What a week!

What a week! We just had the joy of hosting a team of ten people from our sending church, Harvest Baptist Church of the Deaf. In the seven days they were here, God did great things through them. Here it goes!

They encouraged and loved our family. Sometimes, the people we are trying to reach aren’t concerned about their own spiritual destiny. We warn them and encourage them to be saved, but it seems like the only people who care about them are our coworkers and ourselves. When the team came this week, they showed such a desire to see the deaf saved, that it touched our hearts to remember how much others care for them as well. It was a blessing to swap stories and fellowship with people from the same culture with the same mission heart.

The team from Harvest Baptist Church of the Deaf

They helped us build relationships. We are hearing. No matter how well we learn Portuguese Sign Language or how much time we spend with the deaf, our hearing status is always a roadblock. If we approach deaf clubs or deaf schools asking to do a presentation, they tell us no. However, when we have a group of deaf people from another country wanting to speak in their club or school, they are more willing to say yes. Two deaf associations let the group share, which led to some first-time visitors at deaf church. We have tried for 3 years to do a presentation in the deaf school that our son attends. God used this group to let us in for the first time. Though it is a public school, and explaining the gospel is not allowed, Pastor Rempel briefly told the students, “Jesus loves you”. Most of the students have hearing parents who don’t sign. When they go home each evening, they have almost no one who communicates with them. When Pastor told them of Jesus’ love, it was, for many, the first time they’d seen that message in their language.

At a deaf school

They shared the gospel. Our pastor, Reggie Rempel, preached and shared his testimony throughout the week. His preaching was clear and powerful: it conveyed the urgency of salvation and the depth of God’s love. But it wasn’t just Pastor Rempel preaching. Every team member shared the gospel personally with the deaf that they met at activities and at church.

They learned about Portuguese culture and ministry. The team members came with no personal agenda. We showed them a castle, fed them pastries, and told them about some Portuguese traditions. In each situation, rather than complaining about how different things were or demanding their own preferences, they happily tried new things. When plans changed, they adapted and worked well together. Most of all, whenever they entered a ministry setting, they went right up to people and tried communicating to reach them. They were all about others rather than self.

The deaf retreat

They rejoiced when people were saved. On Saturday, we hosted a special retreat where we had games, food, signed music, and preaching. In the days leading up to this event, we invited everyone we could. On the day of the retreat, we had 13 people come. After preaching, Pastor Rempel spoke with two men, Eugenio and Carlos, about the gospel and their need to be saved. Carlos is Denise’s husband. You may remember she was baptized just this past year. Eugenio is a young man we have known for a long time. Though he has come to church frequently over the years, he has seemed somewhat ambivalent to spiritual matters. At the retreat, they asked to receive Jesus as Savior. Though they both still have much to learn, we rejoice that God is working in their hearts, and we look forward to seeing how He continues to do so.

Pastor Rempel with Eugenio and Carlos
Grateful for Pastor and Mrs. Rempel
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News Update

We actually wrote this prayer letter three weeks ago, but forgot to post it our site until now. Sorry!

For years, you have prayed for the deaf in Portugal. You have followed our slow progress in building relationships, sharing the gospel, and longing for people to be saved. We have great news to share! Recently, we invited the deaf to a special evangelistic event held here in Lisbon. For weeks, we prayed and persistently reminded them. Amazingly, on the day of the event, 18 deaf came. This was the most deaf we have ever had for any activity or service.

Our group of deaf

As I sat there, watching Sarah interpret the sermon, I wondered how they would respond. Most of them had heard the gospel before many times. Would this be the moment when it all “clicked”? For 25 minutes, the preacher gave a clear Bible message. Then the moment came for the invitation, “Would you repent of your sin and turn to Jesus Christ and trust Him as your Lord and Savior?”Our hearts leapt with joy and excitement when several rose from their seats and made their way forward. Rui and his wife, Fátima, Sérgio, Margarida, and Isabel all publicly professed their faith in Christ.Rejoice with us! Praise God for this historic moment! Pray fervently that this would be fruit that remains and that each of these professions of faith would be genuine.

