Here are a few blogs that I find encouraging. Some of them are extremely helpful and educational for those of us who are new at it and those that want to get started but all of them are very uplifting.
“Bring the entire tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house; and test me out, please, in this regard,” Jehovah of armies says, “to see whether I will not open to you the floodgates of the heavens and pour out on you a blessing until there is nothing lacking.” – Malachi 3:10
If I put our experiences about how we arrived here, I might encourage another couple to serve where the need is greater too. I have received a few messages from others telling me that they have the same goal. I also read blogs of other needgreaters to stay encouraged. It’s amazing to learn how Jehovah is blessing their efforts. When we started this journey we got to see it first hand and it feels amazing. So this post is a list of how Jehovah has helped us, just so that you can see how he will help you too. We are aware that this is what Jehovah has done for all that make sacrifices in their lives to do his will. Prayer is at the forefront of every new step.
- Choosing Portugal
When we both decided that serving in another country would be our goal, we began to think about places we’ve already been and investigate places we’ve heard about. I’m the researcher of the two of us so I was writing people and asking lots of questions, etc. Jehovah was obviously guiding our search because I began chatting with my cousin who is a needgreater in Thailand and she told me to get in touch with Margarida, who then gave a load of information about Portugal. It was then we decided to come here. So without delay we put forth the effort to prepare, which allowed us to see and know if Jehovah was on board.
- Making steps to save money
After we decided that Portugal was the goal we needed to save money. Jehovah helped us find a large town home for about $200 less than what we were paying for a smaller apartment. It was very important to us to be able to continue to entertain, because we saw that as our way of encouraging the friends. Our prayers were answered. We knew that this was Jehovah’s answer because we were told that the owner of the town home was very picky and many before us were turned down. Also, when we spotted the home it was being priced $25 higher but when we were approved the price was lowered, putting the rate right at the price we desired and prayed about.
- A better paying job
I remember sitting at my desk and doing the math to figure out how many hours I needed to work to make ends meet for the both of us while in Portugal. The job I had was not paying much. I said a prayer to Jehovah about how I needed a better-paying job and as soon as I looked at my Instagram I saw a message from my friend sending my a post from two needgreaters mentioning that their company was hiring teachers. She had no clue that I was looking. I had just said a prayer and she almost didn’t send it because she knew I already had a job. She said something made her send it to me. The brother helped me get the job even after I messed up big time on my interview, I have been working with them since September. They pay double of what I was getting paid and they pay in Euros.
- Changing our leave date
We already knew that this was the correct move because of everything that had been happening. Our original date was set for September/October. When we spoke to the Velozes they gave us some food for thought, “If you start now, you can get here by April!” We arrived on April 22. But how did we manage that when we had a lease that wasn’t up till June, money that we still needed to save and planning to be made?
- More money
We were moving to Portugal no matter what. That was the goal with all trust in Jehovah. We needed to save money and we were working at it. Then suddenly my husband was offered a severance from his job if he chose not relocate with the company. We received what we needed to be able to start over in a new country.
- Transferring our lease
I began telling everyone that if we don’t find someone to take over the lease, we wouldn’t be leaving till June. Then I found out that Alfredo was telling people that We were definitely leaving in April no matter what, so I had to change my message. (just a small lack of communication… lol). This required us to trust fully that Jehovah would find someone for us or make it so that even if we have to pay the final three months it wouldn’t feel like we lost any money. We were all in, and we decided to buy our tickets even before we had our visas! (The tickets were super cheap). We were leaving anyway. Weeks and months went by. Some came to see the place and even said they liked it and then we never heard from them again. We were nervous, but we new it was going to be ok. Finally a sister came by with a workmate who loved it and got approved about a week before we left. A sigh of relief and many thanks to Jehovah, we were financially and legally freed from the lease. On top of all of this, our complete deposit was returned to us.
- Our visas
As I mentioned, We bought our tickets before we sent in our visa applications. They were so cheap that we needed to take advantage of the deals. The consulate on the website stated that if you live less than 2 hours away, you would need to present for an interview before approval or denial. We lived an hour and a half away. It took only 3 weeks to get approved with no interview. Our passports were stamped and returned to us in the mail. I even put the wrong visa request by accident and the consular corrected it and gave us the one we actually needed.
- Getting rid of everything
This was by far the hardest part–the attachment to things and the physical work involved. We had some wonderful friends that helped us and they are true blessings from Jehovah. If it were not for them, we could not have gotten it all done. One sister and her niece cleaned our entire apartment alone while I was out running errands. It was spotless. Those friends that helped and encouraged us were sent from Jehovah. We are sure of it.
