Colossians 1:28 (BSB) "We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ".
Although neither of our families were Christians as we grew up (Cecilia's family was saved in her youth), we have had a possion for the Lord since we were young adults. Even before we got married in 2008, we were sure of what the Lord had called us to do - serve Him wherever we would be, care for His people and lead people to Him. The Lord graciously presented us with the opportunity of doing this both in the local church and in student ministry, contexts where we always loved serving. We really couldn't be more priviledged! Guilherme, our boy, was born in 2012, and we want him to grow up seeing the Lord working in us and through us, that he may one day embrace the Christian faith and calling as well.
We are currently serving the Lord in our local church, in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, in the north of Portugal. Joel is the Pastor, and Cecilia does a lot of admin work and leads the women ministy. We are commited to caring for this 70-person fock and to reach out to the community around us through projects and events that meet people where they are, whether providing social support to the poor or drawing people closer to us through relationships - the Portuguese love just to sit and eat and chat around the table. Because of the suspicion around evangelicals who are basically seen as a sect, we need to show people God's love before they are ready to listen to our words and have the Gospel preached to them.
We are also serving God in the IFES Portuguese student movement, GBU, where Joel is the General Secretary, and Cecilia is a very precious support, mentoring some female recent graduates and helping with admin work in a volunteer capacity. Our primary focus is to care for the staff team and cast a vision for the students to build communities of disciples in the various campuses and live out the academic life as missionaries, as salt and light in the unversity.
- Joel & Cecilia Oliveira photo