I know of no other time in our ministry here in Portugal that we have needed your prayers more.
This afternoon, I received a phone call from a leader in our church named Genilson. With an unsteady voice, he said, “I think something terrible has happened… I just heard that Marcelino and Lurdes were killed.” I immediately left the house, went and picked up Genilson, and drove to the home. There was a crowd of people gathered, and the police had cordoned off much of the street. We soon discovered that Marcelino and Lurdes’ own son had murdered them on Sunday (yesterday) and then committed suicide.
I wish you could have met this dear couple. Three years ago, a Christian doctor in our town shared the gospel with them and they were soon saved. Their lives changed dramatically, and they were some of the kindest and sweetest people I have ever met. They were always the first to arrive at church and Wednesday Bible study. They were always eager to help. Just this past week, Marcelino spent his morning at church helping me with some odd jobs.
The last time I saw them both was this past Thursday. They asked if I would come to their home to visit their adult son who lived with them. We had often prayed for him at church, and knew that he was creating lot of problems. He also gave strong indications of being demon possessed. Before speaking with their son, we gathered together in their tiny living room and prayed. Then, Lurdes went to see if the son would come out and talk with me. He appeared from his room, but was unwilling to talk with me for more than just a couple of minutes.
Later that same morning, Marcelino and Lurdes were showing me around their little house that was falling apart. Marcelino kidded with me saying, “Well, if I were to win the lottery, I would fix this place up.” I replied, “You have done better than that. You have an inheritance waiting for you from your heavenly Father. Heaven will make any house or lottery winnings here on earth seem like nothing.” Little did I know how soon that would be a reality for him and his wife.
It’s been a long day. We have cried, prayed, and hugged our brothers and sisters here. Now we need your prayer. While this is a stunning loss for us, we cling tightly to the promise that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” Satan may believe that He has dealt a blow to the cause of Christ in this town, but we choose to believe that God can use this for his glory.
While I have tears in my eyes as I write, my heart is filled with gratitude for each of you who read our letters, pray for us, and care about people here in Portugal. Here are some ways you can pray for us this week:
1. Pray that Marcelino and Lurdes’ family which is all unsaved. Pray that they would allow us to have the funeral at our church. Pray that their death would result in spiritual life for many.
2. Pray for our little congregation. Ask God to use this to bring us closer to each other.
3. Pray for the kids from our church that are going to camp tomorrow. Pray that Tatiana, Carlos, Patrícia, and Felizmina would be saved.
4. Pray that God would protect us from Satan’s attacks. Pray that we would be strengthened with the power of God.