spain, they have tapas and lots of really good food. And so we love to go to try try new foods and and just really explore our city.

    Nathan Thiry 11:52
    That's great. What does ministry life look like for you as a family? What are some of the kind of things you get to do together in terms of ministering to unbelievers in the community or to people in the church? Or?

    Joe Grewe 12:01
    Yeah, I think in terms of unbelievers, we have a lot of contact with the people we're around that live in our apartment building, we have a lot of contact with them in the summer. And the kids give us a lot of open doors for talking with parents and getting to know them and having gospel opportunities. And then just as a family, a lot of ministry with other other families in the church, we love showing hospitality having friends over and the church there. And Leon does a really good job of hospitality as well. So with frequency, we're invited to other other people's houses, and our kids enjoy those friendships. And we enjoy the time getting to invest in others and really seeking to speak the word of Christ one to another and help others grow and disciple, really just in that in that hospitality setting. And do the one another's there. That's

    Nathan Thiry 13:04
    great. Yeah. You started telling us about Laon. In northern Spain, where you guys are, tell us when did you guys go there and kind of what were your objectives and purposes and going there in the first place?

    Joe Grewe 13:14
    Yeah, so really have had the desire. Again, really just since visited you guys, for the first time in Trinity faith to work in the Spanish speaking world, we weren't really sure where, but through a lot of years of praying, the Lord directed us through. Yeah, just a lot of different situations and, and even closed doors where we thought we might be serving with the church. But the Lord in His providence led us to lay on to the Iglesia on Holika they lay on, that's the evangelical Evangelical Church of the Annette is the evangelical church, there's no no others there. But they invited us to come and work together with them to do a time of adaptation in the church, and to be sent by them to help plant a church in another part of Spain. So that's been the goal. We've been there, two and a half years, a little more than two and a half years now. And just ministering and serving in the church and then praying and seeking the Lord's direction for where to help as we seek to plant a church in the future. That's

    Nathan Thiry 14:26
    great. Tell us I know you and him are both really passionate about discipleship in the context of the local church. And of course, that happens on Sunday morning to the preaching of the word being done faithfully. But what are some of the other things that you're really trying to cultivate where you are and that you will be cultivating where you're gonna go? As far as just helping the church grow and discipleship? How can how can we be praying alongside of you with that and kind of tell us about your strategy and your shoe there?

    Joe Grewe 14:51
    Yeah, one of the big things that one of our focuses is on on equipping others for the work of ministry. For me, specifically equipping other faithful man and trusting to other faithful men who are able to, to teach others as well. And so that's just been a focus in that. We've spent a lot of time investing in, in the man in the church in personal discipleship and asking for their help and seeking to train them for different aspects of ministry, within the church. I mean, there's, there's all sorts of ways that that's happening, whether it's through just sitting down to study God's Word, or through walking them through philosophy of ministry for what we're doing in the Sunday School in the children's ministry there. So that's been a huge focus. And then for Hannah, as well, just lots of personal discipleship with the ladies and having brothers and sisters over to her home and seeking to just be speaking the truth and love and pointing them to Christ. That's great.

    Nathan Thiry 16:02
    Yeah, we're encouraged by your example of commitment to God's word, being spoken from your lips, but also lived out in your life and meditated on your mind in your heart and helping others do that. And so, yeah, tell us, what are some of the things you've been learning? What are some of the things God has been doing in you? Since you've been in Laos in the last couple of years,

    Joe Grewe 16:21
    we've been learning about God's sovereignty and goodness, even in the midst of of some trials. I know many of you have been praying. And really, the church has been praying for Hannah as she had back surgery and some pretty severe issues. And so just through through those kinds of trials, alerts been teaching us about his sovereignty and his goodness, and how everything is working for our conformity to the image of Christ. And that's been something key. And really, I think, we've been encouraged and challenged by the reality that the Bible is God's word. And it is powerful to change lives. It's what God uses to sanctify us by His Spirit. And we've just been able to see that at work. And in the church ministry as well, we've been able to see the danger that there is spiritually for a person, a believer who's drifting away from God's Word. So I think those those have been two really clear lessons amongst many, these these last years, tell

    Nathan Thiry 17:40
    us how he was doing and the people who want to know an update who have been praying for her. How is she doing in her recovery from, from what happened back in December?

