We had a wonderful Christmas in Portugal with family.
There is nothing out of the ordinary in the previous sentence, but a couple of months ago we had no way of knowing that we would be in Portugal for Christmas.
When we left Portugal on August 29th, our return date was August 4th. And it still is. Confused yet?
Back in October, traveling from Michigan to Rhode Island, we stopped to see some friends in Pennsylvania. This friend happens to be the pastor of a very good church near Hershey (that’s right, the chocolate capital of the world, baby). At the dinner table he asked about our plans for Christmas. We told him that we had pretty much invited ourselves to spend Christmas with our pastor and his family in Rhode Island (they had very nicely made us feel welcome to share Christmas with them). We did not have meetings for the Christmas/New Year’s season.
“How would you like to go to Portugal for Christmas?” Over the years I have been guilty of unashamedly hinting for a number of “Christmas wishes”, but this was not the case. Aura just started crying (Portugal is home for us) and I did not know what to say. That does not happen to me very often.
Through a very generous donation from a member of that church, we were able to come to Portugal for a few days over Christmas and it has been great!
We were stuck at Boston airport for two days because of the snow and our luggage took a completely different route than we did, but we made it. There is something about having the ability to have the best espresso in the world to make you forget about the weariness of intercontinental travel.
Last Sunday, I had the privilege of preaching in Castelo Branco in the morning. At the church that my father-in-law is planting in that city. In the afternoon we traveled to Castanheira do Ribatejo and I preached at the special Christmas service that Bro. Tito organized in our church plant there. We praise the Lord for two local first time visitors, that responded to the flyers that were passed out in preparation for this event. Other churches in the country (including our church in Albufeira) sent people and prepared for the different parts of the service.
We spent that night with Bro. Tito and had great fellowship with him and his wife. We also worked on some ground work for a new website and discussed some practical and doctrinal issues.
We arrived today in Albufeira, where I will be preaching and teaching for a few days. Please pray for our time here. I have already received good reports of the way pastor Lenildo is conducting the ministry here since we left in August. We will have three services tomorrow, a church business meeting on Monday and a special New Year’s service on Tuesday night. We want to encourage Bro. Lenildo and build him up before the people. Please join us in prayer that all we do here these next few days will be for the edification of this church and the glory of our God.
This has been a special trip so far and has been a good reminder of the reasons why we are raising support for the ministry here. Please help us to reach Portugal with the gospel of Christ.