May 23, 2016 – Matosinhos, Portugal
Hi Mom and Dad!
I learned a really cool lesson this week: that truly no effort is wasted. Elder M and I were walking across a bridge to get back home for lunch when a young man ran up from behind us and stopped to talk. He said he needed some help. At first I was honestly a little skeptical (normally when people want help, that’s code for money, a type of help that the church cannot give.) Anyway, he started talking about some of the situations with him and his mom, and we asked him how he knew the Elders. He said he knew them from back in Figueira da Foz, my first area! I told him that I had served there, and he responded that he thought it was me he knew from Figueira, or someone that looked a lot like me. I just laughed and told him, “maybe,” because if I had ever taught him I thought I would have remembered him for sure. Then he explained that he had been down there on holidays with his mother and that he lived here in Matosinhos. As he talked, “my eyes were opened” in a sense and I remembered a division, more than 6 months ago that I had done in Figueira as district leader when we contacted this young man and his mother. I remembered the moment like it was yesterday. He and his mom were so cool and so open! Then they told us they were from up in Porto. On the division, we got their information and we sent the reference on. I said, “B_, it was me that contacted you! I remember you now!” And I gave him a hug right there. Wow. No effort is wasted. God willing, we’ll be able to get in contact with him and his mother this week and teach them the gospel. They’re sooooo cool!
We also did an awesome proselyting activity with some of the ward members this week. The ward has been doing an expo about the Book of Mormon (idk if I already mentioned it) during an annual festival called “Senhor de Matosinhos.” There are tons of people in the street next to the chapel and the ward created a giant Book of Mormon and a giant bible which we put outside. Then we and some of the members would stop people, tell them we were doing the expo and ask them if they would like to see it. Those whom we brought in, mostly teenagers and young adults, came up to the chapel and were greeted by some young sisters in the ward who were the guides. They brought them through the chapel to each of the posters of the “Heroes from the Book of Mormon” and there was even a decorated room showing the First Vision. At the end of the tour, the people who entered were offered a Book of Mormon to take with them. Although it was tiring and kind of frustrating work, it was a great way to get the members excited about missionary work, and to get people familiar with the chapel. This ward in Matosinhos is THE BEST!
Guess who came to visit our mission this week?! ELDER DAVID A. BEDNAR! We had a special devotional with him for all the missionaries in the mission. It was really spectacular. To see an apostle of God is a privilege, to shake his hand is inspiring, and to learn from him is a blessing. The most memorable thing I learned was that you learn more on your feet striving to do what’s right, than on your knees praying for the Lord’s help. Also Elder Bednar simply said, “You just have to be good, not perfect,” and follow the gospel. I was so blessed to be able to hear him speak to us, and learn so many new things from him. But, he explained as he always does, that learning comes through the spirit, and that learning by the spirit is just as important as teaching by the spirit.
We’ve been knocking quite a few doors out in the boonies, in a place called “Cabo do mundo.” We found some potential people there that we’re going to try and teach this week.
I love the mission. It’s hard; so hard, but not too hard. My new greenie reminded me this week that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”