Ministry and blessings

You ever set out to be a blessing and just keep getting blessed in return? It’s like a constant reminder that it really is better to give than to receive.

Because when you give, in so many other ways, you’re really receiving.

This past weekend, Nina and I traveled to southern Portugal so I could speak at a conference on raising children at Living Hope Baptist Church of Albufeira, where Mark Pereira is the pastor. The conference was very well attended and, as always, the families of the church were extremely gracious and kind.


The church is a thriving, healthy, multi-cultural ministry that strives to make make Christ known in southern Portugal. Its vision of reaching this spiritually dry country with the gospel has steadily grown since the first time I was introduced to the church over 4 years ago. I usually travel down once or twice a year to help in one way or another.

I went really wanting to be even a small help to parents who maybe be struggling to raise their kids. We all do, right?

But, on this trip, the more I tried to be a blessing to others, the more I felt blessed.

To me the trip was all about ministry. To Nina it was a brief escape from the cold, rainy and depressing north.

I spent most of my days putting the last touches on what would be 6 opportunities to speak and spent my evenings speaking.

IMG_0043She spent her days soaking in the sun and giving her soul a much needed rest.

When I had a spare moment, I tried to be a blessing to her by doing special things that have the tendency to get lost in the shuffle of every day life with 5 kids.

When she had a spare moment, she accepted my offers to open the car door for her, or buy her a dollar store sun dress, or take her to KFC for good ol’ southern fried chicken.

One day as we were getting in the car, she stopped and commented, “I’m feeling very spoiled right now.”

Just that. Just knowing how much she needed to be spoiled just a little bit helped me a whole lot.

May not seem like a big deal to you, but it certainly was to me. Being reminded of God’s grace in our marriage was worth the entire trip.

I tried to give, but I just kept getting.

What about you? Share in the comments, or email me with a recent account of when you tried to give, but just kept getting blessed in return.

  • Ricardo Sant’Anna

    Very glad you had a wonderful time down there and both of you could achieve your desires. I would really love to hear you talk about education, not only because of my background, but because I’m a father and sometimes i get really lost. I imagine both you and Nina are perfect examples of great parenthood, and I´m sure I have a lot to learn from you. Hope one day you will speak about this theme in Barcelos and I’ll be there.

    • Michael

      Thanks, Ricardo. There’s a good possibility that we will do a similar seminar at the church in the future. Once we get everything planned, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, maybe one weekend we can just get together (somewhere besides in Gondizalves) and just chat.

  • Nina

    This sun loving southern girl adored everything about our weekend away. The church, the people there, the opportunities we had to share our experiences, the rooftop breakfast, starfish in the tide pools, dollar store sun dresses and my prince opening the door for me……it was an honor to accompany you this weekend.

    I am very spoiled indeed……
    Nina recently posted..Ministry and blessingsMy Profile

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