As our team boarded our first flight of what would be a 20 hour journey to Lisbon, Portugal, we did so as strangers. John was our common denominator along with the fact that we had all answered the call to serve in coaching American Football to the incredible children of Portugal. Most of our time during the flights was spent in silence, either watching a movie or trying to catch a couple of moments of sleep.
During our couple of layovers we began the process of getting to know each other by sharing our stories. It’s always a challenge to learn and get to know new people. Mission trips I find are a little unique, in the sense of regardless whether or not you may like a person, the realization that you have to at least get along with everyone can sometimes cause a little anxiety. By the time we touched down in Lisbon any fears I may have had on that front had already been put to bed. This was going to be fun to serve along side John, Scott and Jackson!
Traveling overnight is something I have always preferred to do so it was no big deal to fly during the night to Portugal. Landing in the early morning hours proved to be just like driving through the night to Florida. I was a little tired from the flight but felt pretty good. The anticipation for the week ahead helped to override any lack of rest I may have had.
The airport was about a 45 minute trip away from the apartment we had rented for the week. I and the team was introduced to our primary mode of transportation for the week – The Metro. I’m the first to admit that public transportation is not in my top 10 list of ways to travel. However, after utilizing the Metro and Train system of Lisbon, I can now see how great it would be if Atlanta could emulate the same system as they have in Lisbon.
By the end of the week, we had become very adept at navigating the metro and by we, I mean John, Scott and Jackson. I either followed them or listened for which direction to go. Getting back to topside in the area of our apartment, we knew that we would have to wait a couple of hours before being able to check-in to our home for the week.
Enter Maria Teresa and her grandmother. Teresa’s grandmother graciously agreed to allow us to temporarily store our bags at her place while we waited for check-in. Teresa and another friend of John’s, Rodrigo were kind enough to meet us shortly after arriving in the area of Alvalade. These two folks are just incredible people and after just a short time with them, I knew I had just met two new life-long friends. More about these two later!
Although just 11:00 am our team was starving and needed to eat. So it was that we made our way over to a plaza type area to find something to eat. Our first meal in Portugal was at a hamburger joint and was absolutely delicious! I quickly developed a love affair with the Portuguese cuisine and anxiously await my return to partake of more steak, fish, ribs, chicken, sausage and most of all – God’s Bread.
The rest of Saturday was kind of blur, as we took in some sights, got to know the Metro better and what would become a common theme for the week, were able to enjoy a fantastic dinner! Sunday was going to busy a day as we planned to visit Hillsong Portugal, the park where camp was to be held and end the day with another church service, this time with our host church of Alta Christa.
Until the next chapter. Take care and God bless,
Peace and thanks for reading,