Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Here in Odivelas!

Good morning everyone! 

This week we started the week off monday night teaching Viviem (17), Sonia (17) and Dulce (13). They are three girls from Angola that the sisters contacted in the street one day, who live here with their older brother, and have been looking for a church. They came to church yesterday and the sunday before, and are really loving the members, everything they are learning, and their mom is happy that they have found a church to attend. Monday night we taught them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ,and when we spoke about repentance, Sonia brought up how it has to do with forgiveness. She shared a story about forgiveness and it reminded me of how Mom used to teach us kids how to forgive others! haha! How when us brothers fought, she would put us in the bathroom together (while we were still mad at each other) and wouldn’t let us come out until we had apoligized and made up! haha  The girls loved the story and it brought back some funny memories of Nick and I or Chistian and I just sitting in the bathroom together until we resolved our problems. After we went on to explain the steps of repentance, the 2 youth members we invited, Kevin and Veronica, bore their testimonies of the constant companion we recieve after our baptism, the Holy Ghost. 

Tuesday night we had another family night with Família Santallem. The other elders shared the Joseph Smith story to a non-member Ecuadorian couple and another kid that is friends with Família Santallem. And then wednesday night we attended a missionary reunion for a sister missionary from our ward here in Odivelas who just got back from Cape Verde. Friday night we got to bring Sonia, Viviem and Dulce to a baptism of a kid in our ward, Rui Dimitrov. He turned 8 this past month and made the decision to be baptized. It was nice seeing his older brother Ianik baptism him. There were so many members there to support him, and afterwards, they served literally every Portuguese finger food and dessert you could think of haha. The baptism went a little long, so let’s just say we Elders filled our trays full of food and power walked to the house!

The best part of the week was probably last night. We had another lesson with Viviem, Sonia, and Dulce, answering a lot of questions, bearing our testimonies about the Book of Mormon, reading the scriptures, praying, our purpose here on the earth, etc, and we invited them to be baptized. Viviem brought up that when she saw Rui get baptized this last Friday, she felt something different, and right after she said that, both Dulce and Sonia said they experienced the same thing. We went on to connect those feelings to the Holy Ghost. What they feel when they read their scriptures, when they pray, when they go to church, that the Holy Ghost is truly testifying to them the truth of these things. We told them we prayed about what day they could enter the waters of baptism, and Dulce was so touched that we would really take the time to pray for them. Towards the end of the lesson, they were starting to feel this was for them, and we invited them to pray about it and ask for themselves. These girls have so much faith and are loving reading in the Book of Mormon. Yesterday they practically told us the whole first 15 pages of the book, how Nephi was a man of God with great faith and how his brothers wavered.  I can really see the light of this message growing in their hearts. 

Praying that they recieve an answer; we know that all who pray with a sincere heart, with real intent, with faith in christ, will recieve one. Praying that the parents who will come here to Portugal in the coming week will allow them to follow the answer they received. (A little worried because the dad is a Jehovah’s witness... but the girls don´t want anything to do with that church haha). Throughout the week I thought a lot about the actions that we make, the little things that add up. Hearing from the returned missionary, seeing the little steps that have grown the testimony of Viviem, Sonia and Dulce, Alma 37:6 really rings true….. “but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

I know that this is true. Our actions, no matter how small and simple, bring great things to pass. They truly reflect who we are. 

Love and miss you all!

Elder Holmes

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Visit from the 70/Eric Getting Baptized! (with pics!)

Elder Holmes & Ward with Celio

P-Day Adventures at the Palacio em Sentra

Baptism of Eric

Party put on by ward members to celebrate Eric's baptism!

Sorry it has been a while since I posted a letter from Lee.  He has been transferred since the last posting and is serving in a suburb of Lisbon called Ovidelas.

Thanks for all the interest and prayers on his behalf. Sure love you all……  Carolann

Subject: Visit from the 70/Eric Getting Baptized!
From: Lee Holmes <>

Olá Família e amigos!

I hope you guys all had a great "dia dos namoradas" yesterday (thanks for spoiling me mom with the package!) and are all excited for another week! 

Here in portugal, we were visited by Elder Dyches, a member of the 70, which was great. He spoke a lot about the 8 fundamentals of Preach My Gospel and how we need to be applying these into our work here in portugal. Teaching the doctrine of Christ, the role of the Holy Ghost, Revelation through Prayer, Revelation through Church attendance, Revelation through the Book of Mormon, Teaching People and not Lessons, How We Invite, Then Commit and Follow up, and How to really begin teaching. He shared some great stories about conversions and how we can truly be the angels in people lives here in Portugal. How we need to look to see where the Lord´s hands was in helping us each and every day. Elder Dyches shared a story about how one time he was asked to perform a surgery on someone with a man that everyone knew as the master, one of the best ear, nose, and throat doctors out there. He began the surgery and this master teacher placed his hand on Elder Dyches' hands and helped him make the perfect little cuts that needed to be made. It wasn´t until after, that he realized he had just been trained by the master. During that story, I felt like the spirit was trying to tell me that here on the mission we are being trained by the master trainer, whether we know it or not, preparing us not only for the mission but for the rest of our lives into the eternities. It was a privilege to hear from him and his wife and comforting to hear the love he shared with us from our own living prophet. Not only are we praying for him, but he is praying for us.

Later on in the week, we had a baptism for our friend Eric Anderson de Sousa Costa. There is a long story about him so I´ll try to share a little bit of what happened! Anyways, Eric is one of Josémar´s friends (one of the youth in our ward here in Odivelas). He grew up here in Portugal, but moved to Angola and just comes here during vacation time during the winter. He had come to church a couples times, had spoken once with the missionaries before I arrived, and was waiting for his Mom to come from Angola so the missionaries (us) could speak with her about the church her son has so much enjoyed. The mom took a little time to come, so we started teaching him more, inviting him to church (with their other friend Celio) and his testimony grew and grew. 2 Sundays ago, after not talking to him for a week or so, knowing he was going to leave to Angola here soon, we sent him a text and he showed up in Church. Not only showed up in church but bore his testimony! It was awesome! Josémar shared with him that he was the first person to share his testimony before baptism for 4 years. Anyways, after church we had a lesson with him, he really felt the spirit, we invited him to be baptized that day, he got on his knees and asked God and after the prayer just kept saying how good he felt and how he was ready! How he was really feeling the spirit. Sadly, he had some troubles with his family when they heard about the decision, with him telling them that he really received an answer from God to be baptized. Never have i seen someone with so much faith and so much desire to enter the waters of baptism. Anyway, that sunday night, it was a little tough as he decided to wait, maybe until Angola or in the future, and we prayed that one day he would enter the waters of baptisms. BUT! A miracle happened. He didn´t deny what he felt, he received a ton of love and support from the members here, and decided he wanted to be baptized before he headed off to Angola. We got a call Thursday night, the members did an awesome job of preparing a little celebration after, and Eric was all smiles as he left the waters of baptism. 

The lesson I learned with Eric is our Heavenly Father is really preparing his elect, how the Holy Ghost can really touch someone’s heart and testify of whats is true. AND that Faith is what truly drives everything! He had the faith, kept with his desire, and followed through what what he knew to be true. 

Love and miss you all!

Elder Holmes