Monday, December 2, 2013

November Prayer Letter

November 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

Their daughter attended our Vacation Bible School last June and came home telling her parents, “This has been the best week of my life!” The entire family began attending our services the following Sunday and have since only missed a couple of services due to their work schedules.

Both parents have a strong desire to know God and His word and over the past few months, we have spent many hours after services talking with them and sharing God’s word to answer their many questions.  We could see them coming closer and closer to the truth and begged God to shine His light into their hearts and reveal Himself to them.

Those prayers were answered the end of October.  The husband was gloriously saved.  Grinning from ear to ear he said, “I finally understand why the Gospel is the good news!  I am saved, not because of anything I could do, but because I accepted what Christ has already done for me!”  His tearful wife shared “I have been praying for his salvation for so long.  I am so thankful that God has saved my husband!”


Thank you, so very much, for making it possible for us to labor here on your behalf and see the Lord save another lost soul!

Bringing in the sheaves,

Mark Hale

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October Prayer Letter

October 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

I have to confess, there are times that we get discouraged and weary in well doing.  It seems no matter how hard we work, how much time we invest and how many prayers we offer, nothing of eternal value happens.  We feel the heavy responsibility of your faithful prayer and financial support, so we understand why some of our churches have discontinued their support for more “fruitful” mission fields. 

But then God shows us that our weariness was due to our trying to grow fruit that is only produced by Him.  We realize our discouragement was from focusing on the “lack of results” instead of simply obeying the Lord’s command to preach the Gospel to every creature and allow Him to change hearts in His time and in His way.

How did God show us these things?  By reminding us that:
·        We have had six first time visitors in our services recently, and three have begun attending regularly. 
·        Our church attendance has almost doubled this past year!!
·        The Bible Institute has grown from 2 students back in 2010 to a new high of 11 this semester!!  Praise the Lord!!

Thank you for faithfully staying with us so that we can fulfill the Great Commission here in Portugal on your behalf!

To the ends of the world,

Mark Hale

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September Prayer Letter

September 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

His hands shook as he gripped the pulpit.  You could see his legs shaking as he stood in front of the congregation and answered question after question from the assembled pastors.  He had studied for months in preparation for this day, but would he survive the terror that gripped his heart?

In late August, it was my privilege to take part in the ordination of Pastor Lenildo Monteiro. He has studied in our Bible institute for the past few years and passed each class with the highest marks.  He did the same in his ordination examination.  In spite of his fear, he answered each and every question with the authority of God’s Word.  All could tell this dear brother had spent time with the Lord and His Word.  The ordination council unanimously recommended to the church that they ordain him to the gospel ministry and the church did just that the next day!

He is now pastoring a Baptist church about an hour and a half away and we will continue to serve the Lord together here in southern Portugal.  Please pray for the growing Bible institute ministry.  It is vital for this country to have men and women who know God and His Word and can contend for the faith that is under attack from every direction.  Our first class begins Sept. 12th and we are praying for many more Lenildos to study with us and become faithful pastors of Baptist churches here in Portugal and around the world.

Thank you for making this possible,

Mark Hale

 Pastor Lenildo

 The ordination council

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August Prayer Letter

August 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

We passed out thousands of invitations to our Vacation Bible School, but would anyone respond?  After all the labor in preparing the games, crafts, lessons and meals, would anyone come?  After you, our faithful prayer warriors offered so many prayers on our behalf, would God respond with a miracle?

The answer is….YES!!  We had a high attendance of 17; five of those were first time visitors from our city of Lagos!!  Although we did not have any children saved this year, we are rejoicing because we now have solid contact with four families in our city who did not know about our church before this week.

This past Sunday, one family visited our church along with their daughter, who had attended our VBS all week.  They came because their daughter told them, “This has been the best week of my life!”  It was great to have them in our church and we enjoyed the long conversation after the services.  Please continue to pray for these four families, their children and their spiritual needs.  Only God knows what will be accomplished through this ministry.

Thank you for your faithful prayers!  With all the doors of opportunity opening for us, it is very evident that you have been praying.  Thank you for helping to make this possible.

