July Prayer Letter

“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:

Andrea is the girl on the left
Andrea is the girl on the left

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
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!

Jessica, the missionary intern that is with us this summer, was instrumental in leading Ana to the Lord.
Jessica, the missionary intern that is with us this summer, was instrumental in leading Ana to the Lord.

Watch our camp video.

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.

Exploring Portugal
Exploring Portugal

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.

The English Activity was a great success
The English Activity was a great success

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.

Singing and praying together at church
Singing and praying together at church

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.

The women's
The women’s meeting was a great encouragement

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!