Monday, December 9, 2013

Psalm 107:1 - Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!

We have so much to be thankful for!

 - We are thankful for the person of Jesus, for the salvation and purpose for life He has provided

 - For beautiful, healthy children

 - For loving and supportive family

 - For a wonderful, committed local church

 - For caring and supportive partners in ministry

 - For the awesome privilege to serve the Lord in Portugal

We are thankful for the van the Lord provided in April!

We are thankful for the healthy arrival of Soraia Graça in June!

We are thankful for visits from family!

We are thankful that the girls are doing great in Portuguese school!

As always, thank you for your partnership!

Monday, November 11, 2013

For the sake of the Gospel

Our Family
We are so thankful to the Lord for the opportunity we have to serve Him.  I am reminded often how important it is to stop for a moment in our crazy schedules and remember that He chooses us to carry out His mission here on earth. That is such a humbling truth, when we think about how weak, fragile, and broken we are.  It also is such a joy to watch our children grow in their knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and to see them begin to affect those around them for the Gospel.  Anadia and Cora continue to do well in school, and Isabel and Soraia are also doing great at home. Cora is even beginning to correct us in our knowledge of the Portuguese language! Caryne is also doing well, and is impressively learning the language without any organized teaching.  Thank you for your continued prayer for our family.

Family Visit
My sister Jen and her youngest child Ivy just left today to return to the US.  They visited us for almost 2 weeks, and we had a great time.  Jen and her family have always been a great encouragement to us, and it was a true joy to have her with us for a little while.  We praise the Lord for the blessings He brings us through our families!

Pastor Antonio's Trip to the US
Pastor Antonio left for his annual trip to the US last Thursday.  His itinerary there includes visits with ministry partners, attending meetings at BILD International headquarters in Iowa, and conducting leadership workshops in several Portuguese-speaking churches.  Please pray that his time there will be fruitful, and for health and safety.

The Youth of our Church
Praise the Lord our youth group here is growing spiritually and numerically!  We have had several new young people begin to spend more time with us, and we are really beginning to see the Lord use this group for the furtherance of the Gospel.  Please continue to pray for this group of kids, as they are the future of the church here in Portugal!

Thank You as always for your Partnership!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Go Therefore"

The Baptism of Anadia
This past Sunday I had the wonderful honor and privilege of baptizing Anadia.  As we have been teaching her the foundations of faith in Jesus, she quickly began to understand that she needed to be baptized!  We are very proud parents as we watch our firstborn grow in the Lord.  It was an awesome service in front of our church family, and some family in the States even got to see it live!  We praise the Lord for His goodness!

Pastor Figueira's Trip to Mozambique

Pastor Figueira departed today for another trip to Mozambique.  He will be meeting with key church leaders in several different regions of the country. Strong foundations have already been built to ensure effective leadership training going forward.  On this trip he will be looking to encourage the churches to continue pressing on with the vision of spreading the Gospel through church-planting throughout that nation. Please pray for effective ministry, health, and safety.

Anadia and Cora in School

Anadia and Cora are doing well in school, praise the Lord!  They are learning the language, making friends, and discovering new things all the time.  It is certainly not without its challenges, as most of you know, but we are thankful that the Lord is always with them in this new phase of their lives.  Please pray as we continue to work out the kinks in regards to communication with teachers, purchasing of materials, and other things involved in school life.  We trust that the Lord will use them as vessels to show His love to those around them!

O Bairro do Lagarteiro
The youth group of our church recently began a new ministry in a low-income housing area of the city of Porto.  Through a church member, we learned of an elderly lady (Silvina) in this area in desperate need of help to clean and maintain her home.  Because of her health, she is no longer able to take care of it herself.  As a group we have begun to get to know her, and we have also begun the frequent cleaning of her home.  Please be in prayer for the salvation of Silvina, and for the youth as they are introduced to a whole new world that involves some circumstances that can be hard to imagine.  The ultimate vision for this ministry is to begin to hold Bible studies in her home, and Lord-willing to reach out to others in the neighborhood with the Gospel.

