Monday, September 21, 2020

September Prayer Letter

 September 2020

 

Dear Praying Friends,

 

Luke is the three-year-old son of a faithful couple in our church. He has been attending services, literally, since right after he was born. He is active, very inquisitive and has a wonderful imagination. For the first two and a half years, he played (sometimes quietly, sometimes – not) in one corner of the classroom while Michele taught the older children in Sunday School. 

 

The past few months however, instead of playing, he has begun sitting and listening to the Bible lessons and reciting some of the memory verses. He now enthusiastically participates in the review games after the lesson and has even answered some of the questions without help!  Normally, he comes out of the classroom happy and proud of the verse he quoted or the questions he answered correctly.

 

After this past Sunday’s lesson however, he came out with a worried expression on his face. He was greatly disturbed by what he heard and saw with the flash cards Michele had used. He asked her a simple but profound question: “Why did the lamb have to die?” Michele explained that because of mankind’s sin, the lamb had to die. Luke didn’t quite understand, but the Lord is already working in this little boy’s heart to show him his sinfulness and his need of the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. Please pray for Luke, that the word of God would penetrate his heart and that the Holy Spirit would bring understanding so that he can one day be saved.

 

Allowing the little children to come to Christ,

 

Mark Hale







Monday, August 31, 2020

August Prayer Letter

August 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

 

It was a casual question from our daughter-in-law, Rachel, that started us thinking about it. For years here in Portugal, we have held our summer Vacation Bible Schools that reach children and occasionally their parents with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But with the Covid-19 panic, we were forced to cancel our summer youth camp and VBS when we realized no one here would send their children for five days of activities, games, lessons and meals. Back when Rachel asked us about the possibility of having an online VBS, we thought at first it would be impossible, but the more we prayed about it, the more the possibilities presented themselves.

 

Michele, of course, was the driving force in video formatting the Bible songs, lessons, memory verses and hand crafts connected to the day’s lesson. All of these would be done on video and could be broadcast to hundreds. So, Michele labored for weeks preparing the materials, then we spent two days recording the songs, lessons and memory verses and a third day video recording the hand crafts with the help of two enthusiastic girls from our church.

 

The end result was that we had 12 children here in Portugal receive the materials as well as 30 children and many parents participate in Brazil!  Just as the preaching video ministry God gave us during the quarantine continues reaching people in 10 countries, so our VBS went international as well!  It is simply amazing how God can take the local ministries of the Bible Baptist Church of Lagos, Portugal and turn them into international ministries that reach people we will never meet this side of heaven!  Our God is still on His throne and it is indeed a privilege to serve Him!

 

Serving an Amazing God,

  

Mark Hale













Tuesday, July 7, 2020

July Prayer Letter

 July 2020

 

Dear Praying Friends,

 

“Go to the ant…consider her ways and be wise. Which having no guide, overseer or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8

 

As of the writing of this letter, Portugal is still closed to foreigners so the normal summer flood of tourists has not happened.  In the southern area of Portugal where we minister, 80% of the economy is based in the tourist industry. Most of our church folks are employed in this area and have already suffered. During the 10 weeks of quarantine, when the entire country was forced to shut down, our folks used their savings to get by. We helped when we could but that was just the prelude to a bigger challenge. The restaurants, hotels and other tourist-based businesses always shut down in the late fall due to lack of customers, so through no fault of their own, our church family is now facing winter with no savings and no way to earn a living. Our dear brothers and sisters are facing a bleak winter, but are striving to trust the Lord in spite of what seems an impossible situation.

 

Following the instructions from Proverbs, Michele and I have been saving everything that we can to help in the hard winter months ahead. You folks have continued to sacrifice and give in spite of the hardships you are enduring there. We are doing our best here to prepare as Joseph did for the famine God told him was coming. Please continue to pray for our growing church family, that their faith in the Lord would deepen in spite of the hardships ahead.

 

Trusting God and thanking you,

 

Mark Hale

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

June Prayer Letter

June 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

33 years ago, I looked across at her and thought, “There is no way I could love her more than I do right now!” Oh, how wrong I was!  Over the past 33 years, my love for her has just continued to grow and my appreciation for her has deepened into lifelong gratitude to the Lord for her. 