Plowing and planting,

Mark Hale

You can view the VBS album following this link:

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Last Saturday, a group from Living Hope Baptist Church in Albufeira drove out to Lagos to help us distribute VBS invitations.   In two hours, nine people passed out 2,000 invitations!  We are very thankful for their help!

Thank you for praying for the upcoming VBS!

The group from Living Hope Baptist Church.  
Pastor Mark Pereira is not in the photo, as he was our photographer.

The invitations

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July Prayer Letter

July 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

When I opened the church door that Sunday morning, I immediately sensed something was different.  As the fluorescent lights flickered to life, I realized there were dozens of eyes staring back at me.  Green, glistening bodies were frozen in place, bemused half smiles on their wide mouths.  Everywhere I looked, there were frogs.  Had we been visited by an Egyptian plague?  No, it was simply the decorations for our upcoming Vacation Bible School. 

The theme this year is FROGS
F – Forgive
R – Respect
O – Obey
G – Give thanks
S – Serve

My wife has been planning and creating crafts, visuals, and decorations and now the church building is primed and ready to receive the children.

Portuguese for the most part, are uninterested in the things of God.  During the summer months, many head to the beaches and bars in a vain attempt to forget their empty and trouble filled lives.  Please pray with us, that God would touch hearts and draw parents and children to this time of fun, games, lessons, food and friendship.  Our VBS begins Monday, July 22nd and ends Friday, July 26th.  In our young church’s first VBS last year, we had 14 in attendance and one was gloriously saved.   We are begging God for more this year.

Fishing for men (and everyone else),

Mark Hale

 Front window

Main bulletin board

Monday, June 10, 2013

June Prayer Letter

June 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

Last month we asked you to pray for L., a Portuguese man who recently began attending services in our church.  He continues to come each week, singing hymns, turning to each passage of Scripture and listening closely to every message.

Recently, we began services, but he had not shown up.  I sadly thought, “Oh no, he has quit coming.”  I continued leading the service, but with a heavy heart.  Then, half way through the song service, L. walked in, but not alone!  He had invited his friend, C., to services and she had reluctantly come.  (Just two weeks before, she had adamantly declared that she would never come to a church service). 

She is the sixth first time visitor we have had in the last few months!  She has continued to come and listens to my sermons with mild interest.  She has three children whom we would love to have in our services as well.  At times, we have more lost attending our church services than saved!  What an opportunity to preach the Gospel!!  In spite of Satanic opposition, God is at work doing what we could never do!  We know you are praying, we can see the power of God opening doors and hearts like never before. Please continue to pray for Windward Side Baptist Church in Lagos, Portugal and for all those in this city that God seeks to save.

Thanking God for your prayers,

Mark Hale

Friday, May 24, 2013

May Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,
He had a good job, a family and a home, but like so many other Portuguese, he allowed alcohol to take over his life.  First, he lost his job, then his family and his home.  He came to Lagos looking for work and to try to rebuild his shattered life.
He found a minimum wage job at a hotel and stays sober, but his family lives in another city.  At the invitation from a man in our church, he began attending our services.  At first he was more interested in his cell phone than in my sermons, but the more he has come, the more interested he has grown.  He listens closely now and after each service, always assures me that he will be back the next week. 
Please pray for L., that God’s light would penetrate his darkness and that he will see that Jesus is his only hope.  Before any real healing and restoration can take place, he needs Christ as his Savior.
Please continue to pray for the Windward Side Baptist Church in Lagos, Portugal.  We have had three first time visitors recently and are praying that many more will come, hear the gospel and be gloriously saved!
Proclaiming Christ in Portugal,
Mark Hale

Friday, April 5, 2013

April Prayer Letter

April 2013 
Dear Praying Friends,
For the last three years, she has come to every special service we have had.  She has heard the gospel plainly each time, but usually sits in the back and fidgets.  Uncomfortable with the song service, the prayer time and especially the preaching, she continues to come in spite of her discomfort.
She once again came to our Easter service, but this time she sat one row closer to the front.  She actually sang some of the hymns and didn’t fidget once.  When I preached, she made eye contact with me and listened closely.  I could tell the powerful word of God was making the inroads into her darkness that I never could. 
Her son, Cris, was saved last summer in our first VBS.  He immediately began to pray along with us for his mother’s salvation.  Will you please remember Ina in your prayers as well?  Although very reserved and quiet, she has recently opened up to Michele and talked at length with her.  We can see the Lord at work in her life and long for her to join her son in the family of God!
Praising God for His resurrection,
Mark Hale

