Growing up in Beja, a small inland town in southern Portugal, was not always easy. The isolation and the lack of Christians in the same age group with whom I could share the "teenage dramas", made the path a little harder.
At a Bible summer camp I accepted Jesus as my Saviour as a teenager. These are the same camps I am strongly involved in today, after about 18 years. It was at ICC (Interdenominational Christian Centre) that God gave me the opportunity to know and share my life with the Rodrigues’ family (EMF missionaries) and to grow spiritually and in community with them.
Over the years, God has given me opportunities to serve Him and work on His mission in a variety of ways. In recent years, I have been involved with IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) in Portugal, where I had the opportunity to share the gospel in universities in Portugal and accompany students throughout their academic journey, sharing experiences and doubts about God, the Bible and the faith.
This year I had the opportunity to study at the European School of Biblical Studies and to live in community at Guessens with the other 12 students of different ages and from diverse cultures, plus two energetic children. But it was a great blessing and a huge challenge as different doctrinal views seemed like too hard an equation to solve. (And yes, it was often difficult to solve this equation!)
Looking back, I can only be grateful for these six months of communal life, where I have learned so much about how to live and share life together. We have been strengthened and grown mutually at a personal, community and spiritual level.
A great lesson I learned was that God uses different people, in different cultures and with different gifts to make Himself known.
The traineeship with the leadership team of the Park of the Nations Baptist Church, better known as A Ponte (the Bridge), is a tremendous opportunity to serve God in Portugal and continue to grow theologically and gain more experience.
It is the opportunity to work as a team and persevere in the service of the Kingdom’s mission, and at the same time, gain new missiological perspectives. As one of our lecturers said, "Mission is worship" and I want to continue to worship God not only personally but in community and practice.
The aspiration of A Ponte Church is to build a team of 6-8 committed Christians from within the fellowship for this new church plant. Paulo will be part of the leadership team for this church plant. With his special gifts, he will be working together with Fabiano Fernandes, EMF missionary, and a young missionary couple Julie and Justin Pearson.