Project 038 - Siloam's Christmas parcel outreach in Portugal

trip1Bacalhau or Codfish is a local delicacy and especially enjoyed on Christmas Eve.

trip1The complete Christmas parcel.

trip1Parcel preparation in loaned warehouse.

trip1(Day 2)  Rev Peter Gale with Paula Outside her home with Christmas parcels.

trip1Trip companion, co-Trustee Graham Harvey visiting a lady with daughter with Muscular Dystrophy (Day 2).

trip1Day 2 Pastor Oscar Segura (right) visiting an Older Christian Couple, she spends all day in wheelchair.

trip1Day 3 Family living in Quinta Da Lage – Pastor James on the Left.

The Christmas Parcel Project


As an expression of Christian social concern, Christmas groceries are distributed to poor families and those who are 'shut in' in areas of Portugal away from the eyes of the tourists.

Our work is organised locally by Pastor Oscar Segura with whom Siloam has worked for more than 20 years. The parcels are distributed in the Malveira area in a small town around an hour's drive from Lisbon the capital.

Because we believe in ministering to the 'whole man' we also provide Christian literature like a calendar produced by the Trinitarian Bible Society which brings hope and spiritual encouragement.

If you would like to be involved in assisting our ministry of social help in Portugal, please contact us so you can take part in our future outreach programmes which provide love and support and the message of the gospel in a very practical way.

Project Update - Visit to Portugal  Thursday 12th December 2013 to Tuesday 17th December 2013

by Peter M Gale and Graham Harvey

The purpose of the visit on behalf of Siloam Christian Ministries was to observe and help in the distribution of Christmas food parcels for people in need.  The distribution was to take place in around the village of Malveira.   Siloam sponsored this distribution by raising funds in the United Kingdom by a mailing appeal.

Day 1 Thursday 12th December.
This day started very early leaving Leamington by car with Richard Norton to catch EasyJet flight 2365 to Lisbon from Luton. Flight scheduled for 7.40am, needed to be there 2hrs before.

We arrived at Luton in plenty of time but to be faced with a very large crowd (estimated 500+) to go through Airport Security.  Graham was okay but my internal metal bits caused the x-ray alarm to go off.  I was frisk searched, had to remove my shoes for examination, a request to show operation scars at by right hip, femur and knee.  Having seen the scars security the green light to continue.  All these metal bits cause problems every time I fly.

Flight 2365 was 30 minutes leaving waiting for passengers who had check in online but did not turn up, so we left without them.  The flight was very pleasant with plenty of leg room; we were in the first row by the door just behind the pilot.

We landed at Lisbon at 10.45am; we had gained some 10mins of our flying schedule. We were met by Oscar Segura with the Church minibus.   Qscar took us to his home where we were staying. We stayed in his guest accommodation affection known as the prophet’s chamber.
After lunch we had a tour of Assemblies De Deus. Church complex and the warehouse that had been loan for the purposes of putting the parcels together.

Day 2 Friday 13th December
There great financial problems for the families that Oscar is dealing with. The benefits that people are entitled too are very small and the pressure of Portugal ecomonic getting worse.  Unemployment locally was about 10% of the population in Malveira of 5,500: nationally the unemployment rate is 17%

Our first delivery was to Paula, an isolated small house in poor repair just across the railway track.  No level crossing, no gates, whilst trains were very infrequent you needed to be careful. It never very easy to find out why’s and difficulties of her life, Paula had had 22 children first one when she was only 11. None live at home.

The second parcel went to a couple again in a very isolated spot. Delivery was approx. 200yards from House. That 200yards was a steep walk down hill, the only vehicle that could make the drive was a 4 by 4.

Third visit was to a small family, mother and a disabled daughter suffering from Muscular Dystrophy;  Mom had lost a son in 2007 with the same complaint.

Fourth parcel went to an elderly couple living in a first floor flat in a very run down building. They had been married for a very long time. The husband had been a Christian for 50 + years, he had played and taught violin. The lady was disabled who spends her days sitting in a wheel chair. She rarely leaves the flat. The staircase had several damaged treads. The only she leaves the flat for hospital appointment she needs assistance of the fire brigade or her sons.  The reason they stay is the rent is very cheap more suitable accommodations is too expensive.

