Soccer-Playing Elder Impresses Kids

Funchal 052515p1 edited8/17/15, Funchal, Madeira

Hey Dad!

That’s so sweet that you’ll be talking so much in our home ward. I know there will be many people who will be edified by your well-prepared words. That’s quite a few people that you invited and it shows how easily members can do missionary work! Inviting is SO important. By now I’m sure you’re fairly familiar with Preach My Gospel. It is a wonderful and inspired book that should be well studied by ALL church members. There is a part that I thought of when I was reading your letter that says “Extending an invitation without following up is like beginning a journey without finishing it or buying a ticket to a concert without going into the theater. Without the completed action, the commitment is hollow.” It’s clear that “Inviting,” while it’s good, is incomplete without good “follow-up.” Maybe for your next talk in November you could think of a few ways you could follow up with your invites to make them more effective. I also heard a quote that went something like this: “Sometimes we are so worried about offending people that we never save them.” If we’re too worried about offending, we never invite. If we never invite people will never be saved because “People will not likely change unless they are invited to do so.” (Preach My Gospel)

I learned this week from a random young man in the street that Windows 10 is actually a lot “lighter” than windows 8, so for slightly slower computers it’s actually more efficient (unlike the change to Vista a few years ago :/ ). It’s actually a pretty funny story how we met this kid, A_. We were knocking on a recent covert’s house on a busy street to see if he would remember our appointment. He didn’t. But, as we were waiting, we gave a pass-along card to a college-age kid and started talking to him about genealogy. He actually asked us if we could go somewhere and talk a little more about it! So we did. We went to a café and we got some juice and he got a beer 😦 We talked to him a little more about random stuff and he told us he was a computer genius and hacker, haha! We had an appointment right after that, at the chapel, with our branch secretary who is only 22 years old so we asked him if he wanted to go on a little field trip with us. He was actually a super cool kid and super smart, and he was telling us all about American politics and conspiracy theories I have never heard. Anyway, we got to the church and we went to try and print some member lists and stuff but there was a problem and nothing would print. Our secretary and A_ got along super well (they’re both computer nerds, go figure) and so they both started working to fix the problem. They decided to clean the church computer, which ended up having tons of junk that was unneeded on it. A_ downloaded a program called Ccleaner, which he says is the best computer cleaning program there is (so you should go read up on it and see if he was right.) He seemed to know what he was doing, at any rate. Well in the end, the problem was with the printer so we couldn’t get our member list :/ But A_ was looking pretty interested and ELECT! We planned an appointment with him the same time the next day, but he said he didn’t have or use a cell phone. What kind of computer fixer doesn’t use a cell phone?! He said very convincingly that he would show up. I at least got the punk’s email. He didn’t show up to our appointment so who knows, maybe he’ll pop up again here in a bit. My hopes were so high for him, and then they all kind of fell….. 😦 Haha, but I was still amazed that we picked up some kid of the street that came and cleaned the church’s computer for free!

I would love to come back to Portugal with some family someday. Too bad a plane ticket is like $1500 round trip :/

Last week after I did email we went fishing with our branch mission leader! It was really pretty, but I didn’t have a lot of patience and I got a wicked sun burn and in the end, we only caught a spiny poisonous fish…. we couldn’t eat him, unfortunately.

A couple days ago, all of our plans had fallen through and we were walking by this little neighborhood soccer field (about the size of a church basketball court) where a few young boys were playing. As we were walking past Elder G was like, “I’m gonna go convert all these little kids.” I just told him to go for it. We go over there and I just stay and watch what happens. I was kind of hoping he’d get schooled by a bunch of 10 and 12 year olds, haha! Elder G just walks in there, asks if he can join and tells them they’d have to play slowly because he didn’t play very well. They all just kind of blew him off (remember he’s wearing a tie and dress shoes) and kept going. They gave him the ball a couple times and he starts making a whole slew of terrible play errors and even passes the ball to the other team on accident. His teammates were getting a little frustrated because soccer is like the most important thing to little Portuguese kids at that age. Anyway, he stops the games and tells them that he’ll make it easier and go on the team with the two youngest kids against the older, more advanced players. They agreed and kept playing. At this time he started playing a little better and he starts screwing with the 15 year old kids on the other team. He and these 2 eight year olds start destroying the others. He juggled the ball all the way down the court and put it in their goal. Eventually, all of the other team were standing in the goal to try and ensure that Elder G wouldn’t be able to score, but he did 😉 Afterwards, he told the kids that he used to play soccer and for what teams he had played and which famous professionals he had trained with. I couldn’t believe it: these little boys were like drooling all over him! He could have baptized every single one of them right there and then if we were allowed to! They asked for his signature (of course they asked me for a pen) and a picture with him! (The only reason I existed during this time was to take some photos…..) I was truly dumbfounded at the effect Elder G had on the kids. It was cool to see him use his gifts like that. Probably the coolest thing is that one of the kids ended up being the son of a lady named N, who was baptized yesterday in the other branch! Now he loves missionaries and the church and will probably be the next baptism in the other branch. I did absolutely nothing, just stood, watched, and enjoyed the show. The whole experience seemed like it was something out of a movie!

Anyway, I love you all and hope you have an awesome week!!!

Love you mom!

Elder Cory Zwahlen


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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