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From Porto, Portugal

a layne post

We are here!

The journey was good. As Jon has mentioned, it was sort of “half” our regular journey, so really no prob. Neither of us slept much on the London flight, so we crashed hard on the 2 hour Portugal flight. After taking a taxi to our apartment, and thankfully finding it, it was time to meet our host! Maria is precious. She is round (is that a nice way of putting it?) and joyful. She speaks very little English, which make our conversations quite comical. Many laughs and strange looks. Soon though, we should be understanding more and more.

Descriptions…

The apartment is small, but nice. Our bathroom is good. Hot water. The bed reminds me of a slab concrete. =) No air conditioning. Very humid. A lovely balcony coming off our bedroom, over looking a bit of a noisy street. (Fun during the day, loud at night) The temperature highs are in the 70’s. It is great, even a little chilly in the evenings and mornings. Buildings are old. They like tile, and the fronts of buildings have their own flair. Shops typically line the bottom floor and apartments and more shops on top. Our apartment happens to be on top of “Sublime Lingerie”. Ha! It is no longer open though. =) Right next door is a little shop full of veggies and fruit, which is great. And one more door down is a little internet cafe with free Wi-fi. Awesome!!

Getting to school was an adventure. Because Maria speaks such little English, it really was a joke trying to get directions. We got that we needed to take bus 701 or 702 and then walk to the school. From what we understood, you need a pass, but could pay cash. We took a leap of faith, and got on the bus we thought. Jon attempted to ask the driver about the stops or how much, but for now, we do not speak Portuguese… The driver = not friendly. He grumbled something, pointed to the back, and starting driving. Jon and I scurried to find a bar to hang on to and not fall over. Well, that ride was free. Ha!

We hopped off and then started walking. Where? We didn’t know. Finally we decided to ask. We know how to say “excuse me”, and we knew the address of the school, so we could ask where the street was. Okay! We got a few directions. A little fuzzy, but we could ask when we knew we were a little closer. Walk, walk, walk. Confused. We ask a very friendly man, who did not know, but was determined to find out. We were at the right road! Walking a little further, we found it! The 5th floor… boo! We had been walking all over, uphill! I am thinking we are going to get in better shape. =)

We walked in and they were waiting… speaking English! How nice. We chatted and laughed a bit, which felt nice to be understood. Off to our room for lessons! Our teacher, Ana Rachel (pronounced more like Raquel), is just wonderful. She is 27 and married, so it is a nice fit for us. According to her, we had a great first day and we are moving faster than most. Normally she does not speak much Portuguese on the first day, but she was able to speak quite a bit. We follow OK. Speaking is alright. The “sh” sound is all over. It will just be a matter of practicing. I am sure our Spanish and French backgrounds are helping. We have been promised we will be speaking well by September. Encouraging!

After lunch, we went to lunch with the other students (from England and Holland) and teachers from the school and had a traditional famous Portuguese sandwich. It was pretty good. Two pieces of bread, a piece of cheese on top, lots of meat… some that I am not sure what they were, and a sauce poured over the top.

This afternoon we napped and read, and now we are e-mailing.

First two days = Success!

As we go… On to Portugal

jonandlayneafrica

Well it’s that time again.

Layne and I are stepping into the next portion of our lives. We are moving to Porto, Portugal tomorrow to study Portuguese for three months. We will have a private tutor for a few hours a day, homework and practice, practice, practice, all in the hopes that we will be close to fluent in Portuguese by the time October comes around.

Please pray dear friends and family… please pray.

We will be trying to find a church and ministry soon after we get there to be involved with while we are in Portugal. There are two purposes in looking for a ministry. The first is simply to be involved in actively serving the Lord while we are there, and the second is to make sure we learn Biblical terms and Christian words that we may otherwise not learn from a private secular tutor.

All of this is in preparation for our goal of moving to Namibe, Angola by the end of this year. We are excited to speak to Angolans in their first language and minister to them without the common misunderstandings that come with speaking in a non-native tongue.

We will be keeping our personal blog updated as often as possible while we are there.  You can even enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the right side to receive email updates whenever we post something to our blog.

