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Ministry Update: A Portuguese Interlude

Many who follow us on Facebook or Instagram no doubt noticed a series of pictures and updates from Portugal a couple weeks ago. Some even contacted us to find out what we were doing on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s actually an interesting story, and it all has to do with Covid…kind of.

Most know that Itacyara is Brazilian. When we come to the US, she is on a visa that allows her to stay six months at a time, with the option of extending that for another six months. Or at least, that is how it has worked for all of our previous furloughs. This time, however, we were told upon arrival that, due to the enormous backlog caused by closures due to the Covid pandemic, an extension would not be possible. She would have to leave the country, and then come back.

Our first thought was that we would take a quick trip back to Brazil. However, as we explored our options, we discovered that tickets to Portugal were much cheaper than tickets to Brazil. And so, to make a long story short, we were able to spend a wonderful week with our friends Adam and Melissa Gibson, ABWE missionaries in Lisbon.

There is no way that I can adequately describe all of the wonderful things we saw while we were there. So I’m just going to post a few pictures with links where you can see more. I’ve organized these by the more interesting places we visited.

The Roman Ruins

Perhaps the best place we visited was an excavation of an ancient Roman settlement just outside of Lisbon. There were even archaeologists on site to explain to us what we were seeing. Amazing!

Quinta da Regaleira

This is a mysterious 19th-century mansion steeped in Masonic and Templar tradition. Here is an interesting video with some background on it.

The Mafra Palace and Convent

A magnificent structure that was built with gold brought from Brazil, and served as dwelling place for several of the last Portuguese monarchs. We were privileged to have a local missionary who knows the palace inside and out serve as our guide.

Óbidos

Óbidos is a medieval city surrounded by a wall originally built by the Moors. A truly fascinating place.

Downtown Lisbon

I was able to spend a day with Adam exploring downtown Lisbon, and it was a true adventure. So many interesting things to see and do. We even got to ride the famous “Trolley 28” (pictured above).

The São Jorge Castle

We actually visited this medieval fortress during our visit to downtown Lisbon, but it merits its own category.

Cascais

Cascais is a lovely seaside community where one can find lots of touristy things.

I probably could have made two or three more categories, but time is short. If you would like to see all our Portugal pictures, including ones that weren’t included in the albums I linked to above, click here.

I should mention that on the Sunday we were there I had the privilege of speaking at the Igreja Baptista Evangélica das Colinas on the Sunday we were there. It was a unique experience – preaching in English for their international service, and then switching to Portuguese for their national service.

I also got to meet up with Wesley, a former student of ours at the Cariri Seminary, who now serves as a missionary with his family in Lisbon.

Itacyara and I are extremely grateful to God for allowing us to do this, as well as providing a part-time job for me here in New York which enabled us to afford it. We had a wonderful trip…Lord willing it will not be our last!

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