December Prayer Letter

Imagine singing “Silent Night” for the first time in your life. If you are like me, you probably grew up hearing it every Christmas and don’t even remember the first time you heard it. This past Sunday at Deaf church, nine Portuguese Deaf sang “Silent Night” for the first time in their lives – in Portuguese Sign Language. Take a moment to watch the video of this beautiful occasion.

Click here to watch the video

The December Deaf service went well. We are very grateful for the work of our missionary colleagues Cal and Joyce Voelker and Amanda Bloom in leading this work while we are on furlough. You may remember in our last prayer letter that we praised God for Amanda’s arrival in Portugal. Though she has been there less than two months, she has made good progress in learning the languages and building relationships with the Deaf. We believe that 2015 will be a year where we see many exciting breakthroughs in the lives of the deaf in Portugal. As we reflect on this past year, we are filled with gratitude for the good things God has done.

deaf

  • Eight hearing people made a profession of faith this past year, and two people were baptized.
  • The leadership in the hearing church is growing. At least fifteen people are serving in some capacity – teaching children’s church, leading Wednesday night Bible study, taking care of the nursery, cleaning the building, etc.
  • Since we started having a monthly Deaf church service, more than twenty Deaf people have attended at least one service. Currently, we average about 8-10 Deaf in attendance.
  • Twelve people from our partner churches came on mission trips and served with us.
  • More missionaries are going to Portugal. We are especially grateful for our friends, the Wears family, who are on deputation preparing to go to Portugal and work near us.

All of these blessings leave us grateful, but also hungry for more. We long to see more people saved, more churches established, and more people passionate about proclaiming Jesus in Portugal. We also know that whatever good may happen in Portugal will be a result of prayer. During our furlough, we have been greatly encouraged by how many of you affirm to us that you pray for our family and for the ministry in Portugal. And so, in this final prayer letter of 2014, we want to give you a brief list of people and needs for which to pray.

Pray for the salvation of the Deaf that are coming to church: Carlos, Fernanda, Carlos and Maria (an elderly couple), Sergio, Helena, and Manuela.

Pray that God would strengthen those who made professions of faith this year:

Nuno – a man who is in his 30’s and is now faithfully attending church.

Florbela – who was baptized in August. Despite many family problems, she is growing in her faith.

Horacio – who was also baptized in August. He has had a period of doubt and discouragement, but it appears that God is strengthening his faith.

Ana – a teenage girl that was saved at camp. She has been reading her Bible and attends church with her family. Pray that God would strengthen her as she is probably one of the only Christians in her school.

Andreia – another teenage girl that was saved at camp. She comes to church faithfully. Pray that she will grow in her faith.

Diogo – a young man that made a profession of faith at the beginning of the year. He has fallen away and has refused to talk with me for several months. However, I don’t believe this is the end of his story. Pray that God will work in his heart.

Cristiano – a young boy who was saved on the last day of kids’ club this year. Pray that he would be able to come to kids’ club again next year, and that we would be able to reach his family.

2014 was a big year for us. Join us in praying for more in 2015. May you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

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December Update

We hope you are having a good weekend. We are enjoying a rare sunny afternoon in Michigan. Soon we will send out our prayer letter, but we wanted to share a few things with you in the meantime.

First, pray for Deaf church tomorrow. A good group have already said that they will be there. Pray that Carlos, Carlos and Maria, Ines, Vitor, Manuela, Helena, and others will indeed come and that God will work in each of their hearts. If everybody shows up, there may be at least ten Deaf present. We really hope that happens. Please also pray for our missionary colleaugues Cal and Joyce Voelker and Amanda Bloom as they lead the service.

Second, thank you for praying for the hearing church. Last week, there were about 40 people at church. This is terrific. While there are challenges, God is protecting and growing his work in Montijo. Thank you also for praying for Horacio. In a recent update, we mentioned he was discouraged and having doubts. Thankfully, in our last conversation, he seemed to be a little steadier. Don’t stop praying that God would strengthen his young and fragile faith. 

Also, we are very thankful for the great furlough we are having so far. So many people have shown such generosity and kindness to us. The hospitality we have experienced has refreshed and strengthened us for the road ahead.

Here are just a few examples…

1. In Virginia, we stayed with a couple that has a “missionary apartment” in their home.  They thought of everything, and even put chocolates on our pillows and had a fully stocked refrigerator with goodies just for us.

2. In Michigan, a group of ladies gathered on a Friday night to hear Sarah talk about praying for missionaries. Afterwards, they prayed with her and gave her a generous gift.

3. We have had many conversations with pastors and their wives who are going through hard times, but take time to listen to us and encourage us.

4. In many churches, people have given toys, coloring books, and snacks for Laura and Samuel. This has been a huge help for the long hours on the road.

The list could go on, but what has struck me most about the kindness we have experienced is that it has most often been from the hands of people and churches who were going through tough times or difficult trials. Yet despite this, countless brothers and sisters in Christ, have lavished us with love. What a wonderful reminder to me to serve, love, and care even when I am going through dark days.

May you have a blessed day tomorrow as you gather with God’s people!

First time at Chuck E. Cheese
First time at Chuck E. Cheese
Not sure what to think about the Chick-Fil-A cow.
Not sure what to think about the Chick-Fil-A cow.
Such gracious hospitality. Thankful for people who open their homes and their lives to us.
Such gracious hospitality. Thankful for people who open their homes and their lives to us.
At Monticello
At Monticello
Feeding dinosaurs
Feeding dinosaurs
Getting ready for Thanskgiving
Getting ready for Thanskgiving
Ready for a delicious breakfast
Ready for a delicious breakfast