April Prayer letter

Every month or so, we sit down and write our prayer letter, just like the one you’re reading now. As we try to communicate what has happened since the last time we wrote, we often wonder, “Is this too negative? Does it sound like we’re complaining?” Or, on the flip side, it can be easy to write something glossy and upbeat, but that ends up being artificial. It can be hard to find the right balance. So this time, we’re going to try to show you both sides. Please stick with us to the end.

First, the bad news: The past three months we were in our country’s second lockdown. What did that look like for our family and ministry? It meant feeding a newborn by night and doing Portuguese online school by day. It included hours of recording and editing videos each week for children’s Sunday School and deaf church… and wondering why so few people made the effort to watch. It was listening to people share their conflicts, needs, and anxieties over the phone. It involved buying people food, school supplies, car batteries, or whatever it took to keep them afloat one more week. It meant watching at least 20 people drift away to false doctrine or stop participating in church life altogether. It included fighting our own sinful flesh: resentment toward those we serve, grief over holidays alone, and jealousy toward others who could travel freely or whose family could visit them when they had a baby.

Sarah teaching a Bible story in Portuguese Sign Language (Please ignore the piles of laundry on the table). 😉

So, what were we going to do? Sit around and mope? 

Cue the good news: God isn’t sitting in heaven waiting for Coronavirus to pass, so His work can go on. He wants us to keep looking up and getting up to serve Him, so that’s what we have been doing. Our church has a good testimony at the local food bank because of the church members who have volunteered with me there. Our kids help us make videos for deaf church and Sunday school. It is encouraging to see them participate and be excited about ministering in this way. We are also learning that the videos we make today may be seen by somebody years from now, and it may fall on good ground when we least expect it. Working with people is messy and time-consuming, and yet that is what we are called to do. God is surrounding us with brothers and sisters who are sharing this load, caring for others, and being peacemakers in ways that few people see, but that make a profound difference. We are grateful to serve King Jesus with amazing and dedicated people.

Thankful to serve the Lord together

Though some have fallen away, I can think of at least 20 other people who have started attending church since COVID, and every Sunday, we have around 80 people in attendance. We continue to have to divide into two services because of space constraints, and while this is not ideal, it does mean that more people are involved in serving. Every week, I have at least 3-4 different opportunities to teach and preach the Bible. While “normal missionary life” may seem like doing the same thing over and over again, there is real change taking place, little by little, week after week. While there are always challenges, God’s grace is more than sufficient, and the Gospel is beautiful and powerful. 

Thank you for sticking with us in prayer and in encouragement through the positive and the negative. While we wish we could sit down and share a delicious meal with you and talk for hours, we are thankful for moments like this where we can share a little bit of our hearts with you. Much love from us here in Portugal!

Watch a short clip of  Laura and Samuel explaining about the ressurrection 

6 thoughts on “April Prayer letter”

  1. May God bless you richly.

    This is a truly honest newsletter–I feel your hurt, discouragement, grief. If there is any solace may it be found in the reality that I find that to be true of the ministry here. People are pulling away from the church–as a worship and learning place as well as a sanctuary of assurance, hope, and peace. And I honestly believe that they are grieving many things but haven’t yet realized that their lack of hope and peace is directly related to their lack of worship and studying of the scriptures. Satan has truly used this time of shut-downs and “safe distancing” to cause everyone to feel alone, confused, and defeated.

    And you are correct: this does not have God confused or defeated! He truly is the only hope any of us have for all of our situations. So, you keep making those videos, you keep spending the extra time with your precious family and in the Word, you keep seeking His face and following His direction and don’t fret over what you can’t do or where you can’t go.

    Your greatest witness right now is not that you would always be upbeat and positive, but that people can see you struggle with the same things they struggle with–but you (we) process/handle these challenges with the full hope of Jesus Christ. That He is working ALL THINGS for His good–for those who are the Called. Our confidence in God should never be greater and more evident than now!

    People are messy and time-consuming. Personally, I beg God to help me love people more every day, because He has shown me in this pandemic that I don’t really love those who may need it the most. It’s easy to love those who are like us/serve with us, or those who are grateful for what we do, or those who seem very needy. It is much more difficult to love those who seem to despise us for our faith, who expect much from us but show zero gratitude, who seem needy all the time and don’t seem to try to “get it together”, or people who go around running over everyone and carrying an air of entitlement. But as we read the scriptures, Jesus was so kind and concerned for everyone He came in contact with–and purposeful in doing so. God, help us love our neighbor as we love ourselves!

    I pray you continue to look to God for discernment and peace!

    On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 10:48 AM Booths in Portugal wrote:

    > boothsinportugal posted: ” Every month or so, we sit down and write our > prayer letter, just like the one you’re reading now. As we try to > communicate what has happened since the last time we wrote, we often > wonder, “Is this too negative? Does it sound like we’re complaining?”” >

    1. Thank you for your honesty and for asking God to fill you with a love from Him, so you can reach the ones He has asked you to reach. Thank you for keeping on, letting God mold you, and encouraging us as well. You are so sweet. We love you!

  2. Thank you so much for your transparency! You are a breath of fresh air and an encouragement to me! We will continue lifting you up in prayer to the God over both mountaintops and valleys.

    Much love to you from the folks at First Bible!

    – Duane

    On Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 9:47 AM Booths in Portugal wrote:

    > boothsinportugal posted: ” Every month or so, we sit down and write our > prayer letter, just like the one you’re reading now. As we try to > communicate what has happened since the last time we wrote, we often > wonder, “Is this too negative? Does it sound like we’re complaining?”” >

  3. Prayed for you in our service this morning. We love you and lift you up to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ! He is worth it all!

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