February Prayer Letter

“In case of a worldwide pandemic, church business meetings may be conducted on Zoom, as long as there is a quorum.” That is a phrase we did not think to include in our church constitution and bylaws 5 years ago. However, through much prayer and technology, we recently had our best-attended church business meeting ever. Praise the Lord!

Thus began the year. As we turned the calendar to 2021, Portugal rose to #1 worldwide for cases of Coronavirus per capita. Once again, borders, schools, and businesses closed, and church returned to online only. We were reminded of our great dependence on God, and we began with a week of prayer. Each night, more and more people joined us online to pray for revival, for healing, for wisdom, and for souls to be saved. 

2021 continues to be the year of flexibility. As we have not been able to resume Sunday School, the children’s Sunday School teachers have started working together to create videos to teach the kids, and we had our first children’s online Sunday School this past week. We talked about fear through the stories of David and Goliath and the disciples in the storm. It was a blessing to hear 4-year-old Ana Carolina’s tiny voice say, “Because God is such a ‘big guy’, I don’t have to be afraid.”

Where there are needs, there are opportunities to serve and spread light. Just down the street from our church, is “Aunt Teresa´s Restaurant.” She and her family are kind people and have been friends to the church since we opened. She serves traditional Portuguese food with a smile, at a great price, and with generous portions. My favorite dish is a “bitoque” which is fries, rice, steak cooked with lots of olive oil and garlic, and an egg put on top of it for good measure. Aunt Teresa noticed that lots of people in our neighborhood needed food, so she began serving hearty soup for free to whomever had a need. We as a church gave her a generous gift to help in her efforts. She and her family were deeply moved, and while we didn’t do it for the publicity, she made it known far and wide through Facebook and an interview with the local newspaper, that we had been a big help to her. Pray that our testimony and impact in our community will continue to flourish.

We have good news about the work with the deaf! Our coworker, Amanda, has begun an online class for Christian interpreters who want to learn “religious signs” for church services. She has 11 people in the class! Not all of them are proficient interpreters, but they are interested in making their church services accessible for the deaf, and reaching their deaf friends for Christ. We pray this class will help reach the deaf in other towns in Portugal!

We praise God for good physical health, and ask for you to pray for us to remain healthy spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Since mid-January, we have been confined to our homes, except for “essential work”. These days, a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy is a big outing. David is still able to volunteer at the food bank and deliver essential goods to our church members. We take our kids outside for a walk each day. Sarah went for a walk with a church member to visit with her today. We do much shepherding by phone and video calls. But emotional and spiritual depression are a shadow away, leaving both congregations and leadership vulnerable. Please pray for God to be our strength and for us to set our hearts on Him more than on a return to “normal life”.

December Prayer Letter

God has shown our family His protection the past two months. In November, Sarah went for a routine check-up. She was 8 months pregnant and had some unusual pain that morning. They discovered she had appendicitis, and the next day she had surgery to remove her appendix before it ruptured. The surgery caused her to start going into labor, but they were able to slow her contractions enough for the baby to stay in the womb a few more weeks. Thankfully, just after 2 AM on December 5thLucas Benjamin Booth was born, strong and healthy. He is a meek and mild little guy, and all of us are delighted with him. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for this good gift. 

This time of year always leads me to reflect on what has happened (or not) in the year gone by. As a missionary, I would like to think that the work we do is a steady movement forward of, “More people reached with the gospel! Goals achieved! Lives changed! Churches established!” But this year feels like we have done everything possible just to maintain where we are. Some people have fallen away. Others have faced great hardships leaving them drained and discouraged. Not having camps, mission teams, or many other activities that we normally would have throughout the year has affected the spiritual vitality of many of the deaf, as well as teens and kids. Even something as simple as having a church potluck is missed. I used to think it was just one more activity to prepare and to take up my time. And yet now I see how much we miss these moments of fellowship, of rubbing shoulders, and sharing food. Our spiritual lives depend so much upon being together with other people who love Jesus.

But the story of missions throughout the ages is filled with setbacks and challenges. The apostle Paul could have resented the years he spent in prison when he could have been out planting churches. William Carey could have quit when his print shop burned down and his life’s work was lost. There are countless other stories of loss and hardship like these. However, the key is to press on, and that is what we will do by God’s grace. He continues to be at work, and great opportunities lie ahead. Even (especially) in a hard year, God’s grace is evident. Here are some recent highlights:

Reaching new people. Susana went through some challenging times this year. She reached out to a Christian friend of hers that lives in France. This friend suggested that Susana begin attending church. Her friend searched for a church online and found ours. At first Susana just watched the services online, but then eventually she began coming and has come to every service and Bible study since September.

