Monday, October 26, 2015

Just Mixing it Up Here!


Always so weird to think its like 4 here and and like 10 in the morning there! Hope all is well and everyone had a great week! Here in Beja, it has been raining a lot. It isn´t as hot though as it used to be, and this week was definitly a different one!

The other elders were in Lisboa all week because Elders Simpson is sick, so we had Beja all to ourselves. We have been thinking of things to do differently here, as it has been very difficult to find new people to teach.  So this week we took some time to think of some fresh ideas! We decided to put service cards in a painting store. We also decided to pass by a hospital and ask for any service or if we could put our name and number somewhere (weren´t too successful with that. Apparently there is some Portugal laws mumbo jumbo haha) We also started teaching english every Thursday and Saturday night which was fun! And my favorite of the week, we are trying to make more friendship with the people here, especially the youth. We were thinking of things we could do to promote english class, so we decided to cook 50 cookies, print out pass along cards for english, and just go out and talk to kids and give out cookies during their lunch hour!  It was a little strange at first to us and to them, but by the end, the kids were loving it and throughout the weekend we kept running into kids that waned to talk to us more. We are hoping in the future, after more friendshipping with them, and maybe some soccer playing, we will be able to teach their families and bless their lives. A little longer process, but hopefully we will see fruits in the future! We are thinking of doing the cookies again this week, and not going to lie, THIS STUFF IS TOTALLY ELDER HOLMES! hahaha! I was laughing with them, messing around about Justin Beiber, and let’s just say that I liked it. Here in Beja, the missionaries have been here for a while and that is why we need to mix it up a little bit! 

Anyways, we taught a student here at the college, Nelson, probably 25 or so this week and he seems pretty interested. He had already recieved a book of mormon when he grew up in Largos, so maybe this is the time. Seemed interested, felt the spirit, and are hopefully going to work more with him this week. These other two families we contacted might have some potential too! We have one lesson with one of these families tonight and are trying to schedule the other family later in the week. We contacted one of the families by really just playing with their dog (haha)  It was a shitzu, and looked exactly like COSMO! The guy loved talking to us. Even talked to him about shitzus choosing one master and how Cosmo chose my mom and how whenever I was home alone with Cosmo, he loved me, but the minute mom walked in the door, he would book it to her! This guy said how true that was with his son, and I even showed him a picture of cosmo and koda and then testified about eternal familes. Potiential I think! The other family, who we are teaching tonight, some older elders had contacted them. We found them on the street one night this week and talked to them for a while. By the end we were laughing. The little girls thought we were funny, and when we were walking away we heard them say how nice we were. Melted my Heart. 

This week we also learned how to make rice!! One of the girls that came to english class, her mom owns a restuarant and is friends with our member Antonio! We have been befriending the daughter and now the mom and so we were asking her how to make rice that doesn´t stick. She gave us her secretes, we made a 5 star rice bowl one day, and thanked her by bringing her some cookies. She was pretty pumped about it to say the least. They are always so surprised when we say we made the cookies! I guess we are just trying to grasp the hearts of the people of Portugal with Momma Holmes' Cookie recipe! They sure don´t have them here in Portugal!

Edson gave his testimony in church yesterday and just killed it! The guy is incredible. It´s like they should just make him a bishop already. He is supposed to move back to Brazil here soon though but I just love the guy. Had a little lesson with him last night as well in president ruberval’s house. He is already doing a great job sharing the gospel and is even trying to help less actives come back to the church. 

This week was a good one! Hopefully it will be a great one this coming week as well! Trying things new. And having fun! Being myself. The gospel is so true and truly blesses lives. Love you all!

Elder Holmes

Monday, October 19, 2015

Never Give Up!

Olá familia!

This week not toooo much happened in Beja besides Tuesday night!! Edson Melo, who has been investigating the church forever, and has all his kids and friends in the church (kids in brazil, friends here in portugal) got baptized!!! It was such an awesome experience and I was just so happy for him. He isn´t in our area, but I´ve had the chance to teach him while on splits and while the other elders have been sick or what not, and have just created a relationship with him at church every sunday and even around Beja! He is such a great guy and Tuesday was a special night for him. We, the four elders, had the opportunity to sing ´´Nearer my God to Thee`` at his baptism, and we had a decent turnout of members that got to come for it. 

On Sunday, the other Elder´s were in Lisboa (because Elder Simpson has gotten sick), so we got to assist in giving Edson the Holy Ghost. What an amazing experience and so awesome to hear president Rubervale afterwards welcome our newest member to the Branch of Beja! President Melo was there as well, the 1st counselour of the district of Algarve, and I absolutly love talking to him. He lives in Largos, where elder Collette serves, so I got to talk to him a little bit about Elder Collete, and our work here in Beja. From the words of President Melo, when talking about missionary work here, he just said to never, ever give up. It will come. And to keep the faith. If I had a penny for every time a door was slammed in my face or someone told me they don´t have time or don´t want to hear it, I´d be a pretty wealthy man! (But I am kidding myself — portugal doesn´t use pennies — so it wouldn´t mean anything here in Portugal... but I´d have a pretty sick penny collection CBEAR! haha) 

It is true though. We don´t stop. We keep looking until we find that family. Something I read this week was about a swimmer. How an incredible swimmer says "I kick when I don´t want to kick, I Stroke when I don´t want to stroke!´´ That is what we do as missionaries. We keep going. Sorry this email is so short, but I sure love and miss you all!

Elder Holmes

Monday, October 12, 2015

Take a Step Back and Sharpen our Blades!

