The city where we are currently ministering has a University. This week, classes started for another year, and we got our two University students back for our mid-week services (they usually go back home for the weekend). We love these two young ladies and it was great to see them again. This will be their last year in school. As Aura and I drove them home, we got to talk a little bit about how Sofia got saved soon after starting to come to church, here in Castelo Branco.
Years ago, the Lord put in my in-law’s hearts the need to reach the students that come here from the different parts of Portugal. They put together different outreach strategies and, praise the Lord, started to get contact with a few of the students. Some of them were believers from other parts of the country. These were happy that they could still go to church while in college. Almost all of them would bring unsaved friends, usually roommates. These unsaved roommates would not have been likely to go to a Gospel preaching church if invited back in their home towns. On one side, because there just aren’t a lot of Gospel preaching churches in the country. On the other side, it would be very hard for them to escape the family pressures that keep so many people here from attending any meeting where the Bible is faithfully taught.
S. started coming to the Tuesday night Bible studies because she was Michelle’s roommate. Michelle was a Christian from a sister church South of Lisbon. Very shy and reserved, but super nice, S. would listen very carefully, ask a few questions in church, and then a lot of questions back in the dorm room. She would also discuss everything she was being shown about Jesus in the Bible with her boyfriend back home, over the phone.
One day, late at night, she was talking to her boyfriend about the fact that she now knew that Jesus was the only one that could save her from her sins. S. told him that she would ask Michele if she could pray with her, first thing the next morning, as Michele was already asleep. The boyfriend said, “If you believe what you just said, it means that if you were to die in your sleep, you would not be saved.” S. said, “You are right! I need to be saved right now.”
The Gospel truly is the power of God to save and it is always a joy to hear about the different ways people deal with true conviction by the Holy Spirit of God. Michelle was awoken (she says she didn’t mind and I believe her) and they prayed together. S. asked the Lord to forgive her and received the perfect work of Jesus on the cross as full payment for her sins.
S. doesn’t live in the same town as Michelle and during the summer after she was saved, it was hard for her to go to church. This last summer, she felt she needed to be in church, so she looked and found a Baptist church near her grandmother’s house, where she has lunch every Sunday. She sent this message after she found that church, “Hey, pastor! I hope everyone is well. I just wanted to say that I found a church here and I am already going to the services. I had to talk to my parents about it, obviously. They don’t think it is anything serious, but with time I believe they will understand.”
Again, nobody was pressuring her to go to church, it was just the natural and very obvious work of God in a growing Christian. What a joy to see!
Thank you for your prayers and support that allow us to be a small part and witnesses of God’s amazing work in people’s lives in Portugal.