Eating out isn’t part of my normal routine as a happily single person settled with a family that cooks delicious food.  That’s why, in three and a half years of living in the same city, I’ve hardly eaten at any restaurants here.  But I recently decided it would be fun to make it a point to visit local eateries, so I began by asking several married friends to list their favorites for me.

On that same day, Thursday, I took my son Afonso out to eat along with Jeremias and Faizal, two friends he’s lived with for the past four years.  That was the day in which, after months of delays, he finally moved permanently to the island where his new university is located, to register and begin classes next week.  Please continue praying for Afonso’s spiritual growth and for wisdom for me in parenting him in this new season of his life.

But anyway, back to the restaurant!  It took some wandering around town and asking directions before we actually found the quaint establishment tucked away in a calm part of the city.  We agreed to order different dishes and share samples with each other:  spicy chicken (my order — the best!), chicken pizza (Afonso’s — not up to par), coconut chicken, and T-bone steak.  I felt honored that the young men felt comfortable carrying on their youthful banter in my presence during our meal, and also that they reminisced fondly of the day I’d taken Afonso and two other friends out to eat after his graduation in 2019.

The very next day, Friday, my friend Nélzia invited me to a different restaurant, which was on both lists of favorites I’d received on Thursday, to celebrate her birthday on Saturday.  Of course, I happily accepted!  For over two hours, I was the only guest with Nélzia and her husband Carlos (pictured here).  We shared fellowship about the wonderful things God has done in our lives, while savoring our beef stroganoff (Nélzia and I) and breaded fish (Carlos).  Finally, Nélzia’s sister and another friend arrived to join our conversation and order their own meals.  As they ate, Nélzia led us in a Bible trivia game, reading questions from her phone; my team won!  At nightfall, we took a taxi to a friend’s home where we enjoyed cake and juice and offered presents and encouraging words to Nélzia.

Leah, a member of our household, will turn thirteen this week, so I’m thinking of inviting her to a highly-recommended breakfast buffet on an upper floor of a fine local hotel.  Likewise, Jeremias’s birthday is in September, so I’m contemplating taking him and Faizal to a neighborhood joint they mentioned during our meal on Thursday.  But shhh, don’t spill the beans just yet, until I think of the best way to extend my invitations!

Thank you for your prayers regarding the COVID patients in our home.  By God’s grace, both Bonifácio and Stephanie now feel well and have tested negative for COVID, and none of the rest of us fell ill.  Now we just have to catch up on all the family time we missed while they were in quarantine!

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