Friday, January 26, 2018

December Prayer Letter

December 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

God recently gave me this poem that I wrote for our son, Joshua, who is in Bible college back there in the States. I wanted to share it with you so you could know better how to pray for your missionaries and their children adapting to new lives in the U.S.

An MK at Christmas

He sits in his dorm room all alone, his roommates have left to go to their homes.
But his home is far across the seas, for his parents are foreign missionaries.
God called his folks many years ago, to serve the Lord where He led them to go.
They packed their clothes and said goodbye, waving with smiles but tears filled their eyes.
They served their Lord for many years, blessed with a son whom they love so dear.
They taught him at home with joyful hearts, preparing for the day that he’d depart.
Now God has called him to serve in the States, so he left his home and at college he waits.
The semester is over and finals are done, Christmas is near, the holiday has come.
No tree awaits him with ornaments so fair, no presents are wrapped their paper to tear.
He has a great job and his bed in the dorm, this is his life, this is the new norm.
Dinner for him is a can of soup, some crackers to add, for dessert some fruit.
He is alone in his new-found home, waiting to talk to his folks on the phone.
For dad and mom his room is so still, his pictures and toys the room they all fill.
Their tree is up, the ornaments are hung, but one thing is missing - their beloved son.
All three know this is the Lord’s will, so they determine their hearts with gratitude to fill.
They write lots of letters and share a phone call, they post lots of photos upon their walls.
Sure, it was better when he was right here, to hug him and tell him that he is so dear.
Yes, it was better when mom fixed his meal, his presents lay waiting, their paper to peel.
Feel sorry for them? Oh, don’t you dare! A frown on their faces they refuse to wear!
It may be sad for this moment right now, but one day for Christ they know they will bow.
Separations are hard, they’re never fun, longing to hear from Christ – “Well Done!”
Endure this hardness as good soldiers they will, thanksgiving to God their hearts are filled.
Thankful to God for the years they’ve had, enjoying the good and surviving the bad.
Knowing that life will soon be past, and only what’s done for Christ will last.

Thankful for our son, who is serving the Lord there in the States,

Mark Hale

Friday, January 12, 2018

November Prayer Letter

November 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

She is a social worker who helps underprivileged children have a better life.  She is a good person, moral, kind and respectful to others.  She recently visited our church and wanted to talk after the service.  We spent two hours answering her many questions and finally arrived at the crux of the matter. She admitted that she wasn’t ready to trust in Christ completely, she is still partially relying upon her many good works to get her to heaven.  Please pray for D., she promised to read the Gospel of John and the book of Romans and to keep in touch with us.  I promised to pray for her daily that she would come to know Christ as her all sufficient Savior.

 He is a good, moral man and has never cheated on his wife. He never drinks alcohol nor even caffeine laden drinks.  He has never eaten pork and doesn’t defile himself by touching anything that is forbidden. He tries to be honest in all his business dealings and even helps the poor every year.  Because of his work, he cannot pray five times during the day as his religion demands, so instead he rises every day at 5 am to pray five times before he goes to work. His name is A. and he is a good Muslim man who listens to the gospel and watches Christians to see if their religion is “real”.  Please pray for this man that he will come to know Jesus Christ as his Savior and forsake the idolatry and slavery of Islam.

 Prayer is powerful and that is why we send these letters every month. Prayer changes the person who prays and the person who is prayed for. Please remember D. and A., that they would be saved before it is eternally too late.

 Plowing and planting,

 Mark Hale

Saturday, November 18, 2017

October Prayer Letter

October 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

While studying the Word of God with her husband, she came to the realization that her “baptism” in a church that actively teaches and practices false doctrine was not biblical baptism.  She immediately told her husband that she wanted to follow Christ’s example and be baptized as the Scriptures command.

The day was sunny, warm and the breezes were soft.  It was a perfect day for a baptism, we thought, until we arrived at the beach.  (We baptize in the sea as a testimony to our city and all the folks visiting here.)  Although the weather was good, the tide was high and there were six foot waves crashing onto the shore.  “Oh boy” I thought, “this is going to be interesting!”

We sang a couple of hymns and then I brought a short message on “What baptism is and what baptism is not” while some of our folks passed out tracts to the people walking by. Then it was time for us to wade out into waist deep water.  We were both immersed twice by the huge waves before we ever reached the desired depth.  I had just raised my arm and began reciting Matthew 28:19 when I saw her wince.  I braced as yet another wave crashed over us.