We are going under a brand new non-profit that my father started. It is called “Voices of the World Missions” and you can visit www.votwmissions.com to learn more about it. Right now the focus is on Layne and I in Angola and our pursuit of ministry there.

Ok… so here’s the money pitch again…
Dear, dear friends and family… we need your help.
Help us.
Please support us as we pursue the ministry of Jesus Christ and the people He loves. Angola is one of the few places in the world that still has very few missionaries and a very great harvest field. A study cited by the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8094873.stm) recently rated the capitol of Angola as the most expensive city in the world, despite the fact that most Angolans live on less than $2 per day. I must be honest. We need your financial help. If we are to be effective in turning the tide of HIV/AIDS and caring for the orphans of Angola, we need your support.
Your one time gifts are an incredible blessing. Your monthly support is absolutely necessary. Know that there are no “administrative fees” there are no “overhead costs” for this ministry. Any and all support will be directly ministry related and Layne and I are committed to being completely open and honest about any money or resources we use in any way. Please know that you can always ask us how and where we are spending our finances and we will be fully honest and up-front about how your resources are used.

Please commit to support us on a month-to-month basis. I am asking you to commit to $30 per month or any amount you can sustain.

To those of you who have continued to support us while we’ve been preparing for this journey… I know I don’t express my gratitude enough. Our finest hour is just beginning. Your hands and feet go with us. Your prayers go with us. We know we are not alone. Christ Almighty and His mighty army (that’s YOU!) stand firm with us.

We are not afraid.

Jonathan and Layne Heller
Missionaries sent from Trinity Christian Fellowship (Chandler, AZ)
Missionaries sent from Quiet Time Ministries (Corpus Christi, TX)

The Words of a Crucified Jew

A Jon Post

I wrote this some time ago and recently found it again. I some times need to remember that there’s so much more that Jesus has asked of me. And I love Him so much… I love Him so much. I don’t have to get caught up in the sin in my life or anything else because I love Him. It’s out of that love that I flow into serving Him. Anyway… read on if you’d like. More than read… do. More than do… love Him.

Why is it so easy to forget?

Why is it so easy to be outraged at 5:03 as we watch the story of an evil leader murder millions and then be entertained at 5:15 as we watch millionaires throw balls to each other?

Why is it so easy to write a blog like this and feel like we’ve done something to help the suffering of a devastated nation?

Would you let inspiration move you to go and sell all that you have and give the proceeds to the poor and follow an unattractive, soft-spoken Jew who makes claims of deity?

Why is it so easy to forget that Jew’s words?

“I was hungry… and you gave me nothing to eat… you just watched me on the six o’clock news and said ‘wow that’s terrible’ and then changed the channel”
“I was sick … and you didn’t visit me… you hoped that someone would find a cure for the disease my depraved parents passed on to me”
“I was a stranger… and you turned me away… then you called the police and warned them that I wasn’t supposed to have crossed a fence separating the land people decided on two hundred years ago”
“I was naked… and you didn’t clothe me… you wished someone would take care of the prostitute problem in my country and blamed me for the fact that my parents sold me to a man when I was 6 years old to be used as a toy for the rest of my life”

Was that Jew a Republican? How could a Republican tell a rich man to sell everything he had, all his hard earned money, everything he had worked for in his life, all the comforts he deserved because of his hard work, and give it to the leeches of society, to the lazy bums who won’t motivate themselves to go get a job, and enable them to continue in their laziness?
Was that Jew a Democrat? How could a Democrat demand that the poor give offerings that are just as meaningful to them as a rich man’s offering?

I guess I’m just a little disgusted at my need to have the comforts I never earned.
I guess I’m just a little tired of how much I want to eat and how much I want things done my way and done fast.
I guess I’m just a little tired of how proud I have always been that I care about people.
I guess I’m just a little tired of being so indifferent.

Would you be willing to trade all the inspiration in your heart for a day of unthanked, unnoticed, disregarded work under a blistering sun?

Would you stand alone while you’re misunderstood and forget about defending yourself and protecting your rights?

