"Are you recovering from your trip to Portugal?" I have heard this question over and over. I am grateful for the concern and prayers. My typical response is "I'm getting there."
While I am getting my land-legs again and getting back to the usual work load, I don't believe I will totally recover. I will not totally recover, because I have left a piece of my heart in Portugal among our sisters and brothers who are longing for revival and chance to be the Church alive and vital.
I don't read minds but I can sometimes read faces and I hear clearly "A mission trip to Europe? What do they need? They have everything!" Portugal is one of the hardest hit countries by the economic crisis in Europe. Young people are fleeing to find jobs and futures in other countries. The Roman Catholic Church, while tolerant, is not truly accepting of the Methodist Church in Portugal. In Portugal there is no seminary or religious education for the clergy, and the clergy are few in number. The churches are in old buildings; most in need of much repair. Our sisters and brothers in the Methodist Church need our support via prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.
Sure, money is needed, and lots of it. But what is needed even more is the tie to their Wesleyan families with the prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. This is where a bridge will be built and sustained as we share in our strengths and weaknesses. Here the kingdom of God will come into fruition as we look beyond the barriers and faults and see the opportunities and needs.
I have some good friends in Portugal, and I'm proud to serve our God with them, so you see I won't fully recover from my trip. I hope no one will fully recover from the blessings of God we experienced and the lives we became entwined with in Portugal.
Upon my return I was blessed to gather with my Cabinet brothers and sisters for three days. We are seeking God's direction as we begin the process of Appointment making. Please pray for each of us and all who might be involved in the process.