Adventures in Hope

By Larissa Miller   •   December 9, 2011

December 19

The My Hope Portugal and Spain broadcasts are over but the My Hope follow up and discipleship programs are just beginning. Please continue to pray for those who gave their lives to Christ and for the Matthews who will be involved with the follow-up program. Both TV crews are flying out today. We’ve all had an amazing time in both Portugal and Spain. There are so many memories we’ve shared over the last two weeks and I’m thrilled that I was able to share some of them with you. Merry Christmas!

December 18

As their guests started arriving, laughter and chatter started filling the air. Griseldo and Hugo are a cute, young, Spanish couple who came to know the Lord a year-and-a-half ago. Their lives have drastically changed since then. Hugo was partying a lot, staying out all night and using drugs. Griseldo said they used to fight all of time and were close to getting a divorce. You would never know their past by observing them now. They are affectionate with each other and their adorable 4-year-old daughter. You can tell their lives are forever changed.

When this opportunity presented itself, they jumped at the chance to witness to their friends and family members. Griseldo and Hugo invited 18 people over to watch the program. Their traditional Spanish apartment filled up quickly. The doorbell kept ringing, people kept piling in and young kids kept playing. Once everyone was settled in, Griseldo introduced and started the My Hope program.

A young lady had tears in her eyes as the program came to an end and Hugo gave his testimony. They then asked everyone to stand if they wanted to pray. Everyone in their living room stood up as they prayed for salvation. Many people gave their hearts to the Lord that evening. The joy in their home was contagious. We captured some great footage and left with smiles on our faces. What an amazing ministry!

December 17

Yesterday was the second night of My Hope Spain’s broadcast. We followed Maria as she opened her home up for eight of her friends to watch the program. Her home smelled like Grandma’s kitchen. Every time I walked in, I was instantly hungry. Before the program began she taught us how to make a Spanish Tortilla, which is very different from a Mexican Tortilla.  The official name is  “Tortilla De Patatas.” It resembles a potato omelet. The secret, Maria said, is in the “Flipping of The Tortilla.”

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December 16

The football trainer’s My Hope event was inspirational. Javier has an amazing outreach teaching young men, ages 16 to 18, to play football. About 19 young people came to his church, many of them from his team. His church, “Harvest Time,” resembles a movie theater with red stadium seating and projectors. It was touching to witness Javier interacting with the young people who attended.  He is a natural and they all seem to look up to him.

After everyone was seated in the comfy movie theater chairs, Javier introduced the program. The room was dark, the projector lit up, but everything was silent. We quickly realized that the program’s audio wasn’t working.  A young man hurriedly got up from his seat and headed to the technical room. I followed him with my camera in hand.  Four guys were anxiously rushing to find an audio solution. 

Nineteen young people sat quietly in their seats while they awaited the TV program. I was videoing the technical room where they were pulling cables and pressing buttons. A loud noise squealed throughout the auditorium before the audio played. Whew! The program began with the audio in check.

Everyone was extremely interested in the show as it continued to play. After the program, Javier gave his testimony and asked the young people if they’d like to give their lives to Christ. Three young men raised their hands and prayed to accept Jesus into there hearts.  There are no words to describe how wonderful it is to watch someone give their life to the Lord.

Thank you praying for My Hope Spain. God is definitely moving in the lives of people here in Spain.

Other stories about My Hope Spain, Dec. 15-17

Spain Primed for My Hope »
My Hope Spain: The Motivational Tour »
Bringing Peace and Reconciliation to Spain »

December 15

We have some great leads for stories in Valencia this Friday. Today we are doing a story with Javier, who is a football trainer here. He’s invited his entire football team to watch the My Hope TV program being broadcast tonight. After the program, they’ll have a football training session around 10 o’clock. When I was told they’d be doing the training at 10, I replied, “In the morning?” They just shook their heads and laughed, as they replied, “No, at night.”

Spanish people are on a much different schedule than I’m used to. I usually eat lunch around 11:30 a.m.; they eat lunch at 2 p.m. I eat dinner around 6 p.m.; they eat dinner around 10 p.m. They do have amazing food, so it’s worth the wait! Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

December 14

The TV crew ventured out around Valencia today capturing city scenic shots. We use this “Spice of Life” footage, or “B-roll,” to help reinforce the narrative or “A-roll.” I didn’t realize how large this city was until we traveled through it. I found out that Valencia is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. 

