Timing is important. If it had been up to us, we would have rented a building and started church services months ago. But, with much prayer and considering the needs and advice of the people in our group, we have taken it more slowly. Recently, we marked one year of doing our home Bible study. Besides the three core families that have come faithfully since the beginning, we have also seen about a dozen visitors come from our community. Several of these visitors have been attending regularly and, thus, our number is slowly increasing. With this growth, we are looking to press onward and begin regular Sunday services. Several weeks ago, we had a dinner at our house and presented this vision to the group. They were receptive and excited about this new step. Since then, we have looked at several buildings which are good possibilities for a future meeting place. Pray that God would guide us to the right place.
Last month, we celebrated Laura’s first birthday. Our apartment building is full of families with young children, some of whom we still don’t know very well, so we hoped Laura’s party would be a chance for them to see us as a family and know us better. As each neighbor arrived, the parents cautiously looked in, saw other children playing, then relaxed and joined in the fun. The party was a great success, and we now have a stronger relationship with two families who had never been in our home until that day.
God is sending other opportunities our way as well. A few months ago, a teenager was saved at the church we attend on Sunday mornings. He is a triplet, so he brought his brothers with him to church, and one of them (Eugénio) is deaf! He had no idea that we knew sign language, but God brought him to us. Since then, he has come faithfully to church where we interpret the services. He openly tells us that he doesn’t believe in God, knows nothing about the Bible, and doesn’t want to come to Sunday School because he would rather sleep in . . . and, yet, he still comes, and we are thrilled. Please pray that God will open Eugénio’s heart to the truth of His Word and that he will start coming to Sunday School where we can teach him directly in sign language.
We are looking forward to spending Christmas and the new year back in the States.It will be wonderful to see family and friends and let them meet Laura for the first time. When we return in January, God has opened a position for Sarah to teach a Bible class in a public school in our town.
Two and a half years ago when we arrived in Portugal, we had four main goals for our first term: 1. Learn the languages, 2. Build relationships, 3. Start Bible studies, 4. Lay the groundwork for a church-plant. By God’s grace, we are seeing each of these come to pass. Your prayer, support, and encouragement are playing a vital part in the work here. Thank you, and may God bless you during this Christmas season.