A family adventure (Part 1)

Hannah Rueber

Claudia (Portugal) has been to TeenStreet five times. This year, she finally convinced her two brothers to join. This is Part 1 of the story. Read Part 2 here.

Serving for her fifth consecutive year as the Portuguese translator, Claudia returned to TeenStreet (TS) 2018 with two family members whom she’d been attempting to bring for the past four years: her brothers, Tiago and Filipe.

“I first came to TS as a teen with two of my cousins and my sister,” Claudia said. “There was a 10-year gap between my first time (2004) and my first year as a Service Team member (2014). When I came in 2014, it was incredible. I loved it even more as a Service Team member than I did as I teen. Every time I come here and go back home, I tell [my brothers], ‘You have to go!’ The energy of TS is incredible, as is the chance to serve. After years of trying to convince them to come, it finally worked. They basically caved.”

“In previous years, we’d talked about [coming] but there wasn’t any ‘this year is it!’ moment,” Filipe shared. “This year was very focused on who’s coming [from our family]. There was more focused effort in getting us here. I went along for the ride, for the most part. I started looking at available positions and ended signing on for site security.”

 “I was already thinking about coming last year,” Tiago agreed, “but things didn’t work out. I’d wanted to add as many experiences as I could to my 20s, so coming to TS last year would have been great. I just turned 30, so I didn’t get this experience for my 20s. My sister was still trying to convince us to follow her here. I felt I still needed to come here, even though I wasn’t as invested in it as last year. I was looking for new ways to learn about the Bible, God and my relationship with Him. I was a little nervous about working on the Service Team, but I embraced the challenge.”

As first-time TS attendees, the brothers came with years of stories from Claudia and hearts open for God’s working during the week.

“Because this is such a different experience—unlike anything I’ve done before in terms of scale and what I’m doing—I didn’t bring too many expectations,” Filipe admitted. “I came with a clean-slate mindset, curious to see what I can not only get but give while I’m here. I didn’t put too much pressure on TS to impress me.”

Tiago held a similar thought entering his first TS. “I was trying to find new ways to think about God. The rest is just seeing what happens. Before this, I’d only ever been to Spain. With this journey, I’ve been to Spain, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. And I’ve seen the sun rise.”

With their sister [Claudia] continuing her role as the translator for Portugal, Tiago and Filipe are experiencing TS in their own ways. Being here as a family only adds to the joy of the week.

“It’s a pretty natural extension of how we already are,” Filipe said. “We very much enjoy sharing different aspects of our lives. If one of us is involved with a project, the others kind of get involved by attachment. Being a part of something that’s already so important to [Claudia] is pretty good. Now she doesn’t have to feel as lonely when she wants to talk about TS.”

“I think that we’re going to be sharing stories [once we get home] because we hardly get to see each other here. We’re having completely different experiences of what TS is. It’s going to be fun sharing stories two months from now.”

Read Part 2 here.