Giving. The church here in Montijo has given far more money to missions and benevolence this year than ever before. It has been encouraging to see a spirit of generosity grow. This is not just the case financially. After Sarah’s surgery left her out of commission for a while, for ten straight days, families in our church brought us meals and helped us with many different tasks. They even delivered a giant box of gifts to our door as a surprise baby shower. Normally, we feel like we are the ones giving and coordinating these things. How encouraging and refreshing it was to see so many people spring into action in our time of need. 

Blessed by our church’s generosity

Opportunities to share the gospel. Back in March, I began volunteering at a local non-profit helping organize and distribute food parcels to needy families in our community. Besides being a great way to meet new people, it has also opened good conversations about the gospel. 

You. God knows what we need, and all of you that pray for us, care for us, and give to make it possible for us to serve the Lord here, are a marvelous gift and blessing to us. We love you all, and are grateful to serve the Lord together with you. May God bless and strengthen you as we begin this new year. 

Thankful for our family

October Prayer letter: inspiring examples

Arlete is a sweet church member who works in a nursing home. One Sunday she commented about the great spiritual needs of the residents with whom she works: “I pray and talk with them about God, but it is always in general terms. I’m not sure how to go about explaining the gospel and leading them to be saved.” I found a booklet that explained the gospel, gave it to her, and said, “Read through this several times until you feel like you know the verses and can explain the main points in a clear and natural way.” The next Sunday, she came up to me with a smile, “I read through that booklet at least 6 or 7 times, and this week I was able to explain the gospel to one of the residents. It felt so good.” Seeing her joy and confidence was such a blessing. It was also sobering to see the urgency of proclaiming the gospel, because just last week, we learned that seven of the residents have COVID, and, sadly, one of them passed away. The need is great, and it is encouraging to know that Arlete is a shining witness in that nursing home. 

Serginho is a hardworking bricklayer who recently moved here with his family from Brazil. Despite great financial hardships, he is always filled with joy. The other day he told me how depraved and hostile his work environment is. One particular coworker delighted in verbally abusing and cursing him. However, Serginho responded as Christians are called to do; he did not repay evil for evil. He would just smile and defuse each situation with a disarming sense of humor. The coworker had never seen anything like this before. As the weeks passed, his heart began to melt, and he began to call Serginho his brother. Not only has this man heard the gospel from Serginho, but he has also seen it in action. 

Both of these examples are convicting and motivating to us. While we’re here as missionaries, it’s easy to get caught up in the activities of the week and forget about the individuals around us who desperately need to hear the gospel. Yet, when we open our front door and look up and down the street, we don’t know of anyone else in sight who is saved. We are trying to use each encounter (with the cashier at the grocery store, with the next person in line at the post office, with the neighbor over the fence, or with a teacher at school) as a conversation that can point that person to hope in Christ.

This past weekend was encouraging and full. We met in person with the deaf for the first time since March. While we only had four come to the service, there were still reasons to rejoice. Vitor and Ines (who are saved and faithfully attend) brought their friends, João and Telma (who are not saved, but have attended our meetings off and on). Toward the end, as we were discussing the Bible message, Vitor looked at João and Telma, and in his very direct deaf way remarked, “You all aren’t saved yet. João, I see you are sort of interested, but Telma, you don’t seem very open.” He certainly laid his cards on the table, and we ask you to pray that one day both João and Telma would look to Jesus and be saved. Pray also that Vitor would experience the joy of seeing his friends come to know Christ. 

Baptism in the Tejo River

 

Baptismal services are always a highlight for us, and this past Sunday was no exception. We gathered on the banks of the Tagus River and sang “Jesus Paid It All” and “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” As the church sang, I waded into the water with David, a teenager, and Carol, a young woman. When we turned around, it was powerful to see everyone looking on with excitement, and it was encouraging to hear David and Carol tell the world that they had decided to follow Jesus. 

Watch our video update!

As pilgrims in this world, we are thankful to walk through this life with you. Your prayer and your caring for Portugal mean so much to us. May each of us be faithful in following Jesus and telling others about Him. 

Trusting God’s Guidance: August Update

Ten years ago today, we said our goodbyes and boarded a plane to Portugal. We stand amazed at God’s goodness in our lives this past decade. As we flip through pictures and reflect, it all seems like a “blessed blur.”

