Melanie Hess
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

BURGOS, Spain (Mennonite Mission Network) - A Mennonite woman and her baby daughter escaped injury in Burgos, Spain, after a car bomb exploded at the police barracks outside their apartment.

Sixty people were injured in the bombing, which a Spanish official said was probably orchestrated by the ETA, a fringe movement of Basque separatists. Another bomb exploded the next day in Mallorca, where two Civil Guards, one from the city of Burgos, were killed.

María José (Chus) García, a member of Burgos Mennonite Church, was asleep in her bed when the bomb exploded. Her infant daughter, Angela, was in bed with her. Her husband, Alejandro Mesa Gutierrez, was working. Connie Byler, a Mennonite Mission Network worker in Spain, reported that García took Angela into her bed about 3:45 a.m. because the baby was crying. The bomb exploded at 4:00 a.m. 

García next awoke to find a door on her bed and a neighbor yelling for everyone to leave the building in case of another explosion. The apartment’s walls, windows, and doors were gone, and there were piles of broken glass in Angela's empty crib. It was determined that the car bomb had been parked 15 yards from the family’s back window.

Burgos Mennonite Church members are thanking God that the family was unhurt and that baby Angela was not in her crib at the time of the blast, even as they mourn with the families of the men who were killed.

"We laugh with those that laugh and cry with those that cry," Byler said. "We trust this experience will lead to many, many conversations to share the goodness of God with others."

Burgos Mennonite Church was started in the late 1970s by a group of Christians who wanted to follow the way of Jesus. Connie and Dennis Byler have been serving in Spain since 1981 and now work, along with Brian and Noelia Fox, with Mennonite Mission Network. Mennonites first became active in Spain in the late 1930s, providing relief during the Spanish civil war.

For more information on Burgos Mennonite Church and its ministries visit or check out our newest mission bank tools focusing on Spain (scroll to bottom of page).







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