Basque Country Prayer Points for March 2024

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Recently the Basque police visited the local schools to talk with students about the dangers of social media. They have seen a rise in Sexting, Grooming, Sextorison and cyberbullying.
    • Pray for the young people, parents, school staff, and government officials as they work to address this problem.
  • Farmers in the Gipuzkoa region have recently held protests in the streets due to laws being in place that do not allow them to make a livable wage and bureaucratic processes. These protests are happening in several other regions of Spain and greater Europe as farmers look to address these issues.
    • Pray for the farmers and political leaders as they look for solutions to address these problems.
  • Young adults trying to start life in Basque Country are finding it challenging with salaries not being high enough to live on their own. Most young people are having to live with their parents into their late 20s/early 30s due to wages required to be independent.
    • Pray for young people, their parents, businesses and the government as they explore options to help young people start life.
  • The Spanish Catholic Church has elected new leadership with Luis Argüello being president and José Cobo being the vice president. They will face many challenges in the upcoming 4 years of their term with the number of priests reaching retirement age, the abuse scandals and the continued secularization of Spain.
    • Pray for these church leaders as they look to guide the Catholic church over the upcoming term.
  • Basque elections will be happening at the end of April and 25 seats in the congress will be elected, which could result in a change in the controlling party.
    • Pray for the political candidates and citizens as they prepare to vote in the upcoming elections.
  • Spain has chosen to continue with the budget from 2023 and not make updates for 2024. They will work to make changes for the 2025 budget. One reason for continuing with the 2023 budget is because it took quite some time to elect new leadership after the summer elections.
    • Pray for political & government department leaders as they work through having the same budget as the previous year when changes may have been expected.

The verse for the week:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 

‭Romans 1:16 NIV‬

Basque Country Prayer Points for Week of January 22, 2024

Prayers points:

  • The number of healthcare workers in the Basque system who requested mental health assistance has almost doubled compared to what was seen in 2019. The treatment is for anxiety, depression and for burn out. The increase in requests are also being seen across other communities in Spain.
    • Pray for the mental health of healthcare workers.
  • Suicide continues to be one of the leading cause of death for all ages and for youth it is currently near the top. This has raised concerns and they are working to understand them while looking to provide solutions for the causes identified. It is also being seen across the world as an issue. One solution for Basque Country has been to provide training in primary schools (US elementary school), talking with health care professionals on how to see at-risk people and have a special number for people to call for help.
    • Pray for those who are contemplating suicide, their families and leaders as they look for ways to address the situation.
  • The results for a EU wide evaluation exam of the education system showed that Basque Country had a significant drop in scores across language, reading and science. In Math, Basque country, even with the fall, was still above the rest of Spain & EU countries. However in reading and science they were below the averages.
    • Pray for the educators, students and leaders as they investigate the drop in test scores and look to improve them for the future.
  • Since 1975 the King of Spain has delivered a message on Christmas Eve at 9pm. For 2023 King Felipe VI started talking about the different problems in Spain. The focus then shifted to 45 years of the constitution for Spain, what it provides and how it needs to be protected, as well as the importance of unity in Spain as it looks to move forward in the future.
    • Pray for the future of Spain and all the different regions that make up the country.
  • Inflation is currently at 3.4% in Basque Country and is expected to continue to be high in 2024. The cost of food for the Christmas meals was higher than last year, as a result some families moved to other non-traditional foods for the meal. People are continuing to make changes to their regular purchases to get the most of the money they have.
    • Pray for the population as they look to spend the money they have wisely
  • Basque Country will be having elections sometime before August 11, 2024, with them likely happening sometime in April. The parties have started to circulate candidates for the open positions. At the national level Sánchez and the PSOE party continue to face opposition from the PP party due to the amnesty agreement.
    • Pray for the upcoming Basque Country elections and that the national politicians would work together.
  • Statistics about pornography were recently reported with ~63% of young people (13-17) have seen it for anywhere between 300-400 hours. Boys are more likely to consume ~82% compared to girls at ~40%. The government has attempted to put a verification system in place, though it does not seem to be working. The Basque school system currently has sex education in 5th/6th grade, though is thinking of moving it back to be in 3rd/4th.
    • Pray for leaders as they look for solutions and young people to not be drawn to this form of media.
  • Pope Frances is nearing the completion of his 11th year. Recently he stated that priests are permitted to bless same sex marriages or those who were divorced previously and remarrying. This is also after his announcement about baptisms for trans-sexual and babies of some sex couples.
    • Pray for the catholic church and the impacts of these decisions.

The verse for the week:

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.

