Monday, December 10, 2018

November Prayer Letter

November 2018

Dear Praying Friends,
Because of bronchitis and a touch of walking pneumonia, I had to cancel our scheduled baptism. By the next Sunday, I had recovered sufficiently, but a weekend storm was producing 12 to 15 foot waves, so baptism in the sea, as we normally practice, was not going to be possible.  As an alternative, we contacted the hotels in our city with indoor pools, but were turned down by every one. That is, until the last hotel informed us that we could use their Olympic sized swimming pool for our baptismal service! (This was a miracle, because public officials and businesses usually shy away from being associated with Baptists since the influential Roman Catholic Church falsely identifies us as a “cult”.)
There were 23 in attendance that Sunday morning standing on the edge of the pool as I baptized our newest member. This Portuguese young man was gloriously saved six months earlier, had completed the new members’ class and had given his testimony of salvation the week before at church. Now, as a public testimony of his faith in Christ, he followed the Lord Jesus in scriptural baptism. Both he and his wife joined our church and are expecting their first child in the new year. We praise the Lord for our newest members and for the Lord adding to His church!
Praising God for victories,

Mark Hale

Friday, August 10, 2018

July Prayer Letter

July 2018

Dear Praying Friends,

I remember vividly the first time I preached and souls were saved. It was an amazing experience to be used by the Almighty God to reach hell bound sinners with His gospel.  Now, our son, Joshua has experienced this for the first time in his short ministry.

When I asked him if he would be interested in teaching the boys at youth camp, he jumped at the opportunity.  He studied and prepared lessons in conjunction with the theme of the camp “More than” (Romans 8) and his lessons were “Jesus was more than just a common man”, “Jesus’ death was more than just a common death” and “The life that Jesus gives is more than just a common life”.  He preached that first day and God really took hold of the boys’ hearts. Two came forward and were gloriously saved, two more came for assurance of salvation and another in the group surrendered his life to be a preacher either in Portugal or as a missionary in another country.

This experience has fanned the flames of Joshua’s determination to preach God’s word and accomplish the Lord’s will for his life. Thank you for praying for him and for us as we continue to minister here in southern Portugal. By the time he heads back to the States August 14th to continue his studies at Bible college, he will have preached here 12 times.  He has experienced the miracle of seeing folks saved and lives changed as God used his preaching to touch hearts. We are thankful to the Lord and to you, our faithful prayer warriors. This is fruit to your account! 

Thanking my Heavenly Father for my son,

Mark Hale

Teaching the younger boys

Lifeguard duty

Saturday, August 4, 2018

June Prayer Letter

June 2018

Dear Praying Friends,

We have known her for 11 years, talking with her and witnessing when God gave the opportunity, yet as a typical Portuguese, she deflected and delayed and came up with reasons to avoid the biblical truth we tried to share.

We see her multiple times each week.  Recently she called up Michele and asked us to pray for her mother who was diagnosed with cancer.  Of course, we prayed and had both of our churches praying as well, asking God for not only physical healing, but spiritual as well. Her mother had surgery, the tumor was successfully removed and she seems to be making a full recovery. 

E. came to a church service to thank us for our prayers and remark how those prayers seemed to make the difference. She listened closely as I preached God’s word and carefully explained the plan of salvation.  She stayed after the service to fellowship with our members and has promised to return again.  Please pray for E. and her husband, two sons, and mother.  They are the typical Portuguese family: nice, honest and hard-working, yet living in deep darkness. They claim to be Catholic, yet never attend mass, claim to believe in God but make no effort to come to Him.  Please pray for E.

Seeking the lost sheep for Him,

Mark Hale

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

May Prayer Letter

May 2018

Dear Praying Friends,

For months, we had been counting down the days to this moment and when he walked out of customs control into the airport terminal, we waved with unbounded joy to our son, Joshua. The hugs were long and filled with love, then we ran to the van and made our way through the busy streets of Lisbon.  Our son, Joshua, was finally home from Bible college and had been in transit for 20 hours by the time he arrived. Yet, he was scheduled to preach in a Baptist church across the city in just an hour, so the drive was hurried.

We made it with time to spare and in spite of his weariness, Joshua preached a very good message from Isaiah 9 and 10 about the mercy of God and how the Lord’s hand was (and still is) extended in mercy to those who are under condemnation.  We can see the depth and growth that the Lord has accomplished in Joshua this past year and are so thankful to our Savior and to every one of you who are faithfully praying for our dear son.