But the good news doesn’t stop there. We had over fifty hearing people also come to this same event. Two teenage girls, Paula and Patricia, invited four of their friends to come.The two girls had been praying and hoping their friends would be saved and, sure enough, during the invitation, Paula and Patricia had the opportunity to lead their friends to the Lord.What made this an especially sweet moment was seeing people we have led to the Lord in the past now bringing others. Multiplication is a beautiful thing, and it reminds us of the chorus, “If you tell two people, and they tell two people, then four more people will know.”

In our last update, we mentioned how many new people have begun attending church, especially families from Brazil. Receiving so many new people at once is a good challenge to have, and we have been praying that God would guide us to grow in a healthy way. This past Sunday we had a new members meeting and lunch where we shared the church’s vision with those who want to join or be baptized. It was an encouraging afternoon, and it is heartening to see people want to commit to a local church and use their gifts for God’s glory.

New members’ meeting

With so many answers to prayer, it leaves us with new prayer requests and opportunities. 1.Pray for us as we disciple and follow-up with those who recently made professions of faith. 2.Pray that these good things would spark even more to come. 3.Pray that God would give us wisdom as we transition the hearing church from being a church-plant to being a self-sufficient, autonomous, multiplying church. Finally, thank you for sticking with us and for praying for us faithfully over so many years. Getting to share moments like these with you causes our hearts to overflow with joy. May God bless!

Ready for another Sunday!Re

News from Portugal

It’s one of those days outside: one minute it´s raining and blowing, the next it’s calm and sunny, then back to overcast again. It’s as though the weather can´t decide if it is winter, spring, or summer. The weather reflects our current work situation. We are doing all our regular school-year activities, and in spare half-hours between events, we are planning and prepping spring and summer outreach. The grunt work now will hopefully pave the way for harvest in a few months. So, what is the current and future ministry forecast?

Every week, the hearing church is receiving Brazilian immigrants. The current financial and security situation of Brazil is causing many to move to Portugal, and several are coming to church just days after arriving in the country. We are thankful for these families, and need wisdom for how to help with their physical and spiritual needs, plus how to integrate them into the church body, so they can grow and serve. With the many new families (both Portuguese and Brazilian) who have come over the past year, there are also possibilities for misunderstandings and conflict.

Together as a church this past Sunday

However, there is nothing like God’s Word to bring people together and build a church. I’ve preached a series on prayer, the 23rd Psalm, and on ministering to one another. We are praying for unity within the body, so that we can grow together and effectively reach our community.

Speaking of reaching out, we are grateful for the people in our church who are already seeing their co-workers, friends, and family members as their mission field. Thursday night’s prayer meeting was full of testimonies of people witnessing and burdened for the lost.  We have a special outreach planned around Easter. Would you please pray for the people of our church 1) to be unified, and 2) to be used by God to individually reach the people He has put in our lives?

A recent youth activity

Please also pray for the deaf church. One month we see a dozen come to church, the next only a couple. They are so easily kept away by things of the world. Please pray for the few deaf who are saved to grow and be a light among their deaf friends. Please also pray that God will give interest and determination to the unsaved deaf for them to come to deaf church, watch the videos of the Bible translated into Portuguese Sign Language, and seek God who created them. Please pray especially for Manuela. She meets weekly with Sarah to study the Bible. This month, they will complete the panorama of the Old Testament, all of which Manuela is “hearing” for the first time through Sarah’s hands.

As we minister each day and plan for the future, we want our plans to be God´s plans. Please pray for us to know and do His will with current events (church services, prayer breakfasts, teaching Bible in the public schools, teaching seminary, Bible studies, etc.) and with upcoming plans (Easter week outreach, deaf and hearing mission teams, missions week, etc.).

Finally, our co-workers, Dave and Michelle Wears and their family, are getting ever closer to finishing their deputation and beginning their ministry here. Pray that they will be able to begin their ministry here in Portugal within the next few months. Lots of things are happening, and we believe this could be a breakthrough year. Thank you for your encouragement and partnership with us.

David and Sarah

Just finished teaching Old Testament Survey to this class of great students.
Running wires and cables at church to improve our sound system.
Laura and Samuel helping out at Deaf church.

Here’s a message I preached while back in America over Christmas.