Prison Ministry
Pastor continues to hold worship meetings in a local prison every Saturday.  Attendance has been good and consistent, with at least 20 men coming each time.  I have also begun to visit two inmates every Tuesday.  They both speak English, and before me they had never had any visitors.  They also attend the Saturday meeting, and are open and hungry for the truth of the Gospel.  Please be in prayer for this awesome ministry!

Soccer Ministry
Every Friday evening around 10-15 young men of our church get together to play soccer. This ministry is a tremendous way to invite unsaved friends and family, and it has already begun to show some fruit!  Please pray that those who are invited would see a true difference in us, and that the time together will open up opportunities to share the Gospel!

"Special Project" for the Month of October

As winter approaches, we are in need of some reinforcements for the girls and for our home.  As there is no central heating in our home, we be needing to purchase extra blankets and sheets, as well as wood for the fireplace.  Would you prayerfully consider giving to this need?

Thank you so much for your partnership!  We praise the Lord for each one of you!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stand Firm in the Lord

Anadia & Cora Heading to School
September 16th is the first day of school for Anadia and Cora.  This week we will be attending meetings to meet their teachers, familiarize ourselves with the campuses, and learn what supplies the girls will be needing.  This is a nervous time for us as it is the first time we will be sending any of our children to public school!  Our prayer is that the girls will feel the strength of the Lord as they begin something very unfamiliar to them.  Ultimately, we pray that Lord will work in them and through them to shine the Gospel into a very dark world!  We covet your prayers as we begin yet another new chapter in our lives.

New Casa Farol (Lighthouse)
Casas Farol (Lighthouses) are a vital component of the ministry of our church.  Every week several small groups from our church gather in homes in their various communities. In these Casas Farol we gather together to sing praises, pray together, and study God's word.  Our prayer and vision as a church is that these Casas Farol will become catalysts of the spreading of the Gospel through new church plants in these communities.  Praise the Lord we began a new Casa Farol recently in the town of Pedrouços!  Please pray for this important part of the ministry here!
Wedding Bells
We recently celebrated the wedding of two young people, David and Lídia. Lídia has been a part of our church for most of her life.  David just recently accepted Christ as his Savior, and was baptised the Sunday before the wedding.  Please pray for this young couple.  David's parents did not even attend the wedding as a way of protest against our faith.  This is a common occurrence here, something to always be in prayer for!

Children and Youth
This Saturday will be the official kick-off of fall activities for the children and youth of our church. Please pray for Caryne and I as we seek to follow the Lord in helping the youth grow closer to Him. Our main focus will be to lead them to become more unified as a group, develop a habit of a daily walk with the Lord, and stepping out to reach those around us for Christ.

Special thanks to those who gave for our August project - school supplies for Anadia and Cora

Thank you for your partnership in this ministry!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Past Month in Pictures

The first service at our new church plant!

Enjoying the day at a medieval fair
 "Special Project" for the Month of August

Both Anadia and Cora will be starting school the second week of September.   They will be needing basic school supplies, including books, backpacks, etc.  Would you consider giving for this need?

Spending the day with two members of our youth group 

Soraia is 2 months old and doing great!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed"

Philippians 1:18 - What then?  Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.

Our Family
Much has happened since our last post!  Caryne's parents arrived on the 19th of June, and we had a short but wonderful time with them.  We had the joy and privilege to have Caryne's dad dedicate Soraia to the Lord on the 23rd of June here at our church.  We are so thankful for how God works, as Caryne's dad has also dedicated our other three girls to our Savior.  Soraia and Caryne are doing great.  Soraia in growing well.  She is already over a month old!  On July 9 we celebrated the birthday of our precious Cora.  She turned five, and we had a great celebration with many families of our church.  We are so blessed to have the privilege to raise our girls in the Lord, and we are so thankful for family and friends around us who are joyfully a part of that.

