Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December prayer letter

December 2011
Dear Praying Friends,
I had spent hours walking up and down the cobblestone streets of Lagos, passing out invitations to our services and talking to the few who would listen.  My feet hurt, my back hurt and now of all things, it began to rain.  Wet, cold and murmuring under my breath, I finally made it back to the church building and decided to do some work there before going home.  “Might as well do something worthwhile” I grumbled out loud.
That is when the three boys, Gonçalo, Rui and Tiago showed up peering in through the windows.  I invited them in and the curious young men entered and immediately began asking many questions:  “What is this place?”  “What do you do here?”   “Do you celebrate Christmas?” In answer to their questions, I gave them the plan of salvation and some gospel tracts which they read and put in their backpacks.
Although I had spent hours in what appeared to be wasted effort, God used the rain to get me back to the church building just in time to accomplish His will.  Please pray for these three and for all those we have invited to our special Christmas service; that they would come and hear about the Savior and why He was born so long ago.
Praising God for showers of blessings,
Mark Hale

Monday, November 21, 2011

November prayer letter

November 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

For two weeks in late October and early November, I had the privilege of returning to Lithuania to teach seminars for the Bible college students and pastors there.  In 2000, I helped found the Bible Baptist Institute with four students. By 2006 when God called us to Portugal, the institute had grown to 30 students from seven churches.

Since that time, this ministry has been growing under the faithful and godly leadership of pastor Audrius Sinkevicius.  The Bible Baptist College now has close to 100 students in three locations (in the cities of Vilnius and Kaunas in Lithuania and in Riga, Latvia). I taught over 40 hours to the assembled students and visiting pastors and was thrilled to see their passion for God’s word and their desire to know the Lord more closely!

I was also blessed to be able to preach three times in various churches and teach in two youth meetings.  On my final evening there, the young people listened closely as I taught a very simple lesson on John 3:16.  At the close of my lesson, I gave the invitation and two teenage young men accepted Christ as their personal Savior, PRAISE THE LORD!!!  What a way to end my time back in Lithuania!!

I returned weary in body but rejoicing in spirit, determined to continue plowing and planting in the hardened soil of Lagos, Portugal.

Thanking God for the harvest, wherever it may be!

Mark Hale 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October prayer letter

October 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

On Oct. 1st at one in the morning, the Lord woke my mother up and burdened her to pray for our safety. Soon, my father and sister had joined in the early morning prayer meeting.

Thousands of miles away, at that very moment, we were preparing to leave on a short trip that couldn’t be postponed.  We had six hours of driving ahead of us, but Michele and I felt something bad was going to happen.  We didn’t know if it was car problems, crime or an accident waiting for us, but we both were very concerned about this journey.

Yet, that evening when we returned home safely, we wondered if we had been mistaken in our concerns about the trip.  It wasn’t until the following day that we discovered the miracle of the prayer warriors who had given up much needed sleep to pray for our safety.

Down through the years, we have been blessed numerous times when our dear family or supporting pastors and churches have stopped what they were doing, interrupted services or given up sleep to pray for us.  These prayer warriors have prayed at key moments and opened the floodgates of God’s protection, blessing and power upon our lives and ministries.

We are truly blessed to have faithful families and supporters who labor in prayer for us!  I am convinced the vast majority of victories that we have enjoyed on the mission field have been a direct result of God’s people praying for us.  Thank you for heeding heaven's wake up calls and praying for us!!

Humbled and thankful,

Mark Hale

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September Prayer Letter

September 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

Running along the shoulder of the road, he frantically waved his arms and stepped into the path of oncoming cars, desperately trying to get a ride.  I stopped and he thanked me repeatedly.  He held an empty two liter pop bottle and informed me he had run out of gas and had to leave his wife and infant daughter at their stalled car.

It was a scorching day and he had been gone for almost an hour when I picked him up and took him to a gas station.  Arriving at their old car, we saw his wife with both car doors open anxiously waving a cloth to cool their eight month old baby who lay on the front seat.  The girl was flushed and lethargic and I had the lady take their baby back to my car and turned on the air conditioning.  I gave the mother a bottle of water and went back to help her husband.

It took ten minutes to finally get their auto started and then I followed him back to the gas station.  In the coolness of my car, baby Angelina revived and sipped water contentedly.  After Pedro filled his car, he and his wife, Maria asked me, “How can we ever repay you?”  I quickly replied, “Come to church with me this Sunday.”  

