Some recent pictures

Sunset in Montijo
Sunset in Montijo
Samuel happy as always (almost)
Samuel happy as always (almost)
Laura touring Lisbon
Laura touring Lisbon
Inside a castle
Inside a castle
Good Portuguese bread
Good Portuguese bread
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Teaching a Bible institute class
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March Update: “Just a ‘normal’ week”

“Do we have to come to church in a costume for Carnival?” This was the text message Sarah received from 11 year old Paula this past Saturday. As it is in much of the world, we are in the middle of the Carnival holiday (or Mardi Gras in America). Kids dress up for school, there are parades in many cities, and it is not uncommon to see a little Spider-Man or a princess roaming the aisles of the grocery store. It was just natural for little Paula to wonder if the same held true at church. Her question made us chuckle, and Sarah quickly assured her, “No, you do not need to come to church in a costume.”

This past summer at Kid’s Club, in the middle of a Bible story that Sarah was telling, Paula blurted out that she had accepted Jesus as her Savior. She faithfully comes to church now always bringing her red Bible with her. She is growing in her faith, and it is a joy to see.

Paula with her red Bible
Paula with her red Bible

In many ways, this past week was just another “normal week.” And yet in this “normality” we saw many glimpses of God’s grace and the growth that is taking place. Here are just a few:

Fernando spent his Saturday at church running wires and hanging a brand new projector which he was able to get for free through his work. His vision and leadership in the church are vital. He is always looking for ways to improve everything we do.

Laura with Fernando
Laura with Fernando

Every Sunday, we have cake and coffee after church. Since we always have a lot of kids that are rambunctious, things can get a little chaotic. Some people complained about this, but Eduarda decided to do something about the problem. This past Sunday, she set up and decorated a special area just for the kids with cookies and drinks for them. Problem solved. The kids loved it, and fellowship time went much better.

Fellowship time at church
Fellowship time at church

Because our building has so many windows, it can get very bright and difficult to see when we use the projector. This past week, José spent one of his mornings putting up rods and hanging curtains. Maria, who comes to our Deaf service, took the initiative to hem the curtains.

Speaking of the Deaf service… It went well and at one point, we almost thought Carlos was going to get saved. (Many of you have prayed for him for several years now.) After the message, he got up with tears in his eyes, and said something amazing:

“I just understood something for the first time… I always thought that up in Heaven it would be Jesus and the hearing people together in one place and all of us Deaf people in another corner like it is so often here on earth. But today I realize that I can openly communicate with Jesus. He even knows my thoughts. I can even pray to Him silently.”

Please don’t stop praying for Carlos. God is working in his heart.

At the end of the day, we got home from church, wolfed down a pizza, and had a Skype video call with a group of people from a church in Iowa that gathers each month to pray specifically for us. Though separated by thousands of miles, it was a blessing to share with them what God is doing here.

So that’s it, just another “normal” Sunday.  God’s Word was proclaimed to hearing and Deaf, young and old. People served the Lord and grew in their knowledge of Him. Plus, we were reminded that people across America are praying for the work here. To us, that’s anything but “normal”; that’s extraordinary.