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March Prayer Letter

March 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

The gray haired Russian grandmother approached me after my lesson with a question.  I showed her two passages in the Bible that gave her the answer she was looking for.  She nodded her head and began to grin from ear to ear.  “Fifty-five years ago when I was a girl, our pastor asked the church this question, but no one could answer it.  Now, I finally know the answer!”

The last two weeks of February, I had the privilege to travel back to Lithuania and Latvia to teach the students of the Bible college as well as pastors and Christian workers from all over the two countries.  I taught a total of 31 hours, preached three times in Lithuanian and Russian Baptist churches and taught a youth meeting.  We had around 75 take part in the classes and it was a joy to see this vital ministry flourishing in spite of the Satanic attacks against it. 

Another great blessing for me back here in Portugal was that during the two Sundays that I was gone, Lenildo Monteiro, a Bible institute student that we have had the privilege to teach for the past two years, preached for me in our church in Lagos.  He did a great job and we are so thankful to have this faithful man serving the Lord here in southern Portugal.  We are praying that in the coming years, the Lord will increase the Bible institute here like He has done back in Lithuania and Latvia. 

Thank you for making it possible for us to serve the Lord here in Europe.

Thanking God for you,

Mark Hale

 Mark teaching in Vilnius

Bro. Lenildo leading the services in Lagos

Friday, February 8, 2013

February Prayer Letter

February 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

The road is potholed and rough, the shoulders strewn with rock and debris.  Heavy traffic complicates driving and then that day there was the erratic bicyclist weaving back and forth on the edge of the road.  Each one of the cars in front of me took its turn speeding up and swerving around the man. Then it was my turn. 

As I started to step on the gas and swerve around the pedaling menace, the Holy Spirit told me to slow down and not try to pass him.  Just as I stepped on the brake, the bicyclist hit a pothole, his front tire went sideways, he went off the bike to the right and landed on the shoulder, but the small boy riding unseen on his handlebars flew to the left onto the road directly in front of my car.  I stood on my brakes as the little boy disappeared under my front bumper.

Screeching to a halt, I jumped out expecting the worst.  Kneeling down, I saw a frightened little boy, eyes wide with fear, hiding his face with his skinned hands.  I gently pulled him out and realized his body was jammed up against the engine and transmission housing.  Just a few more inches and he would have been crushed under my car. 

Hugging his boy, the father put him back on his handlebars and drove away without saying a word.  Hands shaking with adrenaline, I pulled off onto the shoulder and prayed, thanking the Lord with tears for His protection of me and the small boy.  

Thank you for your faithful prayers for us and praise the Lord for His protection of us!

Safe in His hands,

Mark Hale 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January Prayer Letter

January 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

By the time you receive this letter, many New Year’s resolutions will have gone the way of 2012.  Good intentions once again bite the dust.  We all want to be better husbands, or better wives, or better parents.  We resolve to lose weight, save money, to pay off debts, be kinder, or to work harder.  Yet we seem to fail over and over again.  Why? Because we cannot trust our flesh to do what is right. 

Instead of trusting in ourselves to make the necessary changes, let us instead seek God and allow Him to change us!  The Lord knows what we need to stop and what we need to start.  He knows all the areas we need to change and He knows how to change them.  He knows how to make us better spouses, better parents and better church members.  He knows how to help us save money, pay off debts and be kinder to those around us.  The Creator knows how to help us lose weight and be healthy.  Yet, it seems He is the last one we turn to. 

So, instead of reading yet another self help article or jumping onto the bandwagon of the latest fad, let us seek God in 2013.  Let us surrender to Him and to His leading.  Let us allow Him to change us into the image of His dear Son!  God can change us when we cannot change ourselves.  God can create in us a clean heart and a right spirit.  Let us seek the Lord God Almighty and allow Him to do what we could never do in 2013!

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

Seeking Him,

Mark Hale