We have had new ladies added to the church so today we started a new ladies’ Bible study, hosted by Michella with the blue couch (if you recall that story) 😁
Sunday we had a back to school service in which we prayed over the teachers and students in our congregation who will be starting homeschooling, private schooling, and public schooling. Each person took home the name of a student or teacher to pray for throughout the year.
It is the eve of the first day of school. Lunches are packed, outfits are picked, backpacks are loaded, and teachers are still awaiting visas 😓
Thank you for your prayers.
assess, adapt, overcome
This is a phrase I heard a supporting pastor’s wife say quietly to her teenage daughter in the midst of a teenage panic session that had been brought on by whatever unexpected and unwelcome news she had relayed in her mother’s ear. I immediately recognized the value of this advice and its applicability to so many life situations well beyond the teen years. Unbeknownst to this godly pastor’s wife and mother, I have rehearsed these words many times to myself and to others. Assess, adapt, and overcome is exactly what we have had to do for the past 2 1⁄2 years during COVID, including its effect on our summer camps. In Portugal, the battle for young people’s hearts and minds is intense. Our summer camps play a very important role in distancing kids from the continual narrative of the world just long enough for them to be able to hear the voice of the Lord in their lives. Many churches’ youth and youth ministries have suffered greatly from the COVID lockdowns and the lack of gatherings for an age bracket that craves so much social engagement. Though we expected it to re-open this summer, the venue we have used in the past remains closed, so we looked for other options.
Because the best available option could only house about 30 kids at a time, we had to further divide the kids by age, and do multiple weeks of camp. Every slot was filled for every camp, and from our perspective, everything went very well.
what has God done?
Last week, we accepted the invitation to participate in a prayer meeting. Several missionary families were in attendance at a city park. The missionary leading the meeting drew our attention to words from Psalm 66, which speaks of God’s awesome works and invites the reader to “come and see the works of God.” He asked each family to reflect on what the Lord has already done. Beau recounted to the group that the last time we were at that very park, he had answered a phone call from a lady who had been attending our church for a few months with her husband. On that phone call, she told him everything that was wrong with our church and wrong with him. She had assured us, as soon as she was done saying her piece, we would never hear from her again, and promptly unfriended us on social media and made a grand exit from the church WhatsApp group. Beau responded with kindness and regret over her frustrations, but we were discouraged at the outcome, nevertheless. We had invested a lot of time and prayer into this couple, which we now felt had come to nothing. Fast forward a year. Ana has come to know Christ. She broke her silence with us after a few months and humbly returned for help. She graciously accepted the Biblical truths that had gravely offended her in the beginning. She was baptized July 24. There is now a sweet bond between us, where there was once offense and anger. Oh what a difference the gospel makes! Sometimes it is readily embraced and other times it must be coupled with steadfastness, long-suffering and patience. But, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 1:6) What has God done? This. This is what He has done and is doing in the lives of individuals, one by one.