Would you lay down your rights and your precious little wrongs and follow a revolutionary carpenter from a tiny town known for its laziness?

Why do we feel so good agreeing with these stupid words?

Is there power in them? Is there power to spark a great people to a great work?

Can one decision to follow a formerly crucified Jew redeem us from a life of indifference?

He said it could…

Countdown

a layne post

Breathe in, breathe out.

In less than 64 hours (64 hours??) Jon and I will be leaving Arizona, beginning our journey to learn Portuguese, in order to speak and minister to Angolans in their first language. How exciting! It will be both of our first experience being able to minister in their first language. Before, when ministering in English, it was their second language, or we had to speak through a translator. We had, so to speak, the upper hand in conversation. Now we will switch spots! We will be the slow speakers and “understanders”. We will highly rely on them. We like the idea of that. =)

For some reason, between the two of us, we feel so terribly behind. Maybe it is because we are leaving containers of our stuff here, or maybe it is because our visas for November are still floating in a strange standstill. I am not sure… that is just our current emotional state.

*Visa Update*     

We are currently waiting on an assured invitation. It is in the process of being requested; however, the missionaries, who are so graciously helping us, do not live in the same town as the church we are requesting an invitation from, therefore, we have to wait until they make a trip. Maybe in a week? We also are not sure of the limitations of communcation when we get to Portugal. Hopefully we do not “disappear” in the eyes of the Consulate here. Pray!

In  other news, in celebration of our 1st anniversary (June 21st), Jon and I took a trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. I had never been, so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. It was a fabulous trip!  On many occasions over the two days we would ask each other, “Are you ready to do this?” Ready or not, here we go.

one-year-anniversary-small

On Tuesday we will be in Corpus Christi, Texas visiting my family. July 4th we take off for Portugal! We hope to update on here frequently, provided we have a consistent internet somewhere.

Main prayer needs:

  • Quick language aquisition
  • Good memory retention
  • Progress on Angolan visas

We love you guys. Your support is felt and much appreciated. Thank you.

Our last month

A Layne Post

Leaving  on a jet plane… don’t know when I’ll be back again…

In a mere 20 days Jon and I will begin our second journey as a married couple. Wow! Where did the time go?! In some ways I feel like we just returned from our ‘Around the World Trip’ and have gotten into some normal routine.

We will begin by spending a week and a half in Corpus Christi, Texas with my lovely family, taking in as much as we can. I treasure these short weeks. Once we head to Africa, we will not be sure of the next return. That is a strange feeling for me, accompanied by many tears that seem to come on at random times. Jon is so comforting and understanding.

On July 4th we board a plane to Porto, Portugal! It is exciting to be taking another step towards the start of our future ministry.

Jon is still working as I sit at home looking at our stuff to pack. Yes, I said looking. Ha! I have pulled our belongings out into the middle of our living space, gotten rid of a lot, bought plastic tubs… and pretty much that is where it has stopped. I haven’t been motivated to get the stuff in the tubs. Maybe I am just afraid of how many tubs we need, and/or the fact that I may need to slim down some more. Getting rid of things can be strangely difficult. Why we have sentimental attachments to silly little things, I don’t know.

This weekend we head to San Diego with the  Heller clan to participate in the Camp Pendleton 10K Mud Run. We have been training for a few months and are up to running 6 miles. After the hard work of running, we will spend a few days having a family vacation. The whole family will be together! (Rare these days)

At a wedding...

At a wedding...

VISA UPDATE

Jon has diligently been working on this. He is in contact with the Houston consulate every two to three days. Honestly, I’ll brag on him and say what a great job he does communicating over the phone. He is much better in this area than I am. We are waiting on some information from them about non-profits.

Thankfully with the help of some missionaries currently living in Angola, we are also  in contact with a local church. The leadership is limited in speaking English, so e-mails are sometimes difficult. We have not committed to coming under their leadership, but we are interested and praying about it. We would appreciate your prayers in this area as well.

We continue to feel the peace of the Lord. He is in control and we are wholly trusting in Him.

Thank YOU.

We are forever grateful for our supporters. We could not do this without you. Your prayers and encouragement push us forward. Thank you.