As the years go by, there are seasons and rhythms of life and ministry. Times of plodding and waiting give way to flurries of activity and spurts of growth. Months of frustrations and lack of productivity are sometimes followed by great breakthroughs. Through it all, we must keep trusting the Lord. The eternal importance of what we are doing cannot always be measured by completed projects and finished to-do lists. People and pandemics can upend our best laid plans. While we all want to get back to “normal life,” God is in control, and He is teaching us to be sensitive to His leading. Here are just a few examples of this.

A lady in our church runs a daycare in her home. Every day this summer, she takes care of 12-16 kids (and you thought you had a busy summer). When I asked her about doing a weekly Bible club with her kids, she agreed right away. Now, every week, she gathers them all in her backyard, and I get to come and teach them songs, share Bible stories, play games, and tell them that Jesus loves them. Were this a “normal” summer, I would have been too busy to be with these kids. Thankfully, God’s plans are not mine. Pray that as I unfold the gospel before them that many of them would understand and be saved.

Craft time at Bible club

The circumstances this year have forced us to become part time videographers. For each deaf service, we record a Bible reading and sermon, plus we often add special music, a testimony, or a drama. This past week, we were recording in our back yard. Our house is separated from our neighbors with a half-wall, which has afforded us many talks with them as we hang out laundry, water our plants, etc. On this day, Sarah was dressed “normally” as a modern-day person, but I was dressed up as Jesus. We had set up the camera, hit “record”, and just started signing the scene when two people peeked over the fence from the neighbor’s yard. We kept the scene going, and the neighbors just stared at us moving our hands around at each other with David dressed in a tunic. They must have wondered what in the world was going on! So, who knows? Maybe that slightly embarrassing situation will open a chance to explain what we were doing and how they can know Jesus as their Savior, too.

Drama for deaf church

As God would have it, I had a divinely appointed interruption even while writing this letter. I am working at church today, and just as I finished the paragraph above, I got a phone call from a telemarketer. I had to step outside, because I don’t have good reception inside our building. After trading pleasantries for a minute, we concluded our call. But at just that moment, an elderly lady who lives in one of the apartments above our building motioned for me to come over and talk with her. I honestly thought that she was going to complain about the noise we make. But as I approached, her voice quivered and there were tears in her eyes. “Could you give me something to read about God? I just don’t know what to do…” She briefly shared with me about her cancer, her sick husband, and people who have hurt her in the past. I listened, pointed her to God and His Word, and gave her a Bible and some other materials to read. It was a sobering reminder of how we are surrounded by lost and despairing people (even people who live directly above our church building and hear us singing every Sunday). Would you pray for this lady, Fátima, that she would be saved and find in Jesus all the hope her broken heart needs.

Thank you for being our partners in ministry for the past ten years. We look forward to seeing what the future will hold knowing that God is good and is in control. May God fill you with His joy today.

Thank you for praying for us!

Thankful for 10 years in Portugal!

 

July Prayer Letter: Together Again

What a joy it is has been to gather with our church family in person! After twelve weeks of online-only services, we have been allowed to gather in small numbers again. In order to make room for everyone who wants to attend church, we are having two services each Sunday and livestreaming as well. It is a different feeling. Before, there would be plenty of hugs, kisses, and hearty handshakes. We would cram into every space available and fellowship over food. For now, we are following government regulations and keeping our distance physically, but our hearts are strengthened by being in each other’s presence and worshipping together. We’re so thankful that God does not change, and we are happy to be partially back together again. We have even had visitors almost every week! Praise God!

Working together to be together

Last week, I finished teaching Old Testament Survey to a class of nine students, all of whom displayed a great zeal for learning God’s Word. Through Zoom, we have also continued mid-week Bible studies for the whole church, as well as small-group studies for men, women, and teens.

For deaf church, we pre-record an entire service with music, preaching, and a drama. Then, we meet online to discuss what the deaf learned and to pray together. At the beginning of quarantine, participation was high. But as restrictions have loosened, the deaf are being distracted by everything else again. We are thankful for the spiritual discussions we are having with those who attend. Please pray that God will give the deaf the interest and understanding they need to be saved and to grow.

Most of our summers are jam-packed with camps, mission teams, and activities. This summer is different, but we believe that God is still at work. Fewer big events mean more time for one-on-one conversations. We’ve also been able to complete some little projects that have remained undone for years. We hope to be allowed to do our outdoor Bible club for kids, and we have been encouraging and counseling many people on the phone or through video calls. Pray for us that God would give us great creativity and open doors to know how best to move forward.

