Monday, September 28, 2015

Sempre, fim da semana

Date: September 28, 2015 at 8:07:41 AM MDT
From: Lee Holmes <>

Another Week down! Crazy how fast time is really flying here on my mission. The other day I realized I already have 16 weeks here on the mission, 4 MONTHS! And 3 Months almost in Portugal! Time really flies!

This week we had a lesson with a family Luis and Gabriella, very nice parents with our recent convert Antonio! He did a great job of sharing his experiences as a convert to the church. I loved the lesson and saw a lot of potential in them, but last night they said thank you but we are going to continue in our ways. A bummer but we did what we could. We gave it our all. He tried to give us the Book of Mormon we gave him back to us but we wouldn´t let him haha. We told him that one day, he was going to want to know more, and that he would read more in that book. A little promise we gave him. I know one day, they will hear the message again.

On wednesday we also did divisions in our district and I got to work with Elder Simpson while Elder Sutton worked with Elder Dorius. It was a little different but I learned a lot, especially that my accent needs some improvement!  haha Hey the language needs to come first and then the accent can follow! This week I did an english fast so therefore, spoke a BASTANTE of Portuguese. Went really well and I definitely saw my portuguese grow a whole lot! That night, we also had an appointment with Alice and Bernardo, because they live in the othe elders' area! Super fun to see them and share a little message with them, inviting them to come to general conference with us this week! She also bought me a Pastel de Nata! I know. She is the nicest!

We had another lesson with a man named Joaquim who we contacted on the road like 3 weeks ago. We then also found him in the area book from other elders that had already contacted him as well! In their notes they said he wanted to get baptized! Our lesson with him, we figured out he already tried but never did, and said about the same thing that this time in his life he just has a lot going on. Tried to help him realized that THIS IS THE TIME HE NEEDS CHRIST THE MOST! Just hard. Gonna try a little more with him and help him see the Light!

This past couple weeks have been tough. Lots and lots and lots of contacts in the road and then a lot of appointments that fall through. Our distict is doing 1/3 of the contacts for the entire zone, and I believe this week we did 1/2! We are talking with everyone! We can say at the end of the day we really gave it our all, but it’s tough when you want to teach more! With time, and a whole lot of patience, we will see miracles! Still have the faith that we will see a baptism at the end of this transfer!

This friday, President Rubervale and Sheila took Elder Sutton and I to an Older lady who lives about 45 minutes away. She was the cutust sweetest lady. Had pictures of Jesus all up around her room with her baptism certificate, temple sealing to her husband, and the picture of her and her husband and daughter getting baptized 26 years ago. I had the opportunity to give her a blessing for help and it was apparent she really appreciated it. THIS IS THE GOAL! People like her. The faith still in them, married and sealed in the temple. I loved the picture of her baptism. They were all just glowing in white and they all seemed so happy, and those Elders really changed some lives. I love president Rubervale and Sheila. They joke around with me a whole lot and I can never see them without laughing. Sheila always has me say hard words in portuguses and calls me beleza carra (beautiful face) haha and president just always calls me a fubeca (lazy missionary) haha

The reason I titled this email "Sempre, fim da semana" is because that means always, end of the week! Literally always, always always, God blesses us at the very end of the week in literally the last hour, when we are feeling a little low. Last night we received another blessing. We were just walking back home, and contacted a father playing soccer with his son. He seemed very interested in the idea of families being together forever, and said how his wife would love to hear about this lesson as well. Super excited to teach them tonight at 8! Praying all goes well and we can bring them closer to christ!

This following week, the zone leaders are going to go on divisions with us and also president is going to come too Beja to have interviews with us and hold a little training for us as well. See how it goes! We might have a zone meeting as well which would be good! Always great to hear about how we can do better.

As far as funny and other interesting things, Elder Sutton and I are still liking each other and working together. Laugh a great amount with him and I can really be myself with him. I think I did a little bit too many pull ups the last several weeks, though, because I broke the top of the door frame and it looks like all the other ones have already been brocken too....haha Probably just because I’m getting a little chubby out here. Yeah. That is probably thre reason. This week I wrote down “Lee" and just was weird... like is that even my name any more? I only know Elder Holmes hahaha Such a strange feeling. 

That´s about it for me! Still have the faith in Jesus Christ! I know that my confidence and faith should be in Christ and not in myself! To rely on the spirit rather relying on myself. 

