Thanks to my dear sister in Christ and dearest friend, Amy Rodrigues, I was prompted to view her new church's site! Indeed, she and her family have left Pastor Chapman's Hyles-Anderson-worshiping church, praise God, and the Holy Spirit readily guided them to Narragansett Bay Baptist Church http://nbbcri.org/ on Palm Sunday! They love it!
She just suggested I look into their Facebook page, where I found this we discussed this evening, on the phone. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Narragansett-Bay-Baptist-C...
Ah! This does wonders to my doubting spirit, which has seen so much deception and abuse exercised by missionaries!
thy comforts delight my soul.
Nine years ago, Mark Pereira from Portugal, became a pastor. I had the privilege to meet Mark several years ago at a pastor’s fellowship in Dublin. In this interview, we asked Mark the following questions:
- Can you tell us how you got saved and how God led you into the ministry in Portugal?
- Why are you excited about the ministry and the opportunities in Portugal?
- What are the needs in Portugal for the gospel?
- What are some of the challenges to the gospel in Portugal?
- What are some of the challenges to the gospel in Portugal?
Can you tell us how you God saved and how God led you into the ministry in Portugal?
I was born in Canada. My parents who were Portuguese, met and got married in Canada. We moved back to Portugal, Azores Islands, When I was 4 years old. I grew up Roman Catholic and went to church every week.
When I was 12 years old, I met American Baptist Missionaries Allen and Barb Newton. I decided to win them to my religion. That started us in a series of conversations about the Bible. In these conversations I found out what the Bible said about myself. I realized that I was a sinner and personally responsible before God for my sin. I saw in the Bible that no amount of good works and no religion could take away my sin. I realized that Jesus had died for me and that I needed to repent and trust only in Him.
One night, after one of these conversations, I came home, knelt by my bed and prayed admitting my sin and, for the first time, trusting that Jesus was sufficient. I was 13 when God saved me.
Soon after that, I know the Lord wanted me in the ministry. I can’t really tell you how I knew. I just knew. I didn’t tell anyone and I tried to run from that call during my teen years.
Finally, in 1999, I quit running and decided to follow the Lord. I joined the Newtons who by that time were planting a church in Southern Portugal. I got a job and studied under Pr. Newton, while helping them with their church planting efforts.
I graduated in 2002 and in June 2004, after marrying the Newtons’ daughter, Aura, I became the pastor of that church and the Newtons moved to Castelo Branco, 5 hours North, where they are starting another church.
Why are you excited about the ministry and the opportunities in Portugal?
The Lord has been doing great things over here lately. Just in the last few months we have seen more people saved than in the previous two years combined. We have more people in discipleship than we have ever had. We have been baptizing people every year and we have a local church based Bible Institute with several people taking the courses.
In 2011 the church in Albufeira organized a church un Northern Portugal and oversaw as that new church ordained its pastor, a Portuguese man. We are about to launch services at another location in Northern Lisbon. This new work in being led by another Portuguese man, who will, by God’s grace, become the pastor of that new church. We have two men in Albufeira getting ready to be ordained to the Gospel ministry in the next few months.
We want to develop our leadership training abilities and continue to give local churches the needed tools for Bible Institute training and church planting. That is why my wife and I have launched what we called Project Reach Portugal. By turning over most of my pastoral responsibilities we will have the needed time to invest in church planting and leadership training.
We will be in the U.S and Canada later this year and through 2014. We are praying that churches would become more and more aware of the great opportunities the Lord is opening up in Portugal. We are hoping to raise prayer and financial support, and also become an encouragement to any one that the Lord calls to come here to do missionary work.
What are the needs in Portugal for the gospel?
Portugal is in great need of the Gospel. Portugal has 11 million people, 92% of which declared to be Roman Catholic on the 2011 general census. Even though they consider themselves Roman Catholic, the communities are turning from their ancestor’s beliefs to atheism.
The prosperity gospel preachers are everywhere giving the true gospel a bad name. There are whole regions without one solid faithful witness for Jesus. As for Independent Baptists, only 8 of the country’s 18 districts have independent Baptist churches.
What are some of the challenges to the gospel in Portugal?
Because of history, the Portuguese people still think of anything non Roman Catholic as a cult to be avoided. During the oppressive fascist regime that ended in the 70s people were forbidden to talk about politics or religion. A lot of that mentality still remains.
The health and wealth preachers have been involved in some nationwide scandals. Some people put all evangelicals in that same group and don’t want to hear anything about the Bible. That being said, we keep finding many open doors of opportunity. Once you get to know them, the people are very friendly.
What is your vision for the work in Portugal?
I am great believer in leadership training and church planting. We want to see our believers more and more involved in church planting. It has to stop being considered as something that missionaries do. As churches are getting planted, believers are sharing the vision and leaders are being trained.
There is still a need for missionaries to come, though. We pray that, because of the church planting activities going on in Portugal (of which we plan to see more and more) we can welcome any missionaries coming. They would have a place of ministry from the time they land, we would assist them with settling in and language training. I have taught Portuguese already to an American missionary that came to Portugal and worked with us for a while. That missionary is now starting a church. Because of our position I believe we can really spearhead a nationwide church planting effort.
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I have grown to have so many misgivings about missionaries, but, praise God, I can now say I know of some who are true missionaries, planting churches, teaching some to be pastors, moving on to plant more churches!
Oh, my! This is a 180-degree turn from where I come, which was cynicism regarding missions! It is thanks to my dearest sister in Christ, Amy Rodrigues, that I have ended up on this page! How wonderful to have come to learn of you! I pray the Holy spirit continues to guide all here mentioned!
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life;
and he that winneth souls is wise.
Proverbs 11:30 (King James Bible)
What is God Doing in Poland? - Missionary or Mercenary by Pastor Thomas Cassidy
Reply to Pastor Paul Chapman's WATERED DOWN, UTTERLY DISGUSTING list of instructions for his congregation, upon the dismissal of Jack Schaap