March 2, 2015 Portugal
Ya, I heard that people are starting to get mission calls. That feels so odd…. I realized that the next time that starts happening I’ll almost be done with my mission….weird, haha! Anyway, we were finally able to go to the Episcopal Palace Garden, or “Jardim do Paço.” It was actually way cool. It had TONS of statues of kings, apostles, priests, devils, and all kinds of things. They were made over 500 years ago and the garden is more or less exactly how it was then! Way cool, huh? I’ll send a couple of pictures. Today was also one of the warmest days I’ve seen here so it looks like winter is really coming to end. Thank goodness! I don’t like the cold unless I have a car with a heater 🙂
So, here’s a few interesting things about the missionary work this week:
I_ got confirmed yesterday in church. She was really happy and excited to have this blessing in her life. I know it will help her a lot.
A_ was progressing really well, but we haven’t been able to talk to him for over a week! He just won’t answer his phone. We’ll see I what happens, but we’ll try to get hold of him. He’s such an awesome kid!
We met and taught a lady this week. She invited us in and we taught her about families and about the Plan of Salvation. The husband was Catholic and wasn’t too interested in joining us. It was interesting because we had given her the Family Proclamation to read and she read it and marked it up but then came up with some ridiculous questions like “Well if we’re all children of God, including Adam and Eve, (she’s not so sure they were the first 2 people on earth), then they were siblings, which is incest, so they were breaking a commandment.” I never thought I’d have to answer someone’s question about how Adam and Eve regarding incest. But the mission teaches you interesting things. Also, she’s the first person I’ve taught that doesn’t have a relatively strong belief in God. She believes in evolution or that man was put here by aliens and all kinds of strange things. During our lesson she told us she believes that we evolved from monkeys….so I said, okay, then who created the monkeys?…..then she told me it all started in the ocean……..I said, then who created the ocean?…….she did her best to explain something about how the universe was immense and something that sounded kind of like the big bang theory, but the fact is, eventually, every half-valid explanation of how the world began must start with a higher power–it must start with God. There is no other explanation, no theory that effectively takes God out of the picture. God made the picture, he made everything. He gave us both the ability to think up other explanations for how the word began and the agency to believe what we want. I told her, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s infinitely easier to believe that God exists than to believe he doesn’t exist. Alma put it this way when he was contending with the Anti-Christ, Korihor:
“37 And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
38 And he answered, Nay.
39 Now Alma said unto him: Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come.
40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.
41 But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true?
42 Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God.
43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.
44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”
Anyway, I’m doing well. Hope everyone is good back home as well. Elder W’s birthday is this week so I think I’ll try and plan a surprise party for him >:)