‭Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭NIV‬

Basque Country Prayer Points for Week of November 27, 2023

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Recently the Spanish government reduced the hours for a work week from 40 to 37.5. Employees will still be paid for the 40 hours, though employers will have 2.5 less hours of their time. Spain already had a lower productivity rate than the rest of Europe, so greater concern now exists with the reduction in the work week hours.
    • Pray for employers and employees as they adjust to the new work week changes.
  • The sexual abuse that happened in the Spanish Catholic church continues to be discussed. Some of the current points under discussion are the number of victims, the damage it caused and justice for what has happened.
    • Pray for those leaders, counselors, perpetrators, victims and their families as they search for answers and healing.
  • Pedro Sánchez has been re-elected as the leader of the Spanish government. This happened through an agreement to grant amnesty to Carles Puigdemont and others that were part of the Catalan separatist movement. This has caused quite a bit of concern in the political parties and with the citizens.
    • Pray for peace as Sánchez looks to lead another 4 year term.
  • The Basque language is facing challenges from the judicial system as some of the Basque people want it to be a primary language for Basque Country. They made changes to the employment requirements for the language and the priority it is given for being taught in school.
    • Pray for those who see the Basque language as part of the heritage and how leaders can support it to continue to be so for future generations
  • The number of marriages that happened in 2021 increased. Last year saw the highest number since 2017. While many of these were civil marriages about ~10% were done in a church.
    • Praise that the number of marriages is increasing, pray this continues and existing families are strengthened.
  • The region has seen a couple of large protests. The first was on November 25 and was to continue to call attention to gender violence caused by males. Then on November 30, was one for equality of women and was quite large. The November 30 protest saw impacts into the workforce as several different unions supported it with some business closing and buses running on reduced schedules.
    • Pray for those impacted by male violence and for equality of women.

The verse for the week:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‭-‬9‬ ‭ESV‬

Basque Country Prayer Points for Week of October 9, 2023

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Statistics for crime were recently released for the first half of 2023. An upward trend was seen in some areas: sexual violence was up ~20%, Cybercrimes was up ~30%. With a down trend being seen with robberies using violence and intimidation down ~10% and forced robberies in homes or other premises down ~10%.
    • Pray for those who are victims of crime, the police officers who protect the city and those who commit the crimes to have their eyes opened to its effects.
  • The Catholic Pope recently announced 21 new cardinals, with 3 of those being from Spain. The Pope has been working to make changes to the organization to have more representation from Catholic minorities. With the recent announcement Spain still has the 3rd most in the organization, behind Italy and the United States. Their purpose is to elect the new Pope.
    • Pray for the Pope as he makes new appointments and for the cardinals when the time comes to elect a new Pope.
  • A new president still has not been elected in Spain. Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) has until November 27 to rally enough votes, should that not happen. Spainards will once again be heading to vote in January. He is facing a lot of pressure as he looks to gain support from Catalonia, specifically Puigdemont who is requesting amnesty from the judicial process he is currently facing. Feijoó (PP) is also working to be elected, though he does not look to be able to gain enough alignment from others to get the needed votes.
    • Pray for the legislatures as they look to elect/re-elect a President for Spain.
  • The number of small businesses closing is quite large for the Gipuzkoa region of Basque Country. In the last 4 years ~1300 small businesses have closed, with ~60% of them having been open for 5 years or more. The service sector was most affected, seeing ~75%. One of the biggest reasons for the closures are the effects from the pandemic.
    • Pray for small business owners, workers and the government as they look to navigate the current economic environment
  • Last week Iñigo Urkullu (PNV), who is the leader of the Basque government, participated in a meeting sponsored by the local newspaper. During the discussion he talked about how the coalition between PNV and PSE was making progress even though another political party felt they were not making progress. He presented numbers showing how in the last 10 years GDP for the region has grown and that unemployment is down close to ~10%. He also talked about the current status for electing a new president of Spain and the desire to have healthcare wait times reduced to what they were before the pandemic, as they have increased afterwards.
    • Pray for Urkullu as he works to lead the Basque Government with wisdom and peace amongst all the different parties.
  • The concern for the mental health of youth was described as serious and increasing, as the professionals see higher cases of anxiety, depression and attempted suicides. They are seeing the causes be more than from COVID, as some students feel isolated and do not have a group of friends. Due to the situation the Basque Government put a strategy in place to address this and over a year 613 incidents for suicide prevention were opened in Basque Country. This is currently the highest non-natural cause of death in Basque Country and they are putting protocols in place to try and address it.
    • Pray for the youth that have these thoughts that they find the right help, as well as parents, school administrators and leaders as they look to develop systems to help youth in these situations.

The verse for the week:

