Well, we have delayed publishing our first official newsletter until now as we have been trying to gather all the necessary materials to send out hard copies. That has proven to be a bit difficult at the moment, so without further ado...
It is truly interesting to see the Lord so clearly at work presently in my life. As we strive to seek Him we cannot deny that He is in control. I was born and raised in Portugal, and moved to the US at the age of eleven. Since leaving, my desire to return has remained all these years. I have visited the country four times in the past twelve years. I have wrestled with understanding whether it is God's will for me to return, or if its just a case of me missing where I grew up. I believe the Lord in various ways has affirmed that He wants me to go. He has blessed me with a wonderful wife who is ready to go and serve wherever the Lord leads us. Good friends have encouraged me with prayer and advice. And of course, the invitation from a pastor I have known my entire life and look up to as a powerful man of God. These things have blessed us as a family, and we desire to go wherever He wants to take us.
Pastor Antonio (To') Figueira's church, Antioch Baptist, is located in the city of Porto. The church is a growing and vibrant place, and I had the privilege of attending a service while we were there. We are particularly impressed with their strong discipleship program, and their understanding that everything in the Christian life has its foundation within the local church.
There are numerous areas within the church where we will be serving. It will begin initially with a leadership role with the youth, but of course we will be involved wherever we are needed. Pastor To' is very involved in church planting both in Portugal and within Portuguese-speaking countries. He envisions us having a role in that work as well.
We feel it is important that we are able to serve in Portugal fully supported, so that will be our objective as we move forward. However, I will be looking to become certified in teaching English as a second language (TESL) to open up doors for part-time employment. This strategy will help supplement our income until we are full supported. Antioch Baptist is a church of about 150 members, so consequently they are unable to provide any salary for us. We will rely on support and part-time work for our lively hood.
Will you prayerfully consider becoming part of a powerful team that will come along side of us in this ministry? It cannot be understated that prayer is the foundation behind any strong ministry, so first and foremost we ask that you would become a prayer partner.
Specifically our prayer needs right now are the logistics of getting to Portugal, preparing ourselves through ministry here in our local church, and for Caryne and the girls to begin learning the language.
Secondly, in order for us to be able to devote all our efforts toward the church and to the people of Portugal, financial support is needed. I will indicate specific financial goals at a later time, but for now please consider sponsoring me to cover the cost of TESL certification. The cost of the course is approximately $550. I desire to begin that process as soon as possible, as Pastor To' will start speaking to potential employers in Portugal on my behalf.
Antioch Baptist Church partners with the US ministry BILD International. They are the American link where financial support can be sent. They also provide the foundation for the church's discipleship program. BILD will provide any necessary receipts for tax purposes. Please visit their website at www.bild.org to see their mission statement and philosophy. Their address is 2400 Oakwood Rd., Ames IA 50014-8417. Would you consider supporting us monthly, with a one-time gift, or sponsoring me for TESL certification?
You can give by sending a check to the above address. Please write on the subject line of your check either "Darling Family/Portugal/Monthly", "Darling Family/Portugal/One-Time", or "Darling Family/Portugal/TESL Cert."
Thank you for your continued prayer and encouragement! Please pass this along to anyone who could join us in reaching the Portuguese people.