Everything falls into place
Because of the closure of government offices due to Covid, including the American embassy, we were unsure how we would be affected when we left Portugal for furlough last June without Avery’s citizenship and on an emergency passport, since we were unable to renew her passport. She was issued citizenship (the final one in our family) while we were on furlough. Given a power of attorney, Valerie’s Dad was able to pick up her document and mail it to us, but we were unable to have her identification made as that can only be done in person, though we begged and pleaded with the consulate in Washington D.C. When we returned to Portugal this March, we were unsure if she would be allowed to board the plane without it, but after several phone calls from the airline to Portuguese immigration, they allowed it. Praise Jesus. They were also crazy strict about Covid tests for travel, such as what kind and how many hours before your flight they could be taken, etc. It was quite a challenge, hours of phone calls, to find a place with the right kind and the right operating hours available. At the airport, we watched them deny others in line, not “liking” their Covid tests. We breathed a sigh of relief when they accepted ours. There were some big question marks surrounding our return during strict border closures, but the Lord worked it all out.
Welcome home, i think
We were so happy to be back in our own home and with our people, though we entered the country during strict lockdown in which all stores, restaurants, and “non- essential businesses” were closed. Also, we were unable to leave our city limits for 6 weeks upon our arrival. What a disappointment to spend Easter at home, “alone” for the second year in a row.
Trying to forge a path forward
Our church currently has 2 Sunday morning services, one in English and one in Portuguese. Though our goal is to establish a Portuguese-speaking church, we see the opportunity and need to minister to immigrants as well, whose common language is often English. The English service has always been well-attended as believers from other countries seek out a church upon their arrival. We must work much harder to see visitors in the Portuguese service, but we are so encouraged that last week, the attendance in the Portuguese service out-numbered the attendance in the English service for the first time ever. Also, we were actually 2 people too many per our Covid restrictions. We are in need of more space, praise God.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork
Our churches greatly blessed and encouraged us during this furlough as they generously gave toward our building fund, helping us to meet our $120,000 goal toward the purchase of a building. We are taking the necessary steps to receive our tax-exemption status as a church, while scoping out buildings in the area. This is a slow, bureaucratic process, for which we have little enthusiasm or patience. 🙂 Pray for God’s leadership as we navigate the right steps forward. We are genuinely thankful for your prayers for us and encouraged by you!
Beau and Valerie Moore