I am alive and well. I'm really sorry that I didn't write anything yesterday. I had a few minutes to get on email in the morning last week, but I thought I would have more time later so I didn't say anything and then we didn't get a chance to go back the whole day, so it just didn't work out. I'm sorry. But I do love you guys. I will try to give you a good update of everything that's been going on with me, but that might be hard to get all the details. The mission is a very strange time warp and in the work, sometimes two weeks can feel like an eternity. I can't believe that it was just last week that we were at the doctor for Sister Parker. We went down to Lisboa to go to a doctor with Sister Flukiger to see if a real adult could get them to do something more effective. And it worked! She's the best. Plus she has a car, so that helps. and she took us to the american store where they have the Montreal Steak and Chicken seasonings that I love. I got her to buy some so I could put some in little baggies to take home (they're a little pricey over here.) Other novelties of the american store, kitchen aid, big jars of peanut butter, Reese's, root beer, fruit roll-ups, yummy pop corn, Ramen, mac and cheese, yummy granola bars, Crisco and lots of other things you probably wouldn't think of. But of all the american luxuries, I think the one I miss the most is a dryer. Luckily, I got to go use one at the laundry mat today, so this p-day is looking pretty up. :)
We are working with some really great families right now. and that's what every missionary dreams about--families.One is this lady named Neusa, her son Flavio (8), Ires (5) and Francisco (2) and her husband Alfonso. We met Neusa in the street about a month ago and tried to pass by a couple of times and she was just not having it. She wasn't home several times and then we went by one day and the door to the apartment complex was open and her husband answered the door and she did not want to let us in, but I think they weren't getting along and he let us in just to spite her. We got her to say a prayer with us and left and came back another day. She didn't want to let us in once again but we just kept talking for a little bit, said a prayer and then she let us come in and sit down. We sang a hymn with the kids and they loved it and we marked to come back another day. And then after a while, she really wanted us to come back and we finally got to teach her the first lesson last week. She started off the lesson by saying how she doesn't think her baptism was just like Christ's and she's not sure what to do about it. She has so many questions and really wants to follow Christ and help her kids grow up in the right way. That reminds me of a really cool experience we had the other day with her. The time before we really got to teach her a real live lesson this last week, we went over on a day when only her and Flavio (who's 8) were home. He was mad at her (a mom of three very lively kids sometimes yells and her kids don't always like it..) and he was sitting on the couch and refusing to look at or respond to anyone. Then we had Neusa say a prayer. and it was the most sincere, beautiful, Spirit-led, loving prayer I have ever heard an investigator say (well maybe not, we a really great investigator in Loulé who prayed kind of like that too). And she just expressed her love for her children and God and her desire to teach them what's right and do her best for them and for God to be near him and after the prayer Flavio totally changed. He just kind of looked at his mom awe-struck. Like he had no idea she had all those emotions inside of her. He was so moved and changed for the rest of the lesson. After that he had to go sit on his mom's lap and just hug her for like the rest of the time we were there. And it just really strengthened my testimony of family prayer and how as we focus on the Lord and on turning our hearts to Him, He is the one who can really bring us closer together. Turning to God does more to bless our families and our family relationships than anything else we can do, because He knows us and them and knows the thoughts and intents of their hearts and if He's the choreographer things always run more smoothly. I'm working on learning to apply that in my relationships with people her, with members and especially with my companion. The mission is really one of the greatest things ever invented for turning us into good people. Its the best training ground for service in the church, for having a successful life, for marriage and parenthood, for pretty much everything. I don't think its a coincidence that more and more youth are serving at this time when things in the world are getting more and more difficult. We need that strength in the church, not just in the mission field. We need more leaders, people who will lead and stand for righteousness and work and do many things of their own free will in what ever situation they are put in, not just when put in positions of "leadership." I'm working on that.
They more I learn, the farther it feels like I have to go, but that is sometimes a tool of the adversary too. My friend sent me a quote from another friend one time that said something like this "Whenever you get discouraged, take a moment to look back and see how far you've come." I have to recognize the progress I have been making because every time I do, I'm giving credit to the one who deserves it, the one who created this plan and the more specific plan for my life of challenges and blessings designed to help me, specifically, grow.
Well there were lots of other things that happened this week, but I think I'll stop here unless I get a moment to come back later and write about them. I love-you all and i am so proud of each of you. tell me what's going on with you. I really do love to hear about it.
Oh yeah, other big thing, we had a baptism (I don't have pics cause I lost my camera... :( This man named Paulo was baptized. He was brought to church by his girlfriend who is headed back to Paraguay (which most certainly borders Uruguay through Argentina's border) next week. It was great because he brought his whole family and they were all so happy and crying and so happy for him (hopefully we can start teaching all of them this week). And in Gospel Principles he taught the plan of salvation to the whole class so incredibly well. So that was a really great moment this week as well.
And about a millennium before that (aka) we got to go do divisions in Viseu again! but with the other dupla this time. and I got to go with my lovely companion from the MTC! Sister Warburton! and that was a really fun day... but once again, no pictures.. sorry. I just love getting to love so many new people every transfer, every day. I want to remember and love that more. Some things I learned\relearned from her that day.
Really find AND talk about the good in everyone.
The secret to being happy is being grateful.
"I love the challenge of learning to love a new person."
"you have to love people into the gospel."
Geez. that girl is just a treasure trove of wisdom. her and Hillary Bowler. my equivalent of a magic eight ball for my life is conference, Sister Warburton, and Hillary Bowler. I swear it works. (ok, maybe I should go study personal revelation a bit more. that's probably not how it works.)
I am working on letters to lots of people! I'm sorry I'm so slow! I haven't done a great job of making time this transfer, but I will try better this week. (I have letters for Hillary and Jessica started and a big list for lots of other people, so don't hate me :)
I love you all and I hope I didn't forget anything terribly important, but if so Heavenly Father will remind me later.
P.S. fight the good fight!