|Ethiopian food on Biruk's 4th birthday - May 4, 2011|
I am afraid that my blog lacks the thoughtful commentary that I love to read myself. Back in the day I threw some "thought" in here and there. There are some great pictures of our time in Portugal and our 2008 Survey trip to Angola, but I'm not even showing pictures of our current ministry or life here in Angola. Yes, I know, I haven't been posting at all.
I promise I do a lot of blog writing...obviously not here...I do it in my brain. I'd say I have an idea for a blog post at least daily. So I am giving myself one last chance to be a thoughtful blogger before the "B" in blog stands only for brain...
We all thought or said last year, “my next birthday will be in Angola…” In February of this year, we said, “surely we will be able to celebrate our birthdays in Angola.” Then we celebrated 8 Angola Team birthdays in 8 weeks (there is a high birthday concentration in April and early May) in…Portugal…again in Portugal! Then we started telling Efesson he would be the first one to have a birthday in Angola, and finally we were right!
We celebrated Efesson’s birthday on July 19th.
In the morning, Tio Nathan took Efesson and Biruk to the Porsche dealer in Luanda to “see the race cars.” Then he took them to walk on the beach for a little bit and then to Bob’s Burgers, a local fast food chain, where they got lunch, their faces painted, balloons and some time on the play place. Here are the before and after pictures, you can see the pictures of their outing with Nathan here. What a great tio!
In the evening we celebrated with Reese’s Pieces Brownies, a candle in the shape of the number 6, friends, and presents!
The candle sparked a little while I was lighting it (notice the faces) and the flame was huge! Yes – we bought it in Angola.
We got to skype with the Campbells!
It’s official, Efesson is a Benfiquista!
Fun story: When Robert and I were in Portugal in 2009, Robert decided he would be for the Braga football team (who was in the lead at the time, but wasn’t one of the larger, more popular football clubs). He decided this mainly to create friendly banter (also useful for Portuguese practice) between him and the men at Church, especially because Braga kept beating their larger, more popular clubs (allowing for more friendly banter). Robert bought a Braga T-shirt and everything. The Reeses (A Benfica football club family) gave this cachecol (scarf) to Efesson, who is a self-proclaimed Benfiquista, for his birthday. Knowing that story, Robert’s face is priceless in this picture!
First, an Angola Update: Temporary Living
We’ve been in Angola for over three weeks now. We will be living life here in a temporary way for a quite a while. Right now we are living with the Evanson family. When we arrive in Huambo, in the next week, we will be staying in a home and riding in a car that is not our own. After Robert gets back from his trip to Namibia (to send off the temporary visa and get a permanent one) on Wednesday, we will head to Huambo for about 10 days before (at least) Robert turns around and comes back to Luanda for a conference for the church group that we work with here, Igrejas de Cristo em Angola (ICA). After that we should be free to start settling in a bit more. I am looking forward to the day when we can begin to settle in, but right now I am happy and thankful to have friends who are willing to let us share their homes, allowing us to take this process more slowly.
Next, Saying Goodbye to Portugal
Our last days in Portugal were well spent. The goodbyes were hard, and, yes, I cried, but they were done well. Our last Sunday, the team provided a breakfast for the church and the church sent us off with a prayer and a song from the kids.
We were able to celebrate the 4th of July at the home of our friends, the Mullins, with our team and the Neves family.
We even got everything packed a day early and were able relax and enjoy our last day in Portugal! On our last day in Portugal we drove two hours to Coimbra, Portugal to experience a little of rural Portugal life and say goodbye to our friends Carlos and Ana and their baby, Salomé. That evening we took the boys to see Cars II in Portuguese, which was a fun movie to see in that environment because of all of the poking fun that was made at Americans in foreign lands (we definitely know something about that)!
On the morning of our flight, we got up, got ready, and then a caravan of friends took us, and all of our stuff to the Airport! Our friends from IBP - Gary and Terri Camlin, the boys teachers and Classmates - Nuno, Marta, Sara, and Fifi Fonseca, the Campbell family, and many friends from Church joined us at the Airport to send us off.
Terri Camlin, the boys English Teacher, and the boys before leaving IBP.
