A letter from Bob Butterfield in Portugal
Greetings in Christ’s name from Portugal! Keiko and I hope you have a joyful Advent and Christmas. It’s now been two years and three months since we started work here, and we want to thank you again for your support, prayers, and visits.
Near the end of every three-year term of service, Presbyterian World Mission asks us to spend a few months in the U.S. for the purpose of sharing with you our experiences in God’s mission, and this means that we will be back in the U.S. the first week in April 2013 and ready to visit you between April 15 and July 1 before we go back for another term of service. You have gotten to know us to a certain extent through our Mission Connections letters, but now we have a chance to meet face-to-face and build a closer relationship.
Since Keiko and I come from a United Church of Christ background, we do not have the built-in network of Presbyterian connections that most Presbyterian World Mission co-workers have. For this reason we encourage you to be proactive and reach out to us. If you’re interested in inviting us to share with you, please let us know ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keiko and I will group our visits geographically for the sake of good stewardship of resources. If you can connect us with other churches or interested groups, that would be a huge help.
As a pastor and teacher, I’m accustomed to preaching, leading worship, and teaching in a whole variety of settings, and if you want me to be involved in worship, that’s great. But if you want to have time to talk in greater depth about what God is doing in and through the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Portugal, it’s best to schedule something separate from worship.
The work Keiko and I are doing in Portugal starts with parish ministry, but I am also heavily involved in continuing education for pastors, theological training for laypeople, ecumenical relationships, and church administration on the denominational level. I can certainly talk about any of those subjects, as well as the following:
• The root causes of poverty in Portugal in historical context
• The economic crisis in Portugal and its effects, especially emigration
• The situation of Portuguese families, particularly women and children
• The role of the Presbyterian Church in a predominantly Roman Catholic country
Keiko and I can work in almost any kind of setting, but here are a few examples: Sunday school (any age group), potluck, men’s breakfast, women’s meeting, confirmation class, youth group, young adult group, Bible study (lay or clergy), retirement home, classroom, mission committee meeting, presbytery or synod meeting.
A word about expenses
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pays our salary while we’re home, so we don’t expect an honorarium or anything like that. We will, however, need your support for food, lodging and travel expenses. If you’d like us to visit you but can’t afford to pay for our travel, we suggest you work with other churches in your area and share the expenses. If that’s not possible, Rachel Anderson (Rachel.Anderson@pcusa.org) may have some helpful ideas. Our home base during itineration will be suburban Chicago.
Keiko and I thank you for your faithful support of every kind, and we look forward to sharing with you the story of our experience with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Portugal, a small but gutsy Presbyterian church struggling to survive and be effective in a difficult environment.
Yours in Christ’s service,
P.S. If you wish to speak with us by phone, our number in Portugal is (351) 233 415 307. We’re six hours ahead of New York. If you want to contact us by email, you can use either email@example.com (the link below) or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you email us and give us your telephone number, we will be happy to call you.
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 276
Read more about Bob and Keiko Butterfield's ministry