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Mark 8:35 ESV

Basque Country Prayer Points for Week of May 8, 2023

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • On May 28 elections will be happening at the local (city), regional and national level. The regional and local levels have 5 different political parties who are looking to either maintain or gain power to make changes. Leaders across the different parties are communicating messages for why people should support them and their party.
    • Pray for the people as they look to determine which candidate will best represent them in the coming years to make legislative decisions.
  • The regional government is building a new location for those who are affected by male violence. It will have space for women with children, women who are solo and for people who are in need of additional privacy or monitoring. They have double the number of spaces available over the last 5 years.
    • Pray for women & children impacted by the violence, men who are acting in this manner and workers who support those impacted.
  • Concern about the Basque Pubic health care system continues. A couple of weekends ago thousands of people in the 3 Basque capitals took to the street to protest the situation. Many are seeing that making certain types of appointments are taking months to get or that the local health care centers do not have enough staff to support the needs of the community. The leader of the system provided comments that contradict this view talking about the investments that are being made in the system, which have increased over the last 10 years.
    • Pray for those who are looking for care, the workers and leaders as they all work to navigate the current situation.
  • The effects of the low national birth rate are continuing to be seen. The latest area of impacts is in the education system. The number of students enrolled in schools over the last 5 years has dropped by ~8500, which has resulted in reduction in the overall number of classrooms.  Even some schools have closed or consolidated with others due to this drop. Another effect is the decrease in first communion in the catholic church, with another reason being secularization of the population.
    • Pray that young people will start to have a desire to have more kids and for leaders as they navigate the current situation.
  • Last year the price of electricity was the topic of considerable discussion as the price was very high. Thankfully this year the price thus far has gone down, with the daily rate recently being ~62€/MWh compared to ~178€/MWh on the same day last year. Another area where costs have also been high is food items. The local paper over the last year has shared the cost of the same items in February, March and now May. While the overall cost is being recorded at historic highs, thankfully this month saw a slight overall decrease, though some items in the list saw an increase.
    • Praise that people are seeing some lower energy bills after having high electricity  & gas bills. Pray for people as they look to determine the best way to spend their money.
  • Over the last several years a group of historians in Basque Country have been researching the biographies of soldiers with Basque heritage that participated in World War II. They believe in total ~2500 soldiers are in that profile, and they are working on biographies of 1600. Recently they made a presentation in Texas about their findings.  They also have a desire to have a monument built for the 85th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in either California, Nevada or Idaho where there is a large population of people with Basque heritage.
    • Pray for these historians as they look to show the contribution of Basque people during World War II.

The verse for the week:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Basque Country Prayer Points for Week of March 20, 2023

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • The Basque Government is offering several different options to help families offset some of the costs associated with having children. Historically the requests have been made by women, however over the past 2 years the number of men who are requesting these options have increased.
    • Pray for mothers and fathers as they look to make the best choice for supporting their families and decide about having more kids.
  • The Basque police recently reported the crime statistics to the Basque Legislature. One statistic that is being highlighted is the number of sexual aggressions in Gipuzkoa. In 2022 the number was 128, which is double from 2021 (57). Another area that was highlighted was inter family violence, which also saw an increase in 2022.
    • Pray for the victims of sexual aggression and against family violence along with the police officers that respond to assist in these situations.
  • March 2023 marks 10 years since Pope Francis was elected to be the new leader of the catholic church. The paper had an article discussing several different topics from this ten year period: potential for schism, receiving two leaders from South Sudan and mass for 6 million in the Philippines.
    • Pray for the Pope’s leadership of the catholic church 
  • Mental health education and support for minors is undergoing changes. On the education side they are planning to start offering some classes starting at 12 years old. The Basque Public health care system saw an ~16% rise in the number of minors needing such help.
    • Pray for education system leaders and the health care system as they look to support the youth’s mental health
  • Iñigo Urkullu, president of the Basque government, is on a push to show the importance of the Basque region in Spain and Greater Europe. To accomplish this, early last week meetings were held with other key Spanish regional presidents. Then later in the week he attended meetings with leaders from different regions in Europe.
    • Pray for Urkullu as he communicates with other leaders about the Basque Country and it’s offerings
  • Young adults looking to move out on their own continue to face challenges. One is the cost of rent, which currently has a minimum of ~500€/month. With the median salary being ~1400€/ month, that does not leave much room for the other expenses in life.
    • Pray for young adults as they look to start life in Basque Country
  • The increase in building materials and energy costs are impacting public construction projects in Basque Country. Currently there are 40 projects that do not have bids on them due to these factors, which is another economic impact for the region.
    • Pray for rising material & energy costs as the impacts are felt across several different sectors

The verse for the week:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 ESV

Basque Country Prayer Points for Week of December 12, 2022

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • The public healthcare system (Basque name: Osakidetza) is having lots of tension as several leaders have resigned after a couple of leaders were let go. The system was already under quite a bit of strain and this is adding to it.
    • Pray for the frontline healthcare workers, leadership, politicians and those needing care
  • For conversations between the Basque and Spanish Government as they work through items that would give the Basque Government more autonomy
    • Pray for the political leaders on both sides as they work through this situation
  • Last time I talked about the historic low of low income housing. A shortage of housing in general exists across all economic levels. In Gipuzkoa they are now saying that 40,000 homes are needed.
    • Pray as the city looks to build the necessary housing for the city across the different needs of the citizens
  • The new catholic bishop for the diocese of Donostia, Fernando Prad Ayuso, was officially ordained for the office yesterday.
    • Pray for the new leader and the diocese as they go through this transition period
  • Salaries for young people are not high enough to live independently, wage increases on average in the 3rd quarter were much lower than inflation. Pension payments, while increased, are still not enough to keep up with inflation
    • Pray for people as they evaluate how to spend their money