- Finding an apartment
Our visas were approved in February and it gave us only 4 months to get here and present to immigration. We got here with one month to spare. We needed to find a place quickly and we did. Within a week we chose a place and in two weeks we were all moved in. We did not need a co-signer, as most places were asking for, and we did not need a financial number as is usually needed. Our landlords are sweethearts. Our place is spacious enough for company and within our budget.
- Our car
We realized sometime before we arrived that we could not rely very heavily on public transportation. So we decided that we would need a car. We had a budget set to buy a used car and we found one before one month was finished. It can take a group of 5 in the territory and it gets us from one place to another.
- Alfredo’s job
A few months before we came a brother reached out to me about a job online. My husband is now in training for that position. He’ll be working part-time on the same days as I am. Even if this gig doesn’t work for him, we know that financially Jehovah will care for us and he will provide something else.
- The Elders here in Portugal
I have to add them to this list of blessings because they have been so refreshing since we got here. Moving to another country can be extremely daunting, but they have given us the reassurance that we needed. They welcomed us immediately. I see that Jehovah provided us comfort and what we needed when we needed it.
We are not special or privileged, it’s just that Jehovah keeps his promises.
“All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you because you keep listening to the voice of Jehovah your God…” Deuteronomy 28:2
Wow! it’s been two months already!
We just finished our second month here in Portugal. It went by so quickly. Until recently, I was still telling people that we’ve only been here for a month. Alfredo and I both feel good in Portugal. He feels amazed with being in Portugal, while I feel as if I am nowhere in the world, as if I am only somewhere but not far away from anywhere. Things are noticeably different, but for some reason I don’t feel it. I feel like I am alive in the world. I haven’t felt that “wow!” feeling, but I also haven’t felt like I hate it here. It just feels like life. I see this as positive because I can say I feel at home. I don’t know if that makes sense , but what I mean is, I feel as normal here as I feel in Connecticut.
“So, how’s your Portuguese coming along?”
Question of the year… I knew that Portuguese wasn’t going to be easy but I think Alfredo was expecting it to be easier. I was in the Portuguese congregation for one year after being in Spanish for seven years, so I had some experience with the language. Although I was commenting, giving talks, and going out in service I never got to the point of fluency. I was still learning when I returned to Spanish and unfortunately I forgot everything! As soon as we got here my husband realized that learning this language was not going to be easy. We both have a desire to learn but the problem is we don’t have enough opportunity to practice. Our meetings are all in Spanish. We spend time with the Spanish group. We work in English and Spanish only and most people speak English or understand Spanish. This has made learning somewhat slow for us. I try to use what I know. I would like to give myself a year to get settled in and then maybe take a class of Portuguese. One thing that scares me is that I will begin to mix my Spanish with Portuguese. This was one of the main reasons I switched back to Spanish in the first place. My brain speaks Spanish as a second language, not as a first. So it doesn’t recognize that it is learning a new language. I began to mix Spanish with Portuguese and vise versa. Honestly, Spanish is very important to me and if I have to sacrifice a language it will have to be Portuguese. I am going to do my best to train my brain to separate the two. Often times, even the native Spanish speakers use Portuguese with Spanish and they are ending their words with sh sounds instead of a a normal s. I don’t want to start doing that. This is my biggest fear. We’ll see how it all goes.
Life has started
I am back to work after taking a 2 month hiatus. Alfredo is training to be a quality assurance agent online. Before we left a brother who’s serving in D.R. contacted us about a position he is hiring for. We didn’t contact him until we were set up here. The training ends next week so we’ll see how everything goes. It’s so encouraging to see how Jehovah has been helping us put the little pieces together. As long as we continue to put him first he will keep providing for us. We have so many stories to tell and I can’t wait to continue to grow together here. Jehovah’s hand is not short that is for sure.
Now that we’re mostly settled we’ve been able to have a normal service schedule. As I said in my last post we’re mostly doing search work. The list of Spanish speaking homes was made about 3 or 4 years ago so we need to update the list. It seems like finding them can be difficult since 1. they move and 2. they tend to blend in, learn Portuguese and living their lives. We know that we have Colombian, Cuban, Dominican, Chilean, and Venezuelan communities and a mix of others. There is an African, Spanish-speaking country and we know that there are a few of them here as well. So the search work is on. We’ve all infiltrated ourselves in these little groups on Facebook so we can keep track of events, etc. As I’ve stated several times: The Spanish group in Portugal needs help. We hope you can come out. We will help you with your plans and Jehovah will maneuver things for you. (By the way, we just lost a family of five who went back to Portuguese so we could really use your help!)