God keeps amazing us with what He is doing in Montijo, Portugal. Since opening the doors of our church in April, God is consistently bringing 30 or more people from our town every week. We have had five people make a profession of faith. Two weeks ago, we had a very special moment: our first baptismal service. We held it jointly with another church that is helping us. Four people were baptized from their church, and one man was baptized from ours. Mário and his family moved to our town several months ago and have been attending church faithfully since then. He had been saved shortly before moving here, and so he very soon expressed to me his desire to be baptized.
The baptismal service was a powerful testimony to many people who have been attending our church lately who either have been recently saved or who are still considering what it means to follow Christ. For many, it was the first time they had ever seen an adult, or anyone for that matter, baptized by immersion. Please pray that in the new year more of these people would be baptized.
This past Sunday, we had our second Deaf church service. Our first service had 7 people, and we didn’t know what to expect this time. However, God did far more than we could have imagined. Here are just a few things that stand out about the 13 deaf people that came this month:
1. Our neighbors, Carlos and Maria, invited another couple, Manuel and Manuela, who came for the first time.
2. You may remember us mentioning, Patrícia, the lady who was our sign language tutor. She had told us emphatically that she would never go to a church, even if it had a Deaf pastor. Nevertheless, she came at the request of Fernanda, who later told me that she had to “twist her ear” to get her to come. Despite this, Patrícia seemed to enjoy her time.
3. Speaking of Fernanda, she won the award for bringing the most visitors. Besides prodding Patrícia to come, she also brought three other people. Afterward she asked me, “Next time, can we put out a jar where we can give money to help buy things for our church?” Amazing! While she is not yet saved, Fernanda is showing a real sensitivity and openness to the gospel. Pray for her.
4. After the message, we had a discussion time where people could ask questions. It was heartening to see so many people with deep spiritual questions in a setting where they could freely ask them in their own language. Pray that God’s Word would shine in their hearts so that they would find in Jesus the answer to their deepest needs.
WATCH THE VIDEO OF OUR BAPTISM AND DEAF SERVICE:
As we come to the end of this year, we stand amazed as we look back and see all that God has done. When we opened the church 8 months ago, we had no kids there other than our daughter, Laura. Now we have anywhere from ten to fifteen kids and teenagers. People have been saved, and new families are coming. We are thrilled to have Deaf services, which God is blessing tremendously. Truly, this has been a year of great growth.
Reflecting upon this, we have two responses. First, we recognize that all of this is fragile. God is the one who has brought us this far, and He will have to be the one to sustain and protect the work that He has begun. Second, we once again want to express our gratitude to all who have prayed for us, supported us, and served with us during this past year. We are only a very small part of the very big work God is doing here. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us faithfully. Thank you to all of you who have given so generously to support us. Thank you to all of you who deeply care about what is happening here. May you know God’s grace and peace during this special time of the year.
Rejoicing with you,