I was in the Post Office yesterday picking up a package. The conversation went something like this:
"This is heavy! I should have had you come back here to get it." (lady clerk)
"Its Bibles," said I.
"Oh, are you one of those "elders"? (what they call Mormons)
I always react strongly to comments like that. Even today someone asked if we were JW's. I figure a strong reaction will ease the minds of those who don't like the particular cult, and if they themselves are members I don't want any confusion about what I think of their beliefs.
"NO. I am a Baptist! In fact I am a baptist pastor."
There were very few customers in the place at that moment, and two other clerks came closer to hear this conversation. The comment was made that religious leaders like to tell people what to do. I let them know that we don't operate like that and they seemed genuinely interested to hear what the Biblical function of a pastor really is. I had the opportunity to emphasize the importance and exclusivity of the Bible message, and left them with literature and an invitation to our missions conference next week.
I mentioned the query today as to whether we were JW's. This happened while we were distributing John and Romans in the old section of town, at the base of the castle. We are including an invitation to our missions conference. We have also convinced the owner of our favorite pizzeria to make a discounted student menu and we put a flier about it in our packet of literature. I tell young people that I give the packet to, "Two important things: The Word of God and pizza. It doesn't get much better than that!" We have started targeting areas that have a lot of college students with it.
Please pray for our missions conference next Thursday and Friday nights. We have a Lithuanian pastor and his wife coming and I was able to get him meetings in 4 other churches while he is here in Portugal. He is doing a great work in Lithuania, pastoring a church and directing a Bible Institute to train pastors both in Lithuania and Latvia. We want to help by supporting the Bible Institute. He has been bearing the expenses almost alone, and he is not a rich man. Our son-in-law will be preaching the conference. A couple in our church were in Angola in the 60's and helped start churches there. They will speak about those days during the conference as well.
We still have a number of projects that need to be done at the Mount of Olives. Top on the list right now are roof panels to finish covering the bath houses and the eating area and two cabins (will cost about $3000 total) and more bunk-beds. The price of those keeps fluctuating, but they cost about $260 right now. We need a total of 25 more of them to get to full capacity.