The verse for the week:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NIV

Basque Country Prayer Points for Week of November 14, 2022

Prayers points:

  • Rising energy costs and inflation continue to be a concern for businesses, families and those on fixed incomes
    • Pray for all those who are being impacted by these rising costs
  • In 2021 people who desired to have their sex changed has doubled in Basque Country
    • Pray for the participants and those facilitating these changes
  • In Gipuzkoa aggression against women has seen an increase of 20% this year
    • Pray for the women, the men and other family members who have been affected by these aggressions
  • November 1 was a National Holiday for All Saints day
    • Pray for those who have lost loved one’s in the last year and that they may seek to better understand God’s plan for their life
  • Donostia’s new Catholic bishop Fernando Prado
    • Pray for him as he looks to guide the city’s Catholic churches
  • 2023 budget process for the Basque Government
    • Pray as leaders review spending and determine which projects to fund
  • Cost of medical care has doubled in the last 10 years as treatment costs have increased
    • Pray for the public system as it looks to secure funding to run
  • Spain has submitted its request for the next payment from the Next Generation fund
    • Pray for approval as the European Commision reviews the information submitted as these funds several different planned national and local government projects

The verse for the week:

Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Colossians 3:2 NLT

News for prayer for Week of September 19, 2022

Headline News:

Non-government organizations are seeing a decline in volunteers, especially in young people. Most of the new volunteers are those over 30. The last study of people that volunteered or helped socially was from 2017, with 14% of the general population participating. That was ~6% higher than when the study was done in 2012. The smaller organizations are really feeling the effects, while the larger organizations (Red Cross & Cáritas) seem to be stable.

Last time I talked about people feeling a pinch while in group settings, like a shot being injected into the body. The government reported that ~120 cases were reported. A majority of those occurred with women, though a small number was seen against men. Thankfully the blood analysis did not show any form of toxic substances. The government is still investigating several reports of assault from the summer.

The sexual abuse that happened in the Spanish Catholic church is getting some coverage. One case was escalated to the Vatican and the Pope pressed for reopening the case. The request was approved and the judicial system is once again going to look at the case. They are also continuing the investigation of the 201 cases that were reported. A committee of 17 members met with them and those results are being reviewed for next steps.


The cost of living continued to be highlighted on the front page. Over the last year across energy cost, food, transportation, the return to school and a few other areas, costs have increased 400€ over last year. Another article talked about how food costs, across different products, have gone up 20% from September 2021 to September 2022. The grocery stores are seeing more and more people look at the generic brands to save costs. The 2.6% wage increases Spanish workers have seen between April and June of this year are the lowest in the EU.

The IBEX35 ended last week on a downward trend closing at 7984.70, a 0.60% decrease over the previous week.


The Spanish government made a request to the European parliament to include Euskera, Catalan and Galician as additional official languages for its sessions. Currently 24 languages are in the list. The Spanish government is willing to absorb the costs for the request.

The polling data for the month of September was released. The PSOE party had a small increase while the PP party saw a small decrease. The PP decrease is due to decreasing confidence in the leader Feijóo. Also, in the polls for leadership Pedro Sánchez, current president, was in third place behind Yolanda Díaz and Alberto Feijóo.

On Thursday September 22, the Basque legislature returned to session. For the first time in two years there are no restrictions for masks, social distancing, etc. Urkullu is looking to address the energy crisis and rising cost of living in addition to the regular items that will need to be addressed.


Coverage was across these topics: Several articles about Queen Elizabeth II’s passing and crowning of King Charles, Russian Invasion of Ukraine, and Italy addressing challenges after recent elections.


Real Sociedad has had 4 matches since the last edition. The result of those matches was 3 wins and 1 loss. This has them currently in 8th place overall in LaLiga. Last season they qualified for the Europa League competition, where they have won both matches played thus far. The next match is Oct 6 against Sheriff Tiraspol.

Gipuzkoa Basket has been playing a couple of pre-season games. One was against Basket Navarra which resulted in a 82-86 win. In addition, they are playing in the Basque LEB cup. The first game was last night against Zornotza and won 74-56. They will play tonight in the championship game against Juaristi Iraurgi.  The regular season starts on October 7 against Ourense.

The Spanish national teams have also been very active lately. The national basketball team won the Eurobasket tournament this year. A key player on the national team was Dario Brizuela, a native of Gipuzkoa. Additionally, the national soccer team is playing in the UEFA Nations League against Switzerland Saturday September 24.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Decline in volunteers for non-government organization
  • Basque legislature
  • Economic impacts

The verse for the week:

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.

James 5:13 NLT

News for prayer for Week of September 5, 2022

Headline News:

This section is a little longer than usual as I thought it was important to highlight additional items.

On Tuesday September 6 2022 Spain celebrated the 500th anniversary of the return of Juan Sebastián “Elcano’s” completion for circumnavigation of the world. The crew started out as ~250 and included Magellan. He was one of 18 that arrived back to Spain. He was a native of Getaria which is located in the Basque region of Spain.

