Wednesday, December 30, 2020

December Prayer Letter

December 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

Ever since he was saved seven years ago, John has witnessed to his family and been rejected, mocked and legally condemned to prison for sharing the gospel. Still, he seeks to win the lost and share the good news of Jesus Christ with those around him regardless of the cost to him personally. Recently, he returned to the Czech Republic to care for his dying mother. Led by the Holy Spirit, he daily sought opportunities to win her to Christ as her health failed. Up until her last moments on earth, he told her of the Savior’s love for her and begged her to set aside her religious pride and come in humility and faith to the Lord. It is not certain if his mother made the right decision, but even in his grief, John determined to share the Savior with those who attended his mother’s funeral.

Because the family is Catholic, the funeral was held in the local Catholic church. The unwitting priest gave John 20 minutes to eulogize his mother, but John took that once in a life time opportunity and eulogized his Savior instead!

This has been a seven-year prayer request of John’s, to be able to witness to every member of his extended family but most have been avoiding him for that very reason. In spite of his own grief, he clearly gave the gospel to his entire family, to the assembled friends and neighbors and even to the two Catholic priests who were more than uncomfortable hearing that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Please join us as we pray for the many who heard the gospel at the funeral, that the powerful word of God would penetrate their hard religious hearts, that they would repent of their sins and come in faith to Christ.

Thanking God for faithful men,

Mark Hale

Monday, November 30, 2020

November Prayer Letter

 November 2020


Dear Praying Friends,


The text beeped on Michele’s phone near midnight. It was from a young woman who had made a profession of faith last spring, but over the coming months, she slowly withdrew from contact with our church, missing more and more services until she no longer attended at all. We continued to pray for her and keep in contact when possible, but it looked like we had lost her to the world.


Michele continued to teach her mother with live video classes and her mom continued to attend services when the government didn’t have us in lockdowns. The daughter, however, grew out of reach. That is, until her midnight text changed everything.


“Why can’t I read the Bible and understand anything? Why is my heart so hardened?” She desperately texted. Michele immediately asked to video call her and zeroed in on the question of her salvation.  Michele talked with her for half an hour, sharing the gospel message with this young woman and asked her, “Are you certain you would go to heaven if you died tonight?” The young woman honestly admitted that she did not have that assurance. In the middle of the night, Michele led L. to trust in Christ as her Savior! Please pray for this young lady, that she would take the first steps in her spiritual life, reading her Bible and praying daily and would once again study with Michele in the ongoing video classes my wife teaches.


Thanking God for midnight calls,


Mark Hale

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

October Prayer Letter

October 202-

Dear Praying Friends,


The cold winds blew across the cemetery making everyone burrow a little deeper into their coats. The Army bugler solemnly played taps and then the soldiers folded the flag. Our son, Joshua, had driven down to Arkansas to preach the funeral of his beloved Uncle Dudley and gave the simple gospel message to those assembled at the grave side. Our family’s prayer is that everyone who heard that message would come to know Christ before it is time for their funeral.


For 63 years, Michele’s father (Dean McClure, missionary to Brazil since 1965) witnessed to his older brother, Dudley, trying to win him to Christ. He wrote letters with the gospel message and pleaded with him in person, but Dudley kept putting off this most important of decisions. Year after year, decade after decade, he ignored the pleas of his younger brother and lived life on his own terms.


Last year, Uncle Dudley suffered a debilitating stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side. He could no longer care for himself and was moved to a rest home. He was a broken man when Michele and I talked with him but he finally submitted before God and with tears of repentance, he accepted Jesus as his Savior!  That is why his funeral was not a goodbye, but rather, see you later!


If you are trying to win the lost and have become discouraged, remember my father-in-law who faithfully witnessed to his brother for 63 years. Don’t give up, as long as they have life, there is hope. Keep witnessing, God knows what it will take to bring them to His Son.


Thankful for the hope we have in Christ,


Mark Hale

Missionary to Brazil, Dean McClure, and his brother Dudley a few years ago.

Monday, September 21, 2020

September Prayer Letter

 September 2020


Dear Praying Friends,


Luke is the three-year-old son of a faithful couple in our church. He has been attending services, literally, since right after he was born. He is active, very inquisitive and has a wonderful imagination. For the first two and a half years, he played (sometimes quietly, sometimes – not) in one corner of the classroom while Michele taught the older children in Sunday School. 


The past few months however, instead of playing, he has begun sitting and listening to the Bible lessons and reciting some of the memory verses. He now enthusiastically participates in the review games after the lesson and has even answered some of the questions without help!  Normally, he comes out of the classroom happy and proud of the verse he quoted or the questions he answered correctly.


After this past Sunday’s lesson however, he came out with a worried expression on his face. He was greatly disturbed by what he heard and saw with the flash cards Michele had used. He asked her a simple but profound question: “Why did the lamb have to die?” Michele explained that because of mankind’s sin, the lamb had to die. Luke didn’t quite understand, but the Lord is already working in this little boy’s heart to show him his sinfulness and his need of the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. Please pray for Luke, that the word of God would penetrate his heart and that the Holy Spirit would bring understanding so that he can one day be saved.


