Saturday 6 July 2013

Portugal 1 - getting there

So, you might have figured out from previous posts, and from Facebook if you're on there, that we've just been to Portugal.  Last year some time, I think at the end of the summer, when I was still working for my church in Brighton, I overheard my friend Kirsty on the phone in the office.  Kirsty heads up Movement in Worship, and someone had called to ask her if she'd be interested in being involved with a festival in Portugal.  Although I only heard her end of the conversation, as soon as she was off the phone, I told her I wanted to be a part of it!  You know when you just get that feeling in your gut that tells you to go for something?

Forward a few weeks to October time and I was set to be part of the team of dancers and drummers that were going to lead workshops in the festival, and do stuff out on the street.  But I thought it would be great if hubby could come along too, and if so, that we could then have a holiday afterwards.  Llewellyn had never been anywhere in Europe, as having a South African passport makes things a bit tricky.  But we'd decided that he was going to apply for citizenship, so, as they weren't too pricey, we decided to book plane tickets for the both of us, in the hope that everything would be sorted by then.

Well, as you might have read in an earlier post about the trials and tribulations of applying for citizenship, it wasn't a quick or easy process.  Once it had been approved, hubby had to attend a ceremony, then apply for a passport - which included tracking down the one person in Cornwall who's known him for more than 2 years - THEN he had to go to an interview in Plymouth to prove he was who he said he was, which ended up being less than 2 weeks before our flight date, and THEN wait for the passport to arrive in the post.  Preeeetty tight, you could say!

We were fully prepared for the fact that his passport might not have arrived in time.  BUT, amazingly, it did, with a week to spare.  Hooray!!

Orange trees in Faro
It was our first trip on a plane together and first trip abroad.  We decided to leave our 'holiday' part unplanned - partly because we didn't have the money to do book anything, and partly because we both wanted a bit of an adventure and a chance to be spontaneous.  We prayed and asked God to line up some people and/or places for us to see in those few days.

And you know what, He did!  but more on that next time...

Porto de Mos beach, Lagos
We flew into Faro from Bristol on a Wednesday morning, and meandered our way slowly by foot and by train to Lagos, a town further west along the south coast.  It took all day, but we did have beer stops, and sampled locally caught sardines and squid, and sat in the sun.  Lovely!!

The large team of dancers and drummers from the UK and Germany got to stay in some amazing apartments, not far from the beach, which was such a treat.
A lot of us hadn't met before but there was a great atmosphere from the start with everyone excited about being there.  Before he knew it, hubby was roped into becoming the fifth 'Psalm Drummer' for the next few days!  What's great about Movement in Worship and Psalm Drummers is that they are both like a big, cross-cultural family, more than an organisation.  And the way they train people to improvise means that it doesn't matter whether you've drummed/danced together before or not.  We kind of go with the flow, and bounce of each other, and ultimately try to express our love for God with movement and rhythms.

Which is what we did, over four days in Lagos, at a festival in the ampitheatre, in the main square, and in one of the bars!  What I love about drumming and dancing is that you can do it anywhere, and it will always capture people's attention and imagination, and it's easy to invite people to join in, so that each occasion becomes unique and a communal/collaborative event.  I especially loved the way that any time children walked through the square they'd be the first ones to stop and watch and start moving to the drumbeat.  We always had plenty of percussion to hand out when that happened!

The festival was a chance for Christians from all around Europe to gather together to worship and learn and get inspired.  Not loads of people came in the end but hopefully those that did went away feeling blessed.  To be honest though, I much preferred dancing out in the street and in the bars, because it felt more natural and more 'real'.  So often the church hides away in a corner and keeps it's creativity and expression for Sundays and for its own congregations.  If we really believe God's given us freedom and life and love and colour then doesn't it make sense to share it?! :-)

1 comment:

Andy Au said...

Great to read this! It was good to worship in the midst of people who didn't understand it but felt its serinity and power.