Thursday, September 20, 2012

Has it really been a year already?

Yep one year ago today, the 20th of September 2011, I left Portugal and yet I can remember that day, especially the last hour like it was yesterday.  After a little over 3 months living life in Portugal I was boarding a bus headed for Spain.  One of my most vibe memories is saying good-bye to my friend Carolina the night before and not crying, which is shocking because I ALWAYS cry, I don’t like good-byes, in fact I hate them.  Anyways, I didn’t cry when we said good-bye the night before, but as I was standing in the station with Mario, Lancy, and Burna waiting for my bus to leave, already with tears in my eyes, I looked up and saw Carolina running across the station towards me.  I cried.  It was like the kind of things you see in a movie; at the last minute right before ________ (fill in your favorite character) boards the bus/train/plane/taxi his/her friend/love interest/relationship strained family member comes running in!  They embrace, they cry, they smile, they share some sentimental words, and they part.  I’m not kidding it was EXACTLY like that.  It was awesome.  It was a testament of my time there.  In only three months I had built friendships and family.  We had served together, served separately, and served each other.  While I was there I had learned culture, learned things about myself, and I actually learned Portuguese.  More importantly I learned about God.  I was reminded that He is faithful, I was reminded of the power of His Word, and I was reminded of the strength He gives.  I think I saw for the first time in my life Him clearly directing my path.  I saw people in my life be His hands and feet to me.  I was blessed to have my time there.  I was blessed meet everyone in Miratejo and at Word of Life Camp.  Something that I’ve been thinking about is whether or not what I learned a year ago is still affecting my life today.  Have I grown?  Or did I walk away and not let it change me.  Am I like a man who looks at himself in the mirror, walks away, and immediately forgets what he looks like?  A lot of what I learned in Portugal has stuck with me, but a lot has also become memories and/or just head knowledge.  My pray is that as I reminisces about Portugal, as I miss my friends and family there, as I wonder where God is leading me right now, I would be doing so with the purpose of moving forward, taking where I was and using it to propel myself forward in my walk with Him and in the mundane parts of my life.  So what about you?  When was a time that you clearly saw God working?  When was a time that you had a time when you felt closer to God and at peace with your life?  Now, have you grown from that moment or have you stayed there?  Or perhaps you have fallen back.  As a Christian, as a person in general, we are to be constantly moving forward.  God allows circumstances in our lives to cause growth in our lives.  But sometimes we stand in the way, or we don’t let it truly change us.  My challenge to myself and to you is to find ways to allow lasting change.  Find ways to use what God has done in the past to build you up in every aspect of your life, because we know “…that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6. 

~Heather Plotz

P.S. A tudo os meus amigos e família em Portugal, tenho muito saudades de vocês.  Muito obrigada para os três meses que eu estava com vocês em Portugal.  Muito obrigada a vocês para sendo os mãos e pés de Deus em minha vida.  Muito obrigada para ainda sendo um parte de me vida agora.  Espero que um dia vou ver vocês de novo em Portugal, ou talvez cá em os Estados Unidos ;)