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.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

February Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

It was the music that drew him.  He had moved to Portugal just a few weeks before, lived in a renovated garage his boss rented to him and was working crazy hours to save up enough to have his family move from Brazil to join him. Our son, Joshua was home last summer and was preparing to return for his third year at Heartland Baptist Bible College. He was working with us at the church building and was playing some godly music from the college on his phone. That was what F. heard and what drew him to our church building.

Although he didn’t understand the English words, he understood that the music he heard was of the Lord and not the world.  He came with a look of amazement at finding a Baptist church in the neighborhood where he lived.  He talked with Joshua, found out the service times, took some literature and began attending services when his work schedule permitted.

Ever since that encounter last summer, F. has been attending when he isn’t working and now his wife and children are here in Portugal and attending as well. He has many questions which we answer from the Bible and he is growing closer and closer to truth. Why is this family here?  All because he heard godly music!  Music is a gift from God and should glorify our Lord and Savior.  Even when the words are in a different language, the music itself is a testimony of the Creator of music.  Please pray for F. and his family that they would continue to come, that they would understand and soon be saved.

Praising God for His music,

Mark Hale

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

December Prayer Letter

December 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

The birthday party was well advertised, almost everyone knew about the celebrations.  Buildings and homes were decorated and folks hurried in their last-minute preparations.  Special music played over the radio and in the stores, and even entire movies were made in commemoration of the birthday. Feasts were planned and prepared and children were excited about the coming festivities.  Everything was ready, let the celebration begin…

But on the morning of the advertised day, all the beautifully wrapped gifts were given to others. The feasts were consumed, then the adults napped while children played with their new toys.  Later, the wrapping paper was collected, the trees were put away, the leftovers are finally gone from the fridge, but what did the One whose birthday it was receive?  Although it was supposed to be a celebration of His birth, what did we give Him? 

Did we give anything to Jesus to celebrate His birth?  Did we give anything to Him in gratitude for coming to save us from our sin?  How did we honor the King for His birthday? 



Mark Hale


Monday, December 16, 2019

November Prayer Letter

November 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

He was loud, proud and stubborn, constantly refusing to submit before the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Instead he insisted he had to do good works to earn his way to heaven. He occasionally attended services at our church but sat in the back loudly sighing whenever eternal security or the all sufficiency of Christ was preached. He even came to a few of our Bible Institute classes but eventually left in anger when confronted by the biblical truth that only through the completed work of Christ on the cross can anyone be saved and kept saved.

He died during the night two weeks ago, his face a frozen mask of terror, his eyes staring into the horror of what he saw in his last moments of life. Sadly, we know where he is and that he now knows that only Christ could save; but it is far too late for him.  Our hearts are grieved for this man and so many others down through the years who rejected Christ’s salvation until their deaths.

Praise the Lord, in the last two weeks, four adults have been saved as a result of this tragedy! Family and friends were all shocked and God used this unexpected death to bring reluctant adults to Christ! Only God could use this horrible situation to bring these four to His Son.  Praise His name!!

Please pray for his lost wife, Ana, that she would come to Christ before it is eternally too late.

Working for the night is coming,

Mark Hale


Brother Aristarco preaching at the funeral.


A group photo after a Sunday morning service. 
The man in the pink sweater accepted Christ that day.
The young lady standing fourth from the right is another one 
of the four who have been saved recently.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

August Prayer Letter

August 2019

Dear Praying Friends,
The restaurant had just closed, and the front door was shut and locked. She had just begun cleaning when the man arrived.  Yelling as he beat and kicked on the front door, he finally broke through and then began to scream, “Jesus, save me from the demons!  Only Jesus can save me now!  Oh God, save me from the fires!  Jesus, save me! Can’t you see the demons?!”  The man, overdosing on narcotics and possessed by demons was dying.  She watched in horror as he passed from this life in terror and torment. His face, even in death, was a mask of fear and pain. His eyes, though no longer seeing, were fixed on the horrors only he could see.
She came to services last Sunday looking haunted and terrorized. She listened to my message and immediately came up to talk with me after the services. She recounted this traumatic situation and said she could not sleep nor could she stop thinking about that man and what had happened to him.  Her eyes were haunted, her face revealed the trauma she had suffered.  But as I talked with her, for the first time in over 12 years that we have known her, she confessed that she was not saved.  After I had her read some Scriptures, she bowed her head, confessed her sins and asked Jesus to forgive her and save her.
Her eyes are no longer filled with fear, she has peace that only God can give. Please pray for her and her husband.  He is saved and God has recently called him to preach, but where there was conflict before, please pray that now, through Christ, there will be unity, true love and a submission to the Lord and His perfect will.
Only our God could take such a horrible situation and turn it for eternal good!

 Mark Hale

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

June Prayer Letter

June 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

The three-and-a-half-hour drive went by as if we were in molasses. Anticipation made every kilometer seem to drag by in slow motion. I had just had abdominal surgery a week before, so Michele and our dear brother, John, did the driving. Finally, we made it to the Lisbon airport. His flight had already landed so our wait was short. Then, as if in a dream, our beloved son, Joshua appeared, pushing the luggage cart and grinning from ear to ear.  The reunion was sweet, the hugs were long and the tears of joy fell freely.  It had been a long school year, but our son was home again with us after completing his second year at Heartland Baptist Bible College. 

In May, during the graduation services there, Joshua was given a scholarship award for this next school year in acknowledgment of his encouraging spirit and help to other students.  We were blessed and proud that our son was publicly recognized this way.  Praise the Lord!  Joshua has been called by God to be a Baptist church planter in the state of Oregon.  He has two years of studies left and then he will, Lord willing, be doing a three-year internship in a great church near Portland, Oregon where he will learn how to minister in that area of the Lord’s harvest field.  He is excited about his studies and what God is teaching him.

He has already preached 10 times in the month he has been home and will preach another 10 to 15 times in our two churches and in a new church plant during the rest of the summer. He preaches fluently in English and in Portuguese and our folks love to hear him speak.  They are proud of what he is doing and how he is following the Lord’s call on his life even though it means he is far away most of the year. Thank you for your prayers for Joshua and for us! I am 80% recovered from the surgery last month and by the end of the summer, I am hoping to be back to 100%, praise the Lord!!

Thanking God for our son,

Mark Hale