On a recent Wednesday evening, we drove for a couple hours to a country church in the east Tennessee hills. We hadn’t seen these folks in four years, and as we pulled into the parking lot, we wondered how our meeting would go. We needn’t have worried as we were welcomed like family. For the next hour, we shared with them about Portugal, a place none of them had ever visited. Even so, they care deeply for the work of the gospel there and for us, their missionaries. They asked lots of questions, prayed for us, gave us a generous offering, and encouraged us with handshakes, hugs, and kind words of affirmation. Then, we drove off into the night. We don’t know when we will see these precious brothers and sisters again, but we know that they are with us and for us. While the distance between us is great, and the time we share with them is short, our bond is strong.
There are many other experiences like this one that have strengthened us:
- On Sunday, an entire church gathered around, laid their hands on us, and prayed for God’s blessing.
- Today, after we shared about missions at a Bible camp, a young boy came up to us and gave us a wrinkled envelope with five $1 bills.
- A couple weeks ago, we gathered with sixteen people who have visited us on mission trips to Portugal. It was a night filled with funny stories and sweet memories.
- Last month, a group of women prepared crafts for us to take back to use at our Bible club in Portugal.
- We’ve lost count of how many meals we’ve shared with sweet brothers and sisters who have shown us true Christian hospitality.
Watch our video about furlough!
This is one of the great joys and mysteries of being a missionary. From the hills of Tennessee to the plains of Iowa to the great lakes of Michigan, there are people all over this country who pray for us, give, care, and even come visit us. By the time we are done with our furlough, we will have visited almost 50 different churches. Some of these are large congregations with many staff members and beautiful facilities. Many others are small churches in towns most people have never heard of. The immensity and diversity of all that God is doing is breathtaking. We still can’t get over how amazing this is. To each of you who have made our furlough so encouraging and refreshing, thank you.
Before we know it, we’ll be heading back to Portugal. (We leave August 30th.) In the meantime, keep praying for the ministry there.
- In July and August, more than 20 kids and teenagers will be going to Bible camps. Three of the teenagers in our church will be serving as counselors. Pray for open hearts and abundant spiritual fruit.
- Pray for missionaries John and Tricia Olson and for our co-worker, Amanda. They are doing a tremendous work with the deaf in our absence.
- Pray that God would continue to work in our hearts and prepare us to return to Portugal. We want to go back with stronger faith and a greater vision for what He would have us do. God is good!
David and Sarah Booth
Important News! We now have a Facebook page. Follow our journey at facebook.com/boothsinportugal