Though we had never met him, we instantly knew his familiar voice saying, “Hi, I’m Andy Napier.” During our years living in Chattanooga, we often tuned into WMBW and listened to his encouraging words in the morning.
Now, Andy serves with TWR and was part of the team that hosted the mission retreat we went to back in May. During our days at the retreat, Andy interviewed missionaries for his radio program, “Footsteps.” We were one of those missionaries. This week, our interview aired. Would you take a moment to listen to the three-part series that describes our work here. Each interview is only a minute long, so it won’t take you that much time.
“This is the first time I have heard about any of this,” 11-year-old Andrea remarked after hearing the Bible message one evening at camp. Before this week, she had come to church only twice before, but it didn’t take her long to understand the gospel and her need of Jesus. We rejoice that she made a profession of faith at camp. Andrea wasn’t the only one. Felismina and Ana also professed their faith in Christ:
Here are some other highlights from the week:
1. We survived a thunderstorm complete with hail and torrential rain. This was a big deal because everybody was in tents. Even the camp kitchen and meeting area were under a big tent.
Thankful for a great week of camp
2. There were 40 campers (8 of whom were from our church) from 5 different churches. Six missionary families worked together to put on this camp.
3. In our last prayer letter, we asked if people would like to sponsor a camper. Many people responded, and all of our campers were sponsored and our camp expenses were completely covered. Thank you!
3. In all, 13 campers made a profession of faith during the week. Praise God!
Just a couple days after we finished camp, we welcomed a team of 11 people from a partner church in Iowa. Many of the people in this group had prayed for us and for Portugal since they first met us in 2009. It was exciting for them to get to see first-hand the places and people for which they had been praying for so long. During the week, they passed out 4,000 tracts. They helped put on an “English Party” at a community youth center. They spent lots of time with people in our church talking with them and learning about their lives. They did an outdoor VBS. There was a women’s meeting that was a tremendous encouragement to the ladies in our church.
Besides working with us in these important ministries, they encouraged us greatly. You may wonder how you can encourage a missionary when you go on a mission trip. Here are some ways that this team did exactly that.
1. They came prepared. Months of preparation and prayer went into making this trip a success.
2. They loved our country. They asked many questions about Portugal, and were excited to see and experience the culture.
3. They loved the people we work with and bonded with them quickly. For us, there was nothing more gratifying than seeing the team talking, laughing, praying, and sharing testimonies with the people in our church. For example, it was great to see Dean asking Luis about Portuguese history, Ethan showing the kids some American football moves, Natalie giving a facial treatment to a Florbela at the women’s meeting, Ryan praying for the church, and Kathy looking at Carla’s family pictures. These may seem like “little” things, but they showed the depth of their love for the people. By the end of the week, deep friendships had formed.
4. The gospel in Portugal was important enough for them to take a week of their lives here and raise the money needed to come. Their commitment and sacrifice inspired us greatly and helped spur us on in the work here.
Each of July’s activities took 7 days or less, but these events often have the longest-lasting effects. The kids who have attended our church the past year come because of a one-week mission team in July 2012. Some of the women Sarah has counseled for months desperately needed the pampering and encouragement that the ladies from Iowa gave this year. As José and Mario drove kids to camp, Carla decorated the church for the ladies’ meeting, and Simone passed out tracts, we were encouraged to see these, our Portuguese church members, using their gifts and letting God use them to reach our community. July has been like a shot of adrenaline in our church. May God continue to use the effects of July for His kingdom and His glory!
We just wanted to give a quick update about camp last week. We had eight kids from our church go. Three of them made a profession of faith. In all there were 41 campers from several churches. 13 kids total made professions of faith. It was very exciting. The video below gives you some highlights of what happened.
Today we begin two of our busiest and most importante weeks of this year – one week of camp followed by one week of hosting a missions team . We believe that God will use these two weeks in a mighty way, but we ask you to pray with us.
Today we are taking 12 campers to youth camp and sending 3 kids to a different childrens’ camp. Inês, Patrícia, Felismena, Ana, Tatiana, Carlos, Patrícia, Andreia, Lígia, António, Felipe, and Iago will all be with me at youth camp. These campers range in age from 11-15. Each one of them have different spiritual needs. Some of them are not saved.
Yesterday we sent Nicole, Joana, and Beatriz to kids camp. Pray for these girls that God would work in their young hearts.
Did you know that in our prayer letter we asked for if any of you wanted to give to help send a kid to camp? As of today, every kid has a partial or full sponsor. Thank you! The cost to send 15 kids to camp plus buy needed supplies is well over $1,000. God provided every cent we needed!
This week, pray that God would fill us with his joy as we serve. Pray that God would protect each camper physically and spiritually. Pray that there would be kids and teenagers saved. Pray for strength and grace.
The week following camp, we host a mission team from Iowa, but we will update you more on that later.
Thank you for caring about the work God is doing here! Have a great week.
Serving as church-planting missionaries in the land of the discoverers