He is scheduled to preach in our two churches this coming Sunday and in Sunday and Wednesday services throughout the summer.  He will also teach at camp in July. In total, he will preach and teach a minimum of 10 times in the next three months as well as finishing all the many tasks we do in preparation for our vacation Bible school and youth camp.   It is such a joy to have our son back home for the summer, but especially because he has such a servant’s heart and burning desire to share God’s word with the lost and saved! Thank you so very much for your faithful prayers for him!

Praising God for our son and for you, our prayer warriors,

Mark Hale

Monday, May 28, 2018

April Prayer Letter

April 2018

Dear Praying Friends,

She was just looking for a home. She was pregnant and her time was getting near. She wanted some place safe, warm and comfortable when her babies arrived. She found what she thought was the perfect location for her nursery, but the owners had other thoughts.

When the car wouldn’t start, I popped the hood and was disgusted to find rat feces on the engine (never a good sign) and shredded insulation stuffed into the top of the engine.  In spite of my best efforts, the car would not start. We placed a call to the insurance company and an hour later, the tow truck arrived. With some difficulty, we got the rat nursery onto the flat bed and started for the mechanic’s.  On the hour-long journey, God opened doors with Luis and I was able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him.  He had lost a daughter as we had and this shared loss gave me a wonderful opportunity to talk about heaven and our only hope – Jesus the Savior.

A week later after almost $200 worth of repairs, the rat returned, avoiding the traps I had set and did more damage and we had a second trip to the mechanic with the help of another tow truck and yet another opportunity to share the gospel.  I am hoping this method of evangelism is not the new norm…! With eight various types of traps set, we are hoping to take care of momma and daddy rat and their babies so our car doesn’t become the scene of another rodent nursery rhyme.

Please pray for Luis, that our conversation and the tract he received will bear fruit and he will be saved.

Thankful for opportunities to witness in spite of the methods,

Mark Hale

March Prayer Letter

March 2018

Dear Praying Friends,

As we prepare to celebrate Easter, I pray this poem is as much a blessing for you to read as it was for me to write.

I’ve killed in war and fight for Rome, I serve my gods and miss my home.
These Jews won’t serve our gods at all but bring a man to Pilate’s hall.
This man they call the King of Jews, His life he is at risk to lose.
Why would they reject their King and not His praise and glory sing?
Now I’ve seen it all.
Pilate wants to set him free, there is no fault that he could see.
But the crowd just wants him dead, they choose a murderer instead.
“Away with him!” their voices ring, Caesar is our only king.
So, Jesus is condemned to die, and in my mind, I wonder why?
Now I’ve seen it all.
We laugh at him and mock his name, we spit on him and do him shame.
We beat him hard, he almost dies, the cross he bears while women cry.
Yet on the hill, he lays right down, and spreads his hands without a sound.
We drive the nails in hands and feet, but on his lips, are words so sweet.
Now I’ve seen it all.
We watch him there between two thieves, we hear His words and one believes.
The darkness comes and He cries out, this is strange, there is no doubt.
I watch him take his final breath, I see him bow his head in death.
I thrust my spear into his side, to make for sure that he has died.
Now I’ve seen it all.
Three days they tell us is enough, to guard his grave and call his bluff.
The stone is sealed, the watch is made, I’ll keep him there with Roman blade.
Three days pass the stone rolls back, the dead came forth and that’s a fact!
No Roman guard, no Roman blade, can hope to keephim in the grave!
Now I’ve seen it all.
I took the money and told the lie, “His disciples stole his body” I cry.
But in my heart, I know he lives, eternal life to me He gives.
And now I serve Him as my Lord, His word to me became my sword.
One day soon, He’ll call me there, but now His cross for me I’ll bear.
Now I’ve seen it all.
They come for me with torches lit, hatred in my face they spit.
One last chance to save my life, embrace the gods and miss this strife.
But I was there when He came out, “He’s alive!” at them I shout.
So now I hang upon a cross, my life for Him is not a loss.
Now I’ve seen it all.
He waits for me with open arms, forever free from pain and harm.
“Well done,” He says with love and grace, “you finished faithfully your race”.
For ever more I’ll sing His praise, to thank Him for amazing grace.
The joys of heaven are for me, the face of Jesus I can see.
Now I’ve seen it all.

Thankful for the risen Savior!

Mark Hale

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

February 2018 Prayer Letter

February 2018

Dear Praying Friends,

God has been greatly blessing our church in Lagos and we are seeing solid spiritual growth among the members and numerical growth as visitors have come and stayed! 

