James and Heather Cochrane and family have been serving in Portugal since 2008. They spent their first five years in the Algarve region in Southern Portugal, in leadership training, Bible teaching and discipleship, working with the Portuguese Bible Institute (Instituto Bíblico Português - IBP).
In July 2013, they moved to Porto in Northern Portugal where they are involved in a church-planting project - Comunidade de Pedras Vivas. They are planting a church on behalf of the Christian Presbyterian Church of Portugal (ICPP) in Senhora da Hora, a few kilometres from the centre of Porto.
James and Heather formerly served for seven years with the Independent Presbyterian Church in Brazil (IPIB), one of PCI's mission partners in Brazil, where they were engaged in planting a new church in the town of Cruzeta in the Northeast of the country.
In 2003, they handed over the newly established congregation to local Brazilian leadership and returned to Ireland for a period of retraining, culminating in both completing degrees in theology.
James then spent the next two years studying at Union Theological College, Belfast, followed by a further two years gaining ministerial experience as the assistant minister in Second Comber Presbyterian Church in the Down Presbytery. He was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland prior to their departure for Portugal in 2008.
James and Heather have produced used a short six-minute narrated video, which introduces the church-planting project in which they are involved in. It would be useful for a mission focus slot in a Sunday service or at a midweek, PW or other small group meeting. To obtain a copy, please contact the Mission Department.
John 17:20-21 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
We are a varied bunch at CPV: led by an Irish, Portuguese and Brazilian church plant team, part of a small Portuguese Presbyterian denomination; a community of men, women, children, teens, singles, married, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, Portuguese, Brazilian, students, housewives, teachers, self-employed, mature Christians, those just beginning the journey of faith, those still searching, various church backgrounds - Roman Catholic, Presbyterian (Irish and Brazilian), Baptist, Independent, Pentecostal and no church background. CPV’s vision is to establish a community of disciples of Christ who will make other disciples. As you can imagine, within this richly diverse and concentrated context (we are around 20-25 people), there is potential for misunderstanding and confusion about what a disciple of Christ is. So, in January we began an eight-week series entitled ‘Ser Discípulos de Cristo’ on Sunday mornings which takes us back to examine the biblical basis of discipleship by following the outline of the recently produced PCI Essentials material.
We had been looking for another space to rent for CPV. We found a building not too far away and were waiting to sign contracts but, at the beginning of January, it all fell through. Interestingly, no rain has entered our current building during the recent wet weeks and so, after talking to our landlady, we were able to renegotiate a lower rental value and have agreed to stay for another while. The landlady is very happy about this and has agreed to paint the interior of the space. This space has served us well and is in a great location. We thank you for praying with us and we believe that God’s hand is in this.
- Pray that through the ‘Ser Discipulos de Cristo’ course, the Spirit will challenge each of us to examine our traditions and cultural understandings, that we will focus afresh on Christ and that the unity which Jesus prays for the church in John 17 will be a powerful confirmation of the truth of the gospel to the religious context around us in Senhora da Hora.
- Pray that the previous water infiltration problem will not present itself again.
- Pray for Amada as she settles into married life with Pedro and ministry in a multi-cultured team context in Porto.
- Pray for Alana as she returns to Ulster University, Belfast for the second semester.
General Prayer Points
- Give thanks that the Cochrane family have settled well into Porto and give thanks that the girls are adjusting well to their new environment. Please pray for the girls as they grow up without Christian peers and attend a very secular school.
- Continue to pray that God would raise up Portuguese co-workers to join the church planting team.
- In the initial phase of the church plant making contacts and building relationships is crucial. Give thanks for contacts already made and pray for more opportunities to get to know people in the area.
- Give thanks for the faithful witness of ICPP in Portugal over the last 30 years. Pray for growth of Christ like disciples among the faithful members who attend the five small churches in the denomination.
To download a printable PDF version of this bulletin or for a previous bulletin visit the Mission Reports listing at the top or the Global Mission monthly bulletin archive.