The Harvest is Plentiful

If you have not heard of “30 Days In The Harvest” let me tell you about it quickly.

In Luke 10:2  “He (Jesus) told them (the disciples), “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

The idea is that many people are searching for something – some purpose, something more than themselves.  Many are open and seeking God, whether they realize that’s who they’re seeking or not.  We, as Christians, need to be on the lookout – seeking those open to knowing more.  We need to be in the harvest so that we can share Truth with those searching.   

One could argue that we are always in the harvest.  And while yes, Christians should try to shine light and be ready to give an answer for our Faith at all times, the truth is we don’t / aren’t always focused on that.

While in Poland at a European church planting conference last April I heard two people talk about “30 Days in the Harvest” and how they had the opportunity to share the gospel and pray with people. 

The concept is this: During a 30 day period people clear their schedule as much as possible and then dedicate a certain amount of time per day to purposefully interact with people in the community with the goal of identifying those open to knowing more about Jesus.

I did not think much of the idea at first (ie. this won’t work well in my context) but God spoke to my heart and challenged me to dedicate “30 Days in the Harvest.”

I returned to Portugal and talked with Robin about the challenge God gave me.  I also talked with our team and three other ministers/missionaries with whom I have been praying and with whom I have doing prayer walks. 

Everyone I talked with was excited to try to participate in the “30 days” idea.  Each of us made various time commitments but are concentrating our efforts in the areas where each of us are trying to plant new churches.  Remember that since there is less than 0.6% of the population connected to an evangelical church it is important to associate with credible churches/ministers/missionaries to create unity in the body so that Portuguese can come to know Jesus.    

Since we have started.  We have interacted with 169 people. The gospel was shared with 82 of those approached and 46 of that 82 said they were interested in knowing more about Jesus.  Several of those 82 have given us (or the other ministers) their contact information.  Some were uncomfortable giving us their information but willingly received our phone numbers.  

I have also done several prayer walks and participated in a youth outreach.

Pray for the seeds that have been planted.  Please pray for the remaining two and a half weeks.  Pray for those interested – that they will follow up with us or meet with us to learn more about Jesus.  Praise God that so many people are hearing about God’s plan of salvation and ask Him to “water” the seeds we are sowing.  Pray for an abundant harvest.

Below are pictures of areas where we have been working and praying.

 

2nd Worship service in São Marcos

Just a quick update to let you know that our second worship service in São Marcoswas March 10th.  We were so thankful to have a total 30 people (adults and youth).  However several people were unable to come.  Had they come to worship with us we would have been short a few seats.  Again we were asked if instead of one worship service a month if we could go ahead and have a service each week!  We will see….but for now please prais God for this victory.  Pray that we would reach São Marcos with the Good News!  Enjoy the photos:

 

 

While prayer walking a few months ago

Back in October of 2017 I, Dan, was prayer walking with a group from Redemption Christian Church. As we were walking and praying silently an older gentleman came out of a barber shop and started talking to us. We sat down on nearby benches and it was obvious he just needed to interact with people and spend time talking. Often in our busy lives we forget to take the time to just be human and interact with people in a meaningfully way. Here is picture of Antonio…

AntonioJesusNunez

First Worship Service in São Marcos

There are several families that attend our host church in Carcavelos but live in São Marcos (yet another suburb of Lisbon).    The fact is that in this community of 17,000 people there is no church.  These families drive (when not working) to Carcavelos but it is not feasible for them to be able to invite their friends and neighbors and give rides.  About a year and a half ago we started a small group in São Marcos with these core families.  Having a small group Bible study in São Marcos creates a venue where these families can invite friends.  As Tatiana and Orlando make contacts through the salon it allows them to invite those who show interest to attend one of the two groups (we’ve recently added a group) which meet during the week.

These weekly groups will continue to meet but we wanted to bring the groups together for a combined worship service.  Our plan is to do this once a month for several months and over time we can increase the frequency.

Today was our first worship service.   There were 14 adultos and 12 children/youth that participated.  It is exciting to see what God is doing.

Afterwards several came up to Dan to ask if it we could have a weekly worship service instead of just once a month!  Great news!  People were talking about what friends/neighbors they could invite.

Praise God, keep praying and enjoy the slide show of pictures…

 

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God is at work…

Prior to several weeks ago it had been a long while since I blogged. That does not mean that nothing was/is happening. It just means I am a bad blogger….LOL. I often tell people that they need to write down what God has done in their lives. That way they don’t lose heart or faith when they don’t see God at work.

Well, over the last several weeks here is how God has been working. The Sunday School class I help lead has been going very well.  After a particular lesson one participant said that my lesson that day really impacted them and changed their life. WOW…God be praised and to God be the glory.

Our Saturday night group has had a great group of people and a visitor. God be praised.

In addition to two new families which  began participating in our Monday night Group at the end of November, another couple started coming in January.  They all are speaking honestly about their struggles with trusting and believing that Jesus was more than a good teacher. Praise God!

So much of this is God answering prayer….3 1/2 year of prayer and answers are coming…..

An Interesting Tradition

There is a tradition here in Portugal that on the first of January people will go to the beach for the first swim of the year.

While the tradition does have a historical root in people going to make spiritual promises and ask the saints for favor in the new year, that is no longer the case.  In fact, many years ago our teammate, Roberto, decided to go and take a look to see if it was a morning of people making sacrifices to the saints. He found out it is rare to see anyone doing that.  Portugal has become, and is, a highly secularized society so the spiritual side of the tradition has faded into the past. You may see one or two people doing this, (I saw one person this year throwing flowers into the sea) but most can’t even tell you how the tradition got started.

These days people go with friends, family or clubs for the fun and experience of the “polar plunge.” There’s nothing spiritual about it but rather it is just a fun time. Some people, making the experience more interesting, wear bathing suits from the early 1900s.

You may be wondering if it isn’t cold?  Yes, the air is cold, as is the water.  That’s why I previously referred to it as a polar plunge.

Each year a group from our church goes to “swim in the New Year”. This year Esperansa and Petterson’s (our teammate) daughter joined us as well.  There were hundreds of people on the beach where we went.

Afterwards we headed to Eloiza’s, a church member who goes to take pictures but does not swim, house for hot drinks and a snack!  Actually, if I am honest, I think she goes to laugh at me and my reactions.  You see I don’t enjoy the cold; I rarely even enter the ocean in mid-summer.  For me, the water is so cold that it makes any submurged part of my body goes quickly numb.  It takes my breath away and makes my bones ache!

But I go because it is about the experience and identifying with the people to whom God has asked us to give our life serving.

That’s the challenge.  How can we identify with those around us?  How can we build relationships?  How can we invest in people so that one day they can ask us questions about our faith?     What about you?  How are you identifying with those around you so they will eventually ask about your faith?

Enjoy the pictures!

 

What It’s All About

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.