Today was a good day.
I preached from Acts 16:31 about the conversion and baptism of the Philippian jailer. At the end of the message, I gave an invitation and a lady named Dora raised her hand stating that she had made a profession of faith. I invited her to come forward and share what Jesus had done for her. With tears in her eyes, she thanked many people in the church for the way they had received her and her family. She then stated that her life had been empty and that she had been far from God. Now, she was grateful for the salvation she had in Jesus Christ. After her testimony, Eduarda, a lady in the church who had befriended her, came up, hugged her and prayed for her. Then, many other people came up to greet her. It was the first time anybody had ever been saved at one of our church services, so it was truly special for all of us.
Also after the service, a man named Mário came up and asked to be baptized. Praise God!
We have had a lot of great things happen during this past several weeks. I wish I could say that I was filled with faith and expecting all of this to happen. But to be honest, I am probably more surprised than anybody to see the good things God is doing.
At the end of this wonderful day, all we can do is thank him for his grace and goodness.
During this past weekend, we heard from so many of you assuring us of your prayer for the deaf service. Some of you even woke up at 6 AM just to pray for us at the start of our service. Your prayer encouraged and strengthened us greatly.
Six deaf people had promised to come. Sunday morning arrived, and instead of sending six people God sent seven! Some of them are friends you have prayed for during the past several years:
Carlos, our best deaf friend, has been our tutor for religious signs. He is very intelligent and a leader in the Portuguese deaf community. He gave the welcome and introduction at the service.
Carlos and Maria, our elderly deaf neighbors, came. It was the first time they had been to church.
Fernanda, an older deaf lady that lives a few blocks away from us, also came. Afterward, she enthusiastically encouraged everybody to bring their friends next time.
Eugénio is the deaf teenager we interpret for in another town on Sunday mornings. He enjoyed going to a deaf service where he could communicate directly with everyone.
Inês is a hard of hearing young woman who has already been saved. She has been explaining the Bible to Vítor, a deaf young man who recently moved to the Lisbon area. Both of them came to our first service.
It was such a blessing to share the story of the prodigal son and of God’s love to our deaf friends. We long for all of them to one day know personally the amazing grace and love that God has for them. Thank you for praying for us and for each person who came. We hope you enjoy the video summary of the service.
Have you ever faced a pivotal day in your life, one that could potentially launch you forward or slide you painfully backward? Tomorrow is that day for us.
One of our big goals here in Portugal is to start a Deaf church. For three years, we have studied Portuguese Sign Language (LGP). We have met privately with deaf people, hosted a deaf team and offered Bible studies in LGP. For one reason or another, the Deaf have hesitated to meet with us or to accept the truth of God’s Word. Up until now, we know of only two saved deaf people in Portugal. The lack of progress and interest is discouraging, but we believe God is doing and will do a work in the hearts of the deaf in Portugal. After much prayer and discussion, we think God wants us to start hosting monthly Deaf church services. Tomorrow is Service Numero Um.
What will make it a “Deaf” service?
1. Instead of interpreting a spoken message or music, all of our preaching and singing will be done only in Portuguese Sign Language, without using our voices.
2. We will include a brief drama in sign language.
3. The service will be very visual, including many pictures and explanations of religious terms that no one has taught the Deaf here before.
4. The pace of the service will depend on how much the deaf are taking it in, and we may include a group review activity at the end.
How can you pray for us?
1. The Deaf in Portugal (as in most countries) have their own language – Portuguese Sign Language – and their own culture. Their deafness is not just a physical condition; it is who they are, and it is deeply tied to their identity. As hearing people, Sarah and I have worked hard to learn Portuguese Sign Language and integrate into the deaf community here. But since we are hearing, we will never truly be “insiders.” We remind ourselves that God used a donkey to communicate His message once, so He can use us too. Please pray that we (David, Sarah, and another hearing couple, Cal and Joyce) will be the instruments of His message tomorrow.
2. We have had 6 Deaf people say that they will come tomorrow. Please pray that they won’t back out, and that God will bring exactly which Deaf people He wants.
3. Most of all, please pray for open hearts.
Thank you for remembering us. The service starts at 11:00 AM tomorrow (6:00 AM Eastern time).