We began our recent trip with several days near the city of Sevilla (usually labeled “Seville” in English). Some of us recall a storied barber (and rabbit?) from this city. In Spanish, the city name is pronounced [seh-VEE-ya]. Including its suburbs, modern Sevilla has a population of around 1.5 million. I posted a couple of weeks ago from Sevilla, drawing attention to the impressive Plaza España, a large and beautiful structure that happens to have been featured in a Star Wars movie.
The history of Sevilla goes back to the ancient Romans. They founded the original city, Hispalis, along the Guadalquivir River nearly 50 miles from the coast. The river is navigable for large ships. The city became a seat of Islamic government after the Moorish conquest in the early 8th century A.D. The city was taken in the mid-13th century during the Reconquista that expelled the Muslims from the peninsula. After the discovery of the Americas, Sevilla gained great wealth as the principal port for all trade from the Americas. Magellan embarked from Sevilla on his circumnavigation of the globe.
Our time in the Sevilla area was largely spent with local Christians, including two hours of Bible teaching each night. The economy in Spain has been particularly affected by the current economic crisis. One of the consequences is an unemployment rate that has recently risen to around 25%. The problem is even more pronounced among the young adults, who have an unemployment rate of more than 50%.
Here are some of the Christians we were with in Dos Hermanas, a southeast suburb. The economic crisis is affecting a number of them. In spite of these obstacles they were warm and affectionate. We enjoyed our time with the people in Sevilla and pray for their love and security.