A beautiful aspect of the recent pandemic has been the testimonies of our church members. Many share how God has stretched their faith. One member said, “I’ve never read my Bible so much in my life!” Some have faced enormous personal or financial struggles. Rather than staying home having pity parties, they have been encouraging and serving others. One young mother who has had very challenging circumstances said, “At first I was frustrated that more people weren’t calling me to encourage me. Then, God reminded me that I wasn’t here to be served, but to serve.” Ever since, she has been calling and messaging other ladies in the church, including Sarah, to bless and encourage them.

Speaking of a blessing, we have one more praise to share. Lord-willing, we will have a very special Christmas present this year: another Baby Booth. Mommy and Daddy are excited, and Brother and Sister are over the moon.

Next month, we celebrate 10 years of ministry in Portugal. God has been so good to us in providing partners like you who pray for us faithfully, give generously, and care deeply for the work of the gospel here. Thank you for journeying with us.

Looking forward to greater things!

David and Sarah

Laura and Samuel enjoying a beautiful Portugal sunset

Thank you for praying for us.

 

May Prayer Letter: Apart, Yet Together

“So, how was your quarantine?” After 7 weeks of “sheltering at home”, Portugal has entered Stage 1 of resuming a new normal. Churches can reopen with restrictions starting May 31, so our church will have spent at least 12 weeks in isolation. Though the long-term effects of Coronavirus are yet to be seen, we are happy to report short-term spiritual effects have been positive here in Montijo, Portugal.

All of our church services have continued through livestream, and both hearing and deaf people in other parts of the country have been able to watch the services in Portuguese and Portuguese Sign Language. Besides our regular-attending members, we have many more watching at least part of the service each week.

Gathering online

Through Zoom, we have had interactive Bible studies for women and teens. The men have “prayer breakfast” online; they just bring their own breakfast to the computer. David continues teaching his seminary classes online. For deaf services, our coworkers, Amanda, Joyce and Cal, have helped make videos. Each person contributes the drama, Bible reading, or special music, which we add to the sermon to make a complete service. In the past, our attendance at deaf church was very low. But now that we are putting the church service videos online, more deaf people from various cities are seeing the services. Afterward, we do an interactive Zoom call, where we discuss what they learned, share prayer requests, and pray together. Between the video and the call, we are reaching deaf people who couldn’t or wouldn’t attend services before, and interest is picking up.

Audiovisual team getting ready to broadcast!

Various church members are stepping up to serve as well. Some are helping David serve at a local food bank. Others provide food, furniture, or help with bills during these months of unexpected unemployment. One member is leading an online ladies’ Bible study. Some of us have made Bible story videos for the children in our church, and we made a video thanking frontline workers for their contribution to our community. Many people from our church have shared Bible verses that God has used to help them trust Him these past two months.

Helping our community

We are also thankful for these days we have had at home. Most Portuguese families used to leave early for their commute to work, and only saw their families late at night. Now, we see our neighbors spending more time at home with their children. Our family has appreciated more time together as well, and our kids are THRILLED that school is at home for the rest of the year. We have loved the extra time together to work on projects, to do more reading, and to start memorizing Psalm 103 each night after supper.

Please pray that we will continue to grow. We need great wisdom for each step of society reopening, and what that looks like for our church. Pray that the positive effects over the past few months will remain, that our priorities will stay right, and that we won’t run back to the distractions that used to vie for our affections. May God guide you and each of us as we seek His will over these next few months of reentry.

Keep up with us on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/boothsinportugal 

March Prayer Letter: Good News!

“Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield.” Proclaiming the gospel is always urgent and needful, but I especially felt that on Sunday as I preached and Sarah interpreted the message from Psalm 33 to a live audience of three (Laura, Samuel, and Genilson, who is one of the church’s deacons). Perhaps like you are doing this Sunday, we livestreamed our service because we were not able to gather as we normally do. While the setting was different, the message was as critically important as ever. In the end, over a hundred people watched the message live, and many hundreds have watched at least part of the message later in the week. While we long to gather again soon, we trust that many people will hear the gospel and be saved as a result of this pandemic. We are also praying that, as a church, God will spur us on to show the hope and love only Christ can offer.

