Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Week with Pedro! (with pics!)

Date: March 21, 2016 at 11:18:01 AM MDT
Subject: Week With Pedro
From: Lee Holmes <lee.holmes@myldsmail.net>


This week was a busy one, lots happened! Tuesday we got to do a division in Lapa, a really beautiful city here in Portugal, and I got to go out with Elder Silva, a great missionary. He has a stutter that gets him down at times, but he has a sign on the wall in his study room that says 1) Esquecer Imediatismo, 2) Se-Tranquilizar, 3) Fazer o Seu Melhor. Or in englsh, (1) forget immediate things, (2) relax, and (3) do your best. Really loved those three things, and I can apply those things perfectly as well!

On Wednesday night we had a dinner and family night and helped the family with their missionary work. Elder Ward and I did a practice with the son Guilerme of him ``inviting his friend to church after coming home from playing soccer.´´ It was fun, he relaxed, got to laugh and get the nerves out, and on sunday he told us how he did the invite with his friend but the friend was busy. Haha was excited to tell us he invited his friend though. 

Also met an awesome girl named Ana this past week, who went to church and was taught by some missionaries on the other side of the river a couple weeks ago. And she really felt the spirit with the first missionaries and at church, and with us as well. She didn´t make it to church this week, got caught up in work, but looks forward to it next week. She Wants to be baptized, so now its time to prepare her for the waters of baptism. 

This week, the best part I think had to be our time with our friend Pedro we met last sunday night. He´s really poor, is living in a abandoned car and gets paid nearly nothing for the cars he washes, but has a ton of faith in Christ and tells us how he reads the bible every night. After giving him the book of mormon, he has been reading every night and is flying through 1 Nephi. Read more than any other person I have taught until this point. We had a number of lessons with him this week, but the first one was my favorite. We taught him the restoration of the church, and he loved it. Every time we showed him a picture of christ he expressed his love for his savior, and then Pedro gave a beautiful prayer where the spirit was the strongest. The words that taught me after that he said was ´´Obrigado pai pelo abraço, não senti isso por muito tempo´´ or ´´thank you heavenly father for the hug, i haven´t felt thisfor a long time.´´ He wants to be baptized this coming sunday, even set a date in his phone and tells us every day how many days left he has, came to the baptism of a lady named Lucia this week and loved it, loved church, and tells us that he prays for US every night. He repeats to us all the things from the word of wisdom like he cant drink, and is doing great at giving up smoking. He told his boss that he never wants him to offer him a cigarrette again, He´s the MAN! Got to teach a lesson with one of the members here, Ivanildo, and they became friends which was nice. Hard seeing his living conditions, but happy to be able to bring the restored gospel into his life and increase his faith. 

Taught 2 more ladies yesterday with Ivanildo as well. A house that we knocked a door, and they really loved our visit. They accepted to read and pray, said how they really wanted to know what church here on earth is really true, and accepted to work towards getting baptized on the third of April! Going to go back to them this week!

Sonia, viviem, and Dulce´s dad left, and we are planning on teaching them tonight and seeing their baptism this week. We ran into them walking home one night and they were so excited to see us!

Also went to a mission call opening yesterday, our Friend Josémar isgoing to Mozanbique! Today we went to Palacio Queluz with a bunch of missionaries which was pretty awesome as well! Hoping to see a great week coming up, and then transfers!

Love you all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ovidelas! (with pics)

Bom Dia Meus Queridos!

So this Last monday was Elder Ward´s Birthday , where we went to Colombo, a huge mall in Lisbon, to do some bowling with some Elders, and today was SIster Vanaquer´s Birthday, so a bunch of us decided to play some soccer at the Church in Tejo, had uma pequena festinha for her, and went to an all you can eat Chinese buffet! foi bom foi bom. Pretty sure their mission birthdays were some good ones!

This week we had a zone conference in Benfica with President Tavares and the other zone. President Tavares spoke a lot about "apesar de" and "por causa" which in english is like "in spite of" and "because of. " He shared how these sayings can be used for the good on the misison, or for the bad. Shared how we need to take these sayings, and use them for the good. "In spite of it raining, I went out and gave it my best.... because of my love for our Savior, I went the extra mile... In spite of being rejected a million times, I went for that millioneth and one contact... Because of my testimony of this gospel, I am here to serve" and So on. 

Talked a lot about our motto on the mission, "Eu vim Para Servir" or in other words, I come to serve. How when we have hard days, we can know that it´s just a day of learning. "um dia difícil é um dia de crescimento!" The love President and Sister Tavares have for the missionaries here is very apparent, and they are truly here to help us fulfill our purpose.

