30 March 2007

nOt mUcH tImE b4 mY tRaIn...


O.k, this will be short, just to say that I'm on my way to the land, and I soooooooooooooooooooo miss it... this last 2 weeks seemed like ages ... well, in one hand it was nice coz I enjoyed being with my friends in Lisbon, my sister and friends in Porto and Emma in Ireland... But I guess it's too much out of my rhythm at once ...
Fiiiuuu !!!

And I also got a really bad cold in Ireland, which I'm not really enjoying... silly me, thinking that it was ok to walk bearfoot in nice Irish grass :-/...
Oh well, so now I'm on my way to the land, just have half hour for my train :-) ... and because I didn't have much time to say anything about this last week I just thought it would be nice to leave you guys a note :-)
I'll try to go to the city next week for proper e.mailing and posting :-) But right now I'm really looking forward for my bed in the woods, a nice meal, my hot water bottle and give a lot of love to Michu :-) I miss her so much...
Miri is in her driving license and will take the last train home, so I'll probably only see her tomorrow...
Nothing like a good sleep to recover from my cold !!!!

Much Love !!!
PEACE

19 March 2007

pIcTuReS on "bUt LiFe gOeS oN On ThE lAnD..."


For those who were waiting for the pictures on the post "but life goes on on the land", you can just go back to that post to see them...
Meanwhile , I just want to say, as you already noticed, that I'm out of the land for a while... I miss it so much already !!!
I said good-bye to Ulli and Falko when I left, even though I'll see Ulli again in Porto tomorrow...
Miri is there alone now and I would ask your prayers for her as I know she hates being by herself... she just loves people to speak with :-) ...

I will only go back on the 30th of March, as I will be in Ireland from the 22nd... Emma invited me to go even before all this thing with the land happen... but I think it came on the right time...I feel I need a rest for a while and it's perfect to go to a place where I know nobody...well, except Emma, but I'm sure we'll have great times together... she's my prayer partner, even though we're physically apart from each other ... and she does gives me space to be on my own or to be quiet... I think I need that at the moment, and I would appreciate your prayers on that as well :-)

oBsErVaTiOnS oN tHe wEeKeNd ...sEmInAr oN oRgAnIc cHuRcH...


O.k, now I'll get more serious about the weekend...
it was good to see many familiar faces I didn't see for long time...and when I say familiar faces I'm not only saying that I know the faces, but that I do know the people and feel like family with some of them...
There was also a lot of them I didn't know, and it was nice to see many more leaders from different parts of the country who are coming to join together as part of The Body of God in this nation...
Paulo Pascoal, with his wife Rute here at the picture (some of the familiar faces I enjoyed seeing), is the guy behind all this...
well, I do believe God put all this in his heart ... he has the head aches :-) to try to get pastors and leaders to grasp one single vision for this country , which is for all christians to be spread all over Portugal as One Body, in every town and village, in every area of society, as representatives of Christ, and not of any "denomination" or exclusive form... the vision is that every portuguese or foreigner in this land should be loved and have access to Jesus through His people...
The expressions used were more like, "planting churches", "reaching out to all peoples", have a "church available to all people", etc... but you know what I mean, right ?!!! I just don't like this "churchy language"...

For me is already hard to understand certain kind of expressions, but I enjoyed what I heard... things that need to be listened...

