March 30, 2015 Portugal
Hey Mom and Dad,
Well, this week was really great. Elder T is learning Portuguese really fast and is a patient and great companion. He took three years of Spanish in high school and I think that’s actually helping him a lot. He may talk a little slow at times, but when he testifies it’s waaay powerful. He starts out every time with “I know….” and nobody can disbelieve it. Actually he testified really well in a lesson we had this week with our investigator, H_. So, after the first couple of visits it looked like she wasn’t going to progress with us. In her case was weird actually, because the first visit we just went over the Family a Proclamation to the World and gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. Then in the second lesson we just kind of taught to her questions and stuff and pretty much taught the 2nd lesson (The plan of Salvation) and not the 1st lesson (the restoration), but we gave her a pamphlet and a chapter from the Book of Mormon to read. Of course we talked a little bit about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but we didn’t really teach it as a full lesson. Well, this week we were able to teach the restoration to her and by the end of the lesson, her whole attitude had changed and she agreed to go to church after Easter and her husband (who is a devout Catholic) said he’d go as well. WAY COOL!!! (She’s one of those 2-times a year Catholics that don’t really believe, they just go as a formality). I think I probably already mentioned this, but it seems EVERYONE in Portugal is Catholic by baptism. But, as is the general consensus, most young people don’t believe or go for themselves, just for ritual or to show respect for their parents. But, devout Catholics almost always have a lot of respect for other religions and are quite nice people. Anyway, back to H_, we have high hopes for her and her husband, as well as their son.
Also, the lady I told you guys about last week named C_ came to church again! We weren’t able to have a lesson with her until directly after the church meetings. We kind of found out that because of some health problems she’s not able to lift things or keep her house very clean and I think she was ashamed to let us see her house in that state. The Relief society sisters helped out a lot during the lesson, talking about their own conversion stories (even if they did say that the Elders “pushed and pushed and pushed” them to be baptized, haha! That’s a good thing! This is people’s salvation we’re talking about!) We’ll keep working with her and see when we can get to know her husband. She’s pretty certain he’s not interested, but that’s because he doesn’t know the true gospel has been restored to the earth. How can we be “interested” in something we didn’t know existed? Although actually, a lot of people really do say that the gospel fills a hole in peoples’ hearts that they didn’t know existed.
So, funny story from this week: Elder T and I were walking down a narrow Portuguese road and a car was coming up behind us. We both got as close to the wall of houses as possible and continued to walk single-file as the car was about to pass. Well, there just so happened to be a square hole in the road right in front of me about a foot wide and a foot and a half or so deep. Without thinking, I simply stepped over the hole without a problem, but a second later I hear a yelp from behind me. I turned back only to see Elder T half on the ground with his leg stuck in the hole. He had been following so close to me and was worried about the car that was going to almost brush us with its driver’s side mirror, that he didn’t see the big old hole in the ground!!! At first, I was worried about him and hoped he was okay, but not for too long because afterwards all I could do was laugh! Luckily he got off easy with just a little bruise on his leg and a couple of scuffs on his new greenie shoes; I’m sure it won’t be the last ones 😉
So, I’m sure you two will get a kick out of something else too. Since about the beginning of the transfer, our phone has had something that I call the “ghost alarm.” It’s an alarm that started going off at 5:10am each morning, but the thing is, the alarm doesn’t actually exist. We tried deleting all of the alarms and thought that it would help, but the ghost alarm still would go off each morning. And we had to turn it off or else it would keep going off every 5 minutes. We didn’t want to turn the phone off at night, in case someone wanted to get hold of us in an emergency, so we didn’t know what to do. We tried restoring the phone to factory settings but STILL that stupid ghost alarm woke us up every morning! (BTW, the Portugal Lisbon Mission gets up at 7:00am instead of 6:30 and then our whole day’s Schedule is moved back 30 minutes. I think it has something to do with the culture or something, IDK.) Anyway, so what we ended up doing is setting the time on the phone back 2 hours so that the alarm actually goes off at 7:00 instead of 5:10. Of course the phone still thinks it’s getting us up early, but we totally tricked it, haha! I’m not going to lie; I was super tired this week and I think it was because of that ghost alarm!!!!
On Sunday they asked us during church if Elder T and I could fill in and give talks. It’s actually pretty easy to give talks here as a missionary because all you have to do is teach one or more, or a combination, of the PMG lessons and you already have a bunch of good scriptures memorized ready to go. I ended up talking about the plan of salvation with an emphasis on the principles of the gospel. It went well. Elder T also shared a very good testimony, even though there were members who were noticeably sleeping during our talks. With 200 members in the chapel, you can get away with falling asleep from time to time. When you have 25, it’s pretty obvious….especially if you snore….
Yesterday we decided to pass a member who didn’t come to church that morning and we started talking to her in the doorway a little. We met her teenage granddaughter who was staying with her during the weekend. She said she wasn’t real interested in “the things of God.” We asked her if she liked to read and it turns out that she LOVES to read. We were able to explain quite a bit about the Book of Mormon and mark Alma 30 for her to read because she didn’t really have a strong belief in God. Hopefully she’ll read and pray and will want to learn more. It was a really cool experience and an unplanned opportunity to explain the importance of the Book of Mormon.
Well, I hope everyone is doing Awesome! Love you all!