São Marcos is a community of 17,000 people in which there is no church. Our team decided in 2016 we wanted to begin working in this area. We combined with a few families that live there to begin a small group but needed somewhere to meet. We rented a space with the idea that we wanted it to be a multi-function space. This space would be one in which we could host our small group (and others as they formed) but also a space with another purpose. A space where people in the community could come and have positive interactions with Christians in a safe setting.
Espaço Conexão (Connection Space) is the name we chose. Our teammates, Orlando and Tatiana, set up a salon in the back part of this space. Because of the salon, people in the community come in to have a practical need met (haircuts/nails/etc) but it allows relationships to be created. We pray through these relationships that preconceived, negative views of the “church” or “religion” or “Christians” can be replace with Truth. We pray that through these relationships Christ can be shared.
I, Dan, obviously do not work at the salon, though I go there twice a week to simply be present. While there I’ll read, study and work on my sermons or lessons. I also use that time to pray.
Today I was in São Marcos meeting with Jonathan, a missionary who works in Lisbon proper, to discuss our ministries and plans. We do not work together but we both have a desire to see a discipleship movement take root in Portugal. We were finishing our meeting with a time of prayer when one of Orlando’s clients came in.
Today she was not there for a haircut, but rather because she wanted to talk about some problems she was having. You see, Orlando, through their various interactions at the salon has already talked with her several times. Seeing Jonathan and I in prayer she asked Orlando if we would prayer for her. He said of course. When Jonathan and I finished she walked over and asked for prayer. She told us of her problems and we prayed.
Then came the questions!!! We talked a lot about Jesus, salvation, and forgiveness. We discussed whether Jesus’s teachings are THE truth or a truth. In the middle of it all Jonathan drew out a simple explanation of the gospel. We all talked more but then Jonathan needed to leave.
She and I stayed and we kept talking. Orlando was at his desk, praying his heart out. Back and forth we went looking at Scripture, talking about what the world offers and what Jesus offers. She could not believe that asking Jesus into her life could be so simple and that he wanted to be in her life. She said, ‘I want Jesus to come into my life. I want to repent of my wrong doing and I want to follow Jesus’. And she did just that! Praise God! She is now walking with Jesus and He with her!!!! We also explained that was the first step of her new life. A new beginning, not the end, of her walk with Jesus and we talked about the importance of being baptized as soon as possible.
This is what it’s about – introducing and connecting people to Jesus that they might be forgiven and have a relation with our Lord and Savior. God be praised!!!
Pray for her! Ask God to protect her and guide her. Pray for us as we disciple her. Praise God for His leading and guiding today!
Pray for Tatiana and Orlando as they work and interact with people from the community. Pray for our small groups and those who come that they may grow in the Lord and invite they neighbors to study with us.