Below is our latest prayer letter that will be sent out in the mail early next week. If you keep up with our updates here online, then most of this information you already know. However, I still hope you enjoy hearing about what the Lord is doing here in northern Portugal.
School is in full swing now, with tests already approaching. As most of you know, the school year here runs from mid-September to mid-June. This year, we have a 7th grader, two 6th graders, a 3rd grader and a 1st grader.
Can you believe that Justice is in the first grade? As best as we can tell, he enjoys school, likes his classmates, but hates homework. It is interesting that both he and Trinity have the only two men in the school as teachers. The other day Justice came home and told us a joke that his teacher made with his library number. He’s number 12 and Professor Avelino, who used to be Faith’s and Lib’s PE teacher at another school, called him Cheaper by the Dozen. I have no idea if it was a play on the number of children that we have or just something he thought funny. However, Justice thought that it was the funniest thing that he had ever heard and repeated it for the rest of the afternoon.
They have recently opened up a music academy in our little village, so Brooklyn is having music lessons three days a week. She has a music theory class, a piano class, and a group class, that, for her is basically voice lessons. She seems to really enjoy it, and we pray that it will continue to encourage her to use her gifts and talents for the Lord. She teaches in the children’s church on a regular basis with Nina’s help and by all accounts does a wonderful job. Next week (the 24th), Faith will turn 12. I’m not sure where time goes, but I’m learning more and more that wherever it goes, it does it fast. It hardly seems possible that she could be twelve years old. Liberty and Trinity are both doing well, little helpers in their own right. Trin, spends a lot of time in the kitchen with Nina, peeling and chopping veggies, and Liberty is often found helping Justice with his homework.
After over four months of trying to get high speed internet service in the church, it was successfully installed today. Praise the Lord. So, we can significantly improve the quality of our online broadcasts. We began with very limited quality a few weeks ago, but now intend on publicizing it much more with the speed upgrade. With this ministry, we are able to broadcast our services live, worldwide as well as record them for later viewing. We are regularly distributing CDs of the preaching, as well as updating our church podcast on iTunes, weekly. Our clothes closet ministry has begun in earnest and several people have already benefited from the donations. Last week I was able to speak with the Mayor of the area where the church is located about our food and clothing ministries. He was business like and polite, but showed little interest in sending people who need help to our church. I asked if there were projects in the neighborhood that our church could volunteer and participate in (cleaning up the community, painting, cutting grass, etc), and he said no. Pray that the Lord would touch his heart and give us an open door to serve the community.
Last month we had our first ever VBS (staff pic on right), which was held at our home and was very well attended. It was a three day event that averaged 30 kids per day, with different kids each day. The gospel was presented numerous times and much of what was taught was retained. No one to our knowledge trusted Christ but there were a whole lot of seeds planted.
If that’s not enough, we have also begun the legal process of having the church recognized by the government. This process can be lengthy, with the church’s statutes, by-laws, pact and declaration of faith having to be submitted to the proper authorities. The minutes of the first business meeting that details the election of officers in the church must also be submitted. After completion, we will be recognized as an autonomous church and not simply a mission of another church. From there, even though our church is very small, we plan on praying and working toward a church plant in the surrounding area.
This Saturday, we will baptize three people in our above ground pool at the house. It is mid October. We have no way to heat the water, and it is freezing! Pray for me. I’ll have to be in there the whole time.
Finally, our support continues to drop, and we have almost lost the entire amount we raised last summer. This is a definite concern for us. Please pray that the Lord will open more doors in this area.