September Update: Victories and Challenges

It’s a rainy Monday here in Portugal – the first rain we’ve had in at least two months. Summer has given way to fall, and the kids are heading back to school. It’s a good day to reflect on what’s happened and where we’re heading.

After a non-stop June and July, the month of August was a welcome reprieve. While much of the work continued, we did take some time to get away as a family to rest and recharge. We needed this time, and God gave us many sweet moments together.

Family time in Spain

It is a joy to be in our new building. Every Sunday, at least a hundred people gather to worship the Lord. New families are coming, and there is a desire to serve and move forward in the work God has given us. These are exciting times, and yet every victory brings new challenges. Would you pray with us for God’s power and guidance in the following areas:

Building. When we bought the building, we knew that it needed a lot of work, but we are quickly seeing just how big of a task this will be. The building we bought is three connected warehouses. The first one, we rent out to a business. We “inherited” this rental contract with the purchase, and it runs through 2024. While it would be nice to be able to use this space now, it does provide the church with a source of income, which is helpful. The second warehouse is where we have our church services, and it is in adequate condition. The third warehouse is where we hope to have classrooms, a fellowship area, and a kitchen. Unfortunately, we can’t use this area as the entire roof needs to be replaced. Pray with us that God would give us the wisdom and the resources we need to be good stewards of this building.

Ministry/Outreach. With new people coming each week, we are struggling to keep up with everybody and integrate people into the church. How do you get a crowd of people to become a body? That is the question and the challenge we are facing. We see so many needs and opportunities, and it often feels like we are letting these slip through our hands due to our lack of organization or time. The other day, Sarah commented on how it seems we are so busy with “church stuff” that we hardly have time to evangelize people around us. She quickly did something about this, as she called me one afternoon and said, “I invited our neighbors over for dinner. They’ll be here in a couple of hours.” We have fantastically kind neighbors on all four sides of us, but none of them has interest in God or the Bible. We talk every week as we hang our laundry, water our plants, and walk our kids to school. Please pray that these conversations over the table and over the fence will pique their interest in spiritual things, and that these lovely neighbors will be our forever neighbors in heaven!

Plans. Finally, pray with us to know our role. We know we are church-planting missionaries, and it seems that the church has reached the size and maturity for our role to change. We struggle to know how to best serve the church now, while setting it up for long-term health and fruitfulness. A few weeks ago, we celebrated our 12th year of ministry here. We want God to use us however He would like for His glory here.

Lucas paying close attention at church
Grateful for 12 years in Portugal