Raquel Pereira is administrator of the Portugal Learning Center and coordinates outcomes assessment at European Nazarene College (EuNC) in Büsingen, Switzerland. She also works as an accountant for a construction company. Pereira lives in Lisbon, Portugal, with her husband, João Pedro Pereira, who is superintendent of the Portugal District. Their daughter, Priscila, is a university student.
Pereira was raised in a Christian home in Lisbon. When the Church of the Nazarene entered Portugal, with missionaries Earl and Gladys Mosteller, the family became Nazarene.
What is life like in Portugal?
Calm. Portuguese are open people, open to other nationalities because of its location in Western Europe.
Do you play an instrument?
Preferred activity on a free day?
Walking on the beach.
Favorite thing about the Atlantic Ocean?
It's always renewing itself. The waves go to and fro; they come and repeat - it brings freshness.
Not being there for my parents. I am an only child with aging parents.
Best thing about being Portuguese?
The location of the country. Being near the sea is something I miss when I am not there.
Who inspires you?
During my life I've had several people who have influenced me at different times. Sunday School teachers-one in my childhood and one when I was a teen. Earl Mosteller. During my college years at EuNC, LeBron Fairbanks (who was EuNC's academic dean).
What is it like being a believer in Europe?
Europeans were introduced to Christianity long ago. We have lost that inheritance. We need to go back to our first love, Christ, and to what it means to be a Christlike people. You can go west, north, east, and south to find cathedrals and realize that before, our continent was Christian. Now, there is a lot of materialism. That's why we need to go back to what it really means to be a Christian.
Tell us about your students.
They have secular jobs and have witnessed God's calling on their lives to serve the Lord. They are as Paul said, tentmakers. Perhaps we need to define what we mean by ministers, because they are ministers even though they are working in secular jobs.
Is there a danger in not engaging with the world?
Definitely. I really believe that if we are to be salt and light, we need to be the church in the world. That's what it should be. We need to be the church individually. If we keep ourselves in the four walls of our temple or church and expect people to come in, we are not going to be able to communicate the message that we are to say and live.
Where do you see the Church of the Nazarene in Portugal in five years?
Growing. I am anticipating a revival as a reflection of the desire-especially in young people-to impact the world where they live. And I'm not saying that in numbers, but in the sense of a spirit awakening of people who call themselves Christians and Nazarenes.
Share a little about your husband.
Optimistic. Easygoing. Wise. Godly. He is willing to serve whatever the circumstances may be, good or bad.
Someplace with water-calm, warm. Maybe Cape Verde.
How do you want to be remembered?
There is a phrase I like, spoken of David-'a [woman] after [God's] own heart' (Acts 13:22).
What would people be surprised to know about you?
That I'm a shy person. As a child, I was an 'astronaut.' I had a hair problem and they had to remove all of the hair on my head and wrap my head, so I looked as though I was wearing an astronaut helmet.
Do you feel like a woman in a man's world?
No. I think women have their own God-designed place and role in the world, and men cannot fill that role.
How do you handle frustration?
Probably crying by myself with my pillow.
What makes you laugh?
What makes you cry?
A song, a child's gesture, a smile-simple things.
Best thing about traveling?
Meeting new people.
Worst thing about traveling?
Too many hours in a plane.
Why are you a Nazarene?
Before I was a Nazarene, I was familiar with other denominations. But I identified myself with Nazarene doctrines and conduct.
Holiness Today, November/December 2009