Monday real late, 1:00 a.m.: We were collected at the Lisbon airport around 2:30, and our host took us to downtown Lisbon, drove around, we saw some stunning architecture, an amazing city. Then we stopped for some fabulous sandwiches, and then we went to this place downtown that makes “pastel de Belem” or “pastel de nata.” Cream cake. It’s basically a custard tart, with a very thin, crisply crust. The take-out line extended out onto the sidewalk outside. The place is crawling with people, coming for these custard tarts! Very delightful.
They’re still remembering here the devastating earthquake that hit Lisbon in 1755. First came the earthquake, and then everyone emerged from their houses. And then came a tsunami, that rolled over the people. And then, because of the shaking and the fact that they made light with candles in those days, the candles fell and caused fires to erupt in all the city houses. Totally devastating. But the city recovered, and is beautiful today. And greener than Madrid.
They told me that Portugal is led largely by Brazil now. The baby is now the parent. So a lot of stuff starts in Brazil, and then makes it way over here to Portugal.
We had an excellent meeting tonight. Slated for 8:30, it didn’t actually start until around 9:10. A few other churches joined us, and the little room got pretty much filled right up. I spoke on Loyalty, and the Lord helped. Then we had a good time of ministry around the altar.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m.: As is typical for this region, this house has neither air conditioning nor heating. So this time of year, the house is cold. I don’t think it’s quite 60 degrees in the house, but it’s close. I’m not accustomed to sleeping in cold, so I slept under a few layers last night. Wearing my long sleeve shirt and sweater. And that was the trick, I slept pretty good. Except for the mosquitos that kept buzzing in my ear. Finally, ear plugs took care of that problem.
Wednesday afternoon: Hello from over the Atlantic. I’m on my way home, smile. Yesterday my host took us to see by car a few of the most stunning sights of Sintra, and took us up a narrow mountain road to a restaurant that was fully Portuguese in style. The sort of place tourists rarely find. Very busily frequented by the locals. We arrived at 2:00 p.m., which is lunchtime in Madrid but is late for Lisbon. Lunch is usually around 1:00 in Lisbon. So by the time we got there, a few options on their menu were already sold out. Such as fish and chicken. When you enter, there was a display case showing just what remained in their stock, and you could choose from what you saw. We each went with the hamburgers. It came with fries, rice, and an egg sunny side up. No hamburger patty. Wine, of course, is served with every meal. It became a joke on this trip, to find out how I would be served the hot water I requested at each meal. They just don’t get requests for hot water in these parts, and they don’t know what kind of container is best suited to the request. At this particular meal, it came in the creamer part of a creamer and sugar set.
In the Tuesday evening service, I felt inclined to share from my own story of walking with the Lord these 23 years in infirmity. I shared a few Scriptures and told stories, including the baseball story. Then we had a time of ministry at the end. The saints here have shown great eagerness for personal laying on of hands ministry after each teaching/preaching session. They’re thirsty, and the Lord has been giving them waters to drink.
Tuesday was a holiday in Portugal, and as a result they planned our meeting for 5:00 p.m. Which meant that after the meeting was done, and our fellowship time completed, I was able to get to bed by 10:00 p.m., which suited me perfectly, because I had to rise at 3:20 a.m. in order to prepare for a 4:00 a.m. departure for the airport. The flight left at 6:00 a.m. for Paris. My host told me it was a 20-minute drive to the airport, so I decided a 4:00 a.m. departure was adequate. He was up bright and early, got my bags into his car at 4:00 a.m., and off we went. One of the first things he said to me, as we drove for the airport, was, “It’s a good hour to go to the airport.” I was instantly alarmed. An hour to get to the airport?? I had timed our departure based on a 20-minute distance. “You said yesterday that it would take 20 minutes.” “Yes, 20 minutes.” “Not an hour?” Then he helped me to understand his meaning: It’s a good hour OF THE DAY to go to the airport. At 4:00 a.m., you’re not fighting traffic, you have a clear 20-minute shot. So we both smiled as we got our communication clarified.
Next up: I’m speaking at a church in Blue Springs, MO, which is in the metro Kansas City area. It’ll be nice to have a home weekend after being gone for a full week.