Monday, September 17, 2012

"Ninguém Despreze A Tua Mocidade"

I Timothy 4:12a - Let no one look down on your youthfulness (Ninguém Despreze A Tua Mocidade).
The Lord continues to bring to us challenging responsibilities that always end up blessing us more than we can imagine.  Last Sunday I began leading the Sunday school class for the youth of our church.  With my quite limited language capacity, we began working through and discussing the subject "Participating in the Mission of the Church" (a study written by BILD president Jeff Reed).  The youth are very gracious and patient with me, and we pray that the Lord will use these times of study to bring honor and glory to Him.  Please pray specifically that I will become more proficient in the language so that these studies will be fruitful.

The boys after our study playing Crokinole (only my Canadian friends know what that is:)
This past Friday we had the young men of the church over to our home for dinner and Bible discussion.  Lord-willing this will be a weekly occurrence, as we learn together what responsibilities God has for us as men.  We appreciate your prayers that these times would be fruitful, as the Lord has placed on me a burden to help these young men have a true passion to serve our great God!

We are also praising the Lord as I have been able to pick up teaching hours at a local company for the next 9 weeks!  I will be teaching a businessman not far from here each Saturday morning.  Please pray that I would be effective in my teaching, and that I would have the opportunity to share my faith with him.

Thank you for being our partners in ministry!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

For We are His Workmanship

The young men and women of our church here in Porto are a true encouragement to me. They have a genuine love for the Lord, and it is evident that they desire to make an impact for the Lord in Portugal.  It is a privilege for Caryne and I to be a part of their lives, and we are humbled that we can serve the Lord alongside them.

Thank you all for being precious partners in this ministry!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Todo Mundo Esta de Ferias!

Things slow down a bit here in the month of August.  Most Portuguese take vacation (ferias) this month, so activity is not quite at its normal pace.

This past Wednesday we finished up painting dear Maezinha's house (see the results here). It was a true blessing to see the joy on her face as she looked at her newly refreshed home.  We then played soccer this past Saturday evening, and the game included three men that do not know the Lord.  Please be in prayer as we seek to have opportunity to share Christ through the game of soccer.

Please be in prayer for a very difficult situation going on at the moment involving a very special family within our church.  Much wisdom is needed in these next few days, and your prayers would be truly appreciated.

Thank you so much for being alongside us here, and for being a part of what the Lord is doing in Portugal!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Faithful Examples

Wednesday and Thursday were dedicated to painting the house of Pastor Figueira's mother-in-law, a women who is very dear to all those who know her.  She is a wonderful example of one who has dedicated her life to serving the Lord, and it was a joy to help freshen up her home.

For the past week Caryne, the girls, and I have enjoyed several get-togethers in the homes of families of our church.  We are thankful for the opportunity to fellowship with them, and are blessed by their hearts for the Lord.  I continue to teach English twice a week to Jose Luis, a young man who is also a member of our church.  It is awesome to see the Lord use these times to further His kingdom!

Thank you so much for your prayer, love, and support!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pray for the Youth of Portugal!

As we get to know the precious young people within our church here, we have begun to feel a tremendous burden to see them completely focused on what the Lord has for their lives.  In shear economic terms, Portugal is an extremely difficult place for a young man or women to grow up in. More than one in three youths (36.2%) were jobless in the first quarter of 2012 according to the Portuguese National Statistics Institute (INE).  With the country being so spiritually desolate, it is our fervent prayer that this generation of Christian young people will face the world with a clear understanding of the Lord's call for their lives!  That is, that they would live each day for Him, giving their lives sacrificially to Him!  Romans 12:1 - "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."  I have learned the hard way that living my life according to the world's values only leads to struggle and heartbreak.  It is our hope that the Lord can use our example to help these young people to only focus on what God wants for them, and not what the world wants!  Please pray that we ourselves would continue to grow in spiritual maturity, and that the Lord may use us to affect the youth of Portugal to further His kingdom.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Its Been One Month!

Today marks one month that we have lived in Portugal.  We have been so blessed beyond measure!  We are truly thankful for so many things, beginning with the faithful love, prayer, and support that has come from all of you.

We are so humbled by how the Lord has provided for our needs.  We are excited as the girls have begun to learn the language, friendships are forming quickly, training is well under way, and opportunities to be a witness abound!

Things you can be in prayer for:
 - We continue to need to raise an additional $350 of monthly support to cover for taxes here.  Praise the Lord we have already had response to this need!
 - Opportunities have begun to open up to teach English here at church and around the city.  Please pray that some of these opportunities will come to fruition.
 - There is a possibility through a man at the church for us to be able to purchase an affordable vehicle from him.  We have very quickly realized that for us to be most effective here in ministry we will need to purchase a car.  Please pray for wisdom, and that we will do as the Lord leads in this matter.  We will share more about that in the future!

We praise the Lord that we can be a part of His ministry!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Caminhada Ate' a Igreja (The Walk to Church)

Most mornings I walk from our apartment to our church to begin my day.  It is about a mile away, so I thought I would share with you some of what I see as I walk.