Michele has stuck with me through thick and thin, she has been by my side in the victories and defeats, in the times of blessings and in the times of want.  She home schooled our son from Kindergarten until he graduated and he just completed his third year in Bible college preparing to be a Baptist church planter in Oregon.  She stood by me as we buried our daughter and during the grief filled months that followed. She has weathered the storms of life and never left my side. She has prepared thousands of delicious and nutritious meals for our family and many others, she has sewn thousands of stuffed animals for sick children in hospitals, she has taught hundreds of children in Sunday School classes, Vacation Bible Schools and at youth camps and many have come to Christ as a result of her labors!  She teaches ladies in online classes as well as in person, she disciples recently saved women and children, she plays the piano and/or accordion for our church services as well as singing with me and makes me sound halfway on tune! She makes our video ministry possible with her tech savvy. She has packed up and moved more times than we can count, she has endured danger, crime and hostility to the gospel with faith and courage. She has given up so much for the cause of Christ and doesn’t complain or feel sorry for herself.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Because we just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary and I am so very grateful to the Lord for my Proverbs 31 wife!! I am SO glad I waited on God’s best for me – no one else could have come through these battles with me except her.  God has truly blessed me with a treasure and I am so thankful and so honored to call her, “my wife”. 

Gratefully in love,

Mark Hale

Monday, June 1, 2020

May Prayer Letter

May 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

We had no idea how God was going to use a last resort option to reach so many with the Gospel! As the world shut down over the Corona virus, we were forced to consider another way to continue to minister to our church. With the help of my wonderfully techie wife, we were able to begin a video ministry.  During the ten weeks of quarantine, I preached two sermons on Wednesdays (English and Portuguese) then two more on Sundays (again in English and Portuguese) and Michele taught a weekly class for the children. These videos went out at the beginning, to just our church members and those who were attending, but God was just getting started!

As the panic spread and more countries shut down, others began hearing about our videos and asked to be included in the video list.  At last count, we have people watching our videos in ten countries: USA, UK, Brazil, Spain, Columbia, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic and Lithuania. Both lost and saved have responded to our videos and it is amazing to see how this pandemic has affected people.  Where before they would not have had time nor interest, at least temporarily, people are focusing on eternity.
  
Just as Jesus took the five loaves and two fishes and fed the multitude, so He has taken a small local outreach and turned it into an international video ministry that is continuing even though the quarantine has ended here in Portugal. Other countries are still shut down and many people are still requesting we continue this ministry even when their quarantine is over. Please pray with us that God would continue to bless this growing ministry and that many would be saved as a result.

Serving an amazing God,

Mark Hale



Sunday, May 24, 2020

March/April Prayer Letter

March/April 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

After months of bad and depressing news, are you ready for some good news?!! Last year, following the leadership of the Lord, our son Joshua began courting Rachel with our permission and blessing. Earlier this year, they were engaged and on May 16th, they will be married in her home town in Missouri!! I would like to ask you to do two things:

1. Please pray for them as they begin their life together as a married couple. God has called them to be Baptist church planters in the state of Oregon after they finish their studies at Heartland Baptist Bible College.

2. Please pray the Lord will provide the many needs they will have in establishing a new home. We are not able to leave Portugal and they are not allowed to come here, so we will miss the wedding of our only child. The original plan was for them to fly here and have a second ceremony with our church in Lagos, but that is on hold until the countries open up again. Sometimes being a missionary is difficult, but although we are saddened, we are also thankful that God has brought this godly, beautiful lady into Joshua’s life and we are thrilled to have her as a much-loved member of our family.

With joy and gratitude,

Mark Hale




Friday, April 3, 2020

Update

On March 18, the Portuguese president declared a state of emergency and people were told to stay at home.  The Parliament confirmed this and the quarantine became official at midnight March 22. Everyone except essential workers should stay at home, except to go out to buy food, medicine, fuel, etc.

Because of the government's guidelines, we began having online services on March 22.  Mark is recording sermons in Portuguese and in English for Sundays and Wednesdays.  If you would like to watch them, here are the links:

This is the link to our church's Vimeo channel in English:
This is the link to our church's Vimeo channel in Portuguese:

Thursday, April 2, the Portuguese government extended the state of emergency an additional 15 days. Our church folks are watching the sermons Mark is recording and staying in touch. A new convert and her mother are in a discipleship class via video calls twice a week. We have had more opportunities to witness to people. God is blessing during this quarantine!


The streets in Lagos are empty.




Michele displayed pictures of our church folks 
to "help" Mark preach to an empty room!


A member of Michele's parents' church in Brazil 
sent a photo of himself watching a sermon.


A member of our church in Lagos also sent a photo.