March 7, 2016 Portalegre, Portugal
Hey Mom and Dad!
No, I haven’t even seen a temple since I left the MTC. It’ll be really great to be able to visit the temple more often back home (even though the IF temple is closed right now.) A 40 minute drive is nothing when I see so many faithful members here planning a year in advance to travel to Madrid, Spain so they can go to the temple. It’s both humbling and inspiring. The temple in Lisbon should be done in 2 or 3 years.
Good job, Dad! Keep up the good work and reactivate as many members as possible! Even in Idaho Falls, missionary work and reactivation (which is the same thing) is still just as important. I’m sure Dad felt just awesome seeing them back in church. There is a wonderful feeling about helping someone step out of their comfort zone so they can become even more happy. If we are to help others return to the path, we ourselves must also be willing to go the extra mile and leave our own comfort zones. Hence the popular saying “There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.” We must be ready to extend invitations, follow-up, and love without judging. You’re awesome, Dad. Thanks for your great example to me and all the kids.
We haven’t been able to get back to J_ this week because we’ve been super busy, but we’ll head over there again this week.
Good news! We marked M_ for the 19th of March (for baptism)! Whoohoo! We’re pretty excited and so are the members. We told all the members about the date he accepted and they’re all giving him support. He’s currently drinking only 1 cup of coffee every other day, according to the plan we made with him. We decided that he didn’t have a lot of confidence in himself and his capacity to quit so we had him go one day on and one day off for the whole week. He has already gained a lot self confidence and trust in the Lord. And, if he can go 1 day without coffee, why not 2? And, if 2 days, why not 3, or a week, or until baptism, or drop it completely? This Wednesday, he’s going to drop it completely. With his nicotine and his electric cigarette, he just needs to decrease the nicotine until 0.0 and he’ll be there. We have to do A LOT of follow-up but it’ll be worth it.
The weather back home sounds just fabulous. It’s also getting warmer here but it changes all the time. It’ll be nice to walk around without a big jacket here soon. I’m glad to hear that you and Dad are going to start biking again. About a month ago an old man invited us in to talk to him while it was raining and he turned out to be 92. He still drives around in his little car and does everything. Very impressive. We asked him how he has such good health and he told us it’s because he biked around everywhere when he was younger; every day, many long rides. So, he is proof that biking is good for you. It’s also good quality time for you and dad.
We have a lesson with JP and his son today. JP is just awesome. He’s reading the Book of Mormon so well with real interest and intent. In the last lesson he said something pretty spontaneous. He said, “It’s a little hard to believe that the Book of Mormon is what it proposes to be.” We haven’t even had time to talk about how he can receive an answer yet! But he really wants to know, so we’re pretty excited. All we have to do now is show him how he can recognize his answer when it comes and have faith that God will tell him in his “mind and in [his] heart, by the Holy Ghost.” (D&C 8:2) We’re going to watch the Restoration with them tonight and reemphasize how important it is that they ask in faith, believing they shall receive. It’ll be great!
Oh, I had two other name tags I got a couple months ago that I was saving. The other day I put one on. New name tag, new day. It was a good feeling. But then my comp looked at it and asked me if my name was spelled wrong. I thought he was just messing with me but when I looked down it said ELDER ZWALHEN (instead of Zwahlen) on it…..sad day….
Today I’m with another Elder because Elder M had to go down to Lisbon to have an interview for his VISA in the American consulate, and Elder B’s companion, Elder G had to go down there to do some things, so they went together. If you remember, I trained Elder G, so 2 of my “sons” are currently on a road trip and didn’t even bring me along….That’s what happens when you get old…. hahaha!
Mom, good work on your classes! Only 5 weeks left! You’ll do great!