top of page

Our Story

My name is Elsen Portugal and I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1963). Since the mid-80's, my wife Michelle and I have served in Christian ministry in Missions and Music in Texas, New Jersey, Germany, Costa Rica, and Brazil.  We have 4 grown children and 6 grandchildren.  


I hold a Bachelor of Music from East Texas Baptist University, a Master's of Missions from Patriot Bible University, and a Master's of Music from the University of Central Arkansas, as well as additional graduate credit hours in World Arts from GIAL in Duncanville, TX (now Dallas International University). At present I am pursuing a PhD in the field of Ethnodoxology at B. H. Carroll Theological Institute in Irving, TX.  From 2007 to 2013 I had the opportunity to teach at Champion Christian College in Hot Springs, AR, as well as at National Park Community College from 2011 to 2013.  From 2014 to 2017, my wife and I lived in Brazil where I served as a Music Director at a local church.  During that period, we also offered courses in Arts in Missions in partnership with Wycliffe Global Alliance, and formed key partnerships for upcoming training workshops either with cross-cultural workers or with indigenous people groups in Brazil. 

Michelle is a native of Louisiana.  We met in Texas in 1983, and we were married in 1985. Always at my side through thick and thin, she has been a strong supporter of the ministry with her gifts in crafts, her secretarial skills, and is an overall people-person, a wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother.  

Ethnomusicology and Christian ministry are blended together in what is now often termed 'Ethnodoxology' or Ethnoarts in a unique way.  This type of work involves aiding people groups to develop their own hymnody, based on their own traditional music (as opposed to imported musical styles), as well as other artistic forms.  The work also includes teaching pioneer missionaries to cultivate this approach.  A people's 'heart music', for example, will speak more deeply to and from their hearts and open up the hearts of those who have not yet come to know Christ. For more information check the following websites:

You can also watch videos on this topic at

Arts in Mission 

bottom of page