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Expect the Unexpected

Jeff Raymond on May 20, 2014

Team prayer for Andy Cook Photo by Stanley Leary

Descending on a new culture, with new people and new places, you would expect our team of workshop students to stumble upon the unexpected.  That's exactly what's happening (as expected).

Missionary Andy Cook leads devotions Photo by Stanley Leary

Our days begin with team devotions led by one of our ABWE missionaries.  Today, church-planter Andy Cook shared with us.  He related some of the trials faced by his family as they committed to serving Christ in Portugal, and how God created a trail amidst the obstacles.  Then, after he shared with us, the unexpected happened.  In a powerful moment, the Spirit led the team to surround Andy for an extended time of prayer for him and for the advance of the Gospel in Portugal.  The impact on the team is hard to describe in words.

Jess interviews missionary

What was unexpected for me today was the fact that not every interviewee is readily available today.  Some of the students were derailed from starting their project because of this challenge.  Gaining access to people when we need them will be one of the obstacles I need to overcome in future workshops.

Each student will be interviewing Portuguese people and missionaries in order to produce their own finished video project.  We have seven students who will therefore be going seven different directions.  Lining up each of these seven different stories has been a real challenge for me.  As the leader, it is my responsibility to keep the workshop moving and everyone where they need to be.

Another unexpected has actually been a personal blessing.  This story began on March 31.   Determined to get back in shape, I came up with the crazy idea to ride my bike every day for 50 days.  It’s not been an easy goal to achieve, but being goal-driven I have persevered even through the workshop's launch on May 14 in Harrisburg.  What I failed to calculate was that Days #49 and 50 would be in Portugal.  I have never been able to bike overseas, so the idea of doing so while I am the leader of a team of nine other people was a ridiculous one. 


But the unexpected blessing came when missionaries Chris Herrick and Andy Cook provided mountain bikes for me to use in accomplishing this goal.  So yesterday, after flying all night Saturday, and being in church until nearly dusk, I was able to ride in hilly Arruda dos Vinhos, Portugal to make Day #49.  Then today in Porto Alto, on roads as flat as a pancake, with heavy truck traffic threatening to flatten me like a pancake, I was thankful to have opportunity to pedal on Day #50.

See ABWE International Missions Photo Workshop Photo Gallery 3 here

For yesterday's blog about our first day in Portugal, CLICK HERE

Next Portugal blog post here