It’s a beautiful, 80 degree, autumn day here in Portugal. Believe it or not, I just finished drinking a pumpkin spice latte while thinking about what to write. Yes, the wonders of pumpkin spice have made it to Portugal as well. 😉
We spent the month of August visiting family and a few of our churches in the States. It was good to be back for a brief visit, and everyone was overjoyed to meet Lucas and see Laura and Samuel as well. When we arrived back in September, we geared up for back-to-school and a flurry of activities. We celebrated our 5th anniversary as an organized church with a wonderful picnic. Over a hundred people came, and it was a sweet day of fun, food, testimonies and good times.
We now have five Bible college students/interns coming to our church. These students are 18-22 years old and are from America, Germany, and Hungary. While most of them don’t speak any Portuguese, they have a sweet spirit and a desire to learn and serve in any way possible. It is encouraging to see the church reaching out to host and befriend them. Pray that we will have a great impact on their lives.
Later this month, we will resume meeting together for deaf church services. But in the meantime, Sarah has been interpreting the hearing services and a few of the deaf have been attending. Two Sundays ago, three deaf people came in right as the service was ending. We weren’t going to waste this opportunity, so we loaded everybody up and went to Burger King. While I wrangled Lucas, Sarah gave a thorough recap of the message while everyone was enjoying their burgers. Flexibility is certainly important! We ask that you pray for Sandra, a deaf lady who came occasionally to church in the past, but now is coming regularly, and seems to be growing in her desire to learn the Bible.
I also began teaching my Old Testament Introduction class in the seminary. There are fifteen students in the class and since it is online, they are from churches all over the country. Pray that I would teach this class with zeal and clarity, and that all of us would grow in our knowledge and love of God’s Word.
Finally, pray for us that God would give us wisdom to know how to lead the church to grow stronger while becoming less dependent on us. As church-planters, we are used to doing everything from stacking chairs, to marriage counseling, to making sure the pizza gets ordered for the youth activity. This “do whatever it takes” mentality is important in the beginning, but as time goes on, it can become a great hindrance to multiplication. We are constantly learning where to “intervene” and when to let go. Equipping leaders to make decisions and assume responsibility is challenging, and we often feel like we are learning how to do all of this as we go. There are certainly growing pains, and we are finding that working your way out of a job can be a lot of work. Even so, there are promising signs:
- Four different men in the church preached while we were gone.
- A very successful ladies Bible study is going on without Sarah’s leadership.
- Men’s and youth Bible studies take place frequently without my participation.
- An increasing amount of ministry and decisions are taking place without our presence.
Thank you so much for praying for us and encouraging us as we learn and press on.
Our love be with you all in Christ Jesus,
David and Sarah