    Joe Grewe 17:48
    Yeah, yeah. So right before a little Joey was born, Hannah had a herniated disc in her in her lower back and had what's called Cauda Equina Syndrome. So it just pinches the nerves at the bottom of the spinal column, and really just went numb from the waist to her knees, and had some really severe pain had a surgery to correct that problem, and has been in a recovery process. And God just been so so good in the whole process. It's been slow, but little by little she has been recovering from the numbness, the effects on her nerves, but we're just so thankful to Lord, she doesn't have any, any pain, she doesn't have reduced mobility. And so really is recovering really well. And, you know, just some some adverse effects still, but overall, it's been so good to see God's kindness and in the process and that she's healed. That's

    Nathan Thiry 18:52
    great. I'm glad to hear that she's recovering. Well, and yeah, just how God sustains you and taught you through the challenges. Yeah. Lots of challenges with physical difficulty. And then parenting three little kids. It's, yeah, lots of challenges there too. And

    Joe Grewe 19:05
    I learned how to cook really well. It was six months where I was doing all the cooking and cleaning. And that was a good learning experience for me as well. I

    Nathan Thiry 19:11
    can test I'm very thankful for some good cooking. Yeah. Tell us about some of the things you've been seeing God do there in the evangelical church in Leone? I know you're working with with seminary students in the seminary and close by there. What are some of the encouraging things you've seen happening there in the context where you're serving, just

    Joe Grewe 19:26
    in the context of the church scene really two things seeing the Lord continuing to save people? Spain is a country that's historically been known as a graveyard of missionaries and a super difficult place for evangelism. In for the proclamation of the gospel, and especially in our neck of the woods or the northern part of Spain, people are known for being cold and closed off and the constant comment is, you know, These, these are the people that are impossible to evangelize. But at the same time, we're seeing Spaniards from our area that's impossible to evangelize coming to know the Lord. God is saving. He's showing mercy to people through Christ. And so that's just I mean, that's incredible to see. And the other aspect of that is seeing those people in and many others, you've even immigrants to Spain, and people that are moving to the city, in being incorporated into the church body becoming members growing, maturing, seeing God's word, by His Spirit, helping the church grow as each member is fulfilling its function. And so that's been a joy in the context of the local church. And then you mentioned the seminary. So I am one of the professors at badass seminary, TMI so affiliated with the Masters seminary, and is yeah, the same thing. I think, just the joy of seeing God's word, change lives. Through the equipping, I tutor several guys in the seminary and just for an example, one of the guys who's spent decades in the ministry, really having a teaching role in the church where he's at. And since he started, bear das started studying God's word and being equipped for that. He's just been telling me how he is hearing from the people in his church, that they are for the first time understanding the Scriptures because his team is now teaching biblically. And so he's seeing huge growth in his own life, but it's affecting a whole congregation, where he is teaching and pastoring. So just thankful to see how God's plan for the church, men equipping other men for ministry. And as we follow that plan, the church grows as men are equipped and faithfully handle God's word, and equip the saints for ministry. The church grows and its maturity and its conformity to Christ. And just seeing that happen firsthand has been so sweet.

    Nathan Thiry 22:22
    Yeah, it's great that you and Hannah be able to be there. And they own and learn from the brothers and sisters there. But also, using your gifts to serve and equip. And I know you're preaching this Sunday on sacred beans, 318, you've been telling me so I know you're using your gifts serve in your teaching classes, and helping out in different ways. That but I know the long term plan is not to stay at that church, which is already pretty established. Tell us about your kind of future plans. What do you guys praying about and pursuing right now?

    Joe Grewe 22:48
    Yeah. So we came to the church in Lyon, with the goal that they would send us out to help plant another church with a with a Spaniard. So that's been the goal. And like you mentioned, it's been a sweet time, these last two and a half years serving in the church there preaching, teaching, equipping, evangelizing, it's been a sweet time there. But the goal is that the church would send this out. And so during these last couple of years, we've been praying and just seeking the Lord's guidance in that process. And so the church there is desiring to send us to help plant a church that recently was started and that's growing quickly. And the pastor there needs significant help to keep up with the shepherding and pastoral work there and to continue being proactive, evangelizing the city. So we're in kind of the final stages where the church in Lyon is is praying, the pastors are the elders are confirming that that would be the Lord's will. And and so we're really in the in the final stages and Lord willing, before the end of the year will be at this other church, helping to plant there. That's

    Nathan Thiry 24:15
    great. Yeah. Explain to us a little bit the situation in Spain, like why is there a need for more church planting? Yeah,

