Sunday, August 7, 2016

July/August Prayer Letter

July/August 2016

Dear Praying Friends,

We thought we had reached our maximum last year with over 50 campers, but this year the Lord showed us that we could handle even more.  This summer we had 61 campers!!  It was a week filled with labor, heat, difficulties and victories.  Satan tried to hinder this ministry; missionaries suffered serious car problems coming to camp, some campers had to be taken home the first day of camp for smoking, the heat was intense with very little in the way of breezes to cool off the tents and all the sweating bodies in them.  Yet God gave great victories in spite of all the difficulties we encountered.  13 precious souls came to Christ, including two from our church in Lagos!!!

We returned from camp physically exhausted, yet spiritually uplifted.  We had one week to prepare for our annual Vacation Bible School in Lagos.  This time we had fewer children than last year, but that allowed us to spend even more time with each child.  The gospel was given clearly and plainly each day and good seed was planted in the hearts of the children who attended.  Half of the children who came are not saved and come from lost homes.  We have reached entire families through our Vacation Bible Schools and are praying for God to work again through this ministry to reach these precious lives with His gospel.

Thank you for making it possible for us to labor here on your behalf for the glory of our Lord!!  We count it our honor to be your representatives here in southern Portugal.

Serving with you for Him,

Mark Hale

 Camp photos:

VBS photos:

May Prayer Letter

May 2016

Dear Praying Friends,

The deep chest pain was a harbinger of what was coming.  She fearfully posted on Facebook that Tuesday morning, “I need a miracle!”  Later that day, the heart attack hit with such pain that she collapsed, unable to move.  Her husband called for an ambulance and held her while they waited for help to arrive.

Last year, this couple began attending services at our church in Lagos.  He was thrilled with our verse by verse studies of God’s word, she was less than enthusiastic.  He was growing spiritually and reaching others, while his wife sat impatiently through the services, fidgeting with her phone and looking out the window in the auditorium.  Eventually, she quit coming and then began inventing things for them both to do during service times. Two months ago, he stopped attending church.  Then we got the news. 

At her funeral, he wept as I hugged him.  He was haunted by the nightmare of watching his 46 year old wife slip out into eternity in his arms.  He looked at us, with tears welling up in his eyes and said, “She died with fear in her eyes.” He paused to gain control of his voice and then continued. “Christians don’t die with fear, do they?”  What is so heartbreaking about these kinds of funerals is that we don’t know if she is with the Lord. 

In the past month, we have lost four people whom we have loved and prayed for.  Two are with the Lord, two are not.  This is why you keep us here:  to stand between the living and the dead and proclaim Christ. 

Thankful for the saved, grieving for the lost,

Mark Hale

March/April Prayer Letter

March/April 2016 

Dear Praying Friends,

It was shaping up to be one of “those” days.  Right from the start, everything seemed to fall apart around me.  Car problems, road construction delays, bureaucratic run arounds and not enough time to get it all done.  I had to be up at the church two hours early for the piano tuner to get his job finished before Bible Institute classes began.  He assured me it would take no longer than an hour…I should have known better…

Two hours later, he still had the piano in pieces and was not even close to being done.  Students had begun arriving and I knew this day was going to end the way it had unfolded– as a disaster.  He piled all the pieces together and told me he would return the next day to finish the job.  As I laid the last pieces carefully down and turned around to face the class, I was pleasantly surprised.

Three new students were there for the Bible Institute and we enjoyed one of the best classes we have ever had.  With nine students present and another 61 tuning in live via UStream, we had a total of 70 students from Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau.  We have students from all Portuguese speaking countries except for Goa, India and Macao, China.  The Bible Institute has grown and is now reaching into five countries.  We are humbled and thrilled to see what God is doing to reach this generation with the gospel of Jesus Christ!!  Thank you for making this possible!!!

Reflecting His light to the world,

Mark Hale

February Prayer Letter

February 2016

Dear Praying Friends,

She came in the back of the auditorium and sat in the chair next to the door.  Her drug addicted son came in a few minutes later and sat uneasily beside her in the last row.  It was clear they were uncomfortable and ready for a quick escape.  The adult son claims to be a “Christian” but believes he must self reform in order to earn salvation.  He and his mother have had years of conflict over his drug addiction.  He listened politely as I preached, but his mother intently hung on every word. 

Normally,  I pastor two congregations - our Portuguese speaking church in Lagos and an English speaking congregation in a city an hour and a half away.  But for the past six weeks, I had been pastoring a third congregation (Portuguese) while the pastor was out of the country. We were weary from the extra hours of travel, the added services, additional time and effort, but God had something special for us.

After the service, the back row lady asked to speak with me.  She wanted me to pray for her and her son to have peace.  When I explained that without Christ no one could ever have real peace, she asked, “Then how do I have Christ in my life?”  I opened the Bible and showed her God’s simple plan of salvation.  With tears in her eyes, she lifted her eyes toward heaven and prayed, “God, I don’t know how to pray, but I sure need you in my life!  I am a sinner and realize I cannot go to heaven this way.  So, please forgive my sin and save me….amen.”   When she lowered her eyes, she was a new woman.  For the first time in her life, she had true forgiveness and real peace.  This is why you have sacrificed to keep us here, for moments just like this!  Thank you for your faithfulness in keeping us here.  This is fruit to your account!

Bringing the sheep to the Shepherd,

Mark Hale