When we first moved to Portugal five years ago, building relationships was one of our big goals. We didn’t know anybody in our town, so we set out to meet as many people as possible. We did volunteer work, I played basketball with a group of men, we made Christmas cookies for our neighbors, and we spent many hours at cookouts, cafés, and birthday parties. Fast forward to the present where we now know hundreds of people in our town… You know that feeling when you go to Wal-Mart (or wherever you shop) and you always see at least a couple of people you know? That is us now.
While we still want to keep meeting people, we are noticing a big change in how we spend our time. Instead of spending most of our time out in the community working to meet people, we are busy taking care of all the people attending and visiting the church plant. This is a natural progression in our work, but we don’t want to get so focused on “maintenance” that we forget to keep reaching out. Thankfully, we are at the point now where people always come to church on Sunday, and we have people work to keep us “busy” throughout the week. However, I don’t want to go from week to week in maintenance mode and forget to look up and see the big picture of what we are doing.
Because of this, I have started teaching a religion and morality class in one of the high schools in our town. Sarah taught a class like this three years ago. The goal is to meet new young people and to be more involved in our community. Pray for this to happen. Yesterday I had my first class, and seven students showed up. It may not seem like a lot, but I was thrilled, and I think more will come as they hear about the class.
September was full of youth outreach. Here are some pictures: