Delayed Flights & Prayer Meetings

The view of Pico Island from the city in Faial

This past weekend Clara led a training course for Sunday school teachers in Faial, and I tagged along. Faial is one of the other Azorean islands, smaller than Terceira, but not the smallest. Faial is actually the island that probably gets the most American tourism because it has a large harbor where pretty much any boats coming from the Caribbean or Brazil stop.

Learning to teach children!

We arrived on Friday and spent Friday evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday evening at the training sessions. It was all in Portuguese (because, well, that’s what they speak here) and I’m proud to say I wasn’t completely lost!! I didn’t understand everything, not by a long shot. But I had a manual to read along with, so that helped. I walked away exhausted from all the brain-work, and slightly more confident in my ability to listen to and understand the Portuguese language.  I’m gonna’ count that as a victory!  

The entire group!
The entire weekend was good, and Faial is beautiful, but I think the most influential part of this trip came when I was “supposed” to already be back in Terceira. Our flight was supposed to return to Terceira around 6pm on Monday, but because of incredibly strong winds (60+mph) the plane wasn’t going to be able to land in Terceira. Instead, they postponed our flight until Tuesday morning and we went back to stay one more night with Sara, who had hosted us for the weekend. Sara was going to the weekly women’s prayer meeting at her church, so we went along.  
Exploring Faial with Sara & Clara!

I’d noticed it before in the Portuguese church services, Bible studies, in-home prayer meetings and every night when Senora Edite comes to pray with me before bed. But as I sat there thinking about how tired I was and how uncomfortable the pews were, I realized that PRAYER IS IMPORTANT to these people. Not important in a “we’re supposed to pray before we eat” kind of way, but in a “even though I’ve spent the entire weekend away from my family at this training, I’m going to devote an entire hour of my evening to praying alongside my sisters-in-Christ” kind of way.  It’s not just a tag to a worship song or a conclusion to a sermon. It’s an integral part of their daily, moment-to-moment walk with the Lord. To say I was convicted is an understatement. To say I’ve really processed this in my own heart and mind would be a lie. What I’m saying is I’m challenged by their commitment to prayer. It’s something that I want in my own life. Even though I didn’t understand most of the things they prayed for, I learned something from these women that night, and I have a feeling that if I keep my eyes and ears open, I’ll keep learning more than I could have imagined. And to think, it all came as a result of a delayed flight. 
I love watching the waves crashing on the rocks!!

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