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

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