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The 'Ignored Church'. The theme of Portugal's 'FIEL' conference


Diego Lopes is one of EMF's newest missionaries. He is pastor of a young church in Margem Sul, Seixal, south of Lisbon. He is also a founding member of the Martin Bucer Seminary in Portugal. Diego is married to Stella, and a few weeks ago he helped organise an exciting conference for pastors and church leaders. Diego himself was one of the speakers, as was Joel Lopes, another of our new missionaries in Portugal. You will be able to read more about these men, their wives, their famiies, and their work in church planting and in the newly-formed seminary in the next edition of our magazine 'Vision for Europe'. Diego sent us this report of a conference where there was quality exposition, happy fellowship, and encouraging feedback from all who attended. Read on to hear how Diego experienced the event.

Diego, Stella and family

'From the 4th to the 7th of April we had the Fiel and Rede Reformada Conference; there were 160 people registered, coming from all over Portugal and from Portuguese ministries in Europe. The attendees were mostly pastors and church leaders, and we had a very fruitful time reflecting on the “ Ignored Church”.  The theme revolved around the need to remember God´s purpose for his church and engage with the effort to mobilize the people of God to work towards healthier churches in Portugal. EMF missionaries Diego Lopes and Joel Lopes were speakers, with Jonathan Leeman,Tiago Oliveira, Tiago Cavaco, Jonas Madureira e Tiago Santos. 

We saw and witnessed God rekindling peoples' hearts to be passionate about the local church, and we were all greatly encouraged.

We are already working towards the conference for next year, and we will have Mark Dever with us. Please pray for God to ignite a gospel movement that will bring about healthier churches all over Portugal.'

Diego speaking at the FIEL conference
Diego Lopes leads a panel discussion at the conference

Brought up in Brazil in a loving Roman Catholic family in his native Brazil, Diego came to know the Lord when he was just ten, through the witness of a friend in a church’s youth programme. From the time of his baptism (when he was 15 ), Diego felt a call to pastoral/missionary work, and after Bible College he was called to be the pastor of a Portuguese-speaking church in South Africa, the country in which he also met his Portuguese wife Stella.

The couple were engaged in church planting  (Diego also in leadership training) in South Africa, Botswana, and Mozambique, and served there for eleven years before ministering in a Portuguese church in Canada for six years.

But Stella and Diego longed to return to needy Portugal; they were able to do so in 2018, when Diego was invited to join the team of Martin Bucer Portugal Seminary and to help plant a church south of Lisbon, on the banks of the Tagus (Margem Sul, Seixal). This plant is now a fully-constituted church with a weekly attendance of around 50 people. Diego has links to, and co-operates with, various reformed organisations, while Stella gives much time to evangelistic and discipleship ministries to women and children; she has a passion to see Christian women study the Word and read good, reformed literature. Diego is also studying for a PhD in Biblical Studies at the South African Theological Seminary.

The couple have three children: Diogo (born 2011), David (born 2014), and Sara (born 2021).

Prayer Points

Please pray for :
  • Diego and his wife Stella as they lead up the busy and thriving church plant in Margem Sur, south of Lisbon.
  • The Lord to consolidate the progress in the development of healthy churches. through events like the FIEL conference.
  • The Martin Bucer Seminary as it 'opens its doors' later this year, that it will be a place where men are thoroughly prepared for ministry.