Home near our apartment building
Continente is the grocery store across the street from our building
A Roman bridge 
Highway headed north
Uninhabited home
A very contrasting home directly across the street from the one above

Approaching our church (building straight ahead)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Feliz Aniversário Cora!

Yesterday we celebrated the 4th birthday of our sweet and beautiful Cora Lucilia.  We had an enjoyable, full day that included our first visit to the beach, and ended with cake and rice pudding with Pastor Figueira and his family. Cora is a true blessing to us, and we are so thankful to the Lord for our children!  Happy Birthday Cora!  We love you!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

All the King's Men

Today was another very full day of work on the addition at church.  Once again, much was accomplished!  These times working together have been very beneficial for the men of the church. Please be praying, as the next step will require additional funding. The Lord's timing is always perfect, so we know things will come together according to His plan.

Yesterday we spent the morning together as a family at the open market.  Monday is Cora's 4th birthday, so we began the celebrations with a balloon, flowers, and ice cream!  The day was also important for a different reason, as I began teaching English to a man from our church family.

We are truly excited for what the Lord has for us here in our new home and country.  Our prayer is that we commit every day to following His will for our family.  Thank you for being a part of this journey!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Visas Received!

We are praising the Lord as yesterday 1-year residency visas were approved for the entire family!  It was a long day, but the girls were troopers, and we are so thankful for the relatively quick manner in which the visas were received.  Thank you all for your prayers for each of these steps!

On another note, I am an uncle again!  My sister Jen had a healthy baby girl yesterday.  Ivy Kathryn was born at 11:30am yesterday morning, weighing in at 6 lb. 15 oz., and 21 inches long!  We are rejoicing for these wonderful blessings from the Lord!

Please be in prayer concerning our support.  We are needing to raise at least an additional $350 per month to cover taxes here in Portugal.  The Lord has it all in His hands, and we rest in that truth.  Thank you all for your prayer and encouragement.

Monday, July 2, 2012

This is the Day the Lord has Made!

On the first Sunday of each month the Antioch Baptist Church family spends just about the entire day in worship and fellowship together.  Yesterday we joined for lunch after the morning services, followed by a business meeting (in which we were accepted as members, praise the Lord), finishing the day with the baptism of a young man named John, and communion.  What a truly awesome time it is with the congregation!  We praise the Lord for the hearts of these people!  Please pray that the Lord will continue to use this church to reach the lost here in Porto, and around the world.

Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support!  We are so thankful for your investment in our family.  It is a great privilege to have all of you alongside of us!

Our Street :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bom Trabalho!

Today the men of the church got together for a full day of work.  A new addition is being placed behind the sanctuary, and much was accomplished! It is not often that the men are able to join together as a group, so this was a blessing enjoyed by all.  I truly appreciated the opportunity to begin to get to know these men. Please pray for them, that the Lord will use each one in a mighty way!

Please be looking for an update on our first few weeks here in Portugal. To see that update, visit in the coming days!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Tia Ana!

Today was Pastor Figueira's wife Ana's birthday. We celebrated in their home with several families of the church. She is a wonderful example to everyone who knows her, and she is loved dearly by all.  We are so blessed to have her as a friend as we begin our new life here in Portugal!

I also began getting to know the bus system in Porto today.  As many of you know, we have chosen for the time being to be without a car, so learning the transit system is very important.  It is well set up, so we should be able to get around with no problem.

The girls are well, starting to get into the routine here.  We are already noticing some Portuguese show up in their vocabulary.  We enjoyed some of their ballet talent today!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I have let a few days go by!  We have been getting used to the way of life here, and I have been quite tired!  Lunch is usually at around 1:30pm and dinner is at 7:30pm or later, so consequently motivation for writing has been a bit low :).  Praise the Lord, however, as we are so blessed and thankful to be here!

Our apartment is beginning to feel like home.  We are getting to know our surroundings, visiting the several supermarkets in the area, as well as the outdoor market held every Friday.  Praise the Lord the various governmental steps we need to take to live here have all gone well so far.  Pastor Figueira has been vigilant about getting us integrated, and we are very thankful for the work he has done for us.  Please pray for the next steps for acquiring extended stay visas.  We have a meeting on July 4 with the immigration system in Porto that Lord-willing will result in us receiving those necessary visas.

Please also continue to pray for the well being of the girls.  They are beginning to adjust, and our desire is for wisdom as we raise them in this new environment.  The Lord is truly in control of each step, and our prayer is that we will be used of Him to share His truth to those around us!

Thank you so much for your prayer and support!  It is a joy to share all of this with you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"I will say of the Lord, He is my God."

A beautiful song we sang tonight - "Aquele que Habita"
We are so privileged to serve the almighty God!  Praise the Lord for the experiences He allows us to have.  Tonight I joined a Lighthouse in Pastor Figueira's home, a small group meeting of many members of the church.  Amongst the gathering was a couple from Brazil, a couple from Romania, and a man from South America, all speaking Portuguese and praising the one true Savior!

