Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 1 in Olhão! (with pic!)

Bom Dia Familia! 

This week I stayed in Sacavem until Wednesday with Elder Leung, saying goodbye to some investigators, and then Wednesday morning we went and picked up our greenies! Elder Leung received a finalist on the voice. I can’t remember his name. I received Elder Macedo! He was born in Brazil, lived in Orem for 5 years and then moved to Spain this past year, so he speaks english, Portuguese and Spanish. He is helping me a lot with my Portuguese but at times it´s a little difficult to understand his Brazilian accent! They use lot of different words over there!

We took our bus to Olhão, and got thrown into this whole white wash thing! The sisters in the city helped us out a little on where our area is. The elders before left us 2 couples and a lady they were teaching to get in contact with. We did some visits here and there this weekend and it has been fun getting to know the members of the ward and trying to set some things moving! There is a good amount of youth here. The church and the members seem to be really excited for missionary work right now which is awesome! We taught a couple, Domingos and Maria, who have been waiting for their marriage papers to arrive. I believe we will baptize them this transfer, after we plan a little party for them and all this Friday. We also taught a couple of lessons to some less actives and made some friendships with them. This week I´ve felt a lot of responsibility thrown on me with my new comp, training, new area. This area is a part of the Algarve, like my old city Beja, so it seems likes it’s a little harder to find people to teach. It’s more similiar to Beja than Sacavem. We just have to keep the faith and our Heavenly Father will lead us to those who will receive us. Elder Macedo is a good missionary and teaches well. I’m trying my best to make it a good transfer for him and have things planned!

Saturday we moved a recent convert Sonya to a new house which was kinda fun! We don´t always get to do too much service so I´m always excited when we have that!

Sorry this email is a little jumbled! Anyway my new district includes Beja, Tavira and then Olhão. Elder Veiweg, who lived in the same house as me last transfer, went to be comps with Elder Sutton in Olhão and elder Sutton is our new Zone leader. Beja is 3 hours away so the missionaries in Beja have to either skype in or phone call in for our district meetings! President did a lot of mixing up this transfer. Elder Macedo and I live in a good apartment in a poorer part of the town. We are ready to see some baptisms this transfer! Lots of kids, going to work with them, and super excited for Christmas! 

This week we arrived in Olhão and didn´t really have anything to do for thanksgiving, but I sure did think about all the things I´m grateful for. My list doesn´t stop, and it of course starts with my family in first place. I think about you guys every day. I want families here to have the same thing we have, through the great gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember a while ago, mom challenged us to just offer a prayer of gratitude, and told us how amazed we would be with how long our prayers would end up being. It´s so true. I love you all and love hearing from all of you!

Elder Holmes

Monday, November 23, 2015

Foi Transferido! Um Marcado Também!

Ola! So this week was a little diferente and I am being transfered, again haha! President is doing like 14 whitewashes and is going to have me train! I think the kid I am training, Elder Barreara, is from Portugal, which will be good! He will help me with my portuguese, but we will see! He might be... and then it´s all on Elder Lee Sauce´s portuguse with my little verdino! haha We are going to go to Olhão! Which means ´´Big Eye´´, apparently. Yep back to the Algarve (where Beja is). Should be good! Bummed to leave Sacavém though, and here is why!

This week Elder Leung had some practices on his violin for this Concert they are putting on in a branch here in Lisbon next week on thanksgiving day. So we went to some practices a couple times this week, we also baked some cookies for Dulce´s son Telmo (who is the cutest thing ever, dang mission rules I can´t pick him up or tickle him haha) Which was fun! Had some good lessons with her and she seems to be progressing!

Another good part of the week was our lesson with Saní! He likes to talk a lot, and at times it is a little tough to get a lesson going but he shared with us how much we meant to him. We had called him the day before, and just said how we would really love to see him, and apparently that comment really hit his heart hard. Made him feel worth something. Love the guy and he made us feel like we are really touching lives here and there. I guess we do more than we think we do!

The highlight of the week though was our good friend Mario! He was contacted by the missionaries some 35 years ago or so. He remembered the missionaries when Elder Leung and another comp contacted him a little bit before I got here. Anyway, we passed by his house for the first time this transfer, he let us in, and we had an awesome lesson with him.  He came to church, as well, and loved it! I have loved the members here who really do a great job of including our investigators in the lessons, making friendship with them, and just over all inclusive. He loves to talk and was telling us after church sunday night how he now knows where it is, loved it, and will be there at 9:30 the weeks to come. We were talking a lot about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and pretty much he just started asking us when and where he could get baptized, how Christ was baptized. Literally an elect! So crazy that he was contacted so long ago, and that is why he let the missionaries talk to him again when they recontacted him several weeks ago. Excited for him to be baptzied this sunday, even though I´ll be in Olhão!