The main speaker was Ngwiza Mkandla from Zimbabwe, and it was good... I think he challenged a lot of those who were there...
the subjects were "Transformed leaders", "Trans. Church", "Trans. city/society", "Trans.nation"... I would add "Transformed structures" and "Transformed mindsets" as well, but that would be probably a too big step ahead for this time here in Portugal...
I would also change some expressions he used like "planting churches" for "making disciples",and others like that, but I could understand what he meant... I guess that's the "language" most of those people better grasp as well... and it would be a waist of time to brainstorm about words and preconceptions...
I didn't really agree with something he said that the DNA of the church is the "leader", coz I believe is Jesus :-)... that's maybe why so many churches fail...they are looking at the wrong model... he gave a really high standard for what a leader should be, and I totally agree with that, but we can never forget we are humans and we'll always fail...leaders are not supposed to be super-heros, but I believe God simply gives leadership gifts to help us all to grow together...
but well, I got what he meant, and it was cool what he came to say...there was nothing really new for me, but he spoke a lot of truths that needed to be spoken...
here some examples I took from my notes :
- pastors need to read the Bible more often, like every day kinda thing...
- we can't lead people to a place we never been ourselves
- the foundation of a ministry should be the leader's character
- leaders are to serve and not boss around
- there's a lot of waist of money in the church "management"... a lot of "staff" should be sent back to the working market, instead of being paid for doing almost nothing...
- the motive of ministry should be Love and not a "job" we are to perform...
- to change a nation we need to change our mindset...
- we need to give space to the young people and not hold on to the "throne" forever ...
- we need to know what's going on in the world, and not only live in "our christian bubbles"...
- he spoke about other basic things like sacrifice, obediece, submission (all pastors should be pastored), have foundations in the Word of God and prayer, doing it by the power of the Spirit and not by our own strength, listening to the prophetic voices, identifying strongholds, giving glory to God only, etc...


It was nice to see in the last session how many people responded to the call of making a commitment with God to see His kingdom come in this nation, and of course, in the world...

I also enjoyed the seminars about loving the migrant people in our country and also the one about fighting poverty in an holistic way...


the SEMINAR ON ORGANIC CHURCH was also good and surprising for me ...
around 100 people were there... Nuno Soares started with a good power point presentation about the little "history" behind the concept of organic church, and also trying to get to some sort of indefined definition of what is that all about... I know it sounds confusing and unclear, but that's what "organic church " is about too :-)... it was cool and I think it was clear enough for those who were listening...
I also spoke something more personal out of my little journey and bit of experience ... but still, no definitions or conclusions... I don't really remember all that I spoke coz I have to confess I didn't prepare anything before hand :-/ , but I did threw some questions and points in the air like " what is Church?" , like "we are to make disciples and not plant churches, as Jesus said", "our focus are the lost and those who don't fit in "institutional" settings of church... and that's why new expressions of the Body are emerging...
I try to make clear from the beginning that we are not speaking about ORGANIC CHURCH versus INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH... We are the church, in its different expressions... and I also wanted to say that I considered that moment a positive sign, as it shows this kind of expression is being accepted as part of the Body...
I also mention that if our goal is multiplication, we need to keep it simple ( as Jesus did ), so "church" cannot be so complicated , right ?!!!

We had few interventions and it was good to clarify few things...
Before we finished I had something else coming to my mind, and I said:
" we will fail... I hope you will be there to help us stand up and to support us... we're just trying"
And I do mean this... we're just walking in a new ground, simply obeying to what God is putting in our hearts...

in the end I was surprised to see how many people came to thank me and hug me :-)
I appreciated that, and that's what I believe it needs to happen, the old embracing the new...

WE NEED REAL UNITY, WHICH COMES FROM THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AND NOT BY OUR OWN STRENGTH OR EFFORT... not even by our own feelings or desires, because we know it's not easy sometimes to deal with others who think, behave and are so different from us... But we are to be peace makers and live in reconciliation with all human beings, specially those whom we call brothers and sisters...
I know in practice is not easy at all, but guess what, that's part of being church right? and often when there is a change of mindsets, or any kind of change, there is hurt and pain... there are misunderstandings sometimes...
but I guess we need to understand something when we refer "organic church" and "institutional church" , or whatever expressions we're using... WE ARE NOT FIGHTING AGAINST EACH OTHER, we might be contesting concepts or things that became "normal" but are not really biblical... but it's never about people... we might be raising questions about church 's identity, but never questioning people's identity in Christ...

