During the past school year, I’ve been teaching Old Testament survey at a seminary here in Portugal. During the fall semester, I taught a class on campus, but during the spring semester I’ve been teaching through distance learning to ten students in the Azores islands. Every Friday night, I sit in my living room and teach for three hours through a web cam to the students who are gathered in three locations on two different islands. Despite the distance and the technical challenges we sometimes face, the class has gone well, and we all have enjoyed the experience.
At the beginning of the semester, I promised the class that I would come and visit them. Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to the island of Faial where I spent a couple days with the students and their church. On Friday, we had our class, except this time I was right there with them instead of on a screen. The next day, I taught a class on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit to a group from the church. It was a good time of fellowship, and I enjoyed getting to know the people better.
Being in the Azores was a change for me. Since we live just outside of Lisbon, we are used to traffic, a fast-paced life, and all the conveniences that come with living in a big city. The island of Faial, where I was at, is remote and isolated. With a population of 15,000 people, it’s basically a small town on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The scenery is gorgeous and the people are friendly, but there are few born-again Christians.
One of our goals when we came to Portugal was to strengthen churches and train leaders. Teaching this class has enabled me to do just that. It is gratifying to see people growing in their knowledge of Scripture and applying that in ministry in their churches. Thank you for your part in helping make all of this possible.