Monday, July 20, 2015

June Prayer Letter

June 2015

Dear Praying Friends,

This month we reached three important milestones:

1.  We celebrated 30 years since I left the United States to begin my life as a missionary.  We looked back with profound gratitude and amazement at the almost 1,000 precious souls saved and the 9 Baptist churches that we have been blessed to establish. Each of those churches is self supporting and pastored by national pastors.  We have established three Bible institutes that each year teach and prepare over 120 in house students and another 30 to 40 online international students for the gospel ministry.  This is because we have the most faithful prayer warriors and financial supporters a missionary could ever have!  You have stuck with us through thick and thin and these results are fruit to your account!  We are honored to be your representatives here in Europe!
2.  We celebrated 28 wonderful and blessed years of marriage.
3.  We also celebrated the five year anniversary of the Windward Side Baptist Church in Lagos, Portugal.  This is our tenth church plant and is by far the most difficult we have ever attempted.  Recently, our attendance has doubled.  We have had more visitors these past four weeks than in any other month of the church’s brief history.  What is amazing with these visitors is that although every one of them is lost, they continue to attend services and listen carefully to the gospel messages and lessons!

PLEASE PRAY for J (an adult), J (a boy), B, D and her son, L, C and her daughter B, P, C, J and his family.  We know that miracles happen when you folks pray!  We are begging God for their salvations and for the continual growth of our church.  Also, please pray for many souls to be saved in our upcoming youth camp July 7-11. 

We are humbled by your faithfulness and thank God we are blessed to labor together with you to reap the harvest here in Europe. 

Mark Hale

May Prayer Letter

May 2015

Dear Praying Friends,

The pastor had been having abdominal pain for the last week but the doctor misdiagnosed those warning signs as an ulcer.  Three days later, the pastor’s appendix ruptured, yet this dedicated man continued to minister to his people in spite of the agony because he thought it was just an ulcer.  After two days, he passed out from the pain while teaching a new members’ class at church.

Rushed to the hospital he was only given a 5% chance of survival.  On the operating table the doctor said, “It is a miracle you are still alive, you must have some influence with the Man upstairs.”  The pastor smiled through his pain and said, “No, I am simply a servant of the Almighty God and my life is in His hands.  I am ready to go to meet him, are you sir?”  The doctor mumbled uncomfortably and administered the anesthetic. 

Pastor Lenildo Monteiro pulled through and is recuperating well, praise the Lord.  He pastors our sister church an hour and a half away. Praise the Lord for pastors who are faithful, even to the point of death!  Please pray for his complete recovery and for me as I pastor both of our churches in his absence.  He was able to attend a service recently and thank the church for their prayers, but his recovery will take a while. 

So much work here in Portugal, yet so few workers….

Working for the night is coming,

Mark Hale

April Prayer Letter

April 2015

Dear Praying Friends,

Many of you have asked recently about Michele’s hospital outreach ministry.   She is still sewing 20 stuffed animals every month and donating them to the Lagos city hospital.  So far she has made and given away 277.  Each stuffed animal comes with a tag identifying our church and giving contact information.  Through this ministry, we are getting to know the hospital staff and several of them have asked why we do this.  As a result, praise the Lord, we have had opportunities to share the Gospel and invite them to church!  

Recently, a lady called Michele out of the blue.  Cristina works at a local daycare and saw a stuffed doggy one of the little boys in her class had received in his stay at the hospital.  She looked up the website on the tag sewn on the toy, found our phone number, and called my wife.  Cristina was participating in a charity event and wanted the dog pattern so she could make some for the event.  Michele shared the pattern but also sewed 10 dogs to help.  My wife was able to meet Cristina when she delivered the stuffed toys to her.  They had a good conversation and Michele was able to answer her many questions about our church and why she would help total strangers.  

We just never know the eternal impact of one stuffed animal, one kind word, one Christ - like action.  May God help each one of us to not only talk like Christ, but to act like Him, to love like Him and seek to reach the lost like Him.  Thank you for your prayers for us, for our ministries and for Cristina.

Seeking to reflect Him,

Mark Hale