Seeking Common Ground is Difficult but Important

Elder P fell into the ocean!!

Elder P fell into the ocean!!

May 25, 2015 Funchal, Madeira

Hey Mom and Dad!

If you remember from my other letter, we talked a lot about the push for family history here in Portugal. I’d like you to give me some good family history lessons when I get back. You might have to give me some computer lessons too….I’m inept with Windows 8; I hate it!

Okay so, this week passed so fast I can hardly believe it. Everything is perfect for L’s baptism on the 31st right after church. His dad will baptism him and it’s gonna be a really special experience. He’s a pretty quiet kid but has such a strong testimony. We hope he will serve a mission too!

We had this super long super awkward conversation with an old gay guy from England this week too. He started liking Elder P and it was just really strange.

We have been working with a less-active member since I got here. He has a drinking problem and always smells like alcohol, but he has such a kind heart. He really loves people and is really sensitive. We went to the hospital a few weeks ago with him and gave his non-member mother a blessing, which she loved. Anyway, he showed up for sacrament meeting this week with a grand smile on his face, though he looked a little out of place. The key of getting him back to church was members and missionaries working TOGETHER. In correlation meeting the week before, a member named C_ volunteered to call and talk to him, so we actually gave him the number and they ended up talking for an hour that night. We just had to invite him and love him and have faith that the Branch would do its part. He showed up and we sat him down right next to C_ and they were both content. We think he could be a very effective priesthood leader.

We were knocking doors one day and everybody had little gates and fences around the front of their houses. Well, we start talking to this old lady who was out watering her plants with a hose. We were talking about gardening and who we were and stuff but it was obvious she didn’t want anything. But we kept talking to her anyway, haha. She seemed to be getting a little annoyed when she just gave us like the evil eye and firmly asked us, hose in hand, if we wanted to take a bath! We started laughing, and decided to leave the poor woman to her beloved plants 🙂

We also found two really sweet families recently who we’ve started to work with. One of them is a family of 4 with two 20-ish year-old kids who are super cool. We went over there a couple days ago and I was totally geeking out with the 20 year old kid. He was currently playing League of Legends and so we talked about that and a lot of other video games. I’ve actually never played League of Legends but it’s one of those games that I’m really excited to play after the mission. Finding common ground with people is so important on the mission. It doesn’t really matter what it is, just anything to break the ice and the barriers that people put up.

Oh, and I don’t know how I almost forgot, but the funniest thing happened earlier today. We went down to the beach today and Elder P was jumping around on the man-made cement wave breaker things and totally slipped and fell in the ocean!!!!!! The rocks were too slippery to climb back out, so he had to swim back to shore!!!!! It was quite the adventure. Hopefully his camera dries out, hahaha!

I love you all so much!

I set up a time to go play trumpet later today with Funchal 2nd’s recent convert. Should be fun!!! Love you!

Love,

Elder Zwahlen

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About Elder Zwahlen

Elder Cory Zwahlen is serving a 2-year proselyting mission in the Lisbon, Portugal area, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He entered the Provo MTC on July 9, 2014. One of Elder Zwahlen's favorite scriptures is Alma 29:1-2 "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth."
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