A stranger slid into Carina Beaty’s Instagram DMs. The message would open not just chat windows but doors to discipleship Carina couldn’t have imagined when she and her husband decided to open their apartment windows three years ago.
On Easter Sunday in 2020, Caleb and Carina Beaty stood by their windows and began playing worship music that echoed through the central courtyard of their Madrid apartment complex. Heads leaned out of the windows of apartments surrounding the IMB missionaries.
While their concert led to conversations with neighbors, new friends, invitations to neighbors’ houses and times of fellowship, the Beatys say the most substantial result happened because of an IMB story written about the event.
Not long after the initial story was posted, a woman messaged Carina on Instagram to say she watched the video on the IMB website and explained she had a Spanish exchange student living with her in Arkansas. The high school student needed to return to Spain because of COVID-19 lockdowns in the U.S. A month before her return date, the student committed her life to Christ. The Arkansas Baptist learned they lived in Madrid and wanted to know if she could connect them so the student, Maria, could be discipled.
Upon Maria’s return, Carina connected with the young teenager. She learned Maria had attended a Christian school in Fort Smith, Ark. Despite the town’s small population, the school welcomes many international students.
Students at the school take Bible classes, and international students take a class that gives an over-arching story of the Bible.
Her host family faithfully shared the Gospel with her.
“They shared the Gospel with me so many times, and I remember just thinking, ‘can this possibly be true?’” Maria told Carina.
“She told me the Lord appeared to her one night in a vision and said, ‘Everything that they’re telling you is true,’” Carina said.
That’s when Maria knew she needed to put her faith in Him.
Carina and Maria’s friendship deepened. Three years later, they continue to meet for discipleship. Maria joined a small group Bible study the Beatys started in their home, and she was introduced to churches in Madrid.
She’s invited her family to their small group as well, and at Thanksgiving, her dad met the people investing in his teenage daughter every week. Maria’s mom, sister and grandmother attended church with Maria, too.
Carina led Maria and her friends through a seeker Bible study, and rich conversations resulted. Maria didn’t stop at invitations to Bible studies, she’s brought a friend to church and frequently shares with her neighbors, classmates, teachers, aunts, grandparents and cousins.
Carina is amazed at the conversations she’s able to have with people around her. Maria is 17 now, and like Timothy in the New Testament, she doesn’t let anyone look down on her because of her age. She has the courage and obedience to make His name known.
The Holy Spirit uses Maria to spiritually encourage Carina during their times of discipleship.
“The Spirit is working in her heart and growing her faith, and it’s been so encouraging to see that fruit,” Carina said.
Carina said this connection was “not because of anything that we’ve done. It’s the Lord working, and it just happened that her host mom saw our video and got in touch with me.”
Maria kickstarted the Beatys’ ministry. Caleb and Carina had arrived in Madrid just ahead of the COVID-19 lockdowns, so the early days of their missions career looked quite different from what they envisioned.
“So much of our evangelism and discipleship and our small group has come out of the relationship with Maria,” Caleb said. “Nobody really asked us about our faith directly because of [our Easter 2020 concert], but the Lord has used it to deepen relationships and to meet Maria all the way via Arkansas.”
You can join Caleb and Carina by praying for their ministry.
“Pray we have eyes to see the opportunities to share with people in our neighborhood and boldness to speak the words we ought to, and for the Lord to keep working,” Caleb said. “He’s working in ways we hadn’t expected.”
Pray for continued boldness for Maria and that the Lord would strengthen her faith daily. Pray the people Maria is sharing with will have open hearts.
Some names may be changed for security reasons.