Because it involves us, and the ministry in Portugal, I have decided to share here my in-law’s last update. It talks about their furlough plans, recent events in the ministry here in Portugal and future plans for this corner of the Lord’s vineyard. They are about to leave for their 8 month furlough. You may still contact them if you would like them to come by your church. Maybe something could be arranged. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Furlough is upon us, only 10 days before we leave. I have mixed emotions about it, as always. this is our life, not just what we do, and leaving it, even for a while, is complicated in many ways. It has been, because of the circumstances of our present ministry, 10 years since we left for such a long period of time. It looks like we will be in the States for about 8 months.
We are confident of the leadership filling in for us, and that helps us a lot. Mark and Aura have more than 10 years of experience in the ministry now, and we know they can handle things here in our absence.
We leave them to continue a church plant that is still incomplete in many ways. We are having new visitors fairly regularly, some already becoming part of us. Others are leaving for a variety of reasons. We will be losing a family for health reasons, probably within weeks if not days. We had to take help get John to the emergency room Sunday night, and he is still in ICU as I write this. They are seeing some pretty serious issues with his heart. He and his wife are UK citizens and all their family members are in England, so they will most likely go there when he is able to travel. I did have a great opportunity to witness to one of the EMTs on the way to the hospital. He has Mark’s phone number and said he would be in touch.
Others are leaving for financial reasons. There have been a few positive signs in the economy here, but it still isn’t good. Over 500,000 people between the ages of 15 and 29 left the country to find a better life in the last decade (there were only about 10 million people here to start with), and the trend does not seem to be changing.
That said, we still have people here in Portugal! As I said, we have several new people attending. Some are Portuguese, others immigrants from other Portuguese speaking countries (it seems that as bad as things are here they are worse in other places!) This district where we live has about 200,000 inhabitants, 65,000 of them in our city alone. Ours is the only Baptist church in the whole district – ever! We feel a great burden to see new churches in other parts of this district, and the country as a whole. There are three other cities within our district. We are praying for the opportunity to start at least one more church in one of these cities in our next term, alongside the one we are now in. We are praying for help, financial – to be sure, but laborers are urgently needed.
Speaking of laborers, we had the great privilege to sit on the ordination council of Tito Pereira last Saturday. I have mentioned him before as heading a church plant just north of Lisbon. He finished his Bible institute work, presenting to us his final thesis as the basis for his ordination questioning. It was a strong Biblical work, and he was ordained on Sunday by his Mother Church, the one we were allowed to start down south. Kind of neat. The pastor of that church, Lenildo, was ordained one year earlier, and he commented that it would be great to do that every year! I agree.
Thanks for all your prayers and faithful giving! To God be all the glory.”