Joe and Rachel Clarke moved to Coimbra, Portugal in 2015 to work amongst students with the GBU (Grupo Bíblico Universitário - the Portuguese Christian student movement affiliated to IFES). They are seeking to evangelise and disciple university students and equip them for future Christian ministry. Rachel is a full time mum and is helping their children to adapt to a new culture and supporting Joe in his ministry with students.
Portugal has a population of almost 11 million people, yet less than 100,000 attend an evangelical church. Within Portuguese Universities there are few professing believers and the Christian student movement is small. There is a great need to develop the GBU’s work in order to disciple and equip Christian university students so that they can reach out to their fellow students with the gospel.
Joe and Rachel have four children: Beth, Hannah, Joshua and Timothy.
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'For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations.’ (Ephesians 2:14-15)
Loneliness is a big deal here in Portugal. Just last week, I conducted an online survey to find out what the typical student thought about it, and the results were very sobering indeed. 55% of students said that they had felt lonely in the past week. 65% said they rarely if ever told anyone when they were feeling lonely. 32% of people thought that getting a boyfriend or girlfriend would solve the issue, whilst 54% said that whenever they felt lonely, they would try to distract themselves by watching Netflix!
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