In May 2010 Convoy of Hope Europe returned for a second time to Melilla, Spain. This Spanish-owned enclave in North Africa is six square miles in size, sits on the Mediterranean Sea and borders Morocco. Nearly 70,000 residents are packed into Melilla. Most are there legally; some, not. Mosques outnumber churches, a resilient Jewish population has been there for centuries, and a Hindu community continues to grow. A visitor can move from one culture to the next in this compact place as fast as he or she can walk to the next block. In Melilla’s economics, disparity trumps diversity. A tremendous gap between rich and poor, the haves and have-nots, means some families wile away their days among the tourists on the beach while other families wonder where their next meal is coming from. There is no arguing that complications and challenges are part of life for many residents of Melilla. But where some see insurmountable odds, others see only opportunities to bridge cultural and ethnic gaps. Convoy of Hope Europe together with a local Assemblies of God pastor, several volunteers from the Spanish mainland and America, organized another community event. Around 800 people attended. They received free food, clothes, haircuts and their children had their own play area. The local Assembly of God church, which is situated close to a border crossing, will continue to reach out to these people.
In September of 2009, Convoy of Hope Europe partnered with Pastor Barry Ivie of St. Charles River Church in Missouri, U.S.A. to conduct its fourth outreach in the city of Lisbon. The east side of the city is well known in Portugal as the place where you would not want to live. There are rows and rows of high-rise apartment buildings which house many of the cities poor. The residents of the east side survive on government subsidies and rent control. Convoy of Hope Europe teamed up with two local churches to serve the community with a demonstration of love. 1,056 attended the event and 203 people responded to the Gospel message and 70 of them came to church the following day. Each guest at the COH outreach was welcomed by their own personal host who accompanied them throughout their stay. The KidZone overflowed with delirious children who were treated to bounce houses, face painting and endless game playing. The adults took advantage of free haircuts, manicures, pedicures, medical screening and they each walked home with food parcels to help alleviate the pressure of everyday life. COHEU will continue to work with St. Charles River Church and CRC church in Lisbon to improve this area which is known as Quinta de Laje.