After Lunch three deliveries were made to remote locations. First to a disabled man the second was left inside the open door – nobody was a home. The third went a lady whose brother had had a serious car accident about an hour or so before we arrived. She was very upset and concerned. We spent a few minutes seeking support including prayer.
The Friday evening service at the church was at 9pm and last approx. to 10.15-10.20pm the congregations was approximate 100 people with 15 first time people.
10 plus parcel were distributed after the service.

Day 3 14th December
We went to Quinta Da Large to delivery Christmas parcels to people in need. Quint a Da Lage is a small collection of small homes clustered 200yds from multi-story blocks of flats. The individual homes are often in narrow entrees’ where people seem to live much of their lives outside.  On the visit we were accompanied by Daiaergo (James) the pastor of the small church in this community. During our parcels distribution we joined by a small company of helpers from the community.  It was a real festive occasion.  It was a real privilege to be a part of this project supporting very poor and needed people and to realise the church was very much a part of this community. We distributed approx. 18-20 parcels. After the distribution we had lunch with Oscar and his family at a local restaurant. When then had time to prepare for the Sunday morning service.

Day 4 15th December
The Church service this morning was very uplifting; it was good to see what God was doing in Malveira.  Approx. 180 people attended, Graham Harvey shared a testimony and I had the privilege to preach.  Four people made a commitment to receive Jesus Christ as Saviour; eight people came out for prayer. A number of parcels were given out after the service.
After lunch we spent the afternoon delivering six parcels over a large area of the local countryside.  We cover approx. 60 kilometres

Day 5 16th December
Today was going to be day of relaxation and an opportunity to spend quality time with Oscar.  But first Oscar had a meeting with the Portuguese representatives of “Word for Today”. That having been completed we went to Ericia the local seaside resort. The weather was warm and the sky blue. The sea was very rough, so bad all the local fishing boats had been taken out of the water. Only two days early five young men had been taken by the sea while walking on the beach.

Day 6 17th December
After breakfast we left Malveira in the company of Oscar to go to Lisbon Airport. Elisa his wife had damaged her ankle and needed to go to hospital ASAP.  Oscar drop us of at the airport and then returned home to take his wife to the hospital.

Our flight home with “EasyJet” was uneventful; Richard collected us from Luton airport. We arrive home early afternoon.  It was a great opportunity to be a part of Siloam practical ministry to those in need in Malveira and area of Portugal. (Malveira is North West of Lisbon approx. 50 kilometres.

More about the project

So, you might ask, why is Portugal such a poor country even today?

Well let me give you a brief history. For many decades Portugal was a dictatorship similar to Spain under General Franco. After the 'Revolution of Carnation' which occurred in April 1974, over one million people fled back to the Portuguese motherland from the colonies of the former Portuguese empire particularly Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and even from the Far East on the Island of Timor. In fact, one in ten of the population of Portugal is either a 'returnado' (white Portuguese) or refugee from the African wars.

In the past, if young men wanted to make a living they had to travel to the Portuguese colonies mostly in Africa where they could become quite wealthy working at agriculture or in the mines and associated industries. Only when they thought about retirement, did many of these Portuguese think about returning to the homeland where many were able to build quite large residences with the money they had made in the colonies.

The African wars of independence in the 1970s assisted by communist agitators from both China and the former USSR, caused untold suffering and people had to flee their homes often only with the clothes on their backs.

When these unfortunate folk returned to the Portuguese motherland, the impoverished newly elected government placed them in all kinds of disused accommodation such as old prisons, hospitals and even rundown holiday camp centres. That is when I personally began to get involved with the social programmes in Portugal back in 1979. As the years have gone on, others have fled to Portugal seeking sanctuary and a place to raise their children in safety.

After Portugal joined the E.E.C vast amounts of money were spent on the infrastructure particularly roads and bridges by funds provided by other E.E.C country members. About this time Portugal began to experience major debt problems caused in one way by everybody being given the opportunity to have a credit card! For a short time the economy seems to be booming but now property prices have risen so much so in recent years that many people are unable to afford or even think about owning their own home. Rents have escalated as more demand has been placed upon the dwindling housing stock and the poor people who were previously living in shanty towns in and around Lisbon are now hidden away in high rise buildings where their social problems have only been exacerbated.

So this is why our Christmas parcel ministry is so important and why Siloam works through Pastor Oscar Segura whom we have known for more than 20 years. We can be sure that a parcel of groceries given at Christmas time, will literally keep body and soul together for at least a 100 people that we can help.