    Joe Grewe 24:21
    well, obviously, the local church is the center of God's plan for the expansion of the gospel. And in Spain, there's just a huge lack of biblical churches, Bible preaching churches, where the gospel is being faithfully proclaimed. And the saints are growing in maturity and then going out to proclaim the gospel to those around them. And there are hundreds of towns that don't have a Bible preaching church and even many of the large cities where there's not a church. Where the scriptures are faithfully preached, where there's mature eldership, where the gospel is being proclaimed. So there's there's a huge need all over Spain, for a lot of reasons. But specifically because the church and in years past hasn't had a focused on equipping pastors for the work of ministry, and so there are many churches that have guys that have not been equipped teaching, those churches tend to go astray, doctrinally. Or in and in practice, and and so even in towns where there is a church, the church is unhealthy, or even dying, after after decades of we could just say, watered down teaching and or in the lack of doctrinal clarity. Yeah,

    Nathan Thiry 25:56
    I'm really thankful that you and and it can be part of seeing the church established in Spain and new places and new cities and new areas and equipping the next the next generation really of faithful pastors and others, next generation of faithful disciples and counselors. And so I'm excited about that and thankful. And we'll be praying for you all, as you think about this next location. And as you get more clarity and confirmation, we'll be talking more about that and letting the church know. So we can be praying specifically about that place. But let us know tell us right now, though, how can we be praying for you, as you think about this, your current situation in Leo and the transition, thinking about your family? What are some some key ways we can be praying for you? Yeah, I

    Joe Grewe 26:35
    think Hannah and I are always praying and asking for prayer that the Lord would cause us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ like Second Peter 318 says, so that would be that would be the first prayer request that we would grow in our knowledge of Christ and our love for Him. And we know that from that springs, our obedience to Him, our fruitfulness and ministry, we want to abide in, in Christ. So pray that for us yet, going back to future plans, just pray that the Lord would that the Lord would guide that process and continue to confirm as we're seeking to make the move to this other city and help plant the church there. Also pray for our kids for their salvation, and just for Hannah and I, as we're raising them and seeking to, to raise them and in a way that's faithful in a way that's godly, that we would be obedient to the Lord in that. And I think just for their education, we need the Lord's wisdom for that. I think every every parent does the school systems, I think in most countries have problems that are not Christian, in many senses. And and so yeah, just pray that we would have wisdom as we work through some of those those details. Yeah,

    Nathan Thiry 28:08
    I know. You want to be praying for Pearl, Lena and Joey, and for you and Hannah, give us kind of a final encouragement, exhortation, word of wisdom, words of wisdom whenever you want to give us a faith Bible Church. Just share with us what would you want to tell those listening from faith Bible Church?

    Joe Grewe 28:26
    Yeah, before a word of wisdom, I think just a word of thanks. We're so thankful to the Lord for for FBC. And for just a godly pattern of ministry. We're thankful to the Lord for sustaining the church here and preserving the church here and for how we've seen godly living and godly discipleship modeled here in the church that's had a huge impact on our lives, and we've seen men and women give their lives for the local church. And just being back here for this really brief visit, we've continued to see that. And so coupled with that the the if you want to the exhortation would just be to, to give your lives to the local church to Christ, to serve him to serve the body, to love the brothers to use your gifts. So that Christ would be glorified so that the church would grow in its conformity to him that there's no nothing more glorious than that, to see, our brothers and sisters be more and more conformed to the image of Christ. And that's our desire for ourselves and for them and in all of that, so that Christ would be glorified as that's God's purpose for us that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and that we would be conformed to His image. So that would be my my expectation as well just give your life to serving the Lord and the church and in proclaiming the gospel to the people around you. God's

    Nathan Thiry 30:00
    great job. It's always good to think about how worthy Christ is worthy to be worshipped and trusted and and followed and obeyed. And yeah, really thankful. It's great to talk with you today. And we appreciate you and Hannah and your kids and we're praying for you.

    Joe Grewe 30:13
    Thanks, Nathan. We love you guys love the church and we pray for the church here as well. Thanks, Joe.

Joe Grewe

Joe and his wife Hannah are Global Outreach Partners in Leon, Spain. Their long-term desire is to help plant a church in one of the many un-churched cities in Spain in Partnership with The Master's Seminary.

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Nathan Thiry

Nathan Thiry is the Growth Groups & Outreach Pastor at Faith Bible Church. He enjoys biking and outdoor activities, and has a passion to see the gospel spread throughout our community and the whole world!

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