January Prayer Letter

2017 ended on an encouraging note, and 2018 began with a time of rest and refreshment. Let’s catch you up on where we are.

In December, we had our Deaf service and Christmas party. After a year of up and down attendance, it was a blessing to see twelve deaf present. Once again, we shared the gospel and sang of Christ’s birth, but there was something else encouraging. Vitor, a young deaf man who is saved, stood before the whole group and gave a testimony. It was especially well received among the deaf because one of their own was speaking to them, and not just a hearing missionary like myself. After the service, I asked if he would share again at the next deaf service in January. Two weeks ago, he shared his testimony of salvation and showed a video of when he was baptized. His vibrant witness and joy in knowing Jesus opened up a spirited conversation among all of the deaf about Heaven, Hell, and salvation. Pray that Vitor’s testimony would be used of God to convict many deaf of their need to respond to the Gospel. We see an awakening fire beginning to kindle and come to life among the deaf. Pray that 2018 will be a year of great victory.

Vitor

While you have read our prayer letters throughout the year, we thought we would just summarize some of the blessings we experienced this past year:

  • We began a deaf service in a second location, which has helped to revitalize the work with the deaf.
  • In the hearing church, we began a Sunday school program. Now, every week we have five classes learning God’s Word together.
  • We baptized five people and added twelve new members to the church.
  • The church began giving to missions and made its first mission trip.
  • The leadership within the church is growing stronger, and many more people are serving in different ministries.

Take a moment, and praise God with us! Great things He has done.

In our last letter, we asked you to pray for Luis, the boy with the brain tumor who was baptized. Until recently, it seemed his condition was hopeless. However, to everyone’s great surprise, his most recent MRI showed that the tumor had shrunk by at least 30%. No doctor expected this, but we believe that God is able to work a miracle. Please keep praying for Luis.

Luis

One final blessing was that we returned to the States for five weeks and spent Christmas with family. While our time was short, it was enough for us to visit lots of friends and family and even a few of our partner churches. While most of the time we are separated by thousands of miles, it is a tremendous blessing to know that so many people are praying for us and care deeply about God’s work here. Thank you!

Grateful for good friends

While the past year was filled with blessings, we pray for God to do an even greater work this year. Pray that God would give us strength, wisdom, vision, protection, and an ever-growing love for Christ.

Onward for God’s glory,

David and Sarah

Enjoying a snowy day in Michigan

November Prayer Letter

This Thanksgiving, our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude for all that God has done recently. Our table is loaded with great things to share with you, so let’s dig in!

Mission trip: Earlier this month, I went with three men in the church to North Africa on our first mission trip. We had three goals:  to see what God is doing in this region dominated by Islam, to encourage the brothers and sisters in Christ that we met, and to deliver over 170 Christian books. It was the first mission trip for each of the three men, and God burdened our hearts as we saw countless people who have never heard the gospel. While the trip itself was exciting, it was also an important step for the church. This year, we began to give to missions, we sent out our first mission team, and we have a much stronger vision for what God can do through us to reach other people with the gospel. It is a beautiful sign of growth to see a mission work reach the point where it is now giving and sending to reach people in other parts of the world.

The mission team

Deaf service: This year has been filled with ups and downs with the deaf. On the good side, we have seen at least two people make a profession of faith, one of whom was baptized this past Sunday. On the other hand, we have also seen a decrease in attendance at our deaf services; most weeks we would have just 3-4 people. In our efforts to encourage the deaf to come back to church, we decided to start a second deaf service in a new location where we would be closer to where many of them live. Our first service had… two deaf come. Despite this, we all prayed for God to work and bring more people the next time. God answered, and at our second service we had 10 deaf show up. This was tremendously encouraging, and we are seeing signs of growth in the lives of the deaf that go beyond just coming to church. Don’t stop praying for the deaf in Portugal! We are hungry to see more deaf saved and the growth of a deaf church.

Baptism: Up until this past Sunday, we had baptized five people in our church. Praise God, we doubled that number this week. Each of the five people that were baptized has a special story to tell. Here is a snapshot testimony of each one:

Helena is a quiet and serious girl whose parents are Brazilian missionaries here in Portugal. Thus, she grew up hearing the gospel and was saved last year. She and her whole family are a blessing to us.