This month has been filled with many other good things as well:

  • Our mission trip to North Africa was tremendous. It was a joy to give more than 100 New Testaments, books, and tracts to the believers there. Beyond that, the experience moved our hearts and helped each of us see that God is moving in the lives of many Muslims calling them to faith in Jesus. We are praying that here in Portugal we can be a base, sending supplies and teams to help the workers there.

The materials we brought

Mission team

  • Baptism Sundays are always special. On March 1st, four  teenagers named Patricia, Laura, Alexandre, and Filipe, gave their testimonies of salvation before their friends, family, and a packed church. It was moving to see how God is working in their lives, and seeing people baptized is absolutely one of the best moments ever. Praise God!

Baptism

  • While we are homebound for at least the next couple of weeks, our work continues on. I continue to teach my seminary class online. Sarah is recording videos of Bible stories for kids in the church to watch at home. Our services and Bible studies are continuing on as scheduled, albeit online. We are making countless phone calls and sending messages to encourage people and seeking to help where we can. God is sovereign and good, and we are hopeful that, in the end, we will be able to say with the apostle Paul that, the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.”

Preaching the gospel to an online audience

Online seminary class

We know that each of you are living challenging days as well, and we pray for you. In times like these, we gain a greater perspective of how precious all of our friends and partners are. We love you! May God be with you!

When you have to stay at home, you make a tent in the living room.

February Prayer Letter: Asking for greater faith and joy

Have you ever prayed for something and seen God answer in a mighty way? It’s wonderful, isn’t it? But then, as time goes on, have you found yourself resenting or feeling weighed down by the very thing for which you prayed? Let me explain my experience, and maybe it will make sense.

Recently, while reading through Exodus, I was struck by how God’s blessing can quickly be followed by one of two responses: grumbling and division or faith and obedience. Days after God’s mighty deliverance from Egypt, the Israelites were grumbling and wanting to turn back. This was convicting and made me think about my life. Almost ten years ago we left for Portugal. We prayed fervently that God would help us reach people and plant churches. In amazing ways, God has answered that prayer: He has sent many people, established a church, and begun a work among the deaf. But with these answers to prayer, I sometimes find myself grumbling.

  • I long for people to respond to the gospel, and then resent having to love and care for those people’s problems and hurts.
  • I pray for a church, and then grumble about the people in it.
  • I get frustrated about investing so much time and effort in a person who falls away, while I fail to see the good things God is doing in so many other people’s lives.
  • I treat the work God has given me as a burden rather than as a privilege and calling.

Now before you think we are in despair and full of bitterness, know that we really are doing well. Each stage of life and ministry has its special challenges, and I am growing more aware of how these attitudes can creep into my life if I am not careful. Pray that God will protect us and give us joy and confidence in Him. Now… back to our regularly scheduled programming.

  • In two weeks, I am leading a team from our church on a mission trip to North Africa. We are praying that God will help us reach out and grow in our giving to missions. Pray for our team that our trip will be fruitful.
  • Three men from the church started taking classes at the seminary. I praise God for their eagerness to study the Bible and to grow in their abilities to serve the church. Pray for Filipe, Carlos, and Leandro that God will help them persevere in their studies and grow in grace and knowledge. Pray for me as I continue teaching Old Testament at the seminary as well.
  • Our co-worker, Amanda, is teaching a sign language class to a group of 10-12 hearing people in our church. This is a wonderful opportunity, and we are praying that God will use this class to raise up more people to reach the deaf.

Sign language class

  • Very soon, five or six teenagers in the church will be baptized. It is exciting to see them grow in their faith and in their eagerness to give a public testimony of their faith through baptism.

We believe that God is doing great things. We ask that you would pray for God to increase our faith and give us an even greater joy for the days ahead. Thank you! We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Merry Christmas from the Booths!

Merry Christmas! We hope you have a wonderful season celebrating the birth of Jesus. We are grateful for the evidence of Jesus working in the lives of people in Portugal today.

Teaching the discipleship class for those who will be baptized soon is one of the highlights of my week. The six teenagers in the class all show a great hunger for God’s Word and a desire to grow in their faith. Pray that they would all be bold in their testimony and faithful in their walk with the Lord.

Discipleship class

The hearing church continues to grow. Many Sundays, we have more than 100 people in attendance. Each step we take, we are treading new territory. We’ve never done this before, and we are trying to learn how to grow leaders and delegate as quickly as possible. For example, in the past, when we have had ladies’ teas or Bible studies, Sarah has done most of the preparation, and many women cancelled at the last minute. We now have a large enough group that Sarah can divide the tasks among various women, and they recruit helpers in their areas. For the meeting in November, each woman brought food; Carla and her team decorated; Rute led the music; Michelle and her assistants produced the craft; and Isabel prepared a fantastic message on Biblical gratitude. Twenty-two women attended, and each said how much she needed the reminder to thank God in all circumstances. Sarah was touched by the message and by seeing the women serving God and encouraging one another.