Unfortunately, after two weeks of vacation in southern Portugal, they were headed back to Lisbon the next day.  On the back of a gospel tract, I wrote the name and telephone number of a fellow missionary in that city and begged them to visit his church.  They smiled politely and nodded but have not yet contacted our missionary friend in Lisbon. 

Please pray for Pedro and Maria and their daughter Angelina, that they would seriously think about what happened that day and come to Christ before it is eternally too late.

Sharing the water of life,

Mark Hale

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August prayer letter

August 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

Each preacher and teacher proclaimed truth from God’s word and the Holy Spirit used that truth day after day to convict the lost and strengthen the saved.  I preached Thursday morning and when I gave the invitation, four young men came forward to be saved!!  I preached again Friday morning and one more boy responded to the invitation and was gloriously saved!!!  PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

Under the leadership of missionaries Allen and Barbara Newton, the ministry of the Mount of Olives Christian camp continues to bear eternal fruit.  The theme for this camp was “God revealed through His creation” and we are all rejoicing over the five precious souls saved at the camp and encouraged that all five young men are returning to great churches where they will be discipled, baptized and strengthened.

I thank the Lord for the privilege I had to work together with a wonderful team of missionaries at this camp, Allen and Barbara Newton, David and Julie Loop, Mark and Aura Pereira, Lionel Martin, Beau Moore, and Dawn Hart.  

I also want to thank each and every one of you who so faithfully sacrifice financially to keep us ministering here and who labor for us in prayer!  Please continue to pray for more wonderful harvests here in Portugal.

Bringing in the sheaves,

Mark Hale

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July Prayer Letter

July 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

This past year, Selma sporadically attended our services and had little interest in anything that took place.  Nothing seemed to penetrate her darkness.  Knowing we needed heavy duty spiritual help, we asked you to pray for her and you did unceasingly.

Over the past couple of months, she began coming more often.  The last few weeks, she did not miss a service and listened to every word of my sermons.  Her stare was intense and her concentration total.  It was very apparent that you were praying!!

On June 15th, on her way to the grocery store, my wife, Michele, felt the Holy Spirit leading her to stop and visit with Selma and as a result, had the privilege to lead her to Christ!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!  The next Sunday, she gave her testimony while sitting next to her beaming Christian husband. 

Why is Selma saved?  Because God gave His Son to die for her, because God called a missionary to tell her, because you sent that missionary and because you prayed for her!!!  Without your support in prayer and finances, Selma would still be on the road to hell.  THANK YOU for faithfully laboring there, so we can labor here!

Grateful for the harvest,

Mark Hale

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June Prayer Letter

June 2011
Dear Praying Friends,
Because the Roman Catholic Church never met her needs, she turned her back on formal religion and sought for truth in other places. 
Once a week, our son, Joshua has a horse riding lesson with this lady. She is a young woman who is passionate about preserving nature and introducing children to horses.  Several of the village children are taking lessons from her and it is a great way for Joshua to meet other kids, practice his Portuguese, learn how to ride horses and most importantly, be a testimony for Christ. 
Recently Michele had a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with her.  While she acknowledges a “supreme being” she doesn’t think it is possible to know the Lord personally.  Please pray for her to move beyond the worship of nature and come to know the Creator as her personal Savior.
Reflecting His light,
Mark Hale  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Prayer Letter

May 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

It doesn’t seem possible that a year ago we held the opening service of the Windward Side Baptist Church in Lagos, Portugal! After much preparation, evangelistic efforts and prayer, we had two boys attend that evening. The low attendance was a bit discouraging but we determined to remain faithful to the calling of Almighty God.

Now a year later we celebrated one year of services here in the ancient city of Lagos. The small crowd sang the gospel hymns with enthusiasm, the special music was well received as was the gospel message that I preached. There were nine who were there that day and we thank the Lord for each one of them!

The city of Lagos, Portugal is over 2,000 years old and was the site where Portuguese slave traders sold hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children into lives of bitter hardship and bondage. Now it is a center of occult worship and demonic activity. Satan continues to fight the establishment of this church and it can be disheartening at times. Yet, we know this is exactly where the Lord has called us and we plan to stay until his will is done!

Thank you for your faithful battles there to keep us in the battle here!

Mark Hale