Tuesday, November 8, 2016

October Prayer Letter

October 2016

The early beach goers were already staking out their places in the sand.  Towels were laid down, coolers were stocked and sunscreen was applied.  It seemed like an ordinary Sunday morning at the beach in Lagos, that is, until we arrived.

As our small fleet of cars scattered and parked and we all got out in the parking area, people began to stare.  The candidates were dressed in white gowns and we made the short walk down to the edge of the water.  Waves lapped back and forth as we got out our hymnals and sang praises to the Lord, then I opened my Bible and preached a short message on “What baptism is and what it is not”.  Here in Portugal, we baptize in the ocean as a public testimony of our faith in Christ and our desire to follow His command.  It was cause for much staring and guarded interest as the beach goers cautiously approached and listened to what we were singing and saying.  Some in our group passed out tracts and invitations while others explained why we were there. 

It was a day to be remembered, for the unsaved beach goers who watched the strange spectacle, but especially for the folks who followed the Lord in Scriptural baptism.  There were tears of joy and thanksgiving as each candidate was plunged beneath the waves and brought up as a testimony of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.  The special church service that day and dinner on the grounds completed the celebration.  It is always a joy to win and baptize believers and have them become members of our churches.  In 31 years as a missionary, I never grow tired of obeying our Lord’s command!

Winning, baptizing and discipling,

Mark Hale

September Prayer Letter

September 2016

Dear Praying Friends,

We knew this day was coming for at least a couple of years, but the realization hit me like a punch in the stomach.  I had been in the waiting room for over two hours when he entered, clipboard in hand.  His expression told me the news was grim.  He looked at me and plainly stated, “We are not going to be able to save her, I am sorry.”

For almost 30 years, after paying tithes and giving to missions, Michele and I have tried to save 10% of our monthly support for emergencies.  This practice has served us well.  I have only had to write a prayer letter requesting financial help four times in over three decades as missionaries, this will be the fifth.

Our 18 year old VW needs yet more repairs, but the cost is more than our old faithful car is now worth.  European car manufacturers cease making parts for their cars after 10 years.  The older a car becomes, finding parts becomes more and more difficult and expensive.  Our ministries have grown to the point where we now need a van.  We had to rent one this summer to take the nine people from Lagos to camp.  A good, used van will cost between $18,000 and $20,000.  This is a huge amount of money, yet we know that our Father is in control.  We ask you to pray about having a part in purchasing a vehicle to replace our dying car.  She has served us well, with over 400,000 km on her, but her time has come.  God knew this was going to happen and is in control, so we ask you to seek His will in helping to meet this important need.

Trusting in Him to supply what we cannot,

Mark Hale