We don't need to agree with everything the others do, knowing that the basic foundations of our faith are the same, but hey, God doesn't agree with everything we do as well, but still, He chose us to cope with Him in His kingdom :-) and what a privilege that is...

cUlTuRaL sHoCk...

eh, eh, eh... this is kind of a joke, but I really had fun comparing my home in the country side.....

with my weekend at a fancy hotel in the coast near Lisbon :-)

so, enjoy the pictures...


my bed at home...


my bed at the hotel :-)


My view from the hotel room...


My view from my room at the land :-)... much more original I would say :-)



This annoying box which makes people gather around it without communicating ...



Our fire place which draw us close to each other being a good place to have really nice chats and prayers :-)


and at the same time ,it's a good heater, so we don't use this stuff here, which doesn't even look good on the wall :-) :


the toilet !!! you just do what you need to do and the flush takes it all out somewhere...


well, at the land we do know where it goes :-) and one day will be used as compost for the soil :-) ...note: the toilet paper goes into a bag to be burnt later, coz as we know, it's not good to leave it in the soil...only shit is allowed in the shit pit, and we do cover it with ashes to be clean :-)


and we do have a privilege to enjoy a great view :-) and the air it's well refreshed :-)


and finally the bath...it was cool just to open the tap and Tschhhh!!! There was the water coming, nice and warm :-)... nice and easy !!! I did enjoy that !!!


but I also enjoy our fire bath at home, even though it takes about one hour to prepare... but well, there's no rush anyway :-)


or we can just warm some water at the stove and take a shower with that thing to water the plants :-) it works quiet good !!!


So, that's it ...
But I was really thankful for this weekend and this facilities...I'll write a more serious post about it soon :-)





14 March 2007

wEeKeNd wItH pOrTuGuEsE pAsToRs & mIsSiOnArIeS...

just to quickly inform you and ask your prayers for this next weekend when I'm going to be with a group of pastors and missionaries who gather to seek God's kingdom being spread in this land of Portugal...
It's an inter denominational gathering and last year it was surprising to see to much diversity together, with one heart and one vision... caring the Kingdom of our God to all corners of this countries, in all sorts of shapes and forms...
This year I was invited to speak about "organic churches" and it's cool that they are open and receptive to embrace what God is doing all over the world already...
I didn't really prepare anything special... I just want to have a good conversation and open most of the time to answer questions that might be puzzling their minds about the issue...

O.K., I will "report" something about it this weekend...

PEACE

bUt LiFe gOeS oN On ThE lAnD...


Yes, Life goes on on the land... we have a friend with us who came to visit, to rest and be refreshed by God... she's my butterfly friend :-) , Ulli, from Germany... It has been cool to have her here and spend time with her...
she has been helping as well in the preparation of the fields for the new plants to come from our little green house :-)
Spring is coming with all its power and everything looks more beautiful now... the sun as well, is getting too hot already...
I couldn't stand to have breakfast outside today coz it was so strong already :-) ... I like it !!! I was so looking forward for the end of winter time !!! Fiiiiiu !!!


I also found 2 more springs of water on the land... so amazing !!! I was just cleaning the fields to prepare new soil when I found this ...
WELL, PICTURES NEED TO COME NEXT TIME... I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY, BUT I FIND SOME PROBLEMS UPLOADING PICTURES...SORRY FOR THAT... BUMMER !!!!
o.k, pictures here now... nice we can edit post again ...

well, I opened a whole and now I have water closer to the plants I need to water..pretty handy I would say :-) !!!

The other spring is in the top layer, in the forest near my house, and I still need to think what to do with it...
the water just flows everywhere here... so cool !!!! A blessing I would say !!!

Falko is also busy making another roof extended from our wooden house.... it's looking pretty nice !!!


But well, pictures will have to come later , sorry !!! (they're here now :-) )
How much difference a picture makes to our words :-) !!!

PEACE...
enJOY your days !!!

1 mOrE mOntH tImE...