Luis is a twelve year old boy whose stepdad, Mario, was the first person ever baptized at our church. Pray for Luis, not just spiritually, but physically. He has a brain tumor that is growing rapidly and is proving very hard to treat. We are thankful that, whether in life or death, Jesus is his hope. Pray with us for God to heal Luis and to strengthen his family during this difficult time.

Patricia is an incredible story of God’s grace. Back in the summer of 2012, we had a mission team come, and they did a VBS in a park in right in front of Patricia’s apartment. She was there that very first day the message of the gospel was sung and proclaimed in that park, and she has been coming ever since. But now, she is the one leading those songs and helping do the Bible clubs. She is the first person in her family to be saved, so pray for the salvation of her parents, brother, and grandparents, all of whom were at church this past Sunday to see her baptism. We love seeing people saved who are the first ones in their families!

Denise is the first deaf person we have seen saved and baptized. Our co-worker, Amanda, has spent countless hours discipling and encouraging her new faith. This was a moment of celebration for all of us, and we pray for many more deaf to be saved and baptized in the years to come.

We’ve mentioned Paula several times in our letters. She was a practicing Catholic up until a year and a half ago. Two of her nieces (who are saved) were visiting her and suggested she begin attending our church. She has faithfully come ever since, and God has opened her eyes to the truth of the gospel. Pray for her faith to grow stronger and pray for the salvation of her husband and children.

Well, there is much more to share, but we want to end this letter by expressing our gratitude for you. You’ve had an important part in all the good things we shared with you today. Thank you for praying, caring for us, and for partnering with us.

Filled with Thanksgiving!

Watch our baptism video!

October Prayer Letter

Happy Fall! Both the school year and the fall weather start a couple months later in Portugal than in the States, so we are just getting into the swing of school activities. Laura and Samuel are each doing a combination of Portuguese school plus homeschool in English. Laura is exploring 1st grade, and Samuel is proud to be in K4.

Summer ended beautifully here as God brought a few more families to our church. A soccer player named Raul and a young couple, Vitor and Lorena, just moved to Montijo and are faithfully attending our church. The church is growing in number. In fact, it is overwhelming looking across the congregation and seeing each person’s needs and how we’d like to be investing more in each of them. Each week, we are meeting with individuals to do Bible study and/or counseling. We’re pleased to see people in the church connecting with and investing in each other through Sunday School and men’s and women’s prayer breakfasts. On Sunday, an older lady in the church told how happy she was when a younger lady in the church visited her on Saturday. They were both lonely, and both encouraged each other. It is beautiful to see moments when the body of Christ is working together as it should.

At the same time, we pray for God to guard against division and strife. As the church grows, there are more opinions and misunderstandings. Please pray for the church to stay unified and healthy. We are also encouraging the church to look outward to reach the unsaved of our town and world. This month, our church will take its first mission trip! I’m thrilled to lead a small group of adults to North Africa. Please pray for protection and wisdom, and, most of all, for God to use us for His glory.

Next week, the deaf church takes its next step: adding a second location for deaf services. Our current deaf church services are held in Montijo, about 20 miles south of Lisbon. Many deaf live in our town, and it is a convenient location for them. However, for the deaf who live in Lisbon and do not have a car, the public transportation on a Sunday can take more than 1 ½ hours each way. Thankfully, another church in Lisbon has a heart for the deaf and is offering their building to host deaf services as well. So, the deaf now have many options for learning the Bible: biweekly deaf services in Lisbon or Montijo; weekly interpreted services in Montijo; weekly deaf Sunday School in Montijo; one-on-one Bible studies; and Bible videos through our website. We are thankful for the coworkers God has given us to reach the deaf. Please pray that, as we continue to plant and water among the deaf, God will open their understanding and their hearts and save them.

In conclusion, we ask you to pray for us in these ways: 1. Pray for our marriage and our family that God will give us strength and keep us close to Him. 2. Pray for the new deaf services we will be starting. Pray that Zeza, Carli, Sergio, Carlos, and others will attend. 3. Pray for the hearing church to continue to grow stronger so that eventually we can begin planting another church. 4. Pray that we would see more souls saved and lives changed by the power of Christ. We are grateful for you!