Allowing the little children to come to Christ,


Mark Hale

Monday, August 31, 2020

August Prayer Letter

August 2020

Dear Praying Friends,


It was a casual question from our daughter-in-law, Rachel, that started us thinking about it. For years here in Portugal, we have held our summer Vacation Bible Schools that reach children and occasionally their parents with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But with the Covid-19 panic, we were forced to cancel our summer youth camp and VBS when we realized no one here would send their children for five days of activities, games, lessons and meals. Back when Rachel asked us about the possibility of having an online VBS, we thought at first it would be impossible, but the more we prayed about it, the more the possibilities presented themselves.


Michele, of course, was the driving force in video formatting the Bible songs, lessons, memory verses and hand crafts connected to the day’s lesson. All of these would be done on video and could be broadcast to hundreds. So, Michele labored for weeks preparing the materials, then we spent two days recording the songs, lessons and memory verses and a third day video recording the hand crafts with the help of two enthusiastic girls from our church.


The end result was that we had 12 children here in Portugal receive the materials as well as 30 children and many parents participate in Brazil!  Just as the preaching video ministry God gave us during the quarantine continues reaching people in 10 countries, so our VBS went international as well!  It is simply amazing how God can take the local ministries of the Bible Baptist Church of Lagos, Portugal and turn them into international ministries that reach people we will never meet this side of heaven!  Our God is still on His throne and it is indeed a privilege to serve Him!


Serving an Amazing God,


Mark Hale

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

July Prayer Letter

 July 2020


Dear Praying Friends,


“Go to the ant…consider her ways and be wise. Which having no guide, overseer or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8


As of the writing of this letter, Portugal is still closed to foreigners so the normal summer flood of tourists has not happened.  In the southern area of Portugal where we minister, 80% of the economy is based in the tourist industry. Most of our church folks are employed in this area and have already suffered. During the 10 weeks of quarantine, when the entire country was forced to shut down, our folks used their savings to get by. We helped when we could but that was just the prelude to a bigger challenge. The restaurants, hotels and other tourist-based businesses always shut down in the late fall due to lack of customers, so through no fault of their own, our church family is now facing winter with no savings and no way to earn a living. Our dear brothers and sisters are facing a bleak winter, but are striving to trust the Lord in spite of what seems an impossible situation.


Following the instructions from Proverbs, Michele and I have been saving everything that we can to help in the hard winter months ahead. You folks have continued to sacrifice and give in spite of the hardships you are enduring there. We are doing our best here to prepare as Joseph did for the famine God told him was coming. Please continue to pray for our growing church family, that their faith in the Lord would deepen in spite of the hardships ahead.


Trusting God and thanking you,


Mark Hale

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

June Prayer Letter

June 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

33 years ago, I looked across at her and thought, “There is no way I could love her more than I do right now!” Oh, how wrong I was!  Over the past 33 years, my love for her has just continued to grow and my appreciation for her has deepened into lifelong gratitude to the Lord for her. 

Michele has stuck with me through thick and thin, she has been by my side in the victories and defeats, in the times of blessings and in the times of want.  She home schooled our son from Kindergarten until he graduated and he just completed his third year in Bible college preparing to be a Baptist church planter in Oregon.  She stood by me as we buried our daughter and during the grief filled months that followed. She has weathered the storms of life and never left my side. She has prepared thousands of delicious and nutritious meals for our family and many others, she has sewn thousands of stuffed animals for sick children in hospitals, she has taught hundreds of children in Sunday School classes, Vacation Bible Schools and at youth camps and many have come to Christ as a result of her labors!  She teaches ladies in online classes as well as in person, she disciples recently saved women and children, she plays the piano and/or accordion for our church services as well as singing with me and makes me sound halfway on tune! She makes our video ministry possible with her tech savvy. She has packed up and moved more times than we can count, she has endured danger, crime and hostility to the gospel with faith and courage. She has given up so much for the cause of Christ and doesn’t complain or feel sorry for herself.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Because we just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary and I am so very grateful to the Lord for my Proverbs 31 wife!! I am SO glad I waited on God’s best for me – no one else could have come through these battles with me except her.  God has truly blessed me with a treasure and I am so thankful and so honored to call her, “my wife”. 

Gratefully in love,

Mark Hale

Monday, June 1, 2020

May Prayer Letter

May 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

We had no idea how God was going to use a last resort option to reach so many with the Gospel! As the world shut down over the Corona virus, we were forced to consider another way to continue to minister to our church. With the help of my wonderfully techie wife, we were able to begin a video ministry.  During the ten weeks of quarantine, I preached two sermons on Wednesdays (English and Portuguese) then two more on Sundays (again in English and Portuguese) and Michele taught a weekly class for the children. These videos went out at the beginning, to just our church members and those who were attending, but God was just getting started!