Anyways! Excited for a new transfer. The church is true. This week I read a lot in my free time about sacrífice. This mission is a sacrífice, but like I said when I gave my talk in church before I left, we sacrífice things to show our love for our Heavenly Father. And I do love my Heavenly Father. Everyday, the little sacrífices I make, show my love for Him. He has already given me everything, I now need to give some back.

Commitment to him is the Key.

Elder Holmes

Monday, November 16, 2015

2 Weeks Worth from Sacavém!! (with pics!)

Bom dia America!    (E-mail from today - November 16th).

I hope it was a great week for all of you and that you’re ready for another great one! Here in Sacavém we had a good week. We moved out of our coackroach and fly infested house into a house the sisters used to live in (so yeah it was pretty rad. Quotes on the bathroom walls to lift your spirits, everything clean, not like the Elders Houses, and all these cute things that girls just do! haha  Elder Hansen and I were like 'These are girls that we want to marry, makes the apartment look all cute', but Elder Leung and Elder Veihweg thought it was a little too much...haha) Anyways, the new house is good, I went on a division with Elder Veiwheg in my área which was a good day. We helped this guy with a big jug of water and food up to his house, and he ended up taking us up this Hill around a corner into this little back of the world Africa! It was sick! Awesome view too with these little home-made houses and cottages. Very humbling too for how some people live, and yet they keep the happiness in them.

This week the highlight of the week was that nosso amigo Ulissus came to church with us and seemed to really love it! The ward was sooooo nice to him I was so JAZZED. Literally everyone was introducing themselves, talking, joking around and all and really including him in the lessons. He was even making some awesome comments. One of the members leaned forward and game me a thumbs up during one of Ulissus´s comments, to say pretty much ´´yeah this is a good guy who could be a great member here.´´ Going to keep working with him and get him a date to get baptized. Keep him in your prayers. After church we had  we also had lunch with a member named Joana who had the raddest view of the valley with the Rio Tejo in view. So beautifu. it´s the little things like that the remind me how awesome this world is and just makes it so clear that there really is a God.

In my studies this week and in Church, one thing really stood out to me. While studying about the family, I was Reading 5 things that the Church really encourages us to do with our famies that we believe will truly strengthen them. They are Family night, family prayer, family scripture study, going to church together, and service together. I was like wow! haha I did all those growing up and look at the family I have now! Thanks mom and dad. 5 things so simple that you really applied into our family that truly grew our family closer together. I may not have seen the the long term importance of them at the time, but now it is apparent how much those 5 things truly bond the family unit. The family is definitely under attack right now. People don´t seem to see the importance as much anymore, or even the happiness that can really be brought through a strong family. Sad because family is everything. The most important thing in the world. And here, even though I miss my family, it´s great to realize how blessed I am. This gospel really DOES strengthen familes.

Love you all!

Elder Holmes

E-Mail from November 9th......Sorry I never posted this.  I was out of town!

2 Weeks Down in Sacavém!! And I´m liking it here. This week we had a great Zone conference, President Tavarez came and taught with Elder Leung and I, and we did a division with the Zone leaders! With presidente we went to a man´s house name Saní who´s wife is a member, and a lady named Dulce who has been investigating the church for like 20 years. In both lessons, President just talked about Baptism Baptism Baptism and the temple that is going to be build here in Portugal! In our área actually, and how great of an experience it will be for these families to be sealed for time and all eternity. He is such a spiritual guy and has a good amount of energy. Smiles and all. During the lesson he got Saní up to just give the guy a hug it was super fun. I learned a lot with President and it was an experience for the journal for sure. I learned I need to talk more about baptism in my lessons from the beginning. It´s the first step they will take in this gospel and it is an important one!

The rest of the week, we had some good lessons with Dulce and her family, a little with Sani, and with Ulisus. Sadly none made it to church and so Ulisus can´t get baptized this coming Saturday but we are still working with him. He is such an awesome guy and he truly believes in the Book of Mormon and his teachings. He has a young son Alechandre who cracks me up and really likes Elder Leung and I! Going to try and do a family night with them this week as well!

