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

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