Sunday evening walk

Last night around 9:00, Sarah and I went for a walk in our town, Montijo. As we wandered around, we caught three vivid glimpses into the lives of people here. First, we walked past a large restaurant/conference room. Looking through the large windows, we could see inside where there were about 50 people having a party. It was a rather enthusiastic gathering. Even from outside, we could hear them laughing, cheering, telling jokes, and making toasts to one another.

As we walked a little further, we came to the town square. Surprisingly, the doors of the Catholic church were open and inside it was filled with people. In fact, there were so many people that many were standing outside on the steps leading into the building. Out of curiosity, Sarah and I walked up the stairs and stood and watched for several minutes. Here it was 9:30 at night and the church was packed. Though the influence of the Catholic church has diminished, this was evidence that it still remains strong.

Finally, as we were heading home, we passed by a cafe. Inside there were about 15 men drinking beer while sitting watching a soccer game. Benfica, the most popular soccer team in Portugal, was playing. Since many of the games are on cable TV, people gather at cafes and bars to cheer their team on.As we finished our walk, it occurred to me that we had just seen three different portraits of typical Portuguese living: spending time with friends and family, religion, and soccer. What a reminder to pray that God would do His work in this city. How we pray that people would be saved and that God would be glorified here.

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!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Almost There

What an exciting month this has been so far. On Tuesday evening, August 10th, we had our commissioning service at Calvary Baptist Church in Charlotte, Michigan. This is the church that my (David’s) dad pastors and where I spent my high school years. Five other supporting churches from the area also sent their pastors and many people from their congregations to join in this special service. It was a wonderful evening of thanksgiving for God’s provision and prayer for His guidance as we leave for Portugal. It was a great encouragement for us to see so many friends and family come and take part of this event.In other news, we leave for Portugal on Wednesday, August 18th to begin our first term. Our support is now over 90% and we are prayerful that the rest will come in soon. To God be the glory for the great things He has done.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Defining Deputation

Deputation? What is that? What do you really do? Our answer: “Hang on and enjoy the ride.” Every day is a new adventure. I think deputation requires its own adjective.  Busy. Unpredictable. Precious. Long. Humbling. Self-revealing. A crazy blessing. Whatever else deputation is, it is PEOPLE.

Take, for instance, this past week. Friday found us in between meetings in Wisconsin. We spent the night in the home of a Christian widow. She and her husband were church planters. Now, she uses her home to bless missionaries and others who need a place to stay. (She would be one of those PEOPLE that deputation is about.) The next morning, we passed a herd of buffalo on our way out. We drove by the coasts of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. (Where else do you see buffalo and the beach within 5 miles of each other?) Spending the night in the home of David’s former youth pastor, now a pastor, we talked about ministry and how to reach PEOPLE for Christ. Sunday morning, David preached at that pastor’s church, and we told the PEOPLE about ministry in Portugal. Afterward, a potluck helped us know the PEOPLE better before driving to another city for our next meeting. Even the GPS couldn’t find the church that night, but a man in town told us he’d show us the street in exchange for a ride a few blocks down. He got us to the church, we got him to his destination, and in doing so, we got to share with another PERSON. The PEOPLE at church were sweet and interested. Afterward, a family took us to eat. Over hamburgers, we listened to their incredible testimonies of how God saved them. What an encouragement to see them now teaching their children about Jesus!

Late Sunday night, we returned to David’s youth pastor’s home. At 8:00 Monday, we were on the road, aiming for Louisville, KY, by 7:00 PM. We got there a half-hour early . . . until we realized they were on eastern time, and we were a half-hour late. (Oops!) We stayed with two college friends, and two others came for supper. It was a great time of hearing what God was doing in each PERSON spiritually.

Tuesday morning, we were heading to Tennessee. Sarah’s former youth pastor died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and Sarah was asked to interpret the funeral at 7:00. We hit the road at 8:45 AM, expecting to be there around 3:00. A few miles later, we coasted in to a gas station. No, we didn’t need gas; we needed a tow truck. (Timing belts sure make a difference, don’t they?) Oh well! Our car is visiting its mechanic friends in Kentucky the rest of the week. The rental car thought it had it easy with just two people. Then, it saw our stuff. (Have you been on the road for 2 months before?) David’s bag, Sarah’s bag, laundry, food, books, medicine, display board and box, computer, projector, file folders, tennis rackets, and gifts from churches . . . all transferred to the rental. (How do people do it with kids?) Anyway, our extra time was now down to zero. God let us get home at 6:15, change clothes, and be at the funeral on time. A car breaking down is nothing compared to losing a PERSON. The funeral was a great testimony to his love for the Lord and how he lived to reach other PEOPLE for Him.

Wednesday was a catch-up day: laundry, calling churches, banking, paperwork, and going through mail from the past 60 days. That night, David preached the service at a shelter for homeless PEOPLE.

Today is Thursday. On our agenda: phone calls, letters, and e-mail to dozens of PEOPLE. David is studying theology books in preparation for his upcoming ordination. Sarah is reading about women’s ministry and going through Portuguese flash cards. We are praying for our newly-made friends in churches across America, and we’re glad they are praying for us. We look for ways to reach PEOPLE right here (even a tract to a cashier). And, we are asking God to use us each and every day to reach what is most important. (FYI: It’s PEOPLE.)

Vodpod videos no longer available.