Many tourists travelling to the Algarve and other parts of Portugal come to realise the vast social problems of Portugal caused by poverty particularly among the children. They often contact us to say that what we say about Portugal being a country in social need is perfectly correct.

A Siloam Christmas food parcel costs around £58.00 but your gift of £5, £10, £20 or whatever you can afford will do much this Christmas along with other friends, to help provide the needs for one family you can identify with.

This is a programme of Christian social outreach made possible because many caring supporters of Siloam in the UK contribute generously towards the needs of others, especially at Christmas time.

Thank you in anticipation of your generous support.

Richard Norton

Director-Siloam UK


Shopping List

(Prices in Euros)

100 Packets Chocolate De Leite (Milk Chocolate Bars) 36.00
100 Jars Mistura Soluvel (Coffee) 199.00
100 Packets Choco Flakes (Choco Flakes Cereals) 129.00
100 Tins Pessego Metades (Sliced Peaches) 99.00
100 Packets Sumo Pessego & Uva (Peach & Grape Juice) 85.00
100 Tins Sardinhas Oleo Vegetal (Sardines In Oil) 59.00
300 Tins Atum Em Oleo Vegetal(Tuna in Vegetable Oil) 195.00
200 Jars Salchichas Frankfurt(Frankfurter Sausages) 78.00
100 Packets Pure De Batata (Dry Dehydrated Potato) 129.00
100 Jars Maionese C/Ovo (Mayonnaise With Egg) 109.00
100 Packets Ketchup (Ketchup) 99.00
100 Packets Sal Grosso (Salt) 15.00
100 PAckets Polpa De Tomate (Tin Tomato Pureé) 66.00
100 Bottles Vinagre (Vinegar) 65.00
100 Bottles Azeite Tradicional (Traditional Olive Oil) 199.00
100 Bottles Oleo Alimentar (Cooking Oil) 119.00
200 Packets Acucar Branco (White Sugar) 178.00
200 Packets Ovos (Eggs) 118.00
100 Bottles Lavatudo Floral (Cleaning Product) 79.00
100 Bottles Det. Ultra. Conc. (Washing Up Liquid) 79.00
100 Packets Pasta Dentifrica (Toothpaste) 89.00
100 Bottles Sabonete Liquido (Liquid Hand Soap) 99.00
100 Packets Creme De Duche (Shower Gel) 99.00
100 Packets Champo Pro Vitaminas (Shampoo) 169.00
100 Bottles Detergente Liquido (Liquid Detergente) 289.00
40 Sacks Papel Higienico (Toilet Paper) 63.60
200 Packets Leite Meio Gordo (Half Fat Milk) 98.00
100 Tins Leite Condensado (Carnation Milk) 159.00
100 Pacekts Creme P/ Barrar (Spread Sandwich) 89.00
100 Packets Queijo Flamengo (Flamengo Cheese) 135.00
100 Packets Fiambre (Ham) 89.00
100 Packets Chourico Extra (Sausage) 129.00
100 Packets Chouricao/Paio (Other Chourizo) 149.00
100 Packets Feijao Manteiga (Dry Butter Beans) 41.00
100 Jars Feijao Frade Frasco (Bottled Beans) 41.00
100 Jars Grao De Bico (Bottled Chickpeas) 41.00
100 Packets Marmelada (Marmalade) 79.00
100 Tins Ervilhas Finas (Peas) 59.00
100 Tins Cogumelos Laminados (Sliced Mushrooms) 59.00
100 Tins Pate De Atum (Tunna Paté) 39.00
100 Packets Farinha De Trigo (Wheat Flour) 33.00
100 Packets Nestum De Mel (Nestum Honey Cereals) 149.00
100 Packets Sortido Areias/Bolos (Little Cakes) 89.00
24 Bottles Azeite Gallo (Olive Oil) 59.76
24 Bottles Oleo Fula (Cooking Oil) 45.36
200 Packets Arroz (Rice) 120.00
100 Packets Manteiga (Butter) 90.00
100 Packets Macarrao (Pasta) 35.00
100 Packets Cotovelo (Pasta) 35.00
100 Packets Esparguete (Spaghetti) 35.00
100 Packets Pevide (Dry Seeds Like Peanuts) 25.00
100 Portions Bacalhau (Dry Codfish) 800.09
100 Bags Sacos Plasticos (Plastic Bags) 35.00
Gasolina (Vehicle Fuel) 125.00
Fotos (Photos For Siloam Supporters) 20.00

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