September 7, 2015 Leiria, Portugal
Hey Mom and Dad!
So, ya there were big changes. I’m not in Madeira anymore…. BUT, I’m in this really cool city called Leiria, and I’M TRAINING AGAIN. It’s actually 2nd transfer training, something I’ve never done before because I’ve “orphaned” all of my other 3 sons after the first transfer. My comp’s name is Elder M and he’s super awesome. He’s actually from Las Vegas, although from a really new high school that I didn’t recognize. He did 2 semesters at BYU and is the same age as me (almost 20). Leiria is kind of in the middle of the country, on the coast. It’s a really old city and there are a bunch of cool castle and cathedral things in the surrounding areas. It’s actually a WARD here so I went to my first actual ward in Portugal yesterday. Before that, I had only been to branches. It was pretty cool to see. Here they have much, much, more active priesthood than I’ve ever seen before. It’s nice not having to give a talk, bless the sacrament, fill in for a teacher, give a lesson, play the piano, or lead the music each week. Now, I can focus a little more on our investigators and the members. The chapel is actually in a very effective location here and it’s really cool looking. It is the ward of the current stake President, even though he’s often away visiting other parts of the stake. Our Bishop is actually the Stake President’s brother. At the end of church yesterday, the Bishop came up to us and asked us if we needed anything from him. We told him, no, everything was good and he said, “Well I actually need something from you: Baptisms.” So, we’re going to work on that, haha!
Okay, so what happened this week…..? Well, I got the transfer call at 10:00pm that I would have to be at the airport at 5:15am the next morning……..That was really fun…… Anyway, I got on a plane and said Good-by to the paradise that is Madeira and then I got to Porto, went down to Coimbra, picked up Elder M and then we took another bus down to Leiria. I was surprised to feel so calm. In the past, traveling always made me really stressed out and anxious. It helped that I had been to both Coimbra and Leiria MANY times because of my past experiences in the Coimbra zone. I’m actually in the same district as Figueira da Foz, my first area! Cool huh?!
So, like I said, the ward is cool. I think we’re going to have to work to gain the respect of the ward leadership. It looks like it was lost in the past. We have super cool activities here (all run by the missionaries….). There’s a family night each week as well as an English class taught by us or the sisters, also in our ward. It’s kind of funny, the 2 sisters in our ward, one of them was in the MTC with me and is ending her mission soon. The other one arrived a lot later, but we realized will be ending her mission with me.
So, we’ve been working hard, just trying to find some more people to teach. A simple but important truth that impressed me during personal study was the definition of ‘joy’ in the scriptures. It pretty much says that it is the state of happiness that depends on our worthiness. By worthiness, it means obedience. When we are obedient, we can be happy. We remember the famous scripture that says “Men are that they might have joy,” through obedience. Anyway, if you want to be happy, keep the commandments. If you don’t believe it, take a prayerful look around at the world and find me one person that is truly happy that is not a faithful, temple recommend-holding member of the church. I haven’t met one yet.
Thanks so much for everything. I love you all. We went to the castle today!!!!
Elder Cory Zwahlen