October 12, 2015 Leiria, Portugal
Hey Mom and Dad!
It was a great week this week. Transfers were today but luckily Elder M and I both stayed to fight another day here in Leiria. It really is a good ward and it’s getting better too.
We were finally able to get a time to visit the Bishop and his family. They are incredible. They live in a city outside of Leiria, so it was hard to plan a time that would work for them, but yesterday we had lunch with them and the Sisters. Along with pork and rice they made this stuff that was a lot like American stuffing that was pretty good, so we all were content.
We’ve started an “Area Book Overhaul.” And by that I mean we are just organizing it to death by area because it’s a mess and maybe we’ll actually be able to find some people in it. Our study room floor is currently filled with little stacks of teaching records from all different parts of our area. I actually really enjoy organizing things like that.
Also, a simply incredible recent convert of 1 year bore her testimony and it was very touching to me as a missionary. She said that when she first got baptized, she didn’t see a lot differences in her life, but she decided to just keep living the gospel and its principles. But one year later, she is amazed to see the difference between where she was a year ago and where she is now – how much she has changed. The gospel works on us, day by day. The daily changes are small but the final outcome is great. I’ve seen the same principle on my mission so far. I see where I was a year ago and where I am now, and it strengthens my resolve to work hard every day.
Also, an American sister named Sister that I knew about a year ago, came back to Portugal and went to church here in Leiria with her whole family. It was pretty weird to see a returned missionary, haha!
I heard a good quote this week by a member during Gospel Principles. He said, “We don’t just have to do the right things; we have to do the right things for the right reasons.” We were talking about fasting, but it relates very well for any stage in our lives.
Physical therapy has been going well this week. Most of the therapy consists of me laying on my back and the doctor painfully massaging my neck or bending it from side to side. It’s not exactly the “funnest” thing ever, but it has given me some time this week to reflect on the Savior. We often hear the phrase “No pain, no gain.” Apparently, the same could be said of physical therapy. A couple of times, the therapist held my neck in particularly uncomfortable positions and, as I gasped and squirmed, she’d just say “I know, I know it hurts.” As I reflected on this, I realized that the pain that the Savior suffered was SO VITAL for God’s plan and for us to return to his presence. He had to pay the price for our sins. He had to feel our pain. He had to truly know how we feel so he could “be filled with mercy” and “know…how to succor his people.” (Alma 7:12) And what’s more, if Christ had not suffered, we would have no way of being free from sin and escaping “the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell.” (2 Nephi 9:10) Thus, I think a more inspiring phrase would be “No pain, no salvation.” And as we ourselves suffer emotional, spiritual, and physical pains, the Savior can declare to us with more sincerity than any other person who has ever lived, “I know, I know it hurts.” He’s been there before. I know the Savior lives and stands shoulder to shoulder with us, even in–especially in–the hardest moments of our lives.
I love you all sooooo much and pray for you every day.