Infelizmente we didn´t get to meet up with the girls this week, Sonia and Dulce, but we got to meet up with Viviem where we read the 13 articles of faith with her with some members in the church. The mom is still all for them getting baptized, and hopes they can start going to church again, so we will keep the faith. This week when talking to them on the phone, we asked them if we could help them with anything, and they said to just pray that their baptismal day would go through! Hopefully we well get to meet up with them this week and teach them, and we are pretty sure they will make it to church this week, as well!


Passed by some less actives and recent converts as usual. Fun seeing one of our older members in his house doing the activity in Preach my Gospel, the Characteristics of Christ, where we evaluate ourselves on how we are doing and make it a goal to do better in certain areas. He wanted to make sure he did it well and honestly, so that he could truly make improvements. What an example to me that no matter the stage in our lives, we can always improve. Having faith in Christ, hope, charity and love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience. The characteristics we should all strive after, our Savior being our perfect example.

Taught one of my favorite families here again, Familia Morauto, and helped them with their misisonary work. They gave us a list of names a little bit ago that they thought they could share the gospel with, had us pray over them, and now they are excited to invite a familiy over for easter to have us elders share a message with them. They really want to help bless the lives of those around them.

And lastly, we met a nice young man with a lot of Faith named Kairo who we taught on Saturday but he didn´t make it to church on sunday. Hoping to teach him tonight and help him draw closer to christ. 

Love you all, hope you enjoyed the pictures! Thanks for all the prayers, and know you are in mine! 

Elder Holmes

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Starting off March

Hello familiy! 

This week we started the week off on monday taking a trip to Cabo de Roca in Sintra with Elder Madsen and Elder Soares. It was pretty awesome, a great view of the ocean with a light house and some huge cliffs! Don´t worry I didn´t do any cliff jumping haha. I´ll send some pictures though. 

The rest of the week we continued preparing Sonia, Viviam, and Dulce for their baptism. Had their baptism interviews, taught some more lessons where they could feel the spirit, did a Fast with them, and spoke to their Mom who finally got here on Saturday. The Dad arrived too, but they didn´t want us to talk to the Dad. The Mom gave them all permission to be baptised, even said how while she was in Angola she had been praying that her daughters here in Portugal would find a church that could bring the spirit into the house and help her daughters grow. We testified that her prayers had been answered, and testified that what we have taught them will and is blessng their lives. Anyways, saturday night we filled the font, made the programs for the baptism, made some desserts along with the members, and were excited to see these three girls follow the example of Jesus Christ and get baptized. Sadly though, they weren't baptized on Sunday.  It's a long story, but now we just have to have Faith that everything will work out!

The other parts of the week consisted of passing by Less actives, the ward had a party for young man named André Pina who is going on his mission to New York! They did a good job decorating the room in the church with things from New York and with Hotdogs and Hamburgers and all haha! He is our ward mission leader who does an awesome job and will do great as well on his mission. Sunday we took all the treats that had been made for the baptism and visited some members. Dropped some off at Paulette's house, a recent convert, and shared a spiritual thought with her and then Dropped by Domingas and Celeste's place, the ladies that have like the most energy in the world. Celeste had a rough day on Sunday, was a little down in the dumps, but she touched my heart and shared with me that she really appreciated the nice words and conversation she and I had after the second hour of church. Nice of her to say, and made me feel good that I helped pick up her spirits a little as a missionary! Anyways, yesterday when we passed by we helped Domingas start reading the Book of Mormon Again. She wants to try and read it all this month. We started with the Testimony of Joseph Smith and explained it as we read! 

It´s incredible the trust that our Heavenly Father had in Joseph Smith to translate the Book of Mormon and Restore the Church of Jesus Christ here on earth. I can´t imagine the pressure he must have felt. And how well our Heavenly Father had prepared him for this task. He was only human, had weaknesses, even made mistakes at times like we all do, but wouldn´t deny what he knew to be true. The work that was needed to bring the Book of Mormon about was huge and it´s apparent how many lives it has affected.

Today is Elder Ward's Birthday so we celebrated with some Pancakes in the morning and are thinking about going and doing some bowling today on our p-day. Big 20!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Holmes

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Planning that Baptism!

Good morning! 

So the latest news on Sonia, Viviem and Dulce is that they all want to get baptized!  Two Weeks ago we finished a lesson with them and they agreed to talk with their Mom about being baptized before our next visit this past Monday.  Immediately after we had left, they called their Mom and she was super excited for them! Said she wanted to be there as well! We had a couple great lessons with them throughout the week, and had them planning on getting baptized this Saturday, but because of some activities with the ward here in Odivelas, we are going to do it this coming Sunday instead. The parents should get here on the 3rd. The girls have their interviews scheduled and seem very excited. Last night we taught them a little more about the Law of opposition, how we as missionaries talk a lot about the good and happy things, about turning our lives to Christ and being changed through Him by faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. But while we talk about these things, feel the spirit, and try to apply them, at times we forget that there truly is another side working against us. We talked about how they are all making such an