April 6, 2017

Crowd Magnet Bible Expo Ignites Members for Mission in Spain

A traveling exhibition based on the Bible is attracting hundreds of people while igniting church members for mission in Spain. The “ExpoBiblia,”or Bible Expo—dedicated to the history, contents, and teachings of the Bible—has been in main squares, shopping malls, and promenades in 42 Spanish cities, with more exhibitions scheduled for the next few months. The exhibition—which is enclosed in four 20-by-20-foot portable tents—has proved to be a crowd magnet wherever it goes.

A group of church volunteers dressed as priests of the Tabernacle in the desert welcome visitors to the Bible Expo traveling exhibition in the city of San Sebastian, in northern Spain. Before them is a real size replica of the Ark of the Covenant. [Photo by Spanish Union Conference]

“Catholics, Evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Atheists, Agnostics, lay people, and religious leaders—everyone is captivated by the Bible’s message,” said Javier Moliner, the pastor behind the initiative and Adventist Church evangelism coordinator in Spain. “Some people were moved to tears when getting acquainted with the history and message of the Bible.”

But what is it that attracts people from all walks of life so much?

History, Stories, and Prophecy

The exhibition is divided into several sections. The first one—put together in partnership with the Spanish Bible Society—is focused on the 3,500-year history of the Bible, and its cultural impact in architecture, music, and the arts. Easy-to-follow posters provide essential information to visitors, as volunteer church members stand by, ready to answer questions or offer additional information. This section includes an exhibition of Bible copies in 60 languages, including first editions in Spanish and a Braille Bible.

A second section is dedicated to some key Bible stories, including built-to-scale replicas of Noah’s Ark and the earthly sanctuary.

“In the Bible Moses had metalsmiths to put the tabernacle together, but we have extremely talented woodworkers,” said Moliner. “They built a scale 1:125 cross section of Noah’s Ark, including its three floors, with living quarters for Noah’s family and the animals.” In the tabernacle section, they built a to-scale Ark of the Covenant which, when opened, reveals—among other things—two stone tables with the Ten Commandments.

“Needless to say, this section involves all kind of spiritual questions,” said Moliner. “Our church volunteers stand by, ready to answer questions and unfold the whole plan of salvation.”

Moliner explained that a third section deals with Herod’s Temple, the Wailing Wall, and the heavenly sanctuary. Another section highlights the 1948 Qumran’s amphoras and parchments discoveries and the fact that the Bible has been so faithfully preserved for so many generations. Visitors can enjoy a facsimile of the book of Isaiah’s text found in a Qumran parchment hanging on a wall. “A gifted volunteer copied the text on sheepskin,” said Moliner. “Visitors are stunned by the piece.”

A final section deals with the trustworthiness of Bible prophecy and includes a Daniel 2 replica statue and a Daniel 9 prophetic timeline. “As they are about to exit, we lead them to a depiction of the Second Coming of Jesus, the end of Daniel’s prophecies,” said Moliner.

Powerful Testimonies

The “ExpoBiblia” was launched by the Adventist Church’s Spanish Union of Churches in 2013. This year, however, it gained momentum, as the Christian world prepares to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

“We shared much, but learned much, perhaps even more.”

“People are flocking to the exhibition, like magnets to metal,” said Moliner. “We met many sincere people, who listened attentively as they tried to understand and get to know the good news.”

According to Moliner, the most impressive result of the Bible Expo is the testimonies of the people who make it to the end of the tour.

“This has triggered in me the desire of purchasing a Children’s Bible to start teaching it to my children,” said a young mother after visiting the exhibition. “I know that I am not here by chance,” said a man. “God brought me here because it is time I make a decision for Him.”

“To tell you the truth, I have never been interested in these topics,” confessed another person. “But today I must admit I have felt the urge to find out more about [the Bible].”

The Bible Expo, however, not only transforms those who visit the exhibition, but also those members who volunteer in each site. “There are no words to describe what we feel when we see how people’s faces change as they tour the place,” said one of the young volunteers.

“We shared much, but learned much, perhaps even more,” said Sara Guntín, who went to report the Coruña exhibition. “God worked wonderfully to break down prejudice, and we made many friends for Jesus.”

Currently, the Bible Expo is touring the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco. The exhibition materials, which were shipped by boat, will be on display at several public venues on the major islands until late May.