Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So...Why Portugal?

While pastoring a great group of folks in LaGrange, GA , Michael was doing his normal daily Bible reading when he came across the book of Jonah. He began reading in the first chapter where God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh. But Jonah purposed in his heart to go as far from the Lord as he could....

(Jon 1:3) - "But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD."

Twice in this verse it says that Jonah was trying to get away from the Lord. In Jonah's mind, he wanted to go where the presence of the Lord was not, and to him that place was Tarshish.

Today, Tarshish would be found somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula that now make up Spain and Portugal. In Jonah's day, it was all the country of Spain. Having been in the ministry for a few years, Michael was aware of the number of missionaries in Spain and understood that although there weren't enough there, nonetheless there were quite a few. The Lord then directed his heart and mind westward to the smaller country of Portugal. Realizing that he had never met, or heard of a missionary to this land. After further research it became evident that there were very few families in darkened Portugal trying to spread the Light of the Gospel. Michael began to pray, "Lord, would you please send missionaries to Portugal" and the resounding answer came back......"What about you??" Michael says that he replied to the Lord, "Lord, you know things are going well here, our little church is growing both numerically and spiritually. We've seen the Lord increase our missions giving. We have plans for a building project." But the Lord continued..."What about you?" So after more prayer and the birth of our 5th child, he resigned the church as pastor and we began making preparation to get to Portugal.

That was in October of 2006. Now here we are, on our way in 6 days. "Thank You Lord!"


Anonymous said...

Nina, Im glad you put this part in the blog. I had wondered why Portugal. Tell Michael thanks for sharing that. I love you all...


Anonymous said...

It's almost time!!!!!! I know you are SOOOOOOO excited. I love you guys.

Tori said...

Wow Nina,
I really enjoyed reading about your call to Portugal. It's funny when the Lord calls you somewhere you know it for sure but it sure is hard to explain it to others.
I'm so excited for you and your family, I know you'll love the slower pace of life, it's alot like Croatia from what I've seen and heard and the culture is very pro-family. That's how Croatia is too, non of that hustle and bustle you find in the states.
I'm praying for your future culture shock and the lonliness that you'll feel in the beginning. Hang in there before long it will become like home.
Oh well just thought I would drop by and say Hi and drop a few encouraging words.
God Bless!

The Herd said...

Thanks...this was a perfect place to start! So cool ---your story...so, what was your reaction to What about you?...email me :) when you have a moment...unless there is another post on this thought.

Holly said...

I love this post, Nina! The Lord has a way of making His will known to the individual and it almost never makes sense to anyone else. :~) Thank the Lord, we don't have to answer to everyone else! Following Christ ~ there is nothing like it!