Here is the latest prayer letter from our mission partners, Joe & Rachel Clarke in Portugal
Prayer updates from Portugal June 2023
"Salvation belongs to the Lord" (Jonah 2:9)
I trust you are well! The past few weeks seem to have flown by and it is now only 29 days until we arrive back in the UK. We really hope that we will be able to see you and have a proper catch up whilst we're back! But before I mention a few dates, let me share a few encouragements with you from this past month:
- This past month was really full on with lots of gospel opportunities - talks, sermons, a student event, bible studies, and a preachers' conference that we organised. Yet, by the grace of God, they were really encouraging times and we are still in one piece!
- Speaking of the preachers' conference, please do give particular thanks to God that it went ahead with 18 participants and some excellent talks given by Andrew Sach from the Proclamation Trust. Though it may not seem like a big deal (especially when compared with UK conferences!), this was a huge step. From what we know, it was the first time anything like this has been organised and a number of people were quite unsure what to expect - but in the end, it went really well, and everyone who went along really found it valuable and are apparently keen to do it again next year!! Praise God!
- The church plant meetings continue to be going well, with the group more and more united around a common vision. We still don't have a place to meet as everywhere we look either isn't willing for a church to meet there, or else is not affordable. At the moment, we continue to meet in our house, but it would be amazing if by September we could find somewhere else!
- The student year is coming to an end, with just a few more meetings left, and one bible study, but we are keen to make sure we finish well. We have managed to arrange a meeting with the staff worker who will be replacing us so there can be a good handover, and we are looking forward to seeing what God will continue to do through the GBU in the years ahead (even as we remain concerned about the direction it is taking!).
- At church, Rachel is preparing and running the women's bible study group this month and is excited to have the opportunity to study the book of Haggai and teach it to other ladies. We are thankful for this group of ladies who are growing in their knowledge and love for the Lord.
There is much more I could say, but God-willing we can share more news in person over the summer. As usual, we will be holding an Open House in Wallington - this year it will be on Saturday 15th July. Please do mark it in your diary, and come along for a catch up and to hear more about the ministry in Portugal. It would be hugely encouraging for us if you were able to!! We will also be visiting some of our partner churches so we may see you there:
9th July - Emmanuel Wimbledon (am)
16th July - St Nicholas with St Barnabas, Weston-super-Mare (am)
23rd July - St Martin's, Morden (am)
30th July - St Patrick's, Wallington (am)
6th August - Emmanuel Stonecot Hill (am), St Lawrence, Morden (pm)
With much love from us all
Joe, Rachel, Beth, Hannah, Josh, and Tim
Date specific activities: June
16th – Our GBU leaving do
17th – GBU Coimbra evangelistic social (Joe speaking), discipleship with a lovely engaged couple (evg)
18th – Joe preaching (Comunidade de Graça), Rachel leading Sunday School
21st – Final GBU Coimbra meeting
24th – Local churches evangelistic social (Joe speaking)
25th – Eiras church retreat
28th-29th – Final GBU staff meeting
2nd – Joe preaching (Lousã)
Tuesday evenings – Church housegroup (Joe and Rachel)
Wednesday morning – Women´s bible study group (Rachel)
Wednesday morning – Church planting leadership meeting (Joe)
Wednesday evening – GBU Coimbra meeting (Joe)
Friday morning – GBU staff meetings
Saturday afternoon – Church youth group (Joe)
Rach – Isabela, Raquel, Diana
Joe – David, Duarte