Yesterday was great! Really like the branch her in Sacavém. Lots of members from Cabo Verde or Angola so yeah we stand out like sore thumbs! The branch is great! We had the opportunity to eat with the President Cavoco of Sacavém and his family yesterday. Super nice family. The wife Ceú studied at Byu business college and the sons are preparing to go on missions. So great to see families like them so strong in the gospel. President and Céu are both converts too the gospel! #goals

Love and miss you all. Sorry that my emails have been so short lately these computers here stink in Sacavém! Takes like a bajilion hours to load one picture!

Give cosmo and Koda a kiss for me! And a hug for my mom while you are at it!

Elder Holmes

Monday, November 2, 2015


Yo! This week was a little crazy! Monday night, we taught one of those families in Beja but they weren’t as interested as we were hoping. SO many people just love saying they are religious, but really don’t see a purpose in going to church and stuff. 
Then Tuesday is where it gets interesting! We had a district meeting just in our house, and then we got a call from The executives saying the I was being transfered to Sacavém! What the heck? I was thinking 'is this a joke?' hahah The told me "no its what the president wants!" I didn´t know what to think. We had a good last week in Beja and I was excited for this week to come. We had some good ideas. BUt anyway, I had about and hour and half to pack up all my stuff and take the 2 hour bus to to Lisboa! Edson picked me up at the house (our recent convert that I sent you pics of!) and I enjoyed talking to him right before I left. He is SO strong! He was showing me all these messages he has been having with less actives, his written plans of trying to grow the missionary work amongst the members there in Beja, and all that stuff! He is such a boss! I love the guy and am going to miss him. I gave him one of my BYU shirts and told him to stay strong. He´ll be the president or bishop one day.

Anyways, it was so weird leaving Beja, but even weirder getting to Lisboa, meeting my new comp Elder Leung (good missionary, chinese). This place is SO much different than Beja! Literally a ton of people are letting us in, and I think I taught more this week than I taught in Beja all together. DIfferent as well though because with the people here it’s hard to get them to have real intencion. Our area is a ton of Angolans or Cape verdianos. Pretty much everyone is black. It’s also the area that the temple will be built on. But that is Sacravém!  Anyways the ramo seems pretty strong! I liked the presdeint a lot and the counselors that we got to go do visits with and ate dinner at one of their houses yesterday, as well.

Probably the funniest night of the week, but the weirdest as well, was saturday. Lapas, a ward in lisboa, held a halloween party for all the people in lisboa, but pretty much majority to grow the ward of lapas. All the missionaries were invited from lisboa, so we had like 30 missionaries or so, a ton of food, costumes, music, bunch of members, non members and investigators, and just totally different than my misison experience. I never dreamed last Monday while I was in Beja, that I would be teaching all these lessons and having this huge halloween party (which by the way, I made those oreo cookies and they were eaten faster than you can say boo! haha Literally they were like the treasure of the night! Everyone was asking me how to make them). Not going to lie though, this week has been kinda a culture shock, and weird, kinda hard at the same time. Right when I was getting the feel of Beja, im transferred. I come here and am teaching all these lessons, but it’s so different. All I can say to myself is that I did my best in Beja, and my Heavenly Father is Content with me. I think he knows I learned everything I needed to learn and now it’s time for a new journey. Anyways the halloween party was fun. The president was there with his wife and daughter. He talked to me more there.

Wednesday we had a zone conference with president Tavarez and when we were leaving, he somehow caught me and told me why he transferred me. Apparetnly, Elder Leungs companion has been really sick, so they transfered him to Benfica to be closer to the hospital and with the executives. He told me how Elder Leung is a great missionary, and how he wanted him to have a great missionary companion as well.

This week, we taught an awesome lesson to this Ulysses guy about when Christ came to America, and the first example he shared with us was how he was obedient to the Father, and how we too, using christ as our example, need to be obedient. He accepted to be baptized on the 15th, and seemed super excited. We even had a member there who bore his testimony about his baptism and how special and clean he felt, and the spirit was so strong! Going to teach him tonight hopefully and see what happens.

Anyways, I could write a book what happpend this week, Today we also went to Alvarca, had a buffet with a bunch of elders there at a chinese restaurant! We actually did something on my pday for once! There wasn´t much to do in Beja! I feel like I’m in a completely different mission now! Anyways, so much is on my mind, i´m doing well but just a little flustered with the week. I liked the week, I like the new area, just getting used to the new things, seeing all these elders, hearing all these new things I never heard in Beja, and just seeing how other elders act. It’s all very interesting!  Anyways, I’m excited for this area and ready to give it my best!
I love you all.  
Elder Holmes