Prison Ministry
Last year, through some very confusing and difficult circumstances, a brother in Christ (Gigi) from our church ended up in a local prison.  He and his wife are both Romanian, and they are an essential couple in our church family.  What has transpired from the point in which he entered the prison until now has been a wonderful work of the Lord.  Gigi almost immediately began to affect those around him for Christ.  Today, there is a powerful and growing ministry within the prison.  Our church family is being challenged to reach out to the inmates that never receive visitors.  Additionally, the Portuguese government recently approved our church to hold services with the inmates.  Please pray for this ministry! "Only that in every way.....Christ is proclaimed."

New Church in Trofa
Last Sunday a new church was officially formed in our assembly.  Several families from the town of Trofa, who have been a part of our church for many years, will be starting a new church in their town.  The pastor of this new church came to Christ and was trained in our church, and he has accepted the call to lead this new flock.  The commissioning service will take place this Sunday.  Please pray for this new church!  We praise the Lord that the Gospel continues to advance here in Portugal!

Young People
Please continue to pray for the young people of the churches here.  The economic and social climate here continues to be a tremendous challenge, and the youth have very uncertain futures ahead of them.  Please pray for their walks with the Lord, their relationships, their family life, and for their employment future.  We will be having weekly activities with our youth group throughout the summer.  Please pray we will see clearly what the Lord has for us to share with them.

Family Needs
With the growth of our family, some new needs have presented themselves.  We are praying for additional monthly support, as well as giving for "special projects,"  things like car repairs, household needs, etc.  Would you consider giving towards these needs?

We have been so blessed as we have now been in Portugal for over a year!  Praise the Lord our needs have always been provided, and He promises that they always will be. Your partnership is essential, and we praise the Lord for each one of you!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Meet Soraia Graça Darling!

It's another girl!  Soraia Graça Darling was born 7:45pm on June 8, 2013. Mom and baby are doing great, but we have quite the birth story for you! The following is the story as told by Caryne:

I never thought something like this would happen to me :). Here's the whole story. Friday night I started to feel like I was at the beginning stages of labor, but also had plenty time. We went to bed, but I woke up around 4:30. So, I just got up and finished getting ready. The contractions came and went, some stronger than others, but not giving me a clear yes or no, I didn't want to spend much time labor-ing at the hospital. We sent the girls off, so I could try to relax. Jeff and I took a walk outside, and we walked up the five flights of steps back to our apartment hoping to speed things up. (Haha, it worked!) The contractions were stronger, but still 8 minutes apart, so we kept waiting. Until one strong one broke my water! Then we were off, in the car, let's go! I still thought I might have some time. But in the car, just minutes from he hospital I said to Jeff, "when we get there, you need to tell them the baby's coming, I need to push!". Thankfully, here in Portugal, when you check in for labor and delivery, you go to the ER first, so that's where we walked in. Jeff checked me in, but while he was doing that, I realized there was no way I would make it to the third floor to deliver. He said, "I'm going to go park the car", I remember saying, "can you stay? I need you to stay!" Then, my grand finale, I had a contraction and pushed her out onto the floor of the ER waiting room! And yes, I was still fully dressed, she was stuck next to my knee inside my pants (sorry if that's too much information :) They laid me down on the floor and pulled her out. I saw someone holding her by her feet in front of me while they checked her out, and me to see if everything was ok. All in front of the people waiting in the ER... :) After that everything was normal, she's a great, healthy, perfect baby girl. But we had lots of extra visitors! The cop who helped me in the ER, and parked our car for us, came up to check on us, to make sure everything was ok. And a couple of the ER nurses came to visit us too. We are so blessed!

Thank you for celebrating with us, and for your prayers and encouragement!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

He is Exalted!


In the past three weeks three people have accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior through the ministry of our church.  Praise the Lord!  We are so excited to see how the Lord is using this community of believers here in northern Portugal!

Church Plant

Our church is currently going through the process of establishing a new church in a town called Trofa.  We appreciate your prayers for our leadership as all the details are worked out.  The priority has always been that through everything the Lord will be glorified, and the Gospel will advance.  Please pray that in this time of transition, that priority will remain steadfast.