V. recently said, “I have been saved for 47 years, but have never been in a church like this that teaches and preaches only the word of God!

L. reported that other churches in town that he has attended (that teach false doctrine and traditions of men) despairingly call our church “The church that ONLY teaches the Bible.” That may be an insult to some, but to us, it is a compliment knowing that we have that testimony in our city!

I am now conducting a new members class for the three men who have decided not only to attend services, but to join our church and become active members as we seek to glorify the Lord, edify one another and evangelize the lost.

The three Bible institutes that I teach in two cities continue to see spiritual growth among the men who are attending.  It is a great blessing to see these men take the leadership in their homes and churches as a God-given responsibility and it blesses our hearts to see their faithfulness to God and His word!

Thank you for sacrificing in prayers and finances to make this possible.  Only eternity will reveal all that you have accomplished here for the Lord!

Rejoicing in the harvest,

Mark Hale

Friday, January 26, 2018

December Prayer Letter

December 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

God recently gave me this poem that I wrote for our son, Joshua, who is in Bible college back there in the States. I wanted to share it with you so you could know better how to pray for your missionaries and their children adapting to new lives in the U.S.

An MK at Christmas

He sits in his dorm room all alone, his roommates have left to go to their homes.
But his home is far across the seas, for his parents are foreign missionaries.
God called his folks many years ago, to serve the Lord where He led them to go.
They packed their clothes and said goodbye, waving with smiles but tears filled their eyes.
They served their Lord for many years, blessed with a son whom they love so dear.
They taught him at home with joyful hearts, preparing for the day that he’d depart.
Now God has called him to serve in the States, so he left his home and at college he waits.
The semester is over and finals are done, Christmas is near, the holiday has come.
No tree awaits him with ornaments so fair, no presents are wrapped their paper to tear.
He has a great job and his bed in the dorm, this is his life, this is the new norm.
Dinner for him is a can of soup, some crackers to add, for dessert some fruit.
He is alone in his new-found home, waiting to talk to his folks on the phone.
For dad and mom his room is so still, his pictures and toys the room they all fill.
Their tree is up, the ornaments are hung, but one thing is missing - their beloved son.
All three know this is the Lord’s will, so they determine their hearts with gratitude to fill.
They write lots of letters and share a phone call, they post lots of photos upon their walls.
Sure, it was better when he was right here, to hug him and tell him that he is so dear.
Yes, it was better when mom fixed his meal, his presents lay waiting, their paper to peel.
Feel sorry for them? Oh, don’t you dare! A frown on their faces they refuse to wear!
It may be sad for this moment right now, but one day for Christ they know they will bow.
Separations are hard, they’re never fun, longing to hear from Christ – “Well Done!”
Endure this hardness as good soldiers they will, thanksgiving to God their hearts are filled.
Thankful to God for the years they’ve had, enjoying the good and surviving the bad.
Knowing that life will soon be past, and only what’s done for Christ will last.

Thankful for our son, who is serving the Lord there in the States,

Mark Hale

Friday, January 12, 2018

November Prayer Letter

November 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

She is a social worker who helps underprivileged children have a better life.  She is a good person, moral, kind and respectful to others.  She recently visited our church and wanted to talk after the service.  We spent two hours answering her many questions and finally arrived at the crux of the matter. She admitted that she wasn’t ready to trust in Christ completely, she is still partially relying upon her many good works to get her to heaven.  Please pray for D., she promised to read the Gospel of John and the book of Romans and to keep in touch with us.  I promised to pray for her daily that she would come to know Christ as her all sufficient Savior.

 He is a good, moral man and has never cheated on his wife. He never drinks alcohol nor even caffeine laden drinks.  He has never eaten pork and doesn’t defile himself by touching anything that is forbidden. He tries to be honest in all his business dealings and even helps the poor every year.  Because of his work, he cannot pray five times during the day as his religion demands, so instead he rises every day at 5 am to pray five times before he goes to work. His name is A. and he is a good Muslim man who listens to the gospel and watches Christians to see if their religion is “real”.  Please pray for this man that he will come to know Jesus Christ as his Savior and forsake the idolatry and slavery of Islam.

 Prayer is powerful and that is why we send these letters every month. Prayer changes the person who prays and the person who is prayed for. Please remember D. and A., that they would be saved before it is eternally too late.

 Plowing and planting,

 Mark Hale