“We already have a lot. Maybe we can save her story for another month.” We’ve said this to each other many times after finishing a prayer letter. Well, this is “another month”, and we’re going to catch up on some people that should have their stories shared.
Sometimes people come and go and come again through your life and ministry. This was true of Horacio, a man in his 60’s, who had occasionally come to church or met with me to talk about spiritual matters. I had explained the gospel to him clearly on several occasions, but it never seemed to click. Over the past year, Horacio stopped meeting with me, and I didn’t see him for many months. I had given up hope on him. To my surprise, he showed up to church recently. Since then we have met almost every week. After I gave him a book to read, he e-mailed me and said, “I finally understand what it means to be born again, and now that is true in my life as well.” It was an encouraging reminder to us that even though we may give up on certain people, God does not. Pray for Horacio that he would grow in his faith, and that he would be obedient in following his Savior.
Another encouraging moment was with 9-year-old Joana. She and her 7-year-old sister, Beatriz, come to church every week. One Sunday, Joana asked her children’s church teacher about salvation. He explained it to her and told her to think about it during the week. The next Sunday, she came to church ready to get saved. We all hugged her and cried tears of joy. What a blessing to know this sweet girl has Jesus as her Savior.
Florbela is a middle aged lady who is a librarian. She made a profession of faith several months ago. Recently, she came up to us and said she wanted to be baptized. It is very encouraging to see her make important spiritual decisions like this one despite living in a very challenging family.
Do you remember little Paula who got saved last summer in Bible club? Her mother has let her and her brother, David, come to church for nearly a year now. A couple weeks ago, the family moved to the next town over, and we were afraid their mother wouldn’t let them come anymore. Thankfully, she is still letting us pick them up, and their move has given us even more contact with their mom.
These are just glimpses of what God does every day in the lives of people in Montijo, Portugal. Your prayers are being answered in small and big ways. As you pray for us over the next few months, rejoice in what is doing in Horacio, Joana, Florbela and Paula. You can also pray for these upcoming events:
Camp is the first week of July. Last year, two teenagers from our church, Tatiana and Carlos, made professions of faith. Pray for strength and spiritual awakening during this exciting week.
The second week of July we have a mission team coming from Iowa to help with lots of activities such as passing out tracts and VBS. Pray that this would be a productive week and that this would be an encouraging experience for all involved.
The third week of July, I am speaking at another youth camp. Pray that God would use the messages I preach in the lives of the campers there.
At the end of this month, we have a college student from Tennessee coming to do a six-week missions internship. She’s coming at the right time, because we will definitely have plenty of work for her to do.
Finally, we continue to prepare for our six-month furlough that begins this September. We are looking forward to sharing in person about what God is doing here. We are also looking forward to seeing many of you! If you are a supporting church that would like us to come and visit, and we haven’t already scheduled a date, take a moment to reply to this e-mail so we can take care of that.
Looking forward to an exciting summer! May God bless!
-David and Sarah
Would you like to help with camp? Read on!
This year, we hope to have 10 campers to take with us to Summer Bible Camp. Most of these kids come from unchurched families that have very little money. Would you be interested in helping sponsor one of these kids for camp? $55 covers the cost of one camper. If you choose to help, you will receive a personal, handwritten letter from the child or teenager you sponsored, in addition to their picture and a link to see a video recap of the week of camp. Giving is easy. You can give by credit card or check online through our mission agency by simply following this link. Thank you!
Last week, we had an experience we will not soon forget. We went to the Lisbon Missionary Retreat. It was amazing.
This retreat was hosted by Dallas Bay Baptist Church in Tennessee and the Christian Hospitality Network. They understand the burnout that many ministry workers face. Their philosophy is that by investing in the missionaries and refreshing them, they are, in effect, investing in all the people those missionaries reach. Almost 200 missionaries (mostly from Europe) gathered for this three-day retreat at a hotel just outside of Lisbon. When we received the invitation to attend, we didn’t know what to expect. All we knew for sure was that it was free for us and just 30 minutes from our house, and we could make a family vacation out of it. It didn’t take long for our expectations to be exceeded.
From the moment we pulled into the parking lot and three men from Chattanooga came to help us carry our luggage, we knew it was going to be a great time. Once we got inside the hotel a kind lady told us that they would be providing babysitting for much of the time while we were there. This was a huge deal for us. Here is what else we experienced:
We stayed in a beautiful hotel suite that had plenty of room for our whole family.
We ate delicious meals in the hotel restaurant.
Sarah and I went out to eat by ourselves, because there were people to babysit Laura and Samuel. This was probably the highlight of our time.
Laura loved playing in the pool.
Sarah enjoyed a hand massage.
We all received thoughtful gifts and letters from home.
Each evening, we enjoyed singing and preaching in English.
A chiropractor cracked us back into line.
There was even a physician who came to answer our health questions and give check-ups.
In short, we were shown amazing kindness and generosity far beyond what we could ever deserve.
But even better than the room or the food was the fact that over 30 people that we had never met before came from this church just to care for us and minister to us. They spent a week of their lives baby-sitting missionary kids, carrying our luggage, giving massages and haircuts, asking us about our lives, praying with us about our struggles, and doing a hundred other things that blessed us.
What did all of this do for us? For one, we were able to rest and get away from our daily routine. We needed that badly. Secondly, receiving such lavish kindness and love encourages us to show the same to the people to whom we minister. Just as Jesus got away from the crowds once in a while, this retreat recharged us and has helped us minister with more strength and focus this week. Thank you, CHN and DBBC, for the “cup of cold water in Jesus’ name”.