O.k, I have spoken to Yves on the phone and it was a good conversation...
I asked him about the business people, if they are still interested in buying the land, but he said they don't sound so much interested anymore and they could only come in Easter holidays to see the land... When Yves first wrote me about someone else wanting to buy the land he said it was "as good as sold"... but now he said something interesting on the phone... "I don't know what happen with this business people, but as you guys started to pray, they didn't seem so interested anymore" ... Well, we know why :-)... Prayer does work... and we know God would not allow this land to be sold to others...
I also asked him about the "dead line" to pay and sign papers and it seems like they only come to Portugal for the last 2 weeks of April...so WE HAVE ONE MORE MONTH to collect the price for the land...


So, now it is sure that we will pay 30.000E for the land and not 45.000E... And we still want to raise 5000E more so we can give it away... we already have an idea to whom we're giving it, but we're still praying if God wants to give it to one person or different ones...
I keep getting donations to buy the land, and really encouraging replies...

And I also got an offering of around 12.000 Euros loan, without interests, for 6 month to 1 year, in case people would like to participate on this but have no money now...
I would only go for this if we don't get all the money till 15th April...

So, I would challenge you to pray about it and maybe separate a monthly contribution within 6 month or one year time...
Tell me your opinions about this... Does it sound ok ?

we have now around 13.000 Euros Assured !!!
AND I WOULD KEEP ASKING NOT TO USE PAYPALL FOR THE REASONS I MENTIONED ON THE LAST POST...
THERE YOU HAVE THE WHITE STONE DETAILS...
THANKS...

12 March 2007

cOrReCtIoN oF tHe cOrReCtEd mIsTaKe :-/


you must have realized so far that I don't know much about lands and measures of it :-/ ...
After few sms's and a call from my dad I finally understood the mistake... I heard about 5.000 meter square but never stopped to think about it...eh, eh, eh ... I just knew it was big :-)

THE LAND HAS 50.000m2 AND NOT 5.000 m2, so yes, each meter is 0.7 Euros and not 7 Euros...
well, I just know is big enough to do a lot of things, as you read the description of it :-)
But anyway, from all the replies I've been receiving, people are donating more in terms of money and not so much in meter squares.. And the amount of money to buy the land (plus donation) has always been correct anyway, 35.000 Euros...

I'm really thankful to all those who have been participating, it's amazing !!! I'm just in awe !!! God is great !!!
For those who still want to participate on this, there's still time, contracts take time in Portugal and I guess the dead line is to make sure we really want to buy it, but I'll call Yves tonight to better know and have no misunderstandings...
But still, I'd prefer to have all the money as soon as possible :-)
AND I WOULD ASK PEOPLE NOT TO USE MY PAYPAL ACCOUNT AS IT TAKES 5 DAYS TO TRANSFER TO MY BANK ACCOUNT, I ALSO HAVE TO PAY FEES WHEN I RECEIVE AND WHEN I TRANSFER , SO I'D REALLY PREFER TO HAVE THE MONEY ON THE WHITE STONE ASSOCIATION'S ACCOUNT AND NOT MY PRIVATE ACCOUNT...
HERE ARE THE DETAILS :

Bank: Millennium bcp
Name: Assoc. Recreativa Cultural White Stone
Address: Rua da Santa Rita, 78
Almoinhas Velhas
2755-199 Alcabideche
Portugal

Portugal transfers:
NIB- 0033-0000-45315758012-05

International Transfers:
IBAN- PT50-0033-0000-45315758012-05
SWIFT- BCOMPTPL

Be blessed

PEACE

08 March 2007

liTtLe mIsTakE …

just in case you didn't noticed...
it's 5000 meter square of land and not 50.000 :-/
but we need 35.000 Euros, which still makes 7 Euros each meter...

Sorry, too much zeros for me :-)

bless you

"tHeY wiLL b caLLeD mIgHtY oAkS..."


First I would like to give thanks to all the responses by e.mail or posts in this blog about the land... I feel so encouraged and my heart is filled with thanksgiving to God ... He is already being glorified in all this and that's the best !!!

