By Jackie Socha
The Christian and Missionary Alliance celebrated their first public church service in Portugal this year, a huge step toward spreading the Gospel in an increasingly secular Europe.
Portugal is a predominantly Catholic country with a very small evangelical presence. Evangelical churchgoers make up 0.4% of the population of Portugal according to research conducted by the Portuguese Evangelical Alliance. This research showed that evangelical churches have decreased from 1,630 evangelical churches in 2000 to 964 in 2016. There is a great need in Portugal for church planting and the raising up of a new generation of church leaders.
The Daleva family, a family from Sao Paulo, Brazil, accepted the call to overseas missions in 2011. Since then, they have invested in this much needed church planting movement in Portugal with the dream of raising these numbers and bringing revival to a very spiritually dry place.
With the support of the Confraternidad Latinoamericana Alianza (CLA), the Brazilian Alliance church, the United States Alliance Missions Fund and their home church in Sao Paulo, the Airport Alliance Church, Danilo and Elaine were commissioned to plant a church in Portugal.
This marks the first church planting process commissioned by an Alliance national church, in this case the Brazilian National Alliance, and supported by the US C&MA. We are excited to see how God is uniting nations to reach other nations for the Gospel. It is truly representative of our mission as Alliance World Fellowship.
And now, six years later, AWF has the privilege to announce that the Lord has opened the doors for founding of the first C&MA church in Portugal. Danilo and Elaine, who made up the pastoral team at their church in Brazil, moved to Portugal and have spent the last 6 years learning the culture, scouting out church locations, preaching at local churches and planting seeds in the hearts of many. They have been accompanied in the process by Michael & Ruth Davis and Charlotte Hisle from the US C&MA, all forming part of the Portugal planting team.
Thanks to this team’s love and commitment, on July 15, 2017, the C&MA Portugal was inaugurated, and we rejoice with them in this advancement of the Gospel!
Curiosity Sparked in Paredes
The Lord led the Daleva family to the city of Paredes, a council of the Oporto District in northern Portugal, to an excellent location on the road to the center of the city, the road that most all locals take.
The appearance of their church in Paredes has sparked curiosity among the locals as there are no other evangelical churches in the area. Locals’ only frame of reference for an evangelical church has been one that broadcasts its messages via radio and television, but that unfortunately has not been the best witness. However, this reference point has been an open door for the family to explain their identity as evangelical Christians and as The Alliance.
Curiosity has also been sparked in local business owners that work around the church who have little by little been getting familiarized with the church. The family was delighted to hear that during the church’s inauguration one of the local business owner’s shut off their music to listen to the worship.
The Daleva family is hopeful for all that God will do through their church and in their community.
“We feel very honored to be a part of a church team that involves people from North and South America and Europe. We would like to thank our friends and family that have supported us, motivating us in our work and investing in our lives.”
- Daleva Family
Let us as a global family support the Daleva family with our prayers. They have specifically asked that we pray for:
- Hearts of their contacts and new friends—that they would understand the Gospel and make the decision to surrender their lives to Christ.
- Wisdom in knowing how to best explain their Christian identity in their specific cultural context.
- Health for the family, especially Elaine and their 6-month-old baby Rafael.
Content taken from updates sent by Danilo Daleva.