January Update

Exciting progress with the Deaf

Our new year has gotten off to a great start, and 2015 ended beautifully as well. The deaf Christmas party brought over 30 deaf people. We sang Christmas carols and dressed up as Bible characters to tell the story of Jesus’ birth and the Gospel. To top it off, an online Deaf TV channel came and recorded it for their website. Hundreds of deaf in Portugal watch the videos they post. This year, they were able to see a 25-minute special featuring our Christmas party. We praise God that he is expanding our reach and influence.

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The first Sunday of the New Year also filled us with hope. We’ve spent two years having deaf church and deaf outings. Every month, we ask the deaf to PLEASE meet with us outside of church to talk about life and the Bible. Though they attend church and are learning a little, they have not responded personally or demonstrated much interest in learning the Bible on their own or outside of church. This Sunday, that changed! After the message, one of the deaf, Rui, asked, “So, a lot of us prefer sign language and have a hard time reading written languages. If we read the Bible, and don’t understand what we read, can we Skype you and ask you questions?” YES! That’s what we’ve been saying for 2 years! Other deaf piped in, “No! Don’t do that! Then he will ask the questions and get the answers, but we will miss it. Bring your questions here, so we can all see!” Another said, “Why don’t they record the answers on video for us?”

Round and round the discussion went until Carlos finally said, “We can’t just rely on David to give us the answers. We need to read the Bible and ask questions, so we can understand for ourselves.” AMEN! The deaf all agreed to read Genesis 1-3 this month and to meet and ask their questions in small groups. They also asked David to send them the passage for the next message ahead of time, so they can read it at home and ask all their questions at church. How many pastors would like their congregations to prepare ahead of time and be ready for the sermon?! For the first time, we saw the deaf fired up to learn the Bible. Please pray for them to keep their January commitment to read and learn the Bible.

In other news… Our hearing church’s Christmas outreach was also a success. We offered the community clothes, housewares, snacks, and, most importantly, the Gospel. Several of the children we reach have parents who never come to church, but they came that day, and some have returned.

Listening to a presentation of the gospel. Two kids made a profession of faith.
Listening to a presentation of the gospel. Two kids made a profession of faith.

You may remember that David began teaching a Religion and Morality class this year in one of the high schools in our town. The class is going well, and most of the students faithfully attend despite this basically being an extra-curricular activity. For Christmas, they gave out cookies and thank you notes to the teachers and staff in the school. Now David has gone from being a relatively unknown teacher to being “the teacher that brings cookies for everyone.” It’s not a bad reputation to have J. Pray that this outreach will result in new relationships and a positive influence on our community.

Thank you! We look back on the past year and thank God for you. We still haven’t got used to the fact that there are hundreds of people who read our updates, pray for our needs, and care about the work of the gospel in Portugal. It humbles us to know that there are dozens of churches and individuals who gave generously and sacrificially throughout this past year so that we could do what we are doing here. “Thank you!” seems so little in comparison to all you do for us. God is working in Montijo and around the world. May God use each of us this year to reach those around us!

Take a moment to watch a couple videos of our Christmas parties:

 

3 thoughts on “January Update”

  1. Ephesians 3:20-21

    20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

    21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

    WOW! God is answering our prayers and has done some exceedingly abundant things in your church body already this year!

    And when you say “thank you seems so little”, it reminds me of a song I sang at church recently. The theme of the song is praising God for the fact that Emmanuel has come and through the Holy Spirit lives in us. One line says about our worship, “such a tiny offering compared to Calvary, but nevertheless we lay this at Your feet”. If my offering is lifting you guys and your ministry up in prayer, it’s such a tiny thing for me to do, but I do it because it is God’s will and with it God will do much! So you are welcome.

    The parties look like so much fun and good fellowship. We’ll keep praying and may God bless the new year in your ministry!

  2. We read this last month and were so excited to learn what exciting things are happening there! Just now came on here to get some info. for a little report Caleb is doing for AWANA and enjoyed one of your Christmas videos! We’re praying for you!

    1. What a great encouragement! Thanks for your comment, and we are glad you enjoyed the videos. Thanks for your prayers. We pray that God would continue to bless and use your family for his glory.

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