First of all a big apology for not keeping the blog going. We had a software error which could only be resolved by someone with access to a server in the UK not by me from my iPad!
The weather is hotting up, although there is a strong breeze many days, tourists are returning and the ‘snow birds’ (people who come from Canada,France, Scandinavia etc. for the winter months) are returning. Almond trees blossom freely, many flowers are blooming and summer birds are returning,including swallows and the wonderful sights and sounds of storks nesting on roofs and chimney pots, but not ours fortunately.
We have just enjoyed a great week with our daughter and her family over for the half term week. The weather was warm enough to spend time on the beach (and in the sea- grandchildren only!) a number of days as well as explore the area and sample local Portuguese restaurants. We also had a visit inside the lighthouse at Cap St Vincent (end of Europe), which is still manned. Apparently it takes 1.5 months to clean all the crystal lenses around the bulb. Don’t ever complain about the hoovering again!
As time has gone on we have begun to learn more about the church here and it’s make up and challenges.
One of the main challenges is the fact that church is primarily Portuguese at the Friday evening service and very international at the Sunday morning service. So it is really one church with many expressions – providing a well to drink from for people who visit on holiday or for longer, on the one hand, and evangelising the poor in Lagos on the other and managing both sets of expectations. (Answers on a postcard please)
The pastor decided that we needed to change the strategy for the Mustard Seed and close down the soup service here for the time being. We no longer provide a cooked meal once a week but now provide food direct to homes of the poor in the area. This way we have much more contact with them and their situation and some have started to attend the Friday evening Portuguese service. The food we provide also lasts for several meals rather than just one. It is a joy to meet some Portuguese people whose lives have really been turned around and there are 3 more waiting to be baptised shortly.
We have had a car some of the time here prior to our family’s arrival which has enabled us to travel around and get to know the area better. There is plenty of fantastic scenery here on the Atlantic coast and when the wind and waves combine there are some spectacular scenes created. We are also enjoying good walking and birdwatching and given the weather here, we can get out everyday.
Our Portuguese language lessons have been a real struggle as many of the words are difficult to pronounce and unnatural to our English tongue! Still we are making progress and it is beginning to make some sense to us, especially in the songs at Church, although when we use it in shops and they reply in English it’s a bit frustrating. English is taught in schools here so it is very easy here for expats to settle and never learn the language.
Our son and his wife join us for a few days next week so it will be good to see them and show them around.
Well I think that is all for now and I hope to get back to writing a weekly blog now that the software problems have been resolved.
With every good wish to you all and trusting that the launch of Hope North, in Winchester, is a breakthrough moment in the area.
Kevin and Ruth.