For this past week, Tati and I — alongside a team of 8 other adults (and 3 kids) from Harding University Global Outreach Program, Matt Bell and Dee Was from Florida, and many Lithuanian counselors — worked at Ruta Christian Camp in Lithuania. It was an amazing experience working with all these 6-13 year-olds! Our team from HU planned and taught the daily Bible lessons and we also worked as counselors/chaperones. The Vilnius CoC does an amazing job reaching out to these kids and their families. We’re so thankful that the Lord has allowed us to come here and be used by Him! ❤?
We made it to Lithuania. Our Global Outreach team from Harding University will be here for two weeks as we will be encouraging the congregation in Vilnius and working at a kids camp! We’re excited to serve the Lord in this beautiful country! ?
This week we had the opportunity to attend church with our brothers and sisters at the Stratford CoC in East London. They were the sweetest people, very loving. We felt REALLY welcomed by all of them. Today Maikon did the Bible school and taught the brethren here the Discovery Bible Study. ❤?
So, let us please tell you about our day yesterday (Sunday, June 9). Please, hang in there and read it till the end.
1) It was our last day in Portugal and we were eager to spend the Lord’s Day with our brothers and sisters in Lisbon. In the morning, we called an Uber and, to our surprise, the driver identified himself as a Christian (probably evangelical). Please note, Christians are the minority in Portugal. Ezequiel said that he and his wife had recently moved and were actually looking for a new church family. I gave him our card, got his phone number and gave it to our brother Valfredo who will reach out to him this week.
2) After having a great day in Lisbon with the church, it was time to say our goodbyes and head the airport (we will be in London for some days in between Portugal and Lithuania). We got to London late, took the train at the airport and headed to our Airbnb. However, when we got to the Underground station, we found out that it was closed and we wouldn’t be able to change lines. We tried calling an Uber but both our apps were not working (will have to call our bank in America to see what’s going on). This means that we were pretty much strained at Holborn station, halfway through to our destination at 1 AM.
3) We called our host at the Airbnb and told him what happened. Iyanga was a very kind guy who, right away, volunteered to help us. He called an Uber from his own phone and had the driver pick us up at the station. We were very surprised by his attitude and willingness to help us. We were actually wondering why he would do such a thing to two complete strangers… In the car, on the way to the house, we got to talk to the driver, a very sweet lady called Selena. It turned out that she was also a Christian (bear in mind that, when compared to Portugal, Christianity in the UK is even smaller). We were so surprised! She told us that she recently married an American from Florida and will be soon moving with him to… Boca Raton!! This is precisely one of the two cities where Tati and I are planning to move to and work with the Brazilian community after I graduate from HU!!! A divine coincidence, maybe?? We exchanged contacts and will definitely keep in touch with her!
4) Alright… It was way past 2 AM when we finally arrived at our Airbnb. We were greeted by our host’s mom, Ms. Eka. She is a sweet lady originally from Nigeria. We got to talking a little bit while she was showing us around the house. In the kitchen, we saw a plate hanging on the wall with a Christian image and a Bible verse. I noticed it and said to her that I really liked it and that we were Christians. She revealed that she was one as well. Again, maybe just another divine coincidence. Wait, it doesn’t stop there. She looked at my sweater and saw it was from HU. She smiled and asked: “Are you perhaps members of the church of Christ?” It turned out that her son and she are our brother and sister in Christ!! What are the odds of such a thing happening!!!??? Tati and I are still in total awe!! Ms. Eka is sooooooo happy to be hosting us and can’t wait to take us to church with her on Wednesday and Sunday. She told us that this is the very first time ever that they host Christians in their home, let alone church of Christ Christians!! Tati and I said a huge Thanksgiving prayer last night before we went to bed and we’re still trying to figure out what God is trying to tell us with all this!! Against all the very odds, there are no coincidences to God. The churches of Christ are REALLY small here in London and there is no way to know personal details about your Airbnb hosts when you book a house to stay. We simply chose one that had a good rate and was close to an Underground station. But then God decided to orchestrate things in such a way that we end up, unknowingly, coming to a church of Christ household. It was emotional and teary to us all! We are happy that this is just another proof that the Lord is with us and guiding us in each step of the way! We’re humbled and happy that we will get to serve the church in here London this week! This is another huge opportunity to praise the Lord for his greatness! 🙂 ?
After spending a few days in Porto, we came back to Lisbon. We have truly enjoyed getting to know the city. It is very beautiful, clean and well organized, with a great blend of history and modernity! We also spent time with our brothers and sisters from the congregation here. On Sunday, Maikon preached and Tati led a Bible study with the ladies while they had a picnic in a nearby park.
Our survey trip to Portugal started in the beautiful city of Porto. We really enjoyed meeting our brothers and sisters at church today. The congregation, although small, was very biblical and sound (and it very much reminded us of the small churches back in Brazil). Porto receives quite a lot of tourists and today we had a sister (named Carol) from Switzerland, for whom Tati helped translate most of the worship service. The message was brought by a brother from the church in Brasilia. After church we had lunch with many people from church at João and Aline’s house. We had a great time of fellowship with one another and the food was delicious! It was indeed a very good day and we feel good!! Thank you, Lord! ?❤