Love you all!

Elder Holmes

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chasing a Dog Around!

Date: September 21, 2015 at 8:59:55 AM MDT
Subject: Chasing a Dog Around

We made this table!!

Olá meus Amigos!

Another week down for Elder Holmes in BEJA -The desert of Portugal! Good thing it´s not as hot as when I arrived but it is still hot! 

This week let’s just say it was all about Faith in Jesus Christ. I tried to study this every morning and it helped me leave the house jazzed to do missionary work. The work is tough, we contact até o po (until the dust haha) and we didn´t have many lessons this week, but we still have the faith in Jesus Christ. 

This week we decided to buy bus passes to start working in a city called Penedo Gordo that doesn´t get much love from the missionaries! We did a lot of contacting on tuesday and thursday there and have some things set up there for tomorrow! Kinda cool, right when we got off the bus there, this mom and her son practically contacted us! Always nice when it happens like that but definitely very rare! Hopefully everything falls in place and we can have a lesson with them tomorrow night.

This week I also took the stress test that is required for the 5th week training (never did it the 5th week so I did it this week!) WE ALL GOOD! I am in the GREEN! Haha I learned some good stuff though that I can definitely apply into my missionary work. One: To let go of the things that are out of my control. And Two: To do all you can and then let the Lord do the rest. It reminded me of a quote Clairesauce sent me (Claire Holmes that is), to ``Pray as if it all depends on the Lord and work as if it all depends on you.`` Something like that. So TRUE though! There is only so much I can handle, and just have to leave the rest up to Him. 

Saturday was the most interesting day for us by far though. During lunch time, we knocked on a house, and their dog escaped!! We literally tried to get it back into the house for like 45 minutes and finally it just ran away from us and we lost it! We felt so bad. What had we done!!! We left a note on the door, saying we were sorry, hoped it returns, would do anything we could to help find it, and gave our number. As we were walking away, still feeling bad, we said a prayer that it would return. We started walking towards our house and turned back and the owner of the house walked out the door and seemed like she was looking for her dog! We walked up to her, apologized again, and then she went on to say all was well and that the dog had returned home! hahaha We were relieved. God answered our little prayer! And the lady wasn´t grumpy with us at all. Actually very nice! 

Saturday we also had a lesson with that Marta and Francisco family with President Rubervale and his wife Sheila. Let´s just say it didn´t go as well as we would have hoped. They are both physics teachers, so every time we bore testimony, it was hard because the husband would then go back into physics mode. Even brought out an Albert Einstein statue and put it on the table...hahaha I thought that was kinda funny. But yeah it was tough. We had high expectations for the lesson and didn´t really yield the best results. Marta had read the first chapter of the book of mormon, had even drawn like pictures of the stories and the family of Lehi etc. but I guess just more believed it was true because it´s a record and not that it is truly from God. More the storyline rather than what´s behind it. President still thinks she has potential, and thinks we should teach them one more time with the president of the district here, who is a chemistry teacher, so we will see!! After the lesson, my heart was pretty shot. My faith in Christ, for what he would do for us after we gave it our all, was a little shaken to say the least. But then I remembered a devotional I saw in the MTC by David Bednar called the Character of Christ. He said in this, ``When the natural man would turn inward, Christ turns outward.`` I am striving for this, and for that, Elder Sutton and I got right up and went back to work contacting. Even got blessed on a house we knocked on with a family. Excited to teach them tomorrow! The work is hard but the work is true.

Last night we finished the week with a lesson with a less active that we see a lot of potential with! Just trying to help people individually and help this ramo grow as a whole. I´m so blessed in my life and have 2 years to truly try and bless others. Love you all and have a great week!!

Elder Holmes  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Olá! (with pics!)

My Birthday Package Finally Arrived!

Trying out my new exercise bands!

Saying goodbye to Elder Hansen!

Date: September 14, 2015 at 9:06:45 AM MDT
Subject: Olá!

Week 8 here in Portugal is finished! Crazy that I´ve already had 2 months out here! I hope you guys don´t miss me too much, probably don´t miss me at all actually. Seems like you all are just having a party!!!  But party news here..... I finally got my Birthday Package and LOVED IT!  It was soooo bomb! The candy was money, even though I'm getting fat, and the bands were literally perfect! I was like ohhhh myyyy goshhhh this iss soooo genious!! My mom is sooo smart. I use them everyday. 

