The rest of the story…

You may not remember by now, but about a year ago I wrote about a man named Pedro who came to church. At the time, we were taking care of a ministry in the north of Portugal for a missionary who was home in the States on furlough. Here’s what I wrote,

About three months ago while I was teaching Sunday school, a man named Pedro stumbled (literally) into church. It was obvious to everyone that he was either drunk or severely hungover. Amazingly, he has returned to church almost every single Sunday since then, usually in various states of intoxication. Sometimes he can be a little disruptive, but overall the people of the church have shown him much kindness and patience. It’s hard to know how much he is taking in, but God’s Word is powerful enough to conquer the hardest hearts.

In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul writes, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? …Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Then he says, “Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.” God’s grace is amazing!
If you could remember to pray for this man, it would really mean a lot to us. He is very sad and needy, but just as God saved people in Corinth, he can save people like Pedro right here in Portugal.

That was written almost a year ago. Then in September, the missionary responsible for the work there, David Loop, called me and said, “I have some sad news. Recently, Pedro passed away.”

Immediately I had a heavy heart. I hoped that during some lucid moment Pedro might have called on Jesus to save him, but I have no evidence of that being the case. Only eternity will tell.

Bro. Loop then continued on and said, “I heard about this news from Pedro’s mother. She wants me to come and visit her. Please pray that God would guide our conversation.”

That morning I prayed that God would work through this sad moment. Later, Bro. Loop called me back and said, “Pedro’s mom is very broken up about her son’s death, but she wants to come to church on Sunday. She said that Pedro spoke very highly of the church and how he enjoyed going there. She remarked about how kind the people were to Pedro and how this was unlike how any other church had treated him.”

And so this elderly, Catholic lady, named Jacqueline, began to attend this little Baptist church. As the months went by, the wonderful truth of the gospel began to penetrate this broken heart.

Last week, I received another phone call from Bro. Loop. “David, I have good news. Today, I went over to Jacqueline’s house. After talking with her and answering her questions, she prayed and made a profession of faith in Christ.”

What joy! I have never met this lady, but I can’t help but be amazed at how God works. When Pedro first walked into church, I cringed thinking that he would disrupt and disturb what was going on. Yet in the end, God used him to enable his mother to hear the gospel and be saved. This reminded again to value every single person God places in my life. I do not know his plans or the way he will use a certain relationship.

To those of you who prayed for Pedro, thank you. You never know how God will answer your prayer.

Good weekend

This has been a good weekend. On Friday our Bible study went very well. We had one visitor and a total of twenty people present. I spoke from John 21, and concluded a series on Peter’s encounters with Jesus. Since we have started our regular Bible studies in November, we have had six visitors come. Three of them are now coming regularly. This is very encouraging.

Saturday morning we had our sign language class. We continue to make progress in learning Portuguese Sign Language. As we have mentioned before, we have sign language class every Saturday at the Lisbon deaf association. During the week, we have a deaf lady, who lives in our town, come over to our house and give us lessons as well. This past week during one of our lessons at home, I told the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. It was my first time telling a Bible story in Portuguese Sign Language. While I have a long way to go before preaching a message, I have to start somewhere.

Saturday afternoon we had lunch with some colleagues and planned for the arrival of a missions team from a deaf church in Tennessee. We are looking forward to their time here and are praying that we will be able to make many good contacts with the deaf through the ministry of these deaf believers.

That evening I went to speak to a youth group at a nearby church. My lesson was on “Angels, Demons, and Satan.” It was a good time, and the youth were very eager to ask questions.

As we go through each day, we are often reminded of how so many people are praying for us. Thank you!

What have we been up to lately?

That is a good question. Sometimes we look back on a week and wonder where it all went.

Here is a brief update on what has been happening.

  1. Our most recent Bible study was a blessing. Though we did not have any visitors, it was perhaps our best time yet. Everybody was excited to be there, and we enjoyed sharing blessing and prayer requests. Please pray for our Bible study this week that God would work in the hearts of each person present and that He would be glorified.
  2. On Sunday, I taught Sunday school and preached in the morning at the church where we are attending. I taught on the book of Haggai and preached from 1 Corinthians 15:1-It is always a privilege to get to preach God’s word.
  3. Last week, we had three different couples over to our home either for a meal or for dessert. All three are the same age as we are, and we are praying that God would continue to provide opportunities for us to share the gospel. We are always glad when we can use our home to have people over.
  4. Laura is four months old today. She is such a joy and is growing quickly.

Otherwise we are enjoying getting to do what we are doing here. Some days we wonder if we are making much progress, but then we are reminded that it takes many days of plowing and sowing before we get to harvest time.

Our living room ready for Bible study
4 months old