Hello Ethos Family!
By the time you read this update, our family will be well on our way back to the States. We are so excited to see your faces, hug your necks, and share stories of what God is doing among His church and our spiritual siblings all over the world. I will give you the more detailed report of our travels once we have had adequate time to rest and process all that we have experienced, but in the mean time I do want to report back an overview of the last half of our journey.
First things first, a quick update on the family. Thanks so much for all of your prayers for safe travel and healthy kids. Micah, Jack, and Judah have handled the time changes, foreign food, weird schedules, and constant interactions with new people and cultures better than we could have hoped for. The boys have not just survived, they have thrived in the midst of this adventure. We have felt your many prayers, and we cannot thank you enough. Christiana “aka Nana” as most of you know her, has been an absolute gift from God. We have spent every day thanking God that He has brought her into our extended family to journey with us on mission. Not only was she a huge help to our family, but God used her many gifts to serve and bless the churches both in Kenya and Portugal in significant ways.
Secondly, it has been so much fun to get updates from the States regarding what God has been doing among our Ethos family back home. We were so bummed to miss baptism Sunday, but we have been rejoicing about the way that God brought so many new brothers and sisters into His Kingdom in the last few weeks. It has also been wonderful to see the way our church family continues to grow in trust for the Lord and love for each other. It is sometimes easier to see these things when we find ourselves in the midst of new adventures (like our current one) that stretch each of us in new ways. Thank you for joyfully loving Jesus and each other so well.
Finally, I want to give you a brief update of what we did with our time in Portugal. As I mentioned at the end of my last update, our time in Lisbon was for the sole purpose of helping our lead church planter Andre Prim and his team lay the proper foundations for a new expression of Jesus’ church in Lisbon.
Many of you know Andre. He was baptized at Ethos 3 1/2 years ago while he was living in Nashville for a short time due to his work. After his work stint ended, Andre returned home to Lisbon (where he was born and raised). Less than 2% of Lisbon is Christian, so God used Andre’s love for his hometown to birth a vision in Andre’s heart for planting new churches in Lisbon and across Europe. Last year, Andre returned to Nashville to train as a church planting apprentice with Ethos Church, and then he returned to Lisbon this past summer to start building his team. Our time with Andre and his team was far more fruitful and joy filled than we could have ever hoped for. In fact, I’m not sure we have ever worked harder in the span of 2 weeks than we did in Lisbon, and yet God kept us refreshed and allowed us to have so much fun as well.
Our work in Lisbon really revolved around 3 primary objectives:
# 1 - DISCOVER
Our first objective revolved around discovery. We wanted to discover several things including:
* Areas of strength & weakness within the team
* Areas of cultural acceptance and rejection to Jesus & the Gospel
* A venue to launch Sunday Worship Gatherings in this Fall
* Multiple Venues for Mid-Week Trainings beginning this summer
God graciously allowed us success in each of these areas as we worked with Andre and the team.
# 2 — DEVELOP
Our second objective revolved around development. We wanted to help Andre and the team develop several things including:
* A clear vision and sustainable strategy for reaching key parts of Lisbon with the Gospel
* A solid, Biblical foundation for making disciples and planting churches in Lisbon and beyond.
* The needed tools for shaping both the character and competencies of our new church plant in Lisbon.
# 3 — DEPLOY
Our final objective revolved around deployment. Our desire was not only to commission Andre as a missionary to his home country, but to commission his team as marketplace missionaries as well. Andre and his team have done an amazing job reaching into the various spheres of the culture in Lisbon with the good news of Jesus. Our desire was to help catalyze the work they were already doing for the purpose of bearing even greater fruit.
We are so excited to get back home and to return to our work among our Ethos Family. Thank you for the prayers, love, and support. We have felt so close to our church family, even though we have been an ocean away. The last month has given Sydney and me great insight into a phrase that has guided our church family for more than seven years … “awaken a movement.” We believe the work of God among our church family has just begun, and just like Jesus said to his disciples on the day of His ascension in Acts chapter 1 — we have received power from the Holy Spirit to make Jesus known to the ends of the earth. I’m excited to see how God will choose to use our church family as a part of the global movement Jesus is awakening.
We love you, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Dave and Sydney Clayton