I am about to leave Portugal but I wanted to tell you of what I’ve learned in short while here.
*** You may know where God’s leading for the next step, but you never know the destination He has in mind. I thought I was coming here to speak and sing for several events, but instead I was blessed to stay with a family and speak only once…to a group of women that made up for all of the groups I could have spoken for in their hunger and brokenness before the LORD. Afterwards women from England, Portugal, America, and other countries shared, cried, asked for my notes, and allowed me entrance into their lives…for life. Many of the women told tales of people who had thought they were visiting and then came to live. One lady looked me in the eye and as she hugged me said, “I just feel like you’ll be back!”
***While in Europe I’ve sensed this depth in friendships that goes beyond just being together while doing something for a memory…It’s a genuine unabashed concern for someone for life – and you family! They can sit and just talk without feeling like they are wasting time. Not once have I seen a European friend here too busy, flustered, or anxious to smile to a camera or talk. People are not afraid of other countries, but also willing to not be inquisitive. Honesty here is refreshing…They aren’t as afraid of offending and so they say it like it is – the good, bad, and the ugly. They are not afraid to say if something is wrong with their country (pick-pockets – I was warned quite a bit here in Portugal), but they are also very kind yet proud of their countries…verbally! When I compliment their country they either nodd in agreement or say “Thank you.” They take ownership, are proud, and therefore are eager to show you around and help you get to see places!
***I’m learning that the study that I want to do I don’t always do…It seems that there is a distance between wanting and doing that I haven’t quite discovered the bridge to yet. I’m a doer, and yet I’ll get distracted by my feeling of need to be with the people all the time, or to finish tying the loose ends of paperwork before I study. I refuse for this to be my way of life. I want to see all that God desires of me. The materials for the bridge: Time (we all have the same amount, the resources [what’s needed other than the Bible?), the even many times the place! LORD, forgive me and thank you for your grace on the times that I have been more prepared…only Your goodness. I want more. Spurred on by my Roman friends’ fervor and discipline, I realized that it’s no longer enough to read the Bible…I want/must study it to show myself approved a workman that needeth not to be ashamed!
*** I got brave and did a few interviews in Lisbon, Portugal. Unfortunately, they were all erased off my video and I no longer have them. But, my question was: When you think of America what comes to your mind? I got many answers – teens, a woman from Slovenia, a man from Denmark, the Portugese. Many of them answered what I expected and others surprised me:
PORTUGESE: “I liked your other President better.” (He said it with such tenderness.)
ME: “Why? Bush?”
PORTUGESE: “Bush…Because I think he loved America.”
DENMARK: The people are very friendly. I like the diners – go in the morning and get delicious food. I want to go to Oklahoma it looks beautiful there in the shows.
Portugese: I believe in Scientology – Science is my god.”
ME: “I choose to believe in the one who made Science.”
(After that we had good conversation, but that topic [other than more talk about Tom Cruise and another actor Pres. and Vice Pres. in Scientology] never was really spoken of again much. He knew quite a bit about it because he went to the “church” that used to be down the street from his restaurant. Sad.
Teens: Fast Food, Hollywood…
German: “I don’t like political discussions” (We then became friends and enjoyed being on the top of the Portugese version of the Iffel Tower.) I met others from Sweeden, Germany etc. – Really wish I could have had more time with them!
Anyone (even from another restaurant) that had been to America, wanted to tell me all about wherever they had been. None had a bad comment at all except for one man that said he had lived in Newark and it was always so fast. Most people had only been to NY or that area and loved it.
***One woman was enamored by something I said after I spoke…I looked at them and said, “We are all the same, we all need Jesus – He just has all of us who know Him spread out all over the world, but we are all the same.” It was as if she had never thought of it that way.
***I have never known a cold like this in Portugal…Night and day I wore a jacket/thick sweater – even to bed! My friends had given me a space heater too. It was a wet cold, and with the marble floors usually warmer outside.
***God never forgets and is always dreaming bigger than we are. May we continue onward…. Freed by His love and compelled to know Him more, Amy.