Caryne and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding
anniversary on June 7.
Caryne's Pregnancy

Our fourth child has not arrived yet, but we are getting close!  Caryne and the baby are doing well.  Please pray for strength and good health for them both.  Please also pray for Anadia, Cora, and Isabel, as once their new sibling arrives they will have to spend a few days with Pastor Antonio's family.  We are so thankful for such a loving and helpful church family!

Bible Study/Youth

Please also continue praying for the youth of our church.  They face very difficult challenges ahead, as Portugal remains in financial crisis.  Our prayer is that they will place their relationship with the Lord above anything else in their lives, as only in Him is there peace and clarity.  We continue to have weekly Bible studies with some of the young men, and we will also begin to have more frequent weekend get-togethers to study God's word.  Thank you for your continual prayers for the young people.

We praise the Lord for your partnership!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dia de Portugal

Statue of Luís de Camões, Lisbon, Portugal.
Our fourth child is due June 10, which just happens to be an important national holiday in Portugal.  (The holiday celebrates Luís de Camões, who wrote the famous poem Os Lusíadas, a poem which focuses on the great 16th-century Portuguese explorations.  For more information, click here).  We recently toured the hospital where Caryne will have the baby, and we are making the final preparations for the new arrival.  We covet your prayers as another wonderful and challenging change comes our way.

A Citizen

Some very interesting and exciting news came our way this past month!  Through the research of a lawyer friend at our church, we learned that I am in fact Portuguese, and apparently have always been!  As most of you know, I was born here, but of American and Canadian parents.  However, the law in Portugal the year I was born stated that anyone born here was automatically a citizen, regardless of the nationality of the parents.  So, consequently, I received my citizen card just a few days ago!  This also gives the right to Caryne and the girls to have dual citizenship.  We praise the Lord for this news, as it makes living here much easier financially and otherwise.  We never cease to be amazed with how the Lord works!


Recently Alicínia da Graça Salgueiro, Pastor Antonio's mother-in-law affectionately called "mãezinha," went home to be with the Lord.  We are saddened by the passing of such a wonderful servant of the Lord, but we rejoice in that she is in a better place!  Thank you for lifting up her family as well as the church in this time of loss.

Church Plant

Praise the Lord the opportunity has opened up to plant a new church about twenty-five minutes from ours here in Porto!  The pastor of this new church will be a man that was raised and trained in our church, and he and his family are ready and willing to begin this new work!  We are joyful in that the Gospel will continue to advance in and around this area, and we appreciate your prayers as this new congregation begins to take shape.

Ministry Opportunities

Please continue to pray for opportunities for us to share the Gospel with those around us. The Lord has given us wonderful occasions to be witnesses of Christ's love, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts of those that we share with.

Thank you for your partnership!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Lord is Never Surprised!

Vehicle Provided

Through the Lord's provision, and through the gracious support of wonderful ministry partners, we were able to purchase a van!  As we seek daily to put everything in God's hands, we are blessed and humbled as He provides for our needs.  We are so thankful for the privilege we have to serve Him!

Pastor Figueira in Mozambique

Pastor Figueira and an elder (Jorge) from our church left yesterday for Mozambique. Pastor has been traveling there at least four times a year for many years.  The purpose of those trips has been to teach pastors how to train up new leaders within their local churches.  These new leaders are being used to plant new churches as the Gospel expands.  On this current trip, Pastor Figueira hopes to establish a unified strategy on how to most effectively reach Mozambique for Christ.  Key church leaders from all over the country will gather together to map out this strategy.  Pastor and Jorge will be gone for two weeks, and will be traveling all over the country.  Please pray for blessing in ministry, and for safety.

Anadia and Cora

Through much prayer and discussion, we have decided to enroll Anadia and Cora into Portuguese school here locally.  They will begin in September.  We pray for wisdom and strength as we approach this exciting, yet anxious, time for our family.  We appreciate your prayers as we begin this new chapter.

