Because of everything We’ve had to do, we haven’t been in the ministry as much as needgreaters should be, but we are trying to do as much as we can as we handle our business. We were told by the Veloz family that this is normal. They had to do the same thing when they got here and it took longer for them because they are a family of four. This made me feel better but I am still anxious for us to go full force in the field. The good news is that everything so far has gone so smoothly so we don’t have much more to do.
Field service right now has been mostly driving around and verifying if the homes we have are Spanish-speaking. We are still a group and there are some challenges getting through the territory. Some advice that was given to us was to preach with the English congregation because they find lots of people who speak Spanish. We are thinking of making Friday the day for this. The bible studies that Margarida and Juan have were found by friends in English. Alfredo and I live in the municipality of Sintra and we were told that there are lots of Spanish speaking here. The supermarkets are in the mall so we are constantly there. I know now that I need to be ready with literature in Spanish because on the third or fourth day we were here we were in the mall and I heard two men having lunch and speaking Spanish and I couldn’t believe that we both left the house unprepared!!! I felt like a failure. So now I’m always ready and listening wherever we go.
The meetings are awesome. The elders are so great at teaching, and because we are a small group I feel like the interaction in the questions and answers are more personal. Juan’s bible study comes to all the meetings and he comments too. Tuesday he gave his first bible reading. All our meetings are in Spanish except for the small part before the Congregation Bible Study; for this part, we watch the Portuguese congregation on the monitor since the group is under its supervision and this is the area that sometimes deals with the local needs of the congregation. (One day I’m going to prepare an answer in Portuguese and leave the library to give a comment.)
There are about 25 publishers in our group, made up of mostly Venezuelans. If you’ve heard of everything that is going on over there then you may know that they are all fleeing their country. I found out that lots of Portuguese went over to Venezuela to live and start businesses and families. This is why a lot of Venezuelans are coming here; through their Portuguese roots they can legally come and live. There is also a large portion of Colombians in the country. Margarida and Juan have already infiltrated themselves in Latin Americans living in Portugal groups on Facebook. Juan got into a WhatsApp group of a community of Dominicans living here and around memorial time he sent out the invitation to the whole group and the consulate called him and asked him what it was all about. The consulate resent the invitation to more groups. One Dominican got a hold of it and was really excited. He was telling others to go and check it out. He went to the memorial and to a meeting. Juan is still trying to pin him down for a study but the man is still telling people that they all need to come and check out our group! I can’t wait to see what happens there.
The friends in the congregation do what they can but they are here to live and provide for their families so before we came, the Velozes were the ones that were really working the territory. The others go out on the weekends. The group really does need help. There is another family that moved to a campsite to live in a trailer so that they can be closer and support the group as much as they can. Seeing their sacrifice is very encouraging.
Besides our group in Cascais, there is a pre-group in Lisbon and we just found out about another pre-group up north in Porto. I can’t wait to see how Spanish grows in this country.