Russia has officially turned off both NordStream1 and NordStream2. This is resulting in quite the energy crisis in Europe as those pipes provided a majority of the fuel for European countries. Spain was not very dependent though given the connected nature of the EU energy prices here are increasing. The Spanish/Basque government has been working to increase capacity at the different Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facilities to provide additional supplies for Europe, in the hopes to help offset some of the demand from Russia.

While some Ukrainian refugees have returned home, a large number are still in Basque Country. With school about to restart the Basque education system has received a total of ~770 requests to be enrolled in the Basque education system in the upcoming year.

A data poll for Spain showing the number of Catholic weddings, baptism and communions from 2009 and 2019 was published. Over that time period it’s been a drop in all of those areas. Catholic weddings have seen a 24% drop, baptism have decreased by 17% of births and communions have dropped the smallest at 8%.


Basque people were shown to dedicate/pay the largest amount of money to buying food in all of Spain. The region currently has an average of 20% higher spending than the median average of Spain. Fortunately minimum wage in this area was also about 17% higher than the rest of Spain. They are also seeing people transition away from going to several of the local shops and instead heading to the larger supermarkets that have it all.

A highlight for the region of Gipuzkoa is that of the 88 total municipalities, 35 of them are debt free. They point to legislation for municipalities to control debts. The legislation was passed during the 2008 financial crises and they are seeing some positive results from the measure being in place.

The IBEX35 ended last week on a downward trend closing at 7932.20, a 1.63% decrease over the previous week.


The budget negotiations for the Basque government is planned to start in October. The primary focus will be economic activity/employment, and investments to ensure the future of the society and social services. They believe that the budget will be higher than the previous year given the increase in salaries and changes in energy costs, though nothing is for sure until the negotiations are complete.


Here are a few of the international headlines: United States involvement with Taiwan, passing of former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the Chileans vote for a new constitution.


Real Sociedad has had 3 matches since the last edition. The result of those matches was 1 loss, 1 win and 1 draw. This has them currently in 9th place overall in LaLiga. Last season they qualified for the Europa League competition, which starts the group stage Thursday, September 8 against Manchester United.

Gipuzkoa Basket will kick off the season on October 7 against Ourense.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Reduction of gas from Russia
  • Decrease in Catholic weddings, baptisms and communions
  • Budget negotiations

The verse for the week:

Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:9 NLT

The Church is Out of Style

There was an article in the local newspaper recently explaining how the Basque society is more and more secular. The youngest Catholic priest in our province was interviewed and he was quoted as saying “we aren’t in style”, referring to the church. Part of his reasoning was that as society flourishes from a material and physical standpoint, it’s harder for people to recognize that they NEED God. Only a small portion of Basque society goes without their basic needs being met so many people don’t notice that they are missing something or someONE. It’s a beautiful area with amazing food and an intriguing culture, the world would tell you that it seems like paradise just as it is. 

The young priest went on to say that the church is more “ideological” than “evangelical”, meaning there is more talk about what we believe as opposed to sharing the Good News with those outside the church. He did seem hopeful for the future though as he is seeing more conversions among young people.

Another issue that should be addressed is that the average age of all of the priests in our province is 74, while the younger half of the priests are under 60. I’ll save you the mathematical thinking and tell you that this means that the older half are significantly older. This means that within the next 10-15 years, the majority of that older half will no longer be with us and there will be a massive shortage of priests, leading to fewer church services and even fewer opportunities for outreach. 

Amongst the other “church people” who were interviewed, one said we need to involve more laity (non-ordained people) and women, another said we need “less liturgy and more action” calling for more social justice work in the community, and yet another says we just need to be faithful and pray. On a personal level, when I tell people I am a Christian but I’m not Catholic, I’m often met with blank stares of confusion. They didn’t know that was even possible. So with all of these differing opinions, it’s easy to see why the church is considered “out of style”.

What would you do if you already thought you were living in paradise, then found out you could have even more? We have all of the physical needs met, but what about the emotional and spiritual needs? Internal peace and security are just as important as physical comforts, and those can only truly be found in a meaningful relationship with our Creator. It’s our job to show people that it’s possible.

News for prayer for Week of June 13, 2022

Headline News:

The Spanish legislature is attempting to introduce legislation that would make prostitution illegal, as currently it’s not illegal and quite a gray area in the law. In Gipuzkoa it is estimated that ~700 people work in this industry. Most of them are from Brazil and Columbia. An organization that works with these women in Gipuzkoa is concerned that the new law will make it worse for these women and push them further to the fringe of society.

The Sunday paper included an article with interviews from 4 different people of Catholic faith. They were a young pastor, retired pastor, person of faith (catholic roots) and a catholic. The article title included the following statements: the church not being in style, problems of the church and Gipuzkoa becoming more secularized. All 4 of the people had hope and different suggestions for how the church could become relevant in society again.


