So, yes... we said goodbye to our teammates on July 8th and sent them on their way to Angola. We were excited for them, that this long-awaited day had finally arrived. At the same time, it is always hard to be the ones "left behind." Following their adventures from afar via email, Facebook, and the occasional Skype call, our lives seem almost normal and boring by comparison. Our schedule is suddenly lighter, and it's a lot quieter around here! It's strange to think that they aren't just a phone call away anymore.
I thought it would be fun to recap the last several months with some snapshots of some of our team events. These will go back to mid-February when we returned to Portugal from the States. First, some people pictures:
|Me, Teague, and Katie at the church Valentine's Day Dinner|
|Rusty and the Reeses, soaking in the sun.|
|Stephen loves his Auntie Jordan!|
|All dressed up for church, waiting for the subway.|
|Stephen and Biruk, sharing a seat on the bus.|
And now, some events:
In March, we held our first ever Angola Team Track and Field Day. Events included relay races, a game of kickball, and tug-of-war contests, followed by a picnic lunch.
|Helping the dads and kids build a pyramid together|
In April, we hosted our second Passover Seder at our house. This year, the entire team was able to join us, except for Nathan, who happened to be the U.S. at the time.
|Ready to begin the service.|
One of the things we have really enjoyed doing as a team is celebrating the holidays together and creating some of our own unique traditions. This year, we had our first Easter Party. The kids did an Easter craft, and hunted for Easter eggs on the lawn at the Bible Institute (where the Meyers and Jordan lived). We followed all that up with a yummy lunch of brisket, made by Robert.
|Showing off their Easter crafts|
In May, the Meyers hosted an American-style barbeque and invited all the friends they had made while living in Portugal. The rest of the team helped out by bringing American desserts like brownies, peach cobbler, and chocolate chip cookies.
After their visas were finally approved, life was a whirlwind of activity for a few weeks. There were travel and logistical arrangements to make, packing to do, and many goodbyes and thank-yous to be said:
One of the people we especially wanted to thank was our language teacher, Eunice. We decided to have the kids do a group craft project for her. One of the things they know her for is always having chupa-chupas (suckers) on hand to give to them when they visit the school. So, we had them paint a box that she could keep her chupa-chupas in, and we put a picture of all the kids on the top, glassed-in part of the box.
|Hard at work, painting the box|
|The picture we took to put in the top of the box. If you look closely, you can see that all the kids have a chupa-chupa -- yes, even little Sophia!|
|Goodbye lunch with Eunice|
On their last Sunday at the Lisbon Church, the team provided breakfast during the fellowship time between class and the service. At the end of the service, the church did a special goodbye for the team. The children all sang a song, and then some of the leaders of the church prayed over them.
|Apparently, Alex thinks he is going to Angola with everyone else. Too bad he doesn't have a visa yet!|
Kevin and Angelina Mullins hosted our Fourth of July get-together this year. The Mullins are an American couple who are in Portugal to do church planting and have been attending the Lisbon church for the past few months while they learn Portuguese. We had a cook-out and a devo, and Robert treated all of us to a truly hilarious performance of "The Star Spangled Banner." We even had sparklers for the kids (but we forgot to actually get them out and use them)!
|My flag cake -- it turned out super cute, and yummy too!|
On the day of their departure, we went to the airport to say goodbye. There were a few tears, and a funny moment when Stephen started chasing after everyone as they were walking to the security check-point, yelling "I want to go to Angola, too! I want to go to Angola, too!" But for the most part, we were full of joy and excitement to finally send them on their way, after so many months of planning, waiting, and praying:
|Stephen giving Aunt Teague a ride on the luggage cart|
|July 5, 2011|
|Celebrating our teammates' visa success|