This past monday night we took a bus to Faro and had our zone conference on wednesday. It was awesome! Gotta see good ol Elder Collette again and Elder Empee, had a great meeting with President Martins of the District here and then the Zone leaders and Sister Training leaders. President Martins has such a burning testimony and really said some things that hit Elder Sutton and me and put a fire under our feet. He shared a quote from Elder Holland, something on the lines of ´´You have 2 years to serve a mission and the rest of your life to think about it.´´ He shared how not a day goes by that he doesn´t think about his own mission, and the same will happen to us. What do you want those thoughts be be? Proud? or unsatisfied.. that you didn´t give it your all?? He finished by saying how we need to make everyday like it´s your last. I thought to myself how it might be the millionth time that I tell an investigator or person on the street that god loves them, that jesus christ´s church is restored on the earth, or that this gospel truly blesses families....but to them, it might be the first time they’ve ever heard it, or the first time, for sure, that they’ve heard it from a 20 year old kid who they can tell truly cares about them and wants what is best for them. When we got home tuesday night, we just contacted everyone we saw, and continued to contact like crazy the rest of the week.We also learned in the meeting how to help less actives and recent converts more, something that we can really help with in this area. 

The rest of the week we contacted a lot with little success. Every day we prayed that this week we would find a family or someone that could be a great canidate for baptism at the end of this transfer. It was tough, but everyday we went to bed proud with the effort we gave. Come saturday night, still with no lessons really taught this past week, we were sitting in the chapel. I said to elder Sutton ´´God is really trying our faith right now, isn´t he?´´ After we snacked a little and got back out on the road, we passed by a lady we briefly contacted 3 days before leaving her house. Her husband answered the door a little confused. We shared how we contacted his wife and she told us to come back another day around this time. He smiled and said come on in, sat us down in the front room, and said 'you guys got 15 minutes!' We asked if his wife would like to join us. He went and got her, and the the son as well. After introducing ourselves, answering some funny questions the father had and laughing a little, we said a prayer. Before we could even jump into the restoration, the wife had questions that all the answers were literally in the lesson! We taught the restoration, backwards and forwards, and they had so much curisosity. The dad, a science teacher, then brought in his science book and shared how these were his beliefs. I shared my testimony of how i believe, and the church believes, that God is a God of science. That Plenty of what he believes, if not all he believes, can be true at the same time while having a belief in God. I testified that God set up the science. (Thank goodness for Professor Bybee´s Biology class at BYU! haha) He didn´t say much, seemed like he agreed, and then he and his wife went on saying the curiosity they both have. At the end of the lesson, I shared my testimony of why I wanted this for them. I directed it at the father, and shared how we want these blessing for his family, and how we know they will bless him too. I got a little emotional. The spirit was just so strong. They didn´t make it to church the next day for some plans they already have, but we have a lesson planned with them this next week. They´re in our prayers this week and we see so much potential in them. I guess God answered our prayers and put these children of his in our hands. 

Sunday, the other Elders of Beja had a baptism which was great! It was the cousin to one of the members who just got back from his mission. She was so happy and I truly believe will be such a strong member. Already has friends and family in the church! Elder Simpson made some good peach cobler and it added to the other 50 pounds I think I´ve already gained out here...haha They also had another investigator in church that kinda hovered with Elder Sutton and I because the other elders were helping with the girl being baptized. He really liked us and I believe he will be baptized. He told Elder Simpson how much he loved the ward, how it felt like a family, and he loved the baptism, how he even wants to be baptized! So cool! The church is a family! If it doesn´t feel like it is, the ward is doing it wrong! The 1st counselor of the Zone here in Algarve actually came to our sacrament meeting and spoke about this; about unity in the branch. He was so awesome and I learned a whole lot from him yesterday! After I gave my talk, about enduring to the end, he was talking to Elder Dorius and me and asked me how long I´ve been out! I said that I have the same time that Elder Collette has (he is in the branch of Largos, that elder Collette is in) so about 8 weeks. He shared that my portuguese is very good for that amount of time, and how he doesn´t give compliments like that unless he truly means it!  (He said it all in portuguese and in English for me so I´d really understand!  haha). Such a nice compliment and a big pick me up. I´ve been having a lot of patience with the language and studying hard. It´s coming, slowly but surely! Sunday 2 of our other investigators dropped us which was a bummer, but we are ready to hit this week hard and give our whole souls to the work and ultimately to our Savior (omni 1: 26)

Well, that´s all I think I´ll include in this letter. I´m happy. The work can be tough, but at those times, I just need to Remember Him. How tough it was for Him, and give it all I have because He gave all He had for me. ´´Christ changes man and changed men changed the world. . . Men changed by Christ not only would die for him, but more importantly, will live for Him.´´


Elder Holmes

Monday, September 7, 2015

Transfer #2!!


