Chris and Rachel joined the church plant team in Porto in 2019 and work alongside James and Heather Cochrane planting Comunidade Pedras Vivas (CPV) in the city of Senhora da Hora, Porto.
As church planters their role is very varied and involves many different aspects. This includes things such as: preaching and teaching, prayer, evangelism, discipleship, family ministry, leadership development, hospitality and music ministry. Within the Portuguese context, building relationships with others in our community is vital to their role as church planters. Many people are sceptical and have misconceptions about the Bible and what a biblical church looks like. So part of their role involves building bridges with others and helping people to explore and to better understand biblical Christianity. Much of this is done informally through offering hospitality and through short Bible-based courses within the church.
They write, "Portugal, generally speaking, is a religious nation, yet there is a deep disconnect between religious identity and having a true, personal relationship with Jesus. For various reasons, many are turning their back on traditional religion, yet this often leaves a spiritual void in peoples lives. To fill this space, many are now turning to new-age religions and spirituality, often mixing several at once in the search for peace and hope. As church planters, this presents a unique challenge as we offer the truth of the gospel, knowing that there is only One true hope to be found in Jesus Christ."
After both graduating from university in 2008-09, Chris worked for several years in the civil service in the area of agricultural science and plant research. Rachel worked as a staff nurse and sister in private nursing care. Before coming to Portugal as long term global mission workers, Chris and Rachel were both actively involved in organising short-term mission teams to northern Portugal for many years. Both have completed graduate diplomas in Theology and Chris is in the final stages of completing an MA in Theology. Chris and Rachel have two children, Ezra (6) and Abigail (3).
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Chris and Rachel have continued to serve in Portugal and have adapted their work and witness to comply with local restrictions. Over the past two years at times church services, Bible studies and other church meetings have continued to meet online when they have been unable to meet in person.
General Prayer Points
- Pray that Chris and Rachel’s love for Christ would be central to all that they do.
- Pray that the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives would be evident to their neighbours and enable evangelism in a natural and honest way.
- Pray that they would be able to learn the Portuguese language well and quickly.
- Pray that God would use the Humphries’ as a young family to reach other families.
- Pray that God would continue to build his church in Portugal.
Chris and Rachel have recorded a short and long film clip which can be downloaded and used in church services, prayer meetings or events to raise awareness and prayer for what God is doing across the world, as we seek to go deep and wide in global mission involvement.
(For previous Digital Dispatches video clips click here)
July / August 2022
As we make plans to return to Northern Ireland this summer, this will most likely be our final bulletin. It is difficult to begin to summarise our time in Porto and what the Lord has been doing in us and his church. It is a mixture of emotions - we´re thankful for the opportunity and privilege it has been to serve the Lord overseas, to learn a new culture, a new language, and to bring the gospel to many who have never heard it before. But at the same time, our hearts are heavy as we leave this people, this city, and this country that we have come to love. In all of this we are convinced of the Lord´s goodness and sovereignty and look to him as we make plans to return.
As we mentioned in our previous email, we give thanks to God for the growth he has brought to Comunidade Pedras Vivas (CPV) during this time. When we first arrived to Senhora da Hora in 2016 to do a placement, the church plant had yet to call its first members and only had a handful of people gathering on Sunday mornings. But it has now flourished to become a thriving body of believers with sixty members. We recognise that it is the Lord alone who has brought this growth, as the Apostle Paul reminds us that we sow and plant, but it is God who enables seeds to sprout and growth to take place. Please do continue to keep CPV in your prayers as it seeks to appoint local leadership over the coming months and continues to reach out to others with the precious news of salvation in Jesus Christ.
At the heart of CPV is a desire and a vision to be a missional church – a church that seeks to actively participate in the mission of God to the world around us. This means that mission isn´t just something that the church ´does´ as one of its programmes, but is part of its very nature and essence. In this sense, every follower of Jesus is like a missionary – sent into their place of work, their family and their community to herald the good news of God´s kingdom. So this work will continue, wherever we find ourselves in the future.
We are immensely grateful to each one of you who have supported us, prayed for us or sent messages of encouragement during our time in Porto. We are truly blessed beyond measure for brothers and sisters who often bring us before the throne of grace, and we sense the Lord´s presence and guidance through the prayers of his people. So once again, a huge thank you and to God alone be the glory.
- Pray for all the practical aspects and logistics of moving house, country, and employment over the coming months – for the packing, the selling of goods and the final goodbyes.
- Give thanks that we have found spaces for schooling for Ezra and Abbie in Northern Ireland and pray that they would settle well back into life there.
- Pray for us that we would continue to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord during this time, and that we would use our final weeks wisely as we continue to share with others the hope of Jesus.