That’s right. The last prayer letter of 2012 is scheduled to be mailed out today, which means that you can either read it here first, or go back to Facebook and wait on the hard copy to arrive. If for some reason you don’t receive our prayer letter and would like to, please email me your address to be added. Or, worse yet, if you are tired of your mail carrier putting another piece of paper in your box, you can also email me to be taken off the list.
Otherwise, here goes our latest prayer letter. We hope you enjoy it, and for those of you who regularly read the blog, this probably isn’t anything you don’t already know. By the way, I hope you had a wonderful boxing day yesterday.
First and most importantly, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 2012 was a good, but challenging year for our family. The Lord continues to show Himself mighty in His care for us with special grace and answered prayers that always leave us equally parts grateful and humbled. Most recently a family who had been trying to sell a piano that was no longer being used decided to give it to us out of their love for the Lord and their desire to be a blessing to us. While in the States pianos are often donated or sent to the dump because so many are floating around and people simply don’t want to move them, they are much more rare over here. Brooklyn almost passed out when we delivered it to the house and immediately began playing it. I took my turn and almost passed out simply because of the sheer weight of moving it down two flights of circular apartment stairs where it was stored and then going up a few steps into our house. Needless to say, I was very thankful for the three football players that helped me move it.
Many of you have kept up with Nina’s sinus struggles since the spring of this year she when went from one specialist and antibiotic to another. Through the summer and fall she did really well, however, the problems have now returned. Since we now have in-country private health insurance she was able to go see a specialist for a reasonable rate who is now aggressively treating these issues. Nina is now on her second round of antibiotics trying to knock out her first winter infection. The specialist recommended she see an allergist and return to her as needed. Please pray for some relief and a solution to this problem.
Our October baptism went wonderfully! Although it was three people short of the goal that we set at the beginning of the year, we praise the Lord for the three souls that were baptized. The water was icy, but it made for good conversation before and after the event.
We have registered the church with the government and are waiting the final approval. One of the required documents that we send in is a proof of existence letter. While no forms or concrete guidelines exist for such a proof of existence letter, the burden falls on us to prove beyond any doubt that our church actually exists. We sent one letter from the baptist church in Braga and were told that just one letter wasn’t enough and that the letter wasn’t signed by someone who has legal authority to sign such a document. Don’t you love bureaucracy?!? We have since sent two more letters, plus an official document from the local government saying simply that our congregation is in fact, “non-ficticious”. Now, we wait.
We are still broadcasting our Sunday service live over the internet, although the request was made by a loyal viewer (and friend in Braga) that my microphone be muted during the song service. Some things never change. We have had as high as 20 people watching a single service during the preaching, which may not sound like very many, but we know that several of these were people who either have never been to an non-Catholic church service or do not regularly attend a gospel preaching church.
More and more of our friends and families in the church face difficult struggles on a daily basis. Just like in every church, our families struggle with depression, marital problems, sickness and unemployment – just to name a few. We ask that you pray for the Lord to give us wisdom to help during these uncertain times.
We would like to say thank you to everyone who sent a special offering, card or package to make Christmas special for our family. It is never the same spending the holidays in a foreign country and culture, but you all brighten our day with the smallest gestures of kindness and love.