1 transfer down and onto transfer 2! Crazy how fast time flies! This week the new elders came in and Elder Hansen went off to the Azores! He was with us until Tuesday night, though. Monday, with the 5 of us, we had a family night with president rubervale and his wife shela, a recent conver atonio (Leonel's dad) and an investigator Edson, who is practically a member. He is so awesome. He just needs to get baptized. He lives in the other elders area. Anyway, Antonio is preparing to go to the temple so Shela had all who have gone through the temple give their testimonies and it was truly awesome. Felt the spirit and Antonio got even more excited. The new elders I really like. Elder Dorius and Elder Simpson! THey have already taught me a lot out here. 

Tuesday we sent Elder Hansen off to the bus and said our goodbyes. Elder Sutton and I then had a lesson with Antonio on the commandments. Just reteaching all the lessons he had before he got baptized. He is so strong. Every sunday he is blessing the sacrament and he just has a light about him. I LOVE the guy. Anyway, Elder sutton and I taught well together. I am so excited to serve with Elder Sutton and know we will have success. Just gotta work smart and work hard and have the spirit with us at all times. When i left this lesson with Antonio, I just told him how excited I was and how much I felt the spirit in there. 

The rest of the week was tough to say the least though. We don´t really have anyone we are teaching consistently and for that, we literally did contacts all week. I haven´t talked so much about the gospel in my life. I have never gotten so many stares, rude remarks, etc. (I got told that we were a cult... haha) But at the same time, I felt accomplished at the end of each day. There is a huge difference to me between going out each day, not being so obedient and giving it an effort.... compared to being as obedient as I can, showing my love for the lord, and really giving it my all. Contacting as many people as I can, providing service, and even just a smile. We had several days with no lessons at all, and walked miles on miles. But on these nights, I feel fulfilled. I can turn to my Heavenly Father at night with my legs weak and my voice sore from talking and say, ``Heavenly Father, I really gave it my all. I´ll give even more tomorrow, but I will never lose the faith.`` I know we will be blessed for our efforts, whether it´s this week, or whenever. I just have to keep the faith and give it my all. 

This week we did some service as well for a less active member. I´m excited. We are creating a relationship with her and can truly see her coming back to the church. We have been helping her move into her house and are even going to spend some time after we email here to help her even more. 

This week I read a talk as well called ``Converted to Christ, Alive in Christ, One with Christ.`` It´s about a 40 day fast of things that poke at your spirit:  Things that don´t let me feel the spirit as much as I truly can. Such as how I speak to my companion when I am frustrated, the patience I have, the thoughts I let linger, or how much I focus on the negatives instead of the positives. Elder Sutton and I have each personally made a list of the things we think poke at our spirit, things we want to improve, to have the spirit more abundantly with us on the roads, as we teach, and overall in our lives.

Some funny things from this week. Apparently I didn´t know you had to take the paper off of the churisco so I´ve been eating it with paper on hahaha! Also when we were doing some door contacts, usually you ask them how they are doing or introduce yourself a little. Welll anyway, I kinda was distracted and heard her answer the intercom and just said ``Ola como se chama?`` Haha Hi what is your name? She hung up right away... haha

And lastly. I wanted to share a scripture I came across this week again. It is 2 Nephi 33: ? (Can't remember exact verse.) It is when Nephi is closing his record, after having served his people. He is definitely a missionary I strive to be like. When talking about his people, Nephi shares how he ``Prays continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.`` I loved this. The love he has for his people. How he truly wants the best for them. The people of Portugal ARE MY PEOPLE! I love them and truly want what's best for them. 

Love you all. We have a zone meeting in Faro this week that we are headed out for tongiht. I´ll let you know how it goes next week!  

Elder Holmes