Saturday, November 18, 2017

October Prayer Letter

October 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

While studying the Word of God with her husband, she came to the realization that her “baptism” in a church that actively teaches and practices false doctrine was not biblical baptism.  She immediately told her husband that she wanted to follow Christ’s example and be baptized as the Scriptures command.

The day was sunny, warm and the breezes were soft.  It was a perfect day for a baptism, we thought, until we arrived at the beach.  (We baptize in the sea as a testimony to our city and all the folks visiting here.)  Although the weather was good, the tide was high and there were six foot waves crashing onto the shore.  “Oh boy” I thought, “this is going to be interesting!”

We sang a couple of hymns and then I brought a short message on “What baptism is and what baptism is not” while some of our folks passed out tracts to the people walking by. Then it was time for us to wade out into waist deep water.  We were both immersed twice by the huge waves before we ever reached the desired depth.  I had just raised my arm and began reciting Matthew 28:19 when I saw her wince.  I braced as yet another wave crashed over us.

After we got our footing back, we decided quickly to baptize her in between the six foot waves.  We obeyed the Lord’s command and followed His perfect example and then safely made it back to shore.  We had a wonderful service later at church and dinner on the grounds after the service as we welcomed this godly lady and her young preacher husband into the membership of our church.

Thanking God for obedient Christians,

Mark Hale

Monday, November 13, 2017

September Prayer Letter

September 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

I remember the first time I held him. 19 years ago, a blizzard howled in the darkness in Lithuania, but a miracle was happening inside. The doctor clamped and cut his umbilical cord, he was cleaned and swaddled and handed to me. His dark brown eyes squinting in the bright lights of the delivery room, inquisitively looking up at me, his tiny hand reached up to touch my face. 

It was love at first sight!

I remember the last time I held him.  The hot sun blazed down upon us as we said our goodbyes.  The umbilical cord was being cut and our miracle was leaving the nest.  His dark brown eyes squinted down at me in the bright sunlight and his big hand reached down to wipe the tears flowing down my face. He was leaving home to follow the call of God and begin his studies at Bible college.

It was love at last sight!

Please pray for our son, Joshua, as he obeys the call of his Creator and Savior to be a pastor in the US.  Please pray for us as we continue to serve the Lord in Portugal, but now without a valued member of our team.  We are thankful for the 19 years God has given us and are thankful that Joshua has obeyed the will of the Lord.  None of us like this separation, but each one of us knows, this is exactly what God wants, so we obey, knowing God’s will is ALWAYS best!  Back in 1985, as I left home for the mission field for the first time, my father gave me godly advice that I passed on to my son, “In spite of the years of separation on earth, we have all eternity together in heaven to be glad we did this God’s way.”

Thankful that God sent His Son,

Mark Hale

August Prayer Letter

August 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

Sometimes, a church announces they are wanting to do a “missions trip” and we always wonder how it is going to turn out.  Some of these trips end up being one or two days of ministry and the rest sight seeing with the missionary as translator.  Other times, a church comes with a heart to serve and their folks come to evangelize the lost and encourage the saved.

Each summer, we hold youth camps in cooperation with other independent Baptist churches from all over Portugal.  It is a week filled with much labor, sweat and tears, but we do it knowing that for many of the youth, this will be the only opportunity they have to hear the gospel of Christ since their Catholic parents will allow them to come to our camp, but never to church services.

This summer, Overland Park Baptist Church sent a group to help us with our youth camp. In 32 years as missionaries, I have rarely seen a more prepared group than this one.  The adults as well as the teens served with enthusiasm and without complaint.  Their sacrifice made it possible for the missionaries to spend more time with the campers.  As a result, 9 precious young people were saved during camp and the grandmother of one of the teens who visited the last night of camp and heard the gospel was saved the following Sunday in church in Porto Alegre.  PRAISE GOD!!!

Thankful for co-laborers,

Mark Hale