In these last two months of the year we have had two people baptized in Castelo Branco and a total of nine people joined the church.
[Click here for PDF version of this letter]
What a joy and privilege it was to lead these precious souls through our membership classes and interviews. Also, to pray with them before they give their testimonies of salvation to the whole church and to hear about all that God did so that today they can say they know for sure Jesus is their Lord and Savior. In November we baptized João in the river and in December we baptized Antonella in a gym’s pool, both very public confessions of faith in Christ.
At our new church plant in Fundão, the group has grown to almost 30 people and we are having to prayerfully plan for steps regarding discipleship and future organization of this work. Meanwhile, our small group in Fundão was able to get together, rehearse some Christian songs and visit some local orphanages and retirement homes, with the joy of salvation and a simple Gospel leaflet. What a joy that was to see them reach out to the community with the message of the One that came to save us from our sins.
In both locations there are men willing to be trained to preach and increase their involvement in ministry and there are people of all ages, men and women, willing to give more of their time and talents to do the work of the ministry to the glory of God. Please pray that in the new year we will be able to teach all that are available to be taught. Also, please pray as we consider starting Bible studies in maybe two new cities.
At the same time that all of this is going on, there are the normal struggles of maintaining and funding a growing ministry. We are thankful for all that have sent towards the immediate need created by paying the Portuguese Social Security bill [as per letter of Nov. 7th]. The response to that request was amazing and we praise the Lord for it. What came in has allowed us to pay what was immediately owed and has put our ministry account back in the black. We are praying, if that doesn’t happen before, that our furlough scheduled for September 2020 to March 2021 will allow us to raise enough money to completely pay the Social Security and finally resolve this problem that has been going on since 2011.
It is interesting to me that the ones being reached, baptized and trained in the mission field rarely communicate with the travails and hardships of the missionary life. That reminds me that God’s work will continue despite the whims of people or the state of human affairs. God had commanded us to labor in Portugal, preach the Gospel, baptize the ones that respond and get saved, and teach all to observe the things that Christ has taught us. He promised us that He would save and keep all that would repent and trust in Christ. And He has always done just that. He did not promise that every day would be an easy day, but He did promise He would be with us always. Thank you for being used in our lives and in this ministry as the fulfillment of that promise. God bless you all in the new year.