Our desire is to glorify God by devoting our lives to reaching hearing and deaf people in Portugal with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We endeavor to faithfully proclaim the message of salvation, believing that God will bring forth a harvest of souls for His glory.
Furthermore, we will invest our lives in discipling and nurturing believers in the faith. All of this is done with the desire to promote the growth of local churches that are healthy, Scriptural, and reflecting the character of God.
What goals did we have for our first term (2010-2014)?
1. Learn the languages
- Portuguese Sign Language (through classes and daily conversation with Portuguese deaf)
- Portuguese (through university classes, tutoring, and daily immersion)
During our first year in Portugal, we did much to accomplish this goal. Between the two of us, we took 960 hours of Portuguese language classes and over 120 hours of Portuguese Sign Language classes. We have finished our formal studies in Portuguese, though we will continue to learn and improve in the language throughout our lives here.
In regard to Portuguese Sign Language, I completed three years of classes through the Portuguese Deaf Association. Sarah completed two years of these classes.
2. Build relationships
When we arrived in Montijo, we didn’t know anybody. Now, more than four years later, we know hundreds of people in this city, and we have many close friendships. How did we do this? We tried to be purposeful in building relationships with our neighbors and people we would meet in daily life. However, we knew that we would have to do even more than that in the beginning. Because of that, we tried to place ourselves in settings where we could meet people naturally.
- I taught English in an after-school center.
- Sarah taught religion and morality classes in a couple of public schools in our town.
- I volunteered to help in community charity efforts like food drives.
- I played basketball with a group of guys.
These are just a few of the steps we took to meet people and reach this goal.
Besides people here in our town, we have met dozens of other people in other contexts such as in classes we have taken. It has been a wonderful experience getting to know so many people and learning about their lives. Some of these people may have passed through our lives only briefly and we may never see them again. For others, this may have been the start of a life-long friendship. Most importantly, we want to be faithful in living and proclaiming the gospel with each person we know.
3. Start Bible studies
In September of 2012, we began to have bi-weekly Bible studies in our home. We did this for about a year and a half, and normally we would have between 15-20 people. This Bible study was the foundation for the church that began in April of 2013.
Besides this, we did numerous small group or Bible studies with individuals.
Today, Sarah meets occasionally with different women to teach them the Bible. I have a youth Bible study every Wednesday afternoon. On Wednesday evenings, we now have our Bible study at church.
With the Deaf, we did occasional Bible studies with individuals or small groups.
Teaching the Bible is a tremendous privilege, and it is gratifying to see people growing in their faith.
4. Lay the foundation for a church-plant
By God’s grace, we were able to see this happen during our first time both with the hearing and with the Deaf.
With the hearing, we rented a building and began Sunday services in April, 2013. Since then, we normally have between 20-40 people attend each Sunday. While this congregation is still in its infancy as a church, we are seeing good progress. At least 15 people are involved in a ministry in the church, and there are several men in the church who are taking leadership positions.
With the Deaf, we had our first Sunday service in November, 2013. At this point, we meet once each month, and we normally have between 6-10 Deaf at each service.
What are our goals for our second term (2014-2018)?
1. Strengthen the church plants and help them grow towards maturity and autonomy.
2. Begin new works. With the hearing, we hope to start a Bible study and lay the groundwork for a church plant in a neighboring county (Alcochete). We hope many of the people in the church in Montijo will be involved in this process.
With the Deaf, our goal is to begin having weekly services, see Deaf saved and baptized, and begin new Bible studies in new areas.
3. Train more leaders. During our first term, our big priority was to meet new people. Now, we almost feel as if we know more people than we are able to keep up with. Even in its early stages, the church in Montijo is growing to the point where we are unable to meet everbody’s needs and disciple all the people we need to. Thus, we hope to spend more of our time this term training leaders within the church as well as in other settings. I will continue to teach classes in a Bible institute, and I also hope to have the opportunity to teach some in a seminary as well.
4. Lead more people to the Lord. God is control of this, but each time we are able to lead someone to the Lord, it makes us hungry for more. It took us until almost our third year to finally be able to lead someone to the Lord with who we were directly working. But since then, we have since almost a dozen people profess faith in Christ. We hope this number will grow greatly in the years to come.
Pray with us for God to be glorified in Portugal!