The girls had a fun day exploring around our house.  They played at a nearby playground, and then got to know the folks at a great arts and crafts store at the bottom of our apartment building!

By the way, today I received the necessary documentation to legally work here in Portugal.  Praise the Lord!  Thank you so much for your love and support!

Monday, June 18, 2012

We're Here!

Isabel slept well on our TAP Air Portugal flight :)
Praise the Lord we have arrived!  The girls did wonderfully on the plane, and we are thankful that we can begin our new life here.

As you might expect, the first few days have been a bit of whirlwind.  Almost directly off the plane Caryne, Pastor Figueira, and his wife Ana, headed to IKEA to set our new home up with some essentials. We are so blessed that we are able to move into an apartment that has all we need!  We are so undeserving of what the Lord gives us! I then had the privilege of playing soccer with the men of the church on Saturday night.  We had a great time of fellowship, and I will look forward to that time every week.

We then attended our first Sunday service at our new church.  We were welcomed warmly, and we are so appreciative of the love the congregation has already shown us.

Today we headed out to receive the proper identification numbers to be able to open up a bank account here.  Praise the Lord the process went abnormally well!

Our apartment is slowly taking shape!
The girls are all doing fine.  Please pray for calmness and patience, however, as this transition has been somewhat unsettling for them.  It has become very clear that this would be the time for discouragement to creep in.  Please pray that we would only rely on God for each step, for without Him we are truly lost!

Thank you for your love and prayer!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Estamos Prontos (We're Ready!)

Here we go!  We fly to Porto, Portugal at 7:20pm tomorrow night!  We are excited, yet nervous, but we rest in the knowledge that the Lord has us in His hands.  We are so thankful for the privilege of being a part of the furtherance of His kingdom!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Golfing Tradition

My father and I love the game of golf.  Any time we get together, we do everything we can to make sure we play at least one round.  We've played in the cold, in a downpour.  Short of a hurricane, we are out there!  Today dad and I played under beautiful skies, in what will probably be our last round together for a while.  I am so thankful for these times I can have with my dad.  My father learned the game from his father, and I have very fond memories of playing with them both when I was younger.  I am blessed to have a dad who loves the Lord, and I will always cherish these moments together out on the golf course.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Those Who Come Alongside

We are so thankful for those the Lord has brought alongside our family as we head to Portugal!  We shared this morning at my father's church here in Connecticut, our final time of presenting before we leave on Thursday. North Haven Bible Church is truly special to us, as their love and support has been such a tremendous confirmation of our calling to Portugal!

We are also blessed that my Nana Darling (Winkler) has joined us for the days leading up to our departure. She has been an amazing spiritual example to us over the years, and we are so thankful that she is here with us!
(Left to Right) My mom, Caryne, and Nana

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What is the "Douro?"

I realized yesterday that I have not explained what the Douro is.  The Douro River is the river that runs right through the city of Porto, where we are going to live.

From Wikipedia: "The Douro (PortugueseDouro [ˈdowɾu, ˈdoɾu]; is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto."
"The Douro is famous for having a microclimate, allowing for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes that are important for making the famous Port wine."

It is a truly sobering thought that we will be moving to such a beautiful, stunning place, and yet the people are spiritually desolate.  May the Lord use us to share His beautiful name.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wrapping it Up in CT

We are less than one week away from our departure to Portugal. We have spent the past eight weeks traveling, with stops in Alaska, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.  Family and friends have been so graciously hospitable, as we have stopped and lived in their homes for sometimes as long as ten days.  We feel so blessed and are truly thankful for this time the Lord has given us to spend with our loved ones!

Having said all of that, man are we ready to be in our new home!  A pastor in Pennsylvania recently said to me, "sometimes its not always what the Lord is going to do through you in this process, its what the Lord is doing in you."  That really resonated with me, and its is something I know the Lord wanted me to hear!  I know He is working on so many things in me through this time, much of which I probably won't realize until further down the road.

As we spend the last 6 days here at my folks home in Connecticut, we will cherish the wonderful support we have around us.  Today was the calm before the rush, and these next days will be filled with mental and physical preparation for the big change ahead. Thanks for being along side!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day by Day on the Douro

The Lord has given us the privilege of calling our family to serve Him in the city of Porto, Portugal. We will be arriving in our new home the morning of June 15.  For those of you that might be interested (it may not be many of you :), this blog will serve as a means to update you daily on the experiences God has for us as we begin this new life.  My goal is to be consistent at least for the first few months, at which point I will assess the impact (and interest) of this publication.  My hope and prayer is that you will be encouraged as you read of God's perfect provision for our family, through the good times and the bad.  I thank each one of you, as you have played such a huge part in providing us the opportunity to follow His will for our lives to serve in Portugal.  You have blessed our family more than you probably will ever know.

On a different note, today is my wife and I's ninth wedding anniversary.  God in His perfect plan brought a beautiful, amazing women into my life, a women who has always felt called of Him to go and serve wherever He leads her.  Her influence in my life has done more to bring me closer to our Lord than she will ever truly understand.  I thank God for His perfect will, and for allowing us as a couple to be a part of His kingdom!