Olá Family!  What’s up? Thanks so much for the e-mails.  What a week you’ve had.  On one hand, I am so freaking pumped for Christian!  That is SOOO awesome!  On the other hand, my heart is so sad, just thinking about Rachel’s mom.  I will for sure write both C-Bear and Rachel today!

We had transfers today and Elder Sutton and I are staying in BEJA! Another Elder got transfered out to be a Zone Leader in Setubal so Elder Simpon will be getting a new companion, Elder Sorenson. And Elder Sutton will be the district leader here in Beja! Time to have another great transfer and work hard and smart!

This week we did some more with some less actives and had a good week! One of our less actives sons had a birthday so we baked him some cookies and they were very appreciative. They have a nice family, and hopefully they will be able to have a family night with us tonight with President Ruberval and Sheila!

We also had dinner with another less active named Maria and also our recent convert Antonio! We thought we were just going over there to give her a spiritual thought but we got there and she had a feast prepared for us! haha nice lady, and Antonio seems to be loving the church. I think he really sees that the church is a family and it has truly blessed his life.He has so many more friends and so much more guidance in his life. 

We had a zone conference in Faro again this week on Friday which was great! Just learned more about how to work better with members. President is really stressing the importance of this. And of course, we had to eat at good ol' micky don dons after (MCDONALDS! hahah). Nothing like a fine american hamburger! Elder Braga was very complimentary of my portugese for 2 transfers and asked what I do on my pdays, if I just study the language all day?? hahah I think he was beefing it up a little bit but the language is coming, slowly but surely. Trying to talk as much as I can! My training is done though so now I don´t have as much time to study the language, which I am a little bummed about!

What else, I did a division with Elder Dorius saturday and it was great. There is this man named Edson who all his kids, who live in Brazil, are members of the church, and he has been an investigator for 15 years. He goes to church every sunday and he has all his friends as members. He has been waiting to be baptized in Brazil, which he is leaving for here this month, but Elder Simpson and Dorius had really been feeling that he should get baptized before he leaves. Elder Dorius and I had a lesson with him on saturday that was very powerful and he is keeping all the commandments of God right now. We shared how we know that he has a choice to make, to get baptized before or wait until Brazil which might be harder. He came to church and decided that yesterday wasn´t the day for him, but after talking to his son on the phone, he has decided to get baptized on Tuesday! I am soooo pumped for him. He isn´t in my area, but I have taught him several times and he just cracks me up all the time. I love the guy. Fun to see friends take their first steps in the Gospel. Tuesday will be a good day for Edson and the branch here in Beja!

Lastly, I want to share a story Elder Empee told me at zone conference. He shared how there were 2 men having a race of who could cut the most logs in half. One man decided that he was going to go all day with no breaks, just work, work, work. The other man decided he was going to take 10 minute breaks, sharpen his blade, have a little snack and overall, just have a better time. While the first man’s blade was getting dull and you could tell he wasn´t having the greatest time, the second man was cutting through the wood like butter, with a smile on his face all day. The second guy ended up winning the race. I liked this story a lot because sometimes as missionaries we think "just work work work", but at times we just need to take a step back, sharpen our blades, put a smile on our face, and then get back at it. Not only as missionaries, but just in life in general. Alright, enough with Elder Lee Sauce´s story time. Haha

Love you all and miss you guys like crazy. It was a good week and looking forward to seeing miracles here in Beja this transfer. 

Elder Holmes

Monday, October 5, 2015

Love Me Some Conference Weekend!

Subject: Love Me Some Conference Weekend
From: Lee Holmes <>

Olá Familia!!

Onto my last week of training! Crazy. This transfer has really flown by. This week we had the zone leaders in Beja on splits with the other elders, had an activity of watching 17 Miracles, which is incredible (if you haven´t seen it I truly recommend plopping a hot pocket in the microwave, putting on your slippers, and sitting down to watch it!), and then president came down to give us a little training and do interviews. It was great to hear the love and support President and Sister Tavares have for us and how hard they are working right alongside us. President reaffirmed to me several times that Heavenly Father is happy with my work. And Sister Tavarez touched my heart as she told us that we are literally angels walking around Beja with a message that will change their lives. 

The rest of the week we didn´t have as much! Taught a lesson to a man named Jorge who seemed to really like it but didn´t have time later in the week to have another lesson or to come to general conference with us. He kept having to work. Work work work.... that is literally all people do out here!  It’s killer!

General conference is what I´d like to talk about though because Boy are we lucky to have a living prophet and apostles on the earth today. I didn´t get to see every session,  and the last one last night I had to watch in Portuguese which was a little tough, but what I personally took out of a lot of the talks was centering our lives on Christ. I loved one of the sisters quotes of ´´Have it thy way Lord, thou art the potter, I am in the Clay.´´ That is something that I have really been trying to work on out here in Portugal. Doing what the Lord wants me to do and not always what I want to do. He can strengthen us. I also really loved the talk that Holland gave about mothers. He was so spot on. I was teary eyed when I heard that talk thinking of you, mom. I Love you! And finally, I especially loved Uchtdorf´s talk about how God will help us become greater than we ever thought possible. Sometimes we need to just step back and ask ourselves, "is the Gospel working for me?" Sometimes we get so tied up in everything, that we forget what the Gospel is truly there to bring. It is there for us. For our Happiness. As we return our hearts to the Savior,  we need to let the Gospel truly work for us, and we will live happier lives. 

Ending the week with General Conference was such a blessing. Hearing the words of our Prophet and Apostles always builds my testimony. Last night we had two less active members attend the sunday night session as well which was a blessing. We hope to continue to help them come back to the chruch and let the Gospel truly bless their lives. 

Love and miss you all! Sorry this email was so much shorter! 

Elder Holmes