Ladies’ Bible Study

For the deaf church services, we never know how many people will come. There can be one person, there can be fifteen people, or any number in between. After low attendance this Fall, we were happy to see more deaf people at our Christmas service. Some were old friends we hadn’t seen since furlough, and some were first-time visitors. We’re grateful for each one, and we continue to pray for those who have not come to church in a long time (Sergio, Carlos, Rui, Zeza, and others). The longer we have worked with the deaf here, the more we have seen the need for prayer. We believe that someday there will be an awakening among the deaf in Portugal, and when that happens, we will know that it was all of God. For those of you who have faithfully interceded over the years, thank you. Please keep praying for that breakthrough.

Deaf Christmas party

In our town, God continues to send family after family, many of whom arrive from Brazil with nothing more than a suitcase of possessions. They come to church within days of arriving, with hearts ready to worship and hands ready to serve. The church members have been wonderful about anticipating needs and giving generously to help. This Saturday is our annual “bazaar”, a Christmas party in which church members bring clothes, toys and household items they no longer need, so that anyone from the church or community can take them for free. We also provide Christmas snacks, games, and the Gospel. Sunday is our church’s Christmas program as well. Please pray that God uses these events to bring the Good News of His Son to the Portuguese people who still need to know Him. We are grateful for our Savior’s birth, and we are grateful for each of you who prays for us. Have a joyous, hope-filled Christmas!

October Prayer Letter: Challenges and Opportunities

Imagine for a moment that your church’s attendance had doubled over the past two years. That would be great, right? And that is exactly what has happened with us. But now suppose that 90% of the new people that began attending your church had moved to your town from England. While you speak the same language and share many common traits, there are also significant differences. The new people speak with a British accent, and drink tea instead of coffee at fellowship time. Instead of talking about college football, they talk about soccer and Brexit. The list could go on. While you are all brothers and sisters in Christ, there are cultural barriers. Where there are differences, there is the opportunity for Christian love and unity to shine, just as there can also be the potential for misunderstandings and conflict.

As I was thinking about our experience, this was the closest example I could come up with to describe to you what is happening here. Many Brazilians are immigrating to Portugal, and every month brings several new families who have just moved to our town. Brazilians speak the same language, but with a different accent. Culturally, they are as different from the Portuguese as Americans are from the British. Thus, our church is growing in number and in cultural diversity. Most Sundays now, we have more Brazilians than Portuguese. Don’t for a moment think that this is a complaint. On the contrary, we see this as an opportunity, and we are grateful for new members who desire to serve the Lord. At the same time, we are aware of the challenges. We’re doing our best to be a church that maintains its Portuguese identity, and yet is welcoming to all who come. We ask that you pray with us in this way:

  • Just this past Sunday, we had a new members lunch where we had more than 25 people come expressing interest in joining the church. Pray that God would help us receive these new families well, and that all the members of the church would find their place in using their gifts and serving the Lord.
  • Pray that God would unite our hearts and that our church would be a brilliant example of Christian love and unity. Pray that God would guard us against division and cliquishness.
  • Pray that God would keep us focused. With a growing church, there are many needs that can veer us away from the mission God has given us. Pray that we would continue to focus on evangelism and church-planting. In Acts chapter 8, the church in Jerusalem was scattered, and the gospel spread as a result. Pray that God would help us leverage this growth to better reach Portugal with the gospel.

New members lunch

In our work with the deaf, we are facing a different challenge – building the practice of faithfully gathering together as the church. There are many who have attended our deaf church off and on throughout the years, and yet getting them to commit to faithfully gathering is a challenge we have yet to overcome. The good news is that, over the years, many dozens of deaf in Portugal have had the gospel clearly explained to them in their language and have access to a church where they can gather to learn more or to grow in their new faith in Christ. The bad news is that we still have many Sundays where just a few, or even none, will show up. Pray for an awakening in the lives of the deaf, and pray for us that God would give us great perseverance and wisdom to know how to move forward. As always, know how grateful we are to God for you. We feel as the apostle Paul did when he wrote, “We give thanks to God always for you all… Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Church anniversary service