After just having finished the Discipline Training School I rushed to the night bus to Budapest. I arrived home next morning and was really strange understanding everything what the people spoke around me. I did not have enough time to adopt to the Hungarian circumstances because next dawn I traveled together with my friends from my church to Portugal to the Free Methodist Church Leaders Conference.
The Conference is for pastors and key leaders of local Free Methodist congregations and for other church leaders that are interested in learning more about the FMC. This year 75 pastors, missionaries and church leaders had gathered together in Sintra, Portugal.
We arrived late afternoon to our hotel at the seaside.
Having dinner with the first wave of delegates
The Hotel Arribas is the western-most hotel on Continental Europe.
The view was amazing from the room. I just sitting and I enjoyed the beautiful sight, the waves of the ocean. Like a dream... Few weeks ago I saw the misery in the Roma villages and now I enjoyed the comfort, every day the snow-white towels in the bathroom, the tasty food in the restaurant, the polite service, the delicious coffee. My heart was full of joy, peace and thanks. Thank you God that I could be here!
Every day began with breakfast that included a stunning view of the ocean.
Everything was so beautiful, so unbelievable for me. It was really true? Did I not dream it?
Next day started the conference. The motto of conference was
"If the Son set you free, you are truly Free!"(John 8,36)
The main topics were:
Truly free from modern day slavery, truly free to be whole (challenges for pastoral psychology in 21th century Europe), truly free to belong (introdaction to the Free Methodist Church), truly free to make disciples, truly free to serve (pastors and ministerial candidates).
One of our leaders made an interview with me, I could share my testimony in front of the church leaders
Afternoons we made excursions to the neighborhood, visited Sintra, the place of Portuguese kings summer residency, the capital city, Lisbon, and the westernmost point of the mainland Europe. We got just impressions and desire visiting again this beautiful land.
|At the weternmost extent of continental Europe|
In the background the Cabo da Roca lighthouse, overlooking the promontory towards the Atlantic Ocean.
The view of the cliffs and ocean along with the mountains and winding roads are just picturesque. We just stopped off for a bit, but I surely would have loved to sit and stare at this view for hours.
At the Hell's Mouth.The seawater has access to the deep bottom of the chasm and vigorously strikes its rocky walls, making it a popular tourist attraction.
I took many pictures from the bus, certainly lot of palms as well. Why do I like so much the palms? I don't know...
Arriving to Lisbon we admired the 25th of April Bridge. Because it is a suspension bridge and has similar coloring, it is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In fact, it was built by the same company (American Bridge Company) that constructed the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge and not the Golden Gate, also explaining its similarity in design. With a total length of 2,277 m, it is the 23rd largest suspension bridge in the world. The upper deck carries six car lanes, while the lower deck carries two train tracks. Until 1974, the bridge was named Salazar Bridge. The name "25 de Abril" commemorates the Carnation Revolution.
Monument to the Discoveries, the 52 metre-high slab of concrete, was erected in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. The monument is sculpted in the form of a ship's prow, with 33 figures from Portuguese history following a statue of the Infante Henry sculpted in base relief. In front is Henry the Navigator, behind him are Vasco da Gama, Fernao Magalhaes and the others.
Adjacent to the monument is a calçada square in the form of a map, showing the routes of various Portuguese explorers, during the Age of Discovery.
Sailing on the sea is a really dangerous because we can be captured by pirates...
The conference finished. Last day I was standing on the terrace watching the ocean and crying. It was really true? I did not dreamed it?