March 9, 2015 Portugal
Hey Mom and Dad!
I have been quite diligent this last transfer in writing in my journal every single day. Before that, it was every two or three days. It’s pretty cool to see that there was at least something to write about at the end of the day, even if it seems like a lot of the days are alike.
I do agree that the living room at home (from the picture) looks like it has more space. But I’m a little torn by the fact that the couch that can support the most people isn’t even facing the TV. I guess it’s a good way to show that the focus of your house is family, not the television–which is wrongly named “the family” in the book “Fahrenheit 451.” (I don’t know why that came to mind, but it reminds me of my APCOMP class, junior year it was soooo hard!!!)
So, good news with A_! He’s back on the map! We were able to find him in his house and it turns out he lost his phone like 2 weeks ago, which explains why he never answered our calls. Albeit it’s a little sad, I’m really happy that he’s still interested and is keeping commitments again. Also, I_ came to church this week as well and it looks like she’s doing just awesome! You know, since we first started teaching her and invited her to church, she only missed one Sunday of church. I think she’s been about 9 or 10 times already! She’s coming more persistently than some of the members!
Anyway, I don’t know how much I told you about all of the house work we’ve been doing, but I’ll try and sum it all up. So before the mission splits in July, the couple missionaries are inspecting most of the missionaries’ apartments and mandating needed changes. Well, the first time they came, which was about 5 weeks ago, we received quite a bit of chastisement for the condition of our house, though truly it was no fault of ours, being that many missionaries in the house broke things, never cleaned, and put tape all over the walls and stuff like that; but it’s still our responsibility and jurisdiction. Anyway, the last month and the half has been full of changes. With a good amount of help from our Branch President, we removed an unruly amount of tape from our walls with paint thinner, filled in holes, painted almost all the rooms in the apartment, fixed closet doors, fixed power outlets, replaced the shower curtain fixture, replaced half of the toilet with new screws, a seat, and new sealant in the bottom, fixed windows and blinds, cleaned walls that were covered in oil, cleaned literally every appliance we have, and rearranged all the furniture, ALL while trying to fulfill our normal missionary duties! It was CRAZY! But the couple missionaries came back this week and they were very happy with our work and gave us a perfect score on our house check. Yay!!! Though it was a lot of work, it was quite fulfilling to see such a grand change in our living quarters.
Elder W’s birthday was on Saturday and I had planned a surprise party for him in a member’s house, but he didn’t know ANYTHING!!!! We were walking down the street and I was like, “I think I know someone that lives here. I think his name is João or something” (remember, everyone is named João.) We were let in and he was weirded out that all the lights were off and nobody was saying anything. But, hey, we’ve seen weirder things. Everybody jumped out and started singing happy birthday and it still took him a second to realize what was going on! He was pretty excited though and I think he had a good birthday.
This morning Elder W and I played a game called SQUASH with a less-active member named J_. It was like the coolest thing ever! SQUASH is a lot like racquetball. It’s played on an indoor, somewhat-closed court and you hit off the walls. The rules are a little different but the goal is more or less the same. The biggest difference I noticed was the ball. The ball is seriously smaller than a golf ball and doesn’t bounce very much at all! I thought it would be a lot like a racquetball, but it just drops instead of bouncing, haha! And unlike racquetball, there is a line on the wall about a foot off the ground that you’re not allowed to hit the ball under (you know how in racquetball the goal is to hit it low, almost at the floor line so the ball dies). It was kind of weird, but we both picked it up really fast. I must say, I think I was pretty good at it 🙂
So a couple of days ago, we had blown through all of our plans and literally nobody would answer their phone so we just decided to visit every person I knew in the part of the city that we were in. We eventually passed a member who hadn’t come to church the week before, named T_. She let us in and we started talking to her and she told us she was going through some really hard things with her teenage son being wrapped up in some assault crime and legal trial, as well as difficulties with her husband (also a member.) She started crying multiple times, and then thanked us for our visit and our message. We practically ordered her to call us if she needed anything, and she said she would.
Today, she called us 5 times (we didn’t answer because we were playing SQUASH) and so we called her back and she was crying again. She said she had gotten a flat tire. When we got there she said she had called everyone, including her husband and also the Branch President (who, btw said we probably didn’t know how to change a tire – I’ll be honest, I was almost offended by that, hahaha!), but literally nobody was able to help her and she did not know the first thing about changing a tire. Anyway, we quickly changed the tire for her and her sister (who is not a member, but I hope we can teach now) and she was so grateful. She didn’t know how she could repay us. I’ll be honest, I was really missing working on cars and doing stuff like that so it was really fun! It was also a simple, but effective way to serve a daughter of God who needed help.
OK, well, that was my week. I love you all. Thanks so much for all your prayers and love. I’m so grateful for all of you!