Praising God for seven years in Portugal

Seven years ago, we stepped off the plane and began our lives and ministry in Portugal. It was just the two of us back then, filled with the hopes and dreams that any new missionary has. While we’re still a long way from being grizzled veterans, we’d like to think we’ve learned a thing or two since that first day. So, in honor of this momentous occasion, here are “Seven things we’ve learned in our first seven years”:

  1. God is working in ways both visible and invisible. We see the work that God calls us to do every day. We know the people we have taught, the prayers we have prayed, and outreaches we have prepared. Sometimes, we see immediate fruit from those efforts, and it is beautiful. But, we also see the work God is doing in other avenues. Once in a while, someone seeks us out, because the Holy Spirit is convicting him, and he wants answers. Another person will come to us wanting to hear more of what she once heard from another missionary or pastor years before. We see only what is before our eyes, but we love the glimpses God gives us of what He is doing in myriad ways in hearts in our town and around the world.
  2. The Parable of the Sower is so true. Recently, we skimmed through prayer letters we’ve written over the years. It’s sad to see that some people who have made professions of faith in the past no longer come to church or display any spiritual life. Today, we still celebrate with great joy any time people profess faith in Christ. However, we pray more fervently than ever that their conversion would be genuine and that they would be fruit that remains.
  3. Most weeks, the work is mundane. We fill our schedules with activities and people, hoping to see the Holy Spirit break through in people’s lives. While we cherish the more spiritual-looking moments (a salvation, a baptism, etc.), there are many moments that are simply “taking care of business”. We spend two hours in line at the customs office retrieving a package of Portuguese Bibles. Having people over for a meal and counseling requires the less glamorous tasks of grocery shopping and cooking. We prepare lessons, have Bible studies, meet with people, pay bills, clean the church, send messages, make phone calls, give people rides, type these prayer letters, and do all the day-to-day acts of life. In the years of mundane, we see the miracles God does in our midst.
  4. Growth is rarely steady and consistent. It seems that it comes in fits and starts. One year you may double in attendance, and the next you may lose people. One day, the person that seemed to be doing so well won’t even answer the phone to talk with you. Sometimes, you have a season when everything and everybody seems to be looking up. Other times, you plod through month after month feeling like you are crossing a desert. While progress is impossible to predict, our faithfulness, prayerfulness, and determination must not waver. “We will reap if we do not faint.”
  5. The people are the hardest and best part ministry. Often, the missionary approach to people is counterintuitive. How do you respond to the lonely old lady who calls you every day to talk about her bladder problem? What do you do with the church lady who hurts you and everyone else with her tongue? How do you treat the children who ask for a ride and a hug, but you can see the lice crawling on their head? You avoid them, of course! That’s the natural thing for any of us to do. Even though we’re missionaries, we feel the same way you do. The phone calls drive us nuts, the mean lady hurts us and our kids, and we hate getting lice as much as you do. But, instead of running away, we run toward these people in obedience to God. We listen to and pray for the lady who is lonely. We get to know the mean lady and gently confront her with the sin root of her words. We learn about lice prevention and treatment, and teach our children (and ourselves) that a soul being saved is worth some itching on our part. People hurt us, make us dirty, and mess up our preferred schedules, but they are also the only thing we can take to heaven. We have cried from sadness over choices people have made, but we have cried so many more tears of joy over seeing people be saved, be baptized, and choose to obey our Lord.
  6. There is nothing more encouraging than knowing people are praying for us. When one of you writes to us that you are praying for the people in our town, our church, our marriage, or our children, it encourages us more than you can know. We are people just like you. God is our Great Comforter. However, in the absence of family or our best friends, just a word from you that you are praying lifts our spirits and helps us keep going another day.
  7. There is no place we would rather be than right here. Do we miss American food? Yes. Do we miss speaking English and not being the foreigners? Yes. Would it be easier to stay in America? Probably. But, we believe Portugal is where God wants us, so there is nowhere else we would rather be. We have perfect peace that we are in His will, and that is always the best place to be.

We arrived seven years ago with a lot of dreams, all of which God has allowed to come true: He has started a hearing church in our town; He has saved some deaf people and begun a work among them; and He has given us children. We are humbled and grateful because of the work He has done here in Portugal, and we look forward to seeing what else He will do.

