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Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken

I just recently discovered this beautiful hymn by a man named Henry F. Lyte. His testimony is fascinating and is worth a read.

I hope and pray that this hymn can be my my honest prayer this year.

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee;
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be;
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought, and hoped or known;
Yet how rich is my condition, God and heaven are still my own!
 
Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Savior too;
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like man, untrue;
And, while Thou shalt smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends may shun me; show Thy face and all is bright.
 
Go, then, earthly fame and treasure! Come, disaster, scorn and pain!
In Thy service, pain is pleasure; with Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, “Abba, Father;” I have set my heart on Thee:
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather, all must work for good to me.
 
Man may trouble and distress me, ’twill but drive me to Thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me, heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
O ’tis not in grief to harm me, while Thy love is left to me;
O ’twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.
 
Hasten on from grace to glory, armed by faith, and winged by prayer;
Heaven’s eternal day’s before me, God’s own hand shall guide me there.
Soon shall close my earthly mission, swift shall pass my pilgrim days;
Hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

More than enough

At the beginning of this month, I was reviewing our financial statement, paying some bills, and updating our money software. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude. Looking back over 11 months of this year, we have received just over 100% of our needed support. Approximately 45 churches and 10 individuals have faithfully partnered with us financially making it possible for us to live and serve here. Every month we pay our rent, buy gas for our car, get groceries and are able to go to the doctor because there are people who care about us and about taking the gospel to Portugal.

Besides taking care of our personal needs, the support we receive funds the ministry that we do here. Because of the generosity of so many people, we are able to buy Bibles and tracts, and we can pay for language school. You may not think about it, but we use our support for everything from buying cheeseburgers for teenagers after a Bible study to paying the tolls (most months we spend at least $100 on this expense) to travel to and from all the different things we have to do.

All of this leaves us deeply grateful and humbled. When we open our monthly report, we see the names of each church and person that supports us. We realize that many people sacrifice much to make it possible for us to do what we are doing. Because of that we want to be good stewards of every dollar we receive.

So we just want to take a moment and thank God for the wonderful churches and individuals He has placed in our life. He has given us more than enough!

Thankful for your prayer

A couple of days ago we asked for prayer for our visit to the immigration office. We are thankful that all went very well. Our documents were accepted, and we are now free to live in Portugal for another two years.

We also learned that it is a big advantage to have a baby along for things like this. Even though there were many people there, we were always seen to the front of the line and given VIP status (Very Important Parent). It’s very nice that so many places in Portugal offer priority to parents with babies and pregnant women. Last year when we went, our visit lasted five hours. This time we were out in under 1.5 hours. Who says having a baby slows you down? Another big blessing was that we were able to get Laura legalized for two years as well. We didn’t expect to be able to do that seeing as we are still waiting for her U.S. passport, but in the end we did.

We postponed our first lesson with our Portuguese Sign Language tutor, so we don’t have much to add in regard to that prayer request. Here are some recent pictures of Laura:

Feeling a little grumpy

Who did my hair like this?

How can you pray for us?

It’s humbling to know that there are many people praying for us. That being said, here are some ways we need your prayer.

1. On Wednesday we go to the immigration office to renew our residency visas. While we think we have everything in order,  we never know until we actually leave there. Please pray that God would give us the patience we need and that we would be prepared for our big day.

2. Also on Wednesday we start having a tutor come to our house to teach us Portuguese Sign Language. In addition to the class we are taking on Saturday, we will now also have lessons for two hours every Monday and Wednesday. We feel that learning Portuguese Sign Language is one area that has gone much slower than we anticipated. Because of that, we are hoping that this extra effort will pay off.

3. On Friday we have our bi-weekly Bible study in our home. We have invited a couple of new people to come. Please pray that they would show up. Please pray for me as I give the Bible study that God would give me the words to say.

Thanks for your prayers! Take a moment and send us a note to let us know how we can be praying for you.

We’ve Arrived!

On Wednesday, August 18th we left Grand Rapids, Michigan and began our journey to Portugal. After a layover in Newark, we boarded our plane and flew across the Atlantic. We arrived in Lisbon at 6 AM local time. There were a couple of missionaries who were kind enough to wake up that early and greet us at the airport.Since then, we have been busy adjusting to our life here. Each day has been productive and encouraging. We are grateful for your prayers and encouragement. Below are some pictures of places we have seen during our travels here in Portugal. Enjoy!

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