The boys and the Fonseca girls at the Airport (note the abundance of baggage).
Efesson and Alex Campbell saying goodbye.
We lived at the Instituto Biblico Português in Santo Antão do Tojal, Portugal (about a 40 minute bus ride to Lisbon). Here is a link to a photo gallery of the campus. It was a great temporary home for our family. When we first moved there Nathan and Jordan lived there with us and all of us shared a kitchen. Over the 14 months that we have lived here we have watched many people of many different nationalities come and go. There have been many whom we thought we would leave behind one day who ended up leaving before us! Each person that we met is part of the kingdom of God and God has brought each one to Portugal for a unique reason.
Linda Jordan (pictured in purple in the picture on the right) is an American going to Huambo, Angola (the same town as us) with Wycliffe bible translators. She previously spent 6 years in Ethiopia with the same organization. God knew what he was doing when he brought Linda into our lives, don't you think? She has been such a special person for the boys to talk with about Ethiopia. She patiently answers ALL of the questions that Efesson throws at her! We can’t wait to see her again in Huambo!
Regina Dos Anjos (pictured in blue at our Thanksgiving dinner ) is a Brazilian with a heart for missions. She was in Portugal to study at the University. She was always smiling even though she was tired from all the hard work she put into school and church. We were so thankful to have her at the team retreat in November to help by watching over the team kids.
Marques Mente, a student while we were there, (far right) is now a graduate of IBP and he works with one of the local churches. He is always very busy working for the Kingdom of God in Portugal.
Urs and Esther Buff (left) are Swiss-German and have spent their lives as missionaries in South Africa. They came to Portugal to study with Eunice so that they could communicate better when in Mozambique, teaching people about children's ministry.
Carlos and Ana Freitas (right) are students at IBP, a young Portuguese couple who is fluent in English. They were some of our best language teachers. They even began reserving one day a week to speak to us ONLY in Portuguese. Carlos is an expert in making Portuguese deserts and he had the desire to learn to make pizza, chocolate chip cookies, and cheese cake, so, of course, we traded recipes. He also spent a lot of time with Efesson on the campo (field) helping him to work on his football skills. Carlos and Ana moved back to Coimbra, Portugal and had their baby girl, Salomé, in May. We were able to meet her a couple of times before we left for Angola.
Christian (German) and Marlise (Swiss) Schlötterer (the couple on the left at our shared kitchen table) are also student's of Eunice's. They left about a week before us to go back to Germany and Switzerland before heading to Mozambique in September. They are a very sweet couple and we have enjoyed having them around to talk to and laugh with. Fun fact: Christian makes cakes from scratch with no recipe and when one is gone it is time to make another!
Senhor Pestana and his wife, Dona Fernanda, (both pictured with the boys below) are the nearly retired caretakers of IBP. Efesson and Biruk love spending time with Them around campus. They are Efesson and Biruk’s Portuguese grandparents. Donna Fernanda even shed some tears when she said goodbye to the boys last Friday.
Those are the residents that we spent the most time with, but there are plenty of others who were around from anywhere from one day to two months, not to mention the IBP staff and students that we spent time with day to day. We have so many memories of IBP. Even though we sacrificed some privacy by living in a small apartment with only two rooms and a bathroom and sharing a kitchen with other residents, we have been greatly blessed by the relationships and the huge yard for the boys to run and play in!
We are staying with the Evanson family in Luanda, Angola. They are an American embassy family of six. Efesson and Biruk are having a blast playing with their youngest two girls, Jesse (age 7) and Grace (age 10).
Robert has been out with the guys and Jordan accomplishing items on the “to-do-before-moving-to-Huambo list” and researching options for things like cell phones, internet, bank accounts, container shipping, vehicles, etc. Tomorrow they will meet with church leaders.
I stay at home with Katie and the kids. We have also been out of the house walking and riding in the “candongueiros” (blue and white public transportation vans) to go to church, visit the grocery stores, and to visit the embassy, but mostly we stay home doing laundry, cooking meals, caring for children, and apparently, blogging (more than 2 posts in a week is practically unheard of on this blog). I am going to complete the “Thankful for” posts that I started in Portugal and keep you updated on what is going on in Angola…at least until the reliable internet is gone!