Several years ago it started like this: I had been working for seven years as a researcher in the field of Sociology at the New University of Lisbon when one Saturday morning my pastor announced that a vacancy had opened in the ADRA Portugal office. In his opinion, the position was made for me. I smiled and told him I was not looking for a new job, that I was happy at the university and loved my work. Besides, I only had a year and a half before I finished my Ph.D. However, in an effort to not disappoint the pastor, I sent my resume to ADRA.
I was called in for an interview, and out of all of the candidates who applied, I was chosen! I was puzzled.
My university colleagues did not want me to take on the challenge of going to work for a non-governmental organization. In the School of Sociology, we were trained that we should study social reality, but we should never interfere with it. Change belonged to other experts. It was a dilemma for me because social transformation is crucial to ADRA’s work. At the university, no one understood the call to the work of ADRA that I was feeling.
I finally agreed to join the ADRA Portugal team in February 2008. The mission at hand was immense: to structure the national field so that local delegations in the churches could be made. This included carrying out an initial questionnaire survey, creating procedures and manuals, preparing pilot projects, training volunteers, and standardizing actions. I accepted and embraced this task wholeheartedly, though I never thought I’d find myself in such a position.
With the support of the former director of the ADRA Portugal, João Martins, and the collaboration of dozens of volunteers, I began to fulfill my mission, learning the true meaning of service. I feel that God used me at various levels to support the growth of work of serving the people in Portugal. I started to work in ADRA in 2008 as the National Project Coordinator and three years ago I took on the responsibility of the Country Director.