Encouraging news: Baptism and Building Project

Most Sundays, as we lock up after church, we feel an even mixture of sadness and joy: sadness over people and situations that concern us and joy over those in which we can see God working. Then, there are Sundays like yesterday, in which joy is overwhelming, and faith is sight. 
 
To get to yesterday,  let’s go back to March of 2020. Covid restrictions here made us start wearing masks and stop meeting in public. Church went online. Just like many of you, we were scrambling to learn how to livestream a church service and care for our members from a distance. What was a difficulty for us, however, was part of God’s saving plan for others. 
 
Susana, a single woman in her early 40’s, had just lost both of her parents, her pet died, and she was painfully alone in quarantine. She called her friend (named Si) in France, who went online and “happened” to find our church. Susana reluctantly began watching our church online, then started coming, and was taken under the wings of women in the church who have taught her and loved her as their own daughter or sister. Yesterday, Susana gave her testimony before the entire church, thanking many people who were part of her salvation story, including Si, who, of course couldn’t come all the way from France to be there. Suddenly, a stranger stood up and walked down the aisle. “I don’t believe it!” Susana said. It was Si! She had surprised all of us to be there for the baptism! She hugged her friend and cried for joy, and most of the church cried with her. 


Si was overjoyed that her friend, Susana, is now her sister in Christ

Paulo, a father of two elementary-age boys, was agnostic. During the lockdown, he went online and spent hours listening to videos of people giving their testimonies of accepting Christ. He also found our church’s livestream and started attending in person. Since then, David has sat with him for hours answering his questions and pointing him to Christ. Yesterday, he testified of how God has helped him believe and is changing his life. His mother and sister were saved last year, and they sat in the front row with his sons watching him be baptized yesterday.


What a joyous moment!

Like a captivating painting, there were strokes of beauty all over the sanctuary. A deaf church member’s 3-year-old daughter sang in sign language with all her might. A woman quietly placed money in the building fund donation box. People whose recent pasts include drug addiction, sexual sin, loss of loved ones, or financial distress were worshipping the God who restores and sustains. The church was packed to the gills with 134 people! Plus, after 25 months straight, we were able to meet without wearing masks! We saw each other’s smiles for the first time in 2 years, and God gave us so many reasons to smile.
 

Click here to watch the testimonies and baptisms of Susana and Paulo
 

It has been a long two years, but God has been working His plan. What a joy to glimpse the beauty of that yesterday!

We are also seeing steady progress toward our building fund. As of today, we have reached 50% of our goal. Almost 30 different churches and individuals have given to help us get this far. We are overwhelmed with gratitude! God willing, we will reach our goal of $100,000 by the end of May. 
 
We also have a very generous partner who has offered to match any gift, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000. This is a great encouragement to us, and if God puts it in on your heart to give, your generosity will be multiplied. 

Giving to our building project takes less than three minutes

This is an exciting time! Good things are happening! We depend on your prayer and are grateful for your encouragement.

Our love be with you all in Christ Jesus, The Booths

Building Project Update

Three weeks ago, we shared about the building we are working to buy and of our goal to raise $100,000 by the end of May. God is answering! As of right now, we’ve seen more than $30,000 come in from churches and people just like you. From California to North Carolina, from North Dakota to Florida, we have seen God’s people rise up and respond in a way that has humbled and encouraged us greatly. To each of you who have given, thank you! More than helping us reach this goal, you have strengthened our resolve and made an investment in the work of the gospel here in Portugal.

While we still have a long way to go to reach our goal, we are confident that God will supply every dollar we need. Even as I was writing this letter, I received a phone call from a pastor of a church we visited in Tennessee when we were on deputation way back in 2009. Though we have never been back to visit, the church has kept up with us and prayed for us. The pastor informed us that his church just voted to send $10,000 to help buy our church building. Tears came to my eyes as I once again stood amazed at such an unexpected gift and at how God works.

Besides the building, there is more exciting news. Two weeks ago, a team of four from our church went on a mission trip to take Bibles and discipleship material to north Africa. Our trip went very well, and it moved our hearts greatly to see the courage of the believers there as well as the great need for the gospel. Our church in Portugal has now made three mission trips to help bring materials to this area.

Next Sunday, we will baptize several people. One lady who will be baptized, Susana, began watching our services online during COVID lockdown. God has worked in her heart in a powerful way, and it is sweet to see how her life has changed. Where once there was fear and confusion, there is now joy and a hunger to grow in her walk with the Lord.

Paulo, who will also be baptized, began coming to our church about that same time. Over the past two years, I’ve spent countless hours at a café talking about life and what it means to follow Jesus. God has worked in his life, and it is encouraging to see him take bold steps of faith.

God is working. How can you help us now?

  • Rejoice and thank God with us for His provision! He has done great things!
  • Pray for the purchase of the building. Far more than raising money or acquiring buildings, God is working in our hearts and building our faith. Pray that God would steady our hearts in moments of doubt and frustration. In the midst of paperwork and meetings with lawyers, accountants, and bankers, pray that God would keep our eyes fixed on Him, and that we would not lean on our own understanding.
  • Give. One of the most of encouraging parts of this process is seeing how God is using so many different people to help meet this need. If you are able, we invite you to join with us in this journey of faith. Click here to give to our building project.

Thank you for keeping up with us! May the love of Jesus Christ fill your heart as you contemplate and celebrate His death and resurrection this weekend.

If you haven’t already seen the video about our building, here it is.