As the panic spread and more countries shut down, others began hearing about our videos and asked to be included in the video list.  At last count, we have people watching our videos in ten countries: USA, UK, Brazil, Spain, Columbia, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic and Lithuania. Both lost and saved have responded to our videos and it is amazing to see how this pandemic has affected people.  Where before they would not have had time nor interest, at least temporarily, people are focusing on eternity.
Just as Jesus took the five loaves and two fishes and fed the multitude, so He has taken a small local outreach and turned it into an international video ministry that is continuing even though the quarantine has ended here in Portugal. Other countries are still shut down and many people are still requesting we continue this ministry even when their quarantine is over. Please pray with us that God would continue to bless this growing ministry and that many would be saved as a result.

Serving an amazing God,

Mark Hale

Sunday, May 24, 2020

March/April Prayer Letter

March/April 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

After months of bad and depressing news, are you ready for some good news?!! Last year, following the leadership of the Lord, our son Joshua began courting Rachel with our permission and blessing. Earlier this year, they were engaged and on May 16th, they will be married in her home town in Missouri!! I would like to ask you to do two things:

1. Please pray for them as they begin their life together as a married couple. God has called them to be Baptist church planters in the state of Oregon after they finish their studies at Heartland Baptist Bible College.

2. Please pray the Lord will provide the many needs they will have in establishing a new home. We are not able to leave Portugal and they are not allowed to come here, so we will miss the wedding of our only child. The original plan was for them to fly here and have a second ceremony with our church in Lagos, but that is on hold until the countries open up again. Sometimes being a missionary is difficult, but although we are saddened, we are also thankful that God has brought this godly, beautiful lady into Joshua’s life and we are thrilled to have her as a much-loved member of our family.

With joy and gratitude,

Mark Hale

Friday, April 3, 2020


On March 18, the Portuguese president declared a state of emergency and people were told to stay at home.  The Parliament confirmed this and the quarantine became official at midnight March 22. Everyone except essential workers should stay at home, except to go out to buy food, medicine, fuel, etc.

Because of the government's guidelines, we began having online services on March 22.  Mark is recording sermons in Portuguese and in English for Sundays and Wednesdays.  If you would like to watch them, here are the links:

This is the link to our church's Vimeo channel in English:
This is the link to our church's Vimeo channel in Portuguese:

Thursday, April 2, the Portuguese government extended the state of emergency an additional 15 days. Our church folks are watching the sermons Mark is recording and staying in touch. A new convert and her mother are in a discipleship class via video calls twice a week. We have had more opportunities to witness to people. God is blessing during this quarantine!

The streets in Lagos are empty.

Michele displayed pictures of our church folks 
to "help" Mark preach to an empty room!

A member of Michele's parents' church in Brazil 
sent a photo of himself watching a sermon.

A member of our church in Lagos also sent a photo.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

February Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

It was the music that drew him.  He had moved to Portugal just a few weeks before, lived in a renovated garage his boss rented to him and was working crazy hours to save up enough to have his family move from Brazil to join him. Our son, Joshua was home last summer and was preparing to return for his third year at Heartland Baptist Bible College. He was working with us at the church building and was playing some godly music from the college on his phone. That was what F. heard and what drew him to our church building.

Although he didn’t understand the English words, he understood that the music he heard was of the Lord and not the world.  He came with a look of amazement at finding a Baptist church in the neighborhood where he lived.  He talked with Joshua, found out the service times, took some literature and began attending services when his work schedule permitted.

Ever since that encounter last summer, F. has been attending when he isn’t working and now his wife and children are here in Portugal and attending as well. He has many questions which we answer from the Bible and he is growing closer and closer to truth. Why is this family here?  All because he heard godly music!  Music is a gift from God and should glorify our Lord and Savior.  Even when the words are in a different language, the music itself is a testimony of the Creator of music.  Please pray for F. and his family that they would continue to come, that they would understand and soon be saved.

Praising God for His music,

Mark Hale

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

December Prayer Letter

December 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

The birthday party was well advertised, almost everyone knew about the celebrations.  Buildings and homes were decorated and folks hurried in their last-minute preparations.  Special music played over the radio and in the stores, and even entire movies were made in commemoration of the birthday. Feasts were planned and prepared and children were excited about the coming festivities.  Everything was ready, let the celebration begin…

But on the morning of the advertised day, all the beautifully wrapped gifts were given to others. The feasts were consumed, then the adults napped while children played with their new toys.  Later, the wrapping paper was collected, the trees were put away, the leftovers are finally gone from the fridge, but what did the One whose birthday it was receive?  Although it was supposed to be a celebration of His birth, what did we give Him? 

Did we give anything to Jesus to celebrate His birth?  Did we give anything to Him in gratitude for coming to save us from our sin?  How did we honor the King for His birthday? 

Mark Hale