It has been quite a busy time here in Brasoes, Central Portugal recently. We are about 14 months in on, what I estimated to be, around a 60 month / 5 year renovation for the 5 flats, external terraces, agricultural areas and gardens. The second flat is almost complete and I would say that the external areas are past halfway in their overhaul and renovation. The third flat should be completed by the spring of 2021 then the remaining 2 flats will take considerably more time due to their present condition being a blank canvas, basically just block and brick walls with a roof, but I am most excited about the prospect of these as I like the idea of starting from scratch.
Lifting the Ban
There has also been in the news this week, which is of particular importance to me, the lifting of the quarantine restrictions between travelling back to the UK. I need to return to the UK within the next few months to get an MOT inspection on my motorhome, although this may still prove difficult as both Spain and France are still under the restrictions. I would also have to travel through at least one of these countries and at present the ferry services are only running a limited service.
The days are now shortening, as Autumn is on the horizon, though we had our first shower of rain this week the temperatures are still stuck at around 30 every day. I am reminded that with the end of the year it will not just be about Christmas and the New Year but Brexit now is looming larger than before. For me lies a rather big question, do I apply to become a Portuguese resident prior to Brexit, as it is supposed to be a smoother operation or leave it until sometime in the future when it will supposedly be more complicated as a non-EU resident? This would mean that if I apply before, I would have to sell my motorhome and goods trailer as my new Portuguese license would not permit me to drive this category or an English vehicle.
Praying for direction
So, I have a lot to pray to God about in looking for a longer-term direction. I may have enough work to do here for some considerable time, I need to be assured that being here is God’s will and not my own self will. There are many advantages to being here as there are many disadvantages, but just as I am assured that I was called and led to be here I need to ensure that here is where I am to continue.
The one thing that I miss more than anything in England, is being out on the streets, witnessing to people, being guided by the Holy spirit as to where and when to go, the joy of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is above any other feeling. So being here in an area where a minute portion of the population speak or understand English coupled with my stubborn, ageing mind that is struggling with learning Portuguese, leaves me frustrated at times about not being able to share my faith with others along the way. I can and do get by day to day, week to week, buying groceries, fuel, paying bills and buying building materials, but I am missing the opportunities of everyday evangelism. So, this is something that I am praying to God about, as well.
Miraculous Power of Jesus
So this week I have had several opportunities to share my faith with others along the way. One in my local builders merchants where there was a young lad who has not been there long. He speaks a little English, but here in Portugal it has been mandatory to wear masks for quite some time, so people’s communication is a little more guarded as they stand a little further back than usual. But this day I had taken Bertie with me to get some parts for a fence that I am building. We went round the back of the building where it is a bit more industrial than the formality of the front of the store with its counter and sales. The lad turned out to be a big dog lover and he gets down on his knee to give him a big tickle.
Now Bertie is all for a big tickle and he is soon writhing around on his back, the lad asked how old Bertie was as he continues to play and tickle Bertie, much to Bertie’s delight. I tell him that he wouldn’t believe what he is seeing right now as 2 years ago different vets had written him off and told us it was time to have him put down. I explained that Bertie was unable to walk without falling over, was on Tramadol and sleeping for 23 hours a day. He was engrossed though in mid-play with Bertie squirming around on the dusty floor, I told him that we took him off his medication and prayed for him, “Jesus Christ!” he exclaimed, “That’s exactly who we pray to”, was my response, “My God”! he shouted in exclamation, as I then continued to tell him that the miracles of Jesus are not just historical facts, there are people across the world today being saved by the miraculous healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that there, right in front of him was 2 of them, one he was touching and tickling and the second was stood there talking to him and that without the Lord Jesus’s intervention, neither of us would be alive today! Hallelujah, praise the Lord.
It is strange watching and listening to people’s reactions when confronted with the truth of Jesus, some may defer to an expletive response, taking the Lord’s name in vain. When confronted with the truth, the only correct response was what he exclaimed “Jesus Christ” and “My God”.
No matter where we are, or to whom we are speaking, regardless of any external circumstances, we should always be ready to give an account of the faith inside us.