Maybe you are wondering, “So what do you do all day long there on the mission field?” That is a great question, and I sometimes wonder that myself. A good portion of the week is filled with things that probably don’t make very interesting reading – things like replying to e-mail, waiting in line for a document we need for some reason, preparing messages, or cleaning the house in preparation for a Bible study. That being said, here is our highlight reel for the past several days. Our most exciting moments were…
1. On Monday afternoon, Sarah spent a couple of hours at our neighborhood café talking with our elderly deaf neighbors, Carlos and Maria. In the process, she was able to meet another deaf lady for the first time.
2. Monday evening, I met with Fernando, a man who is a part of our church-plant, to discuss ideas for how to fix up our building. Since I know next to nothing about building and construction, I am deeply grateful for the wisdom and counsel of this friend and brother.
3. On Tuesday, Sarah had lunch with a friend with whom she has been doing Bible studies.
4. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, I have Portuguese Sign Language classes from 6 -8. After class on Tuesdays, I meet with a friend of mine, Luis, to study the Bible and talk about life. Most of the times, we finish our time together around 11 pm.
5. On Wednesday, I met with a missionary colleague, Beau Moore, and we spent the morning doing evangelism in Montijo. We approach people and ask them if they would be willing to participate in a “spiritual life survey” that takes about 5 minutes to complete. It is a good tool to begin a spiritual conversation with a stranger on the street. This time, we had good conversations with a young man, an old man, and a group of four teenage girls. The old man and the teenage girls both heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Pray that they would be saved.
On Wednesday afternoon, I met with the builder responsible for fixing up our building. It was exciting to imagine what our church building will look like in just a few short weeks.
Thursday night at 9:30, Sarah left the house to go to a poetry reading/choir concert. Yes, it started at 9:30, and for that reason, I stayed home with Laura. One of the men in our church plant is the director of the town choir, so we wanted to support him by having at least one of us there. Besides that, we want to take advantage of opportunities like this to be more involved with our community and meet more people.
So, there you have it. Missionary work is talking with people at cafés, going to classes, eating lunch with unsaved friends, doing street evangelism, attending choir concerts, having Bible studies, and doing many other things just like these. On one hand, I love being a missionary because every day is different. We can set our own schedule, and the work is rarely tedious or repetitious. On the other hand, it is sometimes hard to keep a consistent schedule and separate your “work life” from your “home life”. All in all, I wouldn’t trade what I am doing for anything. I thank God for the work He has given us to do.
Here in Portugal, we are anxiously waiting for spring. In the meanwhile, here is a brief update:
1. In our last two Bible studies, we have had over twenty people present. It’s exciting to have a house full of people hungry for God’s Word. It also makes us anticipate the day when we will worship together on a Sunday in our own building.
2. We are going to put a drop ceiling in our building, and repair and paint the walls. We have had several builders give us estimates on the work that needs to be done, and this week we hope to get started.
3. Over the next several weeks, we will be working on the building, distributing invitations to thousands of homes in our town, and praying that God would strengthen the work He has begun here.
4. We continue to cultivate the many relationships we have with lost people. Pray with us that we would see people saved.
Hang on, folks! God has been working, and we have a lot to share with you. The biggest news of all? We signed on a church building! God provided the ground floor of an apartment building, with ample space for our current activities, at a reasonable price. The people in our Bible study have been asking how soon they can help paint, clean, replace bathroom fixtures, and install ceiling tiles. One of our members already built a beautiful wooden cross to go behind the pulpit. Excitement is mounting as we hope to have the building ready for a dedication service in April. Below, we have included some ways you can get involved with this exciting time.
In our last update, Sarah had just been admitted to the hospital. She was there for nine days fighting an infection and abscess in her kidney. Thank you for praying! After a month of treatment, Sarah just got the “all clear” from her doctor. We are thankful for the three Maria’s that God let her witness to during her hospitalization, and we are very thankful that she is home and back to full health.
Sarah is also happy to be back in the classroom as a teacher. This month, she started teaching Religion and Morality classes in a public high school in our town, and she will soon teach in the middle school as well.
After months of investing in people, you never know when you will get your chance to explain the gospel. As I tutored my students in English, one of them asked what the big deal was about Easter if it were only about a bunny. I told her that it was my favorite holiday because it was about FAR more than a rabbit, then was able to tell the whole group of students how Jesus died for their sins.
As you can see, God is doing His work in Montijo, Portugal. We are thrilled! Please pray for our group of believers to have unity, and strength as we proceed with each step.
Please pray for us as well. Each week is full of people work (meetings, Bible studies, visits, having families over for meals) and paper work (sermon preparation, practicing sign language, coordinating building renovations, correspondence). Most important is our own time in God’s Word and being the Christians, spouses, and parents we should be. As our calendars start to bulge, please pray for us to have wisdom and discretion as we manage the tasks that we are privileged to do.
1. In one of your upcoming services or prayer meetings, pray for our work here in Montijo. While you are praying, have somebody record 30-45 seconds of your prayer. Then, send us the video file, and we will take care of the rest. Please e-mail me if you want instructions on how to do this.
2. I will make a video collage combining all of the prayers of all the churches that participate, and we will show it in our first service. It will be an incredible encouragement to the people here for them to see so many of you taking time to pray for us.
3. The week after our first service, I will upload a video containing highlights of our first Sunday. That way you can experience a little bit of this exciting moment for yourself.
Another way you can participate is by making a special gift to help as we renovate the building and buy some materials such as tables, chairs, a piano, etc. Know that there is a church being born in this town because of your prayer and support. Thank you!