Great things He has done! July Update

What a great summer! We asked you to pray for all the activities. Are you ready to hear what God has been doing?

In June, we had a group from Texas come to work with the deaf. They did presentations at 2 deaf associations and our church, hung out with deaf people in several settings, and even held an overnight retreat for the deaf. Boy, did Satan ever fight this team! Just weeks before they came, the team’s lead pastor broke his leg in two places, keeping him and his wife from coming, and reducing the team to just 4 people. Sickness hit our family, having us in the ER twice and knocking one of us out of participating the first two days. Strange situations happened with cars, keys, etc. The Portuguese deaf who had been excited about the team coming suddenly had every excuse not to attend the meetings. It felt like Satan was doing anything to keep this team from ministering here. Despite it all, we prayed and pushed forward. And God surprised us. Because the team was with us, we got special permission to attend a senior citizens event at the deaf association. The whole time, we felt like it was a big clique, and we were in no way wanted there. We tried chatting, but most of the deaf there preferred watching TV or playing checkers or billiards with their cronies.

At a deaf association

One deaf man was friendly, though. He is from India, and his name is Nileshdarji. We invited him to our deaf retreat that weekend. We had planned for up to 30 people. God brought 3 . . . But one of them was Nileshdarji. For 2 days, we had almost uninterrupted time to talk to Him about the Lord. He was Hindu, but on Sunday he asked Jesus to save him! Since then, he has attended church and Sunday School. We are working with him to make sure he is seeing Jesus as his only Savior, not just adding him as another god in his life. We rejoice in God using the team to reach Nileshdarji! Please pray for his spiritual growth.

Watch Sarah sing, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” in Portuguese Sign Language

Last week was Bible camp! This year was amazing, in large part because of a mission team that came from Kansas. They couldn’t speak Portuguese, so they couldn’t minister directly with all the campers, but they served in dozens of ways to free up the missionaries to work with the campers. Because the team cooked, washed dishes, life guarded at the lake, set up games, pitched tents, and baby-sat our own children, we missionaries could sit down with campers to talk about their devotional life, swim with campers while talking about their testimony at school, give lessons, lead music, and spend most of the time investing directly in the campers instead of coordinating logistics. It was a beautiful week! Of the 10 campers we brought, 3 of them accepted Jesus as their Savior!

Cooling off in the lake
Hot days at camp! One day it reached 108 degrees.

–Vinicius had heard the gospel all his life. Last year at camp, he felt convicted to receive Jesus as his Savior, but lacked the courage to do so. This week at camp, he asked Jesus to save him, and boldly told of his profession of faith to the whole church this past Sunday.

–Beatriz asked Jesus to save her a couple years ago, because she had seen her sister and her sister’s friend, Joana and Paula, do it. This week, she asked Jesus to save her, not for them, but for herself.

Joana, Beatriz (in the middle), and Paula

–André has visited church and Bible club a few times. All this is new to him, but he asked Jesus to save him this week, too.

–A six-year-old boy, Timóteo, attended kids’ camp a different week, and he got saved, too.

In the end, God used two mission teams and your camp sponsorships. He heard your prayers. In His grace, He saved one man, two teenagers, a boy, and a girl this month. Five more people in Portugal are His children. Thank you! Thank you, God!

Watch our video: “A Recent Sunday”

 

June News

Let’s dive right into the news from Portugal:

School’s out! During the past school year, I taught religion and morality in two schools in our town. (Public schools in Portugal offer these classes as electives). While my classes were small, the time was well spent, as I had many good conversations about the gospel with my students. Plus, teaching in the schools is a good testimony in our community and a way to meet more people. Pray especially for Victoria, a student who would often bring four or five friends along with her to class. We’ve asked prayer for her before, and now we ask again that you would pray for her salvation.

I also taught Old Testament Survey at a seminary. During the fall semester, I taught a class on campus, but during the spring semester I taught through distance learning to ten students in the Azores (islands in the north Atlantic that are a part of Portugal). Every Friday night, I sat in my living room and taught for three hours through a web cam to the students who gathered in three locations on two different islands. Despite the distance, the class went well, and we all enjoyed the experience. I promised the classes that I would come and visit them, and, over the past couple of weeks, I did just that. It was a joy to meet the students face to face and get to preach and teach in their churches on their islands. It was encouraging to see what God is doing in their lives.