Caryne and the Baby

Caryne and the baby are well, praise the Lord.  As we approach the due date, there are many details and preparations that need to be taken care of.  The Lord has it all in His hands.  Please pray that we will rest peacefully in that fact.  Thank you for your prayers for this pregnancy.

Young Men's Bible Study

We recently began a new young men's Bible Study here at the church.  It has already produced fruit, and we are excited about what God is doing, and will do, through these young men.  Please be in prayer for this ministry.

Thank you for your partnership!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spring is Coming!

We praise The Lord for every opportunity to serve Him!  We continue to steadily move forward with the opportunities we are given, and look forward to seeing God working in the hearts of the people.  We are very aware of God's presence and guidance here, and that His word does not return void.  

I continue to teach English, and though the schedule fluctuates, God always provides just the right amount of work.  Teaching English has opened up many opportunities to share with people about our personal relationship with Christ.  In a culture where God is either distant and unavailable, or just a religious practice with the hope that "maybe I'll be good enough", discussing the fact that we have a personal, one on one relationship with God is an unfamiliar concept.  We pray for many opportunities to live this out.  

We anticipate many good things as our church transitions to a more family centered, and outreach focused ministry.  As we study carefully through the book of Acts, we are striving to emulate the early church in it's form of discipleship and multiplication of churches.

At home, Caryne and the girls are doing well.  The girls enjoy their school routine, but look forward to going back to the beach, since we are starting to have more sunny days! Caryne and baby are healthy and doing great, only 15 weeks before the due date!  As this time gets closer, we would ask for prayer that the delivery would be smooth and the baby would be healthy.  Also, pray for clear communication with the hospital staff, especially for Caryne.  We look forward to welcoming this blessing to our family!

We continue to pray for upcoming expenses, knowing that the Lord is never surprised. We are in need of a bigger vehicle to accommodate our growing family.  We are praying for the opportunity to purchase this vehicle soon so we may be ready for the new arrival. In June we will also be needing to renew our visas, which will include a new visa for the baby.  The cost for these visas will be approximately $1,000.  Thank you for your prayer and consideration regarding these needs!

We can never thank you enough for your partnership.  To Him be all the glory!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Keep Seeking the Things Above"

It is a true joy to be called a child of God, and a tremendous privilege to be able to serve Him.  I will never tire of saying that.  Despite our depravity, He loves us, and gives us the awesome responsibility of being a part of furthering His kingdom.  I am so thankful for that truth.

After a restful holiday season spent with dear families of our church, we are back in full swing of a busy schedule.  I have about fifteen hours of teaching English per week all around the city of Porto.  My students are made up of several members of our church, as well as those from the company that I teach for.  We praise the Lord for how He perfectly provides the work needed.  I also spend an hour and a half twice a week in Portuguese language class, taking the valuable information I've learned back to Caryne and the girls. Monday and Friday nights we are involved in church-based theological classes, where we learn and discuss together with several individuals and couples of the church.  Saturdays and Sundays typically consist of the girls being a part of the kids program, we have a time together with the youth of church, and our Sunday services.  Our prayer is that we will always follow the Lord's leading in our lives, and we are thankful for the opportunities in ministry He has given us.

Caryne is 21 weeks along, and she and the baby are doing well.  We are so thankful for our church family, who shower us with gifts and things we need as we get ready for this new life.  The girls are well, growing every day both spiritually and physically.  Caryne and I are so aware of the important responsibility and blessing we have in raising our children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord."  Each one brings joy to our hearts.

Things You Can Be In Prayer For:

 - Please continue to pray for this pregnancy.  Pray for strength and good health for both Caryne and the baby.
 - With our fourth child coming soon, we will need to purchase a larger vehicle to accommodate our growing family.  We are praying for approximately $8,000 for that need.
 - Please pray for our church.  There are several important changes being made in our effort to reach the city of Porto with the Gospel.  Please pray for wisdom and discernment in this important time.

Thank you so much for your invaluable partnership in this ministry!