May 16, 2016 Matosinhos
Mom and Dad,
This is my 6th time training a new missionary. But even though I’ve done it a few times before, it’s still a big stretch for me. But the best part about this one (Elder M) is that I told him I only had a little over a year in the mission, so he has absolutely no idea that I’m in my last transfer. There’s already been a few “close calls” but I’m going to do the best I can to keep it a secret, hahahaha! It’s also really good for me because I often times forget it as well! (It’s better to concentrate on working hard, than to think about coming home).
My spiritual thought from the week is something that a Brother said while giving the lesson during priesthood. The lesson was on the importance of reading and studying the scriptures. The brother is a convert of only three years and is simply incredible. He told us his story about how he was kind of a rebel during his youth and was out of the house, working, at age 15. By the time he was 20 he was a very thoughtful young man and he came to realize an interesting phenomenon regarding the Bible. He realized that the Bible, unlike many other teachings or works, remained constant. Many sciences, for example, such as medicine, engineering, science, technology have changed infinitely over the past 2,000 years, whereas the Bible, though debatable in its origin and truthfulness, has stayed relatively the same, as a testimony of the Savior and his ministry. The theories and sciences of 2,000 years ago have been replaced and are treated as naught, because of such advances in their fields. This Brother, at age 20, realized this and began his own search to find out how this could be and why. He was in his late 30’s when he was introduced to the gospel and after reading the Book of Mormon gained a testimony of the restoration. So cool! Now he is our ward mission leader and though he is super busy, he still finds time to help us go forward in the work.
So, Elder M and I are working really hard trying to find new people to teach. The very first person we stopped to talk with ended up being a JW 😉 Elder M grew up in Washington D.C. and then moved to Utah when he was 12. His family are all members and his Dad served a mission. He went to a semester of college at BYU before the mission and was a music major. He plays the saxophone super well, enjoys singing and loves any kind of jazz. He also has a really strong desire to be obedient and to learn to speak Portuguese quickly. He’s always pushing for us to be better by saying, “Obedience brings many blessings; exact obedience brings miracles.” We’ve already seen tons of little miracles this week. Elder M was actually a little down this week about not being able to communicate with people very well and we were out proselyting when a car pulls up and a family starts talking English to us. We talked a little and then they invited us into their house. The wife was baptized many, many years ago and used to come to church here. She’s actually Canadian and teaches English here. Her husband is Portuguese and they have a 21 year-old son who also speaks perfect English as well. He knew many, many Elders who had passed through here. We had a great little chat with the family. It was awesome for Elder M to experience a little missionary experience in a language in which he could participate and understand what people were saying. It was just a little tender mercy from the Lord, as they call it.
Sorry I’m sending my big email in little emails. We do email in this internet café and for whatever reason, when the message gets longer there starts to be a significant lag in the typing, which I find unbearably annoying, so I have to refresh it by sending my email in small chunks. Anyway, I haven’t sent many photos this last transfer because here in the “ghetto” internet café we can’t send photos….. We have to go to the chapel to send those and the computer has a virus of some sort and it scares me. Also, I have to fight for time on it when there are 5 other missionaries that all want to send pictures.
This week we taught a lesson to C_ and her 19 year-old son, solely on the importance of families. We used the Proclamation to the World and I showed them our family picture from the temple sealing. We told them that we want to treat them like a family by getting to know her husband. We also had there a young adult girl who had also served a mission named D. She testified of how wonderful it is to have parents and family in the church. C_ promised that she would talk to her husband this week, so we will pray that he will accept our invitation to have a family night in their house or something of that nature. We hope everything goes well with it this week.
As far as Portuguese being like Spanish, it’s a LOT like Spanish. I can read from the Spanish Book of Mormon and understand pretty much everything. I can’t speak very much Spanish, but they are fundamentally very similar. I actually would like to teach myself how to speak Spanish when I get home, being that Spanish is much more useful in the states than Portuguese, unfortunately 😥 Anyway, we’ll see. Good work with your Japanese reading! I never want to lose my Portuguese.
Well, that’s about it for this week. Thanks so much for everything Mom and Dad.
Love you tons!