Fátima and the pope.  Last month, Pope Francis came to the village of Fátima, Portugal, which is one of the most important shrines in Roman Catholicism. The pope’s visit captivated the attention of most of the country. Millions stopped to watch the proceedings, and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims went by foot to Fátima. Portugal is increasingly secular, but Catholicism remains strong in many parts of the country.

I’ve visited Fátima several times in the past, and always left saddened and overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness. How do you make a difference with something that seems so vast and deeply entrenched in a culture? But this time would be different. I joined an evangelistic team that was doing a special outreach to the pilgrims walking to Fátima. Eight of us spent the day on the side of a road handing out water, coffee, tea, and fruit to the thousands who passed us by. We sang songs, prayed, and handed out gospel bracelets with a tract. It was sad to see the many groups of pilgrims praying to Mary or singing songs to Mary. Mary was receiving all the attention and affection that is due only to Christ. While we will only know in eternity the effect of our work that day, it was a joy to share the gospel and that Christ alone is sufficient for all we need.

Camp and Deaf team. Summer is a new season of ministry filled with camp, Bible clubs, and mission teams. Pray especially for a team from Texas that is coming to work with the Deaf. We will have many activities including an over-night retreat. Pray that this team will be used of God bring an awakening among the Deaf in Portugal. Pray also for the many kids and teenagers that we work with that will be going to camp and Bible clubs.

Speaking of camp, we want to invite you to sponsor a child or a teenager and send them to camp. For the past three summers, many of you have given generously to this ministry.  If you are able to and choose to help, you will receive a personal, handwritten letter from the child or teenager you sponsor, in addition to their picture and a link to see a video recap of the week of camp. Also, each camper is doing a scholarship program where they have to learn verses and do service projects to earn their way to camp. We will have at least 25 kids and teenagers attending several different camps throughout the summer.

Giving is easy. Just click the “give” link below. Any amount is appreciated, but $50 covers the cost of one camper.

Pray that God would bring much fruit in all that is done. As always, we are deeply grateful for your prayer and support. Your prayer and encouragement is the fuel we need to press on and go farther in the work to which God has called us. With love, David and Sarah

Here are some pictures from our time as a family in the Azores:

Teaching the Bible in the Azores Islands

During the past school year, I’ve been teaching Old Testament survey at a seminary here in Portugal. During the fall semester, I taught a class on campus, but during the spring semester I’ve been teaching through distance learning to ten students in the Azores islands. Every Friday night, I sit in my living room and teach for three hours through a web cam to the students who are gathered in three locations on two different islands. Despite the distance and the technical challenges we sometimes face, the class has gone well, and we all have enjoyed the experience.

At the beginning of the semester, I promised the class that I would come and visit them. Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to the island of Faial where I spent a couple days with the students and their church. On Friday, we had our class, except this time I was right there with them instead of on a screen. The next day, I taught a class on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit to a group from the church. It was a good time of fellowship, and I enjoyed getting to know the people better.

Being in the Azores was a change for me. Since we live just outside of Lisbon, we are used to traffic, a fast-paced life, and all the conveniences that come with living in a big city. The island of Faial, where I was at, is remote and isolated.  With a population of 15,000 people, it’s basically a small town on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The scenery is gorgeous and the people are friendly, but there are few born-again Christians.

One of our goals when we came to Portugal was to strengthen churches and train leaders. Teaching this class has enabled me to do just that. It is gratifying to see people growing in their knowledge of Scripture and applying that in ministry in their churches. Thank you for your part in helping make all of this possible.

Horta is the main town on the island of Faial.
There is so much scenery like this.
Cows are a big deal in the Azores.
Beautiful Portugal
I climbed Pico, the tallest mountain in Portugal. Sadly, this was the view I had from the top.
This was the view of Pico I had when I was flying out. Amazing!
The best part of the trip was getting to be with these people. Thanful for a good church proclaiming the gospel on this island.