I got one e.mail today with this passage in Isaiah 61... and I had to laugh...
you know, this land is called "The mount of the oaks", and one day, thinking about this name, I was reminded of the same passage :-) ...
" They will be called mighty oaks,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."
How cool is that !!!
How cool is God :-)

even the whole passage as you can read below, is pretty much about what God is doing here :-)
Isaiah 61

The Year of the LORD 's Favor

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, [a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called mighty oaks,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

So far we have already around 5000 euros... and for those who didn't notice, there's a mistake in my last post, is not 50.000 meter square, but 5000... but yes, each meter square is 7 Euros ...
Thank you all !!!
Be blessed... Be encouraged, coz God is real !!! And He loves us much !!!!

05 March 2007

tHe eArTh iS tHe LoRd'S...


today, instead of being me suggesting the signs, I asked God to give me a sign as I heard the words of Abraham at Mass on Sunday saying :” Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession it (the promissed land)?"
...and this word came to me after that :
“The word of the LORD came to me: "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
"I see the branch of an almond tree," I replied.
The LORD said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled." (Jer1:11,12)
And what do I see right in front of the house, this branch of almond, beautifully blooming :-) !!!!

WE ARE BUYING THE LAND, and we need to raise 35.000 Euros...
We’ll make it in a symbolic way that PEOPLE WOULD BUY METER SQUARES OF THE LAND, and EACH METER SQUARE WILL COST 7E, so we can reach the 35.000E...Does that makes sense for you guys? I just thought it would make it easier :-) like the tree campaign... by the way, I'll start planting the trees next week :-)

THE LAND WILL STAY UNDER "WHITE STONE”, an Association me and some friends from the “Matrix” created in Lisbon specially to develop different social activities and to have a legal registration to start projects like this, both in the city and in the countryside.
So, whoever wants can also be a member of this association and take part in every big decision making about the land... For those who want we can also provide a receipt for the donations that can be deductible in your taxes... I will have to find better how that works...

WE HAVE A DEAD LINE THOUGH, THE 15TH OF MARCH!!!! YES, 10 DAYS FROM NOW !!!!
I can send the bank details from White Stone for those who are interested...

O.k, now this is only for those who don't know anything about the land and the vision for it... be free to ask more questions...

ABOUT THE LAND :

The land is in Povoa de Atalaia, in “Castelo Branco” district, next to Spain and between Porto and Lisbon with beautiful mountains surrounding it...
It has 5000 meter square, on a hill with 9 layers and with lots of sun, with a running stream of a small river, about 50 Olive trees with good olives to eat and make lots of olive oil (we can harvest more than a ton of olives each year), 2 small forests with oaks, mimosas, few eucalyptus and few pines, there are also few cork oaks and few almond trees, different mandarine trees, a natural spring water (drinkable), a big dam which is more like a small lake and a smaller dam, still big enough for a lot of water, for washing and plants... There’s also a kind of pool, or tank that we can fill in the hot summer for swimming... We need a lot of water pipes everywhere though... Yes, there’s still a lot of work to be done... We have a small stone house which was repaired and reformed by Edi, Jo and Miri, the carpenters who came here to help and serve. We use this for our common kitchen and dinning room and they also built another wooden house, started by Sven, which is our store room for tools (now working as shower place) and our first guest room for 2 beds :-)

THE VISION FOR THE COMMUNITY:

The idea is to first build the essential structures for people to come and stay, like little houses, compost toilets and shower places...
But even without all that we’ve been staying here for almost 4 months, living in tents, buses, having a shit pit for toilet and a fire bath for bathing under the stars :-)... We had already different seasons with different amounts of people who come and go...we are now 3 (with some more about to come), but we were mostly around 12 and for New Year we had around 20 or more, I lost the count :-)

