June 2020 Prayer Letter – Our amazing God and olive oil

Four weeks ago, we resumed having services in our church buildings in Castelo Branco and Fundão. I wasn’t sure what to expect. First of all, these were going to be different services. Complying with health officials’ regulations and with the obvious effort of the whole community we introduced more space between chairs and empty seats between people that don’t live in the same house. People disinfect their hands before coming in and wear masks during the service. People register during the week and there is assigned seating. Before the pandemic we had some unsaved people that had been visiting and others that were not yet committed to membership. In my small faith I expected to lose some people. Nevertheless, we scheduled two services for Castelo Branco. Our schedule is now: 9:30, membership class and then two services at 10:30 and 11:30. Not only we didn’t lose any people, we have been having first time visitors in every service. Most of them are coming back too!  Since reopening we have had more than 20 first time visitors from the community. There are more registered to come this Sunday. Please continue to pray.

[Click here for a PDF version of this letter]

The very first service since reopening, we had a young couple attend for the first time. They had had some contact with Christianity and were curious. After they returned a second time, they sent me a message asking if we could meet. I met them at the church, and they started the conversation, “In the service you said that you were available to talk to anyone that wanted to know more about salvation.” “That’s right,” I said. “Well, that is why we’re here. We want to know more about salvation.” I don’t know about you, but I think that is a pretty good way to start a conversation. We talked with an open Bible for about an hour and I could see the lights coming on. I urged them to respond to the gospel message in repentance and faith in Christ. I prayed for them that the Lord would open their eyes and hearts and that they would trust Christ. I had to trust God after that. He is the one that convicts and saves, right? We parted ways and later that night I got a message from them that literally said, “We just wanted to let you know that tonight we had the most special moment in our lives. We have trusted Jesus as our Savior.” They haven’t missed church since and last night we met for a weekly discipleship session. Will you continue to pray?

We have a good number or registrations for our summer camp at the Mount of Olives. We will have the occupancy at 50% due to the health measures still in place. We also continue to monitor the overall situation in the country. This week the government decided to take a step back in some of the reopening measures due to an increase of infections in the greater Lisbon area. Will you pray for the camp? We are needing a new roof at the main meeting area of the camp. There is a missions’ team willing to come and do the work. All we have to come up with are the materials which we have priced at about 6000$. We are now raising funds for that project. At the Mount of Olives we produce the best olive oil in the world, so we will mail you a bottle of our 2019 oil for any donation of 20$ or more for this particular project.

Mount of Olives Olive Oil

Thank you for your love and support for the ministry in Portugal.

In His Service, Mark and Aura Pereira