While what you read below isn’t all that God’s doing in northern Portugal, it gives you a little idea about what has gone on with our family and ministry lately. I wish that I could share more, but just know that His unseen hand is ever-present.
It’s been a whirlwind summer with summer camp, Mimi’s (Nina’s mom) visit, and an unexpected change of residence. After renting his house to us for over 5 years, our landlord decided that he needed to try to sell his home in Portugal. Neither one of us thought that he would be very successful, and then all of a sudden someone agreed to buy it. We moved out in mid-August and are still working on getting settled in our new home. It’s less than a mile from the old one, so the kids will stay in the same schools. It is also newer, but unfortunately smaller. Our family fits in it fine, but all of the stuff that we have accumulated over the years doesn’t.
The new neighbors are great. They have already shared a huge home-grown chicken, fresh eggs and nectarines from their tree with us. Nina told me today that she was in serious debt. Maybe she can convince Faith, who’s been baking up a storm lately to help with this ministry of hospitality.
School starts back up in just a few weeks. The kids are not excited. As always, if anyone would like to help us with the purchase of school books, you are definitely welcome. Just the books themselves, not counting other materials (notebooks, pencils, colored pencils, etc.) will set us back about $650.
My computer was out of commission for a few weeks, and will be returning to the shop today. They fixed the initial problem, but after having it at home for a few days, a new problem arose. I know, I know, “…this too shall pass.” I’m trying to be patient. Still, I wanted to explain the extended period of time between our printed newsletters.
In our last update, we asked you to pray for a family that had been attending services: Carla and her two boys, Roberto and Leonardo. By their own testimonies, they have all trusted Christ as their Savior, with the boys getting saved at summer camp. We plan on baptizing Carla and Roberto in September, along with another 2 recent converts, for a total of 4. We have also begun leadership training for those interested in hosting small group Bible studies in their homes, during the week. We plan on this being our continued focus in the years to come: making disciples who are equipped to do the same.
Our second ever VBS starts next week. We have been busy planning and praying for a full house, and for more laborers. The teens will be serving in different areas, which is a definite step in the right direction.
We’d also like to update you on our football clinic. We had one coach, Brandt Thomas, a former Jacksonville State player and coach, come and spend a week with our team. He was a tremendous blessing and a hard worker. For four days we stayed at the church (the clinic site) or the gym from early in the morning until late in the evening. The week culminated with 7 of the Warriors coming to church to hear Brandt speak about living in God’s will. For several of these players it was the first time for them to attend a non-Catholic church service. They all heard the gospel and we are confident that God will eventually give us a harvest in this field.
I’m sure that you have heard by now that we are planning on returning to the States next summer. Initially we considered coming for 3 months, but now, if given liberty from the school, we plan on being in the States for 5 months (through late October). Again, please let us know if you would like us to stop by and update you on the work here in Portugal. We are very excited about seeing as many of you as we can. We also ask you to keep us in your prayers in regards to the costs associated with such a trip. If nothing changes, just the airline tickets will cost our family $7000. Help us pray that the Lord would provide these finances over the next year.