Santander, Spain

John and Marsela Hill

John and Marsela Hill


John and Marsela were sent out by New Life as missionaries to Spain in 1992 when they came to serve alongside Robert and Minnie Jobe. They have partnered with New Life to start several ministries in Spain including ContraCorreinte and La Industria. The New Life Church was planted in 2012. Their vision is to see revival in Spain. Both Marsela and John are missionary kids—Marsela from Spain and John from Venezuela. They have two children, Keilah and John.

Santander is a beautiful city in the middle of the lush, green, northern coast of Spain. The city is a center for Spanish tourists, but because of the rainy climate not many foreign tourists visit the area. Aside from the tourism industry, the city has a large number of service industries for the area including a cutting-edge university hospital, Marqués de Valdecilla, the Universidad de Cantabria and the Grupo Santander (Banco de Santander).

Despite the very green surroundings, Santander, like most of Spain, suffers from a very dry spiritual climate. Even the traditional Roman Catholic Church experiences dramatic losses in attendance every year. In 2008 Eurobarometer 69, an independent polling source, stated that only 3% of Spaniards consider religion, regardless of which, as one of their top three values. This is low even for Europe, where the mean is 7%.

It’s in this spiritual atmosphere that the Comunidad Cristiana Escencia grew out of the already existing La Industria discipleship school. Along with the New Life missionary team, which includes Jeff and Carolyn Anderson as well as John and Marsela, this New Life Cities church plant is now being led by a growing group of younger leaders. We are also very privileged to count on a growing number of missionaries – European, Spanish and American – that help with the church and the discipleship school. The continuing challenges for Esencia lays in seeing steady Spanish disciples being made and baptized.