Recently we shared with you about Diogo, the young man who made a profession of faith. He and his girlfriend, Catarina, are coming to church faithfully and are growing. A couple of weeks ago, we had them over for dinner. As we were eating, Diogo remarked that several people in his family were making fun of him and his decision to follow Christ. I shared with him the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:11: “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
While it is hard to suffer ridicule from others, Diogo’s comment encouraged me greatly. Who else besides Jesus could make such a change in a person’s life? Just four months ago, Diogo didn’t want anything to do with Jesus, and now he is willing to suffer ridicule for the sake of his Lord and Savior.
Since November when we started having Deaf church, we have been teaching everything from how to look up Bible verses to what it means to pray. In our most recent service, I explained that when we pray to God we can ask Him for things. After this explanation, I asked the Deaf if they had any prayer requests. This was the first time I had ever done this, and the very first prayer request was from Carlos who said, “We need to pray that more Deaf will come to church to learn about God.” Keep in mind, Carlos himself is still not saved. Yet, he sees the need for more Deaf to learn what he is learning. Would you pray for this to happen as well?
The service itself went well. I have been teaching about the life of Christ. Slowly but surely, the gospel is beginning to make sense in the hearts and minds of the deaf. Many weeks, we see the spiritual struggle in their eyes, and we think, “Today, he/she is about to get saved!” This Sunday, I spoke of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. After the message, Sarah did a song in sign language about Jesus being the Lamb of God. When she finished, everybody was crying over the significance of Christ’s death. Again, we were hopeful that some of the deaf would make a profession of faith. Sarah was crying too as she told them, “What Jesus did on that cross was for YOU.” No one accepted Christ that day, but Carlos was under conviction. He texted us the next day to say that he couldn’t stop thinking about that Sunday. Please pray that he won’t stop thinking about it until he accepts Jesus as his Savior.
This past Sunday, we celebrated our first anniversary of the church plant. Would you take two minutes to watch this video of the special service? Click here to see it.
Here are several things that filled our hearts with gratitude:
- Remember José Balegas, the man who taught the music classes at church as an outreach to the community? Three people who attended those classes came to church for the first time. After the service, one of the visitors, Elena, stayed and asked José spiritual questions for over 45 minutes. Afterward, Balegas came up to me and said, “We have to meet with her soon. She has so many questions about the Bible.”
- A year ago when we had our first service, our daughter Laura was the only kid in the church. This past Sunday, however, we had almost 20 kids and teenagers at church.
At the end of the service, we all held hands and thanked God for His goodness. As I looked around at all the people, my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude. While there are many challenges ahead, there is nothing else we would rather do than serve God right here. Thank you for your part in making that possible! May God encourage and strengthen you as you bring Him glory where He has placed you.
In Christ, David and Sarah