After we got our footing back, we decided quickly to baptize her in between the six foot waves.  We obeyed the Lord’s command and followed His perfect example and then safely made it back to shore.  We had a wonderful service later at church and dinner on the grounds after the service as we welcomed this godly lady and her young preacher husband into the membership of our church.

Thanking God for obedient Christians,

Mark Hale

Monday, November 13, 2017

September Prayer Letter

September 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

I remember the first time I held him. 19 years ago, a blizzard howled in the darkness in Lithuania, but a miracle was happening inside. The doctor clamped and cut his umbilical cord, he was cleaned and swaddled and handed to me. His dark brown eyes squinting in the bright lights of the delivery room, inquisitively looking up at me, his tiny hand reached up to touch my face. 

It was love at first sight!

I remember the last time I held him.  The hot sun blazed down upon us as we said our goodbyes.  The umbilical cord was being cut and our miracle was leaving the nest.  His dark brown eyes squinted down at me in the bright sunlight and his big hand reached down to wipe the tears flowing down my face. He was leaving home to follow the call of God and begin his studies at Bible college.

It was love at last sight!

Please pray for our son, Joshua, as he obeys the call of his Creator and Savior to be a pastor in the US.  Please pray for us as we continue to serve the Lord in Portugal, but now without a valued member of our team.  We are thankful for the 19 years God has given us and are thankful that Joshua has obeyed the will of the Lord.  None of us like this separation, but each one of us knows, this is exactly what God wants, so we obey, knowing God’s will is ALWAYS best!  Back in 1985, as I left home for the mission field for the first time, my father gave me godly advice that I passed on to my son, “In spite of the years of separation on earth, we have all eternity together in heaven to be glad we did this God’s way.”

Thankful that God sent His Son,

Mark Hale

August Prayer Letter

August 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

Sometimes, a church announces they are wanting to do a “missions trip” and we always wonder how it is going to turn out.  Some of these trips end up being one or two days of ministry and the rest sight seeing with the missionary as translator.  Other times, a church comes with a heart to serve and their folks come to evangelize the lost and encourage the saved.

Each summer, we hold youth camps in cooperation with other independent Baptist churches from all over Portugal.  It is a week filled with much labor, sweat and tears, but we do it knowing that for many of the youth, this will be the only opportunity they have to hear the gospel of Christ since their Catholic parents will allow them to come to our camp, but never to church services.

This summer, Overland Park Baptist Church sent a group to help us with our youth camp. In 32 years as missionaries, I have rarely seen a more prepared group than this one.  The adults as well as the teens served with enthusiasm and without complaint.  Their sacrifice made it possible for the missionaries to spend more time with the campers.  As a result, 9 precious young people were saved during camp and the grandmother of one of the teens who visited the last night of camp and heard the gospel was saved the following Sunday in church in Porto Alegre.  PRAISE GOD!!!

Thankful for co-laborers,

Mark Hale

Thursday, August 17, 2017

July Prayer Letter

July 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

Last year, the Lord led us to share with you a great need that we could not supply ourselves.  Now, just 10 short months later, because God’s people sacrificed and gave in miraculous ways, we were able to purchase an excellent, used, 7 passenger van for our growing ministry needs!!  We want to thank each one of you who gave to meet this need and praise the Lord who led you to give!  It is a great encouragement and blessing to have this van to replace our 19-year-old Volkswagen that was costing more to repair than it was worth.  Lord willing, we will use this van for the rest of our lives!! May God richly bless those who made this possible!!

Humbled and thankful to you and to our Lord,

Mark Hale

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

June Prayer Letter

June 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

Thirty years ago, we stood before our families and assembled friends and made our vows before the Lord.  It was a simple wedding in a small country church, but next to the day of my salvation, it was the richest and most blessed day of my life.

For the past 30 years, I have had the privilege of having Michele by my side through thick and thin, through good times and bad, through times of blessings and times of trials.  We have been blessed with our son, Joshua, whom God has called to preach and we have lost our daughter whom we buried in the soil of Lithuania.  We have won many to the Lord and seen many others reject Him.  We have trained hundreds and seen some remain faithful while others have fallen by the way side.

Whether it has been a time of peace or storm, abundance or want, rest or trials, the past 30 years have been blessed because the Lord has been with us every single step of the way.  No matter what the coming years bring, we both know that Christ will always be faithful, always keep His word and always do what is best for us and what will bring Him the honor He so richly deserves. 

As we celebrate 30 years of marriage, please join us in celebrating the Lord Jesus Christ who is the One who gives all light, all joy, all peace and all blessings.

Thankful for these 30 years,

Mark Hale