So, this is suppose to be a place for people to come and go in different seasons, but also for those who want to commit for longer time to stay and build a fellowship... We’re all christians now, but we are open for non christians in the future when we have more of a stable community living here ... I see this also as a place where many people will get a different idea of what christianity is simply through living in community with christians who live their faith daily and not religiously... I picture it being more like an organic and natural kind of community... More like an inclusive family home, an not an exclusive community for christians... I believe that it is living together in community (which is not easy at all) that we can best practice the principles Jesus passed on to us, as well as discovering more about ourselves and growing together in a safe place where we can all admit our failures and weaknesses ...and this can already be such a great witness for the world...a big challenge for all of us, and this can be a place for those who want to experience it...

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (in the Bible - discription of the community of Jesus' first disciples)

that would be my desired picture as a community:-)

But we don’t want to be just inner focused, this place will be a place for people to come and find REST, for those who are tired of their daily routines, those who need a break from the city stressed life, for those who need to have a personal retreat, for the nomads who often need a place like home to come back to, etc... we will not ask money for people to stay, whoever wants to give will give, if they don’t, we’ll be glad to have them as well and serve them the same way as the others...we are living with common money for the basic needs of the community, and so far it works well :-)...we will also not ask anyone to help in the land unless they want... Above all, we want to serve people...
There are also those who want a place where they can serve and help for a while, so we’re glad to receive those as well...

I would also like this land to be a self sufficient farm land in the future, developing a kind of agriculture called permaculture, and for those who never heard about it is a kind of agriculture and community building where people help the land and the land helps people :-)...it’s about having a lot of variety of cultures planted where each one will help the other somehow... And also about taking the best advantage of the natural resources without exploiting them...It takes a while to plan it, but after few years we can have the least work ...
Well, there are many things and ideas we can do in the future, but those are other steps...


We also want to help the villages around us... There’s a lot of hopeless young people who are bored with life, and there’s a lot of old sweet people who feel lonely and useless in this little villages... We find already a lot of favour before people here, and some young people even mention once that we came to bring them Joy :-)...everyone knows us, even people we don’t know, everyone speaks about us and they show their love in many ways...the old people admire us because we are young and still want to work in the land, and young people like us because we are “different” and we join them in their parties...they are also puzzled that we are christians, and we’ve been having cool conversations about that... The Mayer of the Village of Povoa de Atalaia always wants to help and support us, and he is always asking us if we could do anything for the village...he respects us a lot and he consider us people of good who just want to share God’s love... We often attend the mass on Sunday’s and old people really appreciate us for that :-)... So, we are pretty much involved with the people around as well...
But we want to be more though, specially for few cool young people we've been meeting from the city nearby... we would like to hang out more with them and help them to organize concerts and encourage them in their scene here where nothing seems to happen...

Be free to share this with others who might be interested and ask more questions if you have ...

Be blessed, and feel a part of all this already

PEACE
Barbara

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it"( Psalm 24:1)

02 March 2007

sIgNs oF sPrInG, SiGnS oF hOpE...


still hopeful about the land , but with no clear answer from God yet...
still waiting !!!

Here are some cool pictures of the land at this time...everything is sprouting !!! gives me hope !!!

Willows sprouting...

the seeds in the green house...Hurray !!! Look at all this lettuce !!!

beautiful Lady Bug...is that the name ?!! Lisa, can you help me?!!

Almond trees...so beautiful !!!


Miri's mom's flowers...

More willows sprouting and more flowers ready to come :-)

and phone came to the land :-) we have a land line now :-)...we're glad we can call people without needing to go to the cafe village or to town ;-)



mY litTle hUt iN tHe WoOdS...


here's my little hut in the woods...a place of refuge and rest where I'm enjoying nice times alone with God, contemplating His amazing creation around me :-)...
I'm happy with it...I slept there tonight, even if it's not yet finished... :-)
I don't like to use plastic so much but that what it works here against rain and to have a lot of light coming in:-)
But I'm kinda proud that I'm doing it all by myself and without electric tools :-)