We went downtown, to the countryside and then ended up on the coast. We arrived just in time for a beautiful sunset that cast a soft orange light in the sky. The pink and orange hues looked spectacular against the blue backdrop and silhouetted sail boats. I feel so blessed to be a part of My Hope here in Spain and can’t wait for the first broadcast to start!

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December 13

Spain is such a beautiful country! We drove four hours from Madrid to Valencia where we’ll be covering some stories this weekend. I couldn’t help but to stare out of the window while the magnificent countryside rolled by. The vibrant landscapes are full of rolling hills, small villages, and colorful farms. We’re still trying to find the perfect story for this Friday’s event. Please continue to pray that we’ll find the right one.

December 12

We’re now on our way to Spain to document My Hope, which will be broadcast Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Our second crew, led by Jonathan Grubbs, is also flying into Spain to cover the Madrid area. My crew will be traveling to Valencia and possibly another city, depending on story leads. We need to find great stories that will represent what God is going to do through My Hope in Spain. Please pray that the the right stories present themselves to us.

December 11

Today we traveled to Porto, the 2nd largest city in Portugal to do a story on a former homeless, heroin addict, who is hosting a My Hope event at his Mission. Ismael Do Carmo was saved 20 years ago in a neighborhood that has more addicts and dealers than any other neighborhood in downtown Porto. Our TV crew went with Ismael to visit his old neighborhood—Rua Escura—”Dark Street.”

Before we turned the dark city corner, our translator, Rebeca, warned us to hold onto our belongings. Along with our personal bags, we had both cameras and some audio gear with us. It was clear as we went down the dark alley that we were being watched. As we passed by, one young man whistled to signal ahead that we were entering.

Small groups of young men were gathered on stoops and huddled in the streets. Once we came to what looked like an intersection of ally-ways, Ismael decided that we shouldn’t go any further.

Our Videographer, Angie, set-up our camera to do a quick interview with Ismael. About two questions into the interview, a large bang sounded, pigeons scattered and my heart stopped. I looked at Ismael and he shook his head in a comforting manner. I realized that it was only fireworks, most likely to scare us off. Ismael said that a large group of young men were gathering to do heroin down a thin ally way right beside us. They set one other firework off, but we were able to finish the interview.

I felt a sense of relief as we were exiting ‘Dark Street” but I was thankful that we were able to capture the interview there. Ismael is planning to take DVD’s of the “My Hope” TV program to “Dark Street,” where his life drastically changed the night he accepted Jesus.

Ismael’s My Hope event went extremely well. When he gave his testimony, you could feel the emotion in the room. Many people prayed to receive Christ and Ismael’s daughter rededicated her life to the Lord!

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December 10

Last night went extremely well at Pastor Canito’s My Hope event. His home is beautiful with modern accents and a large fireplace placed perfectly in the middle of the living room. 

As the program began, you could feel the presence of the Lord enter the room. I’m still amazed at how piercing Billy Graham’s messages are. When he is on the TV, everyone is paying attention, including the video crew. 

Two people, Sofia and her youngest daughter, gave their lives to Jesus. Recently Sofia has been mourning the loss of her mother. As you can imagine, it’s been an extremely tough and trying time for her.

I was able to interview her after the broadcast where she said that she was now feeling peace! Sofia is such a sweet lady; she had a beautiful sparkle in her eye as she was saying her good-byes, Portuguese style.

I’m still getting used to the air kiss on both sides of the face; it’s a custom here in Portugal. I stick out my hand for a handshake and instead am blessed with a hug and few cheek kisses.

Please keep Sofia in your thoughts and prayers, as both she and her daughter will now be discipled through the My Hope follow-up program. 

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December 9

After three flights, a little too much airplane food, and bit of jet lag, we arrived safe and sound into Lisbon Portugal. Right now, I’m riding in our van to meet with Pastor Pedro Canito, who is opening his home tonight to show the My Hope TV program; my crew is going to document it.

Pedro’s village, Nazare, is about an hour drive from Lisbon.

There are no words to describe how beautiful this country is. I’ve only been here a day and have already seen so many breathtaking images. Absolutely gorgeous! I feel like I’m on the travel channel.

I can’t wait to explore Nazare and I’m humbled to capture just a small piece of what the Lord is doing here through My Hope Portugal.

Please keep us in your prayers as we follow Pastor Canito for his My Hope event during the nationwide broadcast this evening.

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