October 26, 2014 Portugal
I actually had two birthday parties, haha! One was secretly planned by Elder B with our new convert family, (we took out the trash for them and when we came back the apartment everything was dark and there was a cake waiting for me) and the other was because a member lady made a cake for me and brought it to the branch activity so like 30 people sang to me the day after! It was quite the surprise! And now another cake from you guys! I feel very special! Thanks for the wonderful support!
Answers: Yes I practice once or twice during the week when we have to go to the chapel for something. Although there was some miscommunication between me and the Branch President on Sunday and I had to sight-read the opening hymn, Joseph Smith’s First Prayer (the simplified one), without ever seeing it before and so that was kind of interesting…..
Anyway, we had a Branch activity on Saturday: “A festa das Francesinhas” and it was a big hit! We had tons of people show up–members, less-actives, and friends! Also, we had 27 people at church the following day which is a record for quite a long time in Figueira da Foz! If you don’t know what a Francesinha is, it’s pretty much a heart attack on a plate. It has two pieces of bread, ham, sausage, french fries, beef, and Francesinha sauce all together! It’s a specialty of Porto, where Elder B is from. He cooked and I just kind of ran around talking to people and laughing a lot in hopes that they didn’t realize that I didn’t know what they said, haha! It really was a great success and people had a lot of fun.
Oh, something interesting here in this stake or maybe all of Portugal is that when a high councilman goes to a different ward or branch, he brings his wife and family with him! Imagine that, Mother!
Another interesting thing I remembered: About a month ago when I was in the mission office, I met an Elder C and we started talking and he was from Lehi. I asked him if he knew any Stoddards and he said maybe… I said “Dale Stoddard?” He was kind of amazed and said “Yes! That’s my Patriarch! He gave me my Patriarchal Blessing!” Of course, I told him that he was my Grandpa and I also got my Patriarchal Blessing from him. It was really cool! He said that he was number 52 or so of Grandpa’s blessings I think. The gospel is such a small world sometimes. Wherever you go in the world, you will instantly have friends.
I really don’t have anything else for this week. I will have zone meeting on Wednesday so I will receive your package and any other mail then. Also, this is important. The mission office notified me that the package has a fine (You have to pay to get it from the post office). I paid the fine, no biggy, but I asked why it was fined and here’s some of the info I received: (apparently they just love to tax everything.)
1. More expensive packages seemed to be taxed, so value everything LOW VALUE. They had other packages there that weren’t taxed that had things listed 12-20 dollars.
2. If you list the items separately, but you put one big price, it is likely to be taxed, so list the prices separately. For example: photos $5.00; ties $15.00; candy $10.00. That should help.
3. Some things that also got taxed recently for other missionaries were things like shoes, an mp3 player, boots, medication, and pretty much anything that they don’t sell in Portugal.