The restaurant businesses are quite concerned about the upcoming summer season because they do not have the wait staff to support the demand they are expecting this summer. This will be the first summer in 2 years that will not have restrictions on hours open, mask mandates or limits on maximum people inside/at a table. This industry was hit particularly hard during the pandemic and hiring of new staff has been slow for them. Options are being explored on how to help this industry including how foreigners, who may not have full residency, can be hired and changing the minimum wage.

The Central European Bank announced that at the end of July they will be raising interest rates. This will be the first time for a rate increase in 11 years. The current plan is for it to be 0.25%. They will monitor the inflation situation and may make another adjustment in September.

The IBEX35 ended last week on a downward trend closing at 8,390.60,  a 3.83% loss for last week.


June 29 & 30 Madrid Spain will be hosting a meeting for NATO. The meeting will have leaders of 30 different nations visiting the city. Security for the event is a key item. The air space in Madrid will be restricted and the city will have an additional 35000 security personnel to ensure protection. The three areas they currently have concern about is an attack are: Jihadist, violent protest from opposition groups or a group upset about the Russian-Ukraine invasion.

The Spanish court system ruled last week that ETA prisoners would no longer be required to write an apology letter to victims as part of the transfer process. It was argued that some did not have definitive victims and it should not be required. The article ended with parts of a letter from a prisoner talking about his reflections of his actions.

The diplomatic relations between Spain and Algeria are a bit tense at the moment. Last week Algeria attempted to put some economic sanctions in place against Spain. They are saying this is due to Pedro Sánchez having conversations with Moroccan authorities to discuss some trade options. The EU is stepping in and trying to better understand the situation and help address the tension.


The Russia-Ukraine invasion still has a good amount of coverage in the international section. Other articles were: Celebration of Queen Isabel II Platinum jubilee, another French election and US gun violence/control.


The Spain National Team is currently playing in the UEFA Nations League Tournament. They are currently in League A Group 2, where they finished in 1st place. The next set of games will be in June of 2023.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • Women working in prostitution
  • Church influence in Gipuzkoa
  • Basque Economy (Restaurants & workers)

The verse for the week:

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2 NLT

News for prayer for Week of May 2, 2022

Much appreciation to Jeff for writing an extra news for prayer while we were out for family vacation. Thanks also to Jeff for all the years of writing the newsletter and providing us all with information on how to be in prayer for the Basque people. Wishing you well as you move into the next season of your life after all the years of service here in Basque Country. For the future, my plan is to write these twice a month.

Headline News:
For COVID it’s been a little over two weeks now that masks have been removed from being required indoors. For numbers, it’s hard to share anything as it’s not being reported on any more. The COVID news has almost gone away and it is hard to find much about the current situation.

The president of the Bishop’s council is working to provide protection to health care workers who want to consciously object for reasons of faith to abortions and euthanisims. The bishops produced a document on March 25 that expanded on the theme. The president commented that even in the military it is possible to be able to serve with a conscious objection to carrying a weapon, the same should be the case for healthcare workers. I normally do not read/talk about opinion columns. However I’m including one this time. The title was about the future of faith and the Church (Catholic). The opinion talks about how the area is waiting on a new bishop. In it he talks about waiting patiently for the new bishop and the importance of connecting with the next generation of believers. He talks about the confidence they should have in God to provide the right person to help address these areas and others as the church looks to impact the area. (I’d add in a bit about how you responded to reading this… )

Last weekend was Mother’s day here in Spain. The Sunday paper included several pages highlighting different mothers and the appreciation for them. An article was also written about birthing in Basque Country. 30% of babies born are from mothers outside of Spain, ~40% are born to mothers who are not married and the number of mothers over 40 increased by ~1.5%. They also shared that only ~65% of Basque under the age of 30 want kids, a 17% drop in the last 5 years.

In Europe the unemployment numbers are at historic lows after the pandemic. The numbers in Spain however have not been recovering as well, they are also seeing high numbers (high unemployment rates?) for young workers.

This past Sunday the paper had an interview with a leader from the Central European Bank. Three key points from the article were about the current economic crisis and pensions. On the topic of pensions they said it was a political decision, though they have methods to help guarantee the system is sustainable. On the current economic situation, the comments were positive, though tough decisions need to be made to prevent a recession. A positive for Spain is they see it as a stronghold in the current situation versus a burden it had been in the past.

The IBEX35 ended last week on a downward trend closing at 8584.20, a 0.79% drop for last week.

The leader of the Basque government has not left Spain for almost 3 years. The last trip was in August of 2019, when he traveled to the Vatican. Over the coming months he has plans to visit Japan, Corsica and Paris. An objective of the trip is to discuss political strategy with other international leaders.

In 2016 CNI (National Intelligence Center) for Spain purchased a license for Pegasus. This is software that allows you to spy on smartphones. Two weeks ago it was reported that this software was initially used to spy on Catalonian political leaders. However that was expanded in 2019 until now to include several other people. The CNI is now under investigation and lots of push back on the government about who has been spied on.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to carry a large portion of international coverage. Immigration of Ukrainian refugees to Basque Country has been increasing. They are seeing that ~10% of them who came are starting to return home. The last number I’ve seen for immigration was ~3,250 in all of Basque Country. The paper also carried an article about the Roe vs Wade conversation with an article from a New York correspondent that shared a little historical context, current response and potential impacts. There was also a small article talking about the history of Roe vs Wade.

Real Sociedad has had a tough stretch the past couple of weeks. Last week they played to a draw, then last night they lost 2-1. They have 3 games left in the season and are currently in 6th place.

GBC has won 2 games and lost 2 games since the last news for prayer. With three games to go the team is trying to move up one place in order to qualify for the playoffs. They are currently 2 points behind.

Real Sociedad women’s team for the first time in its history qualified to play in the Europa League. The team has been playing well over the past couple of years winning tournaments against other women’s teams in Spain. This will put them in the next level to compete against other women’s teams in Europe.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:
Those looking for employment
Catholic Church Leadership
Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the wide reaching impacts

The verse for this week was from a recent daily verse:

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
Romans 8:26 NLT

News for prayer for Week of February 7, 2022

The cover page images for the 4 papers last week were the following: Rafa Nadal after winning the Australian open for his 21st Grand Slam, restaurant owner removing the sign about needing COVID-19 passport after the TSJPV ruled against them and results of the Real Sociedad game against Betis. The Sunday front page had two focuses with the top portion focused on the 40th anniversary of Ertzaintza (Basque National Police) and the other was child refugees from Greece and Syria being taken care of in Gipuzkoa.

Headline News:

COVID continues to be in the news as the government attempts to transition to the next phase of the pandemic. The COVID passport had been in effect since December and the government was looking to extend the use of it for a bit longer. However the judicial system did not agree with the further usage & expansion, so last week the need for a COVID passport was removed completely. This was the seventh time the judicial system did not support the recommendations of the government. The government has also started the process of returning 2.5 million euros that were collected from the fines issued during the various State of Alarms that have now been ruled unconstitutional. The numbers for the 6th wave are beginning to trend down, though the map for Gipuzkoa still is showing all red. The demand for home tests continues to be consistent, and is much lower than what was seen in early January.

The catholic church had two headlines. The first was more coverage surrounding the investigations of the abuse that happened in the Church. They highlighted that in February 2019, 4 cases of sexual abuse were reported for Gipuzkoa. For two of the cases, the priests had already passed away, and the other two cases were sent to Rome for further investigation. Another article talked about ~50 cases that have been reported in the last 50 years for Basque Country. The Sunday paper included a two page interview with a Criminal Investigator from the Basque University. It was very direct and talked about several different aspects of the abuse that happened. It also included thoughts about the way forward for the people and the church. Another article had one victim who raised concerns about the current process and he believes that no investigation will happen. The other headline was that the current bishop had his last service on Sunday after being the ArchBishop for 12 years here. The church was at maximum capacity of 60% due to COVID and also had people outside protesting with posters. He will be moving to Alicante.


The outlook for 2022 for the Basque economy continues to look good. They are expecting the GDP for the region to be between 4.5% and 6% for 2022. They believe that 5,000 new jobs will be created. They also acknowledged that some sectors are still needing help (Restaurants and tourism) and are looking for solutions as those businesses are still being impacted. Cost of energy was also listed as a concern as that will also impact the profit margins for companies. 

The IBEX35 ended last week on a downward trend closing at 8,589.30, a 0.24% decrease for the week.


Two big political items were the focus last week. Both were items that were voted on in the Spanish legislature. The first were updates to housing laws, which were passed. It included protection for small home owners, incentives to help keep prices low, options for houses that are vacant and public housing. The measure was passed with the unity from the PSOE and Unidas Podemos parties. The second item was labor reform. For the past several weeks, it’s had at least one article in the paper. Effects from the labor reform impacted several areas: seasonal contracts, unemployment benefits, contracts for young people entering the workforce, among other areas. The measure barely passed with a 175-174 vote count. The headline talks of how a vote that made the decision was cast incorrectly telematically. This vote was from one of the senior leaders in the PP party, who have been vocal about not supporting the measure.


Here are a few headlines from the international section over the week: The main focus was Russian & Ukraine border tension termed here: The ‘New Cold War’. Also included was the Portugal election with the surprise outcome and high voter turnout, the US attack against Hajji Abdullah, and a view from two different EU countries handling the COVID-19 pandemic: Denmark declaring the end versus Austria implementing fines for those unvaccinated.


Real Sociedad played two games in the last week. The first was a King’s Cup match in which they played against Betis. The outcome was a 4-0 loss. With the loss that end’s Real’s attempt to win the King’s Cup in 2022. The other game was a LaLiga match where they played against Valencia, with the result being a 0-0 tie. That result left them in 7th place.

GBC had a game against Tau Castellón which was a 69-77 loss. They only scored 5 points during the third period of this game. The next game they played was against Almansa with the result of a 101-78 victory. The paper commented how it was a well played game for the team. The next game was against Real Valladolid, where the team secured another victory with a 85-71 victory. The team is currently in 6th place overall.

The Monday paper had a spotlight on Rafal’s career after his victory at  the Australian open. He is currently number 4 in overall career victories and 5th in the ATP rankings. I noted in the opening paragraph that he has 21 Grand Slam victories, along with a gold medal in the Olympics in both individual and doubles.

Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • COVID-19 and it’s continued impacts
  • 2022 Outlook for the Basque Economy
  • Basque and Spanish political leaders
  • Leaders in the catholic church

The verse for this week focused on our paths in life. I thought this verse fit well:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7:13-14

News for prayer for Week of January 10, 2022

The cover page images for the 4 papers last week were the following: Results of the Real Soccer Game against Alavés and Celta, the start to sales season and the winning numbers for a lottery drawing.

Headline News:
COVID continues to be the main story for this region. COVID passport’s are required to enter restaurants, concerts and movie theaters. The responsibility is on the owners to perform the check. One day the paper shared that compliance was very low as they entered several different restaurants and only had 1 ask them for the passport. School also restarted after the Christmas/New Years/Three Kings holidays. As they started 11,000 students and 100s of teachers/staff were confined. The restrictions for what happens in classrooms continue to be revised. The Sunday paper broke down data from each of the 6 different waves, which was interesting to see. One data point to note is that the 6th wave has more positive cases than the 3rd, 4th and 5th waves combined. An interview with a local Psychologist discussed the many different mental affects the pandemic has/is having on people. Last week also saw the cancellation announcement of Tamborrada, a city wide celebration for San Sebastian, for the second year. The mayor communicated that it was a very difficult decision to make, though with the current situation it made sense for them to cancel as they believe it would be difficult to maintain the health protocols currently in place during the celebration.

The Bilbao diocese has opened 5 different investigations after a report that was released by ‘El País’ concerning the abuse of minors, who had collected ~250 reports for Spain. They have set up a commission consisting of 5 different people.  They will start by reviewing all the information that is currently available. Some of the incidents have only a little bit of information and a request was made for people to come forward. The diocese wants the truth to be known and ensure that the situations are addressed.

Economic growth for the Basque region is currently projected to be higher than it was at pre-pandemic levels. The lowest levels in the pandemic were seen in the second quarter of 2020 at -19.9% and the highest was at 18.6%, which happened in the second quarter of 2021. The current government projects growth to be 6.7% for 2022. The result would be a ~700 million € increase from 2021 and be a record for the region. Energy cost, material shortages and inflation are areas that may impact the growth of the economy. Additionally the unemployment numbers have returned to better than before the pandemic. Those who are currently unemployed are finding it difficult to find a job.

The passing of José María Baztarrica, leader of the CAF (Construction & Other Railway Service) from 1995 to 2015 and his impact was remembered last week. Under his leadership the CAF grew considerably. When he started the company was heavily dependent on Renfe, the train system operated by the Spanish government. He led them to become more international where they had 90 projects in 35 different countries. This growth added several new jobs and a rise in exports for the Basque Country.
The IBEX35 ended last week on an upward trend closing at 8,751.80, a 0.44% increase for the week.

After the July 2020 elections and a coalition formed between PNV and PSE resulting in a majority, it was believed that legislation would move quickly. However that has not been the case. Thus far they have approved 4 laws and 15 projects. They still have 17 projects initially identified and several laws under consideration. They are hoping that during the next session they will be able to address more given the majority that is in place.

This past Saturday a protest in Donostia and Bilbao called for the return of all the ETA prisoners to Basque Country without exception or delay. Leaders for this movement pointed to the fact that ETA ceased activity 10 years ago and how Spain has not taken a closer look at what happened under Franco. After the protest one of the political parties, PNV, announced that it would no longer be supporting this movement going forward. Before this protest, the leader of the Association of Terrorist Victims made a request to the Basque Government to prohibit such activity or the celebration when ETA prisoners are released. In the request they pointed to existing laws that would support the request. Later this month, they are also planning a meeting to discuss what else should be done to help those who are victims of terrorism. An article also shared how victims of ETA are asking that the violence that happened be condemned so that a path can be made to move forward.

Here are a few of the headlines/themes for news outside of Spain: Russia/Ukraine border concerns, US Capitol incident 1 year later and the upcoming presidential election in France.

Real Sociedad played against Celta Vago this past Saturday. The result was a 1-0 victory. The next game is against Atletico Madrid on January 19 and is part of the King’s Cup. In La Liga the team is currently in 5th place. Currently they are 1 point away from being in the top 4 which would qualify them for the Champions Cup.

GBC was scheduled to play Iraurgi S this past Sunday, however due to COVID cases the game was postponed. The next game is scheduled for January 15 against Prat Joventut. The team is currently in 7th place overall, which would qualify them for the end of the season tournament.
Prayer Points and verse for the week:

Prayers points:

  • COVID-19 (omicron) and it’s impact
  • ETA victims & prisoners
  • Catholic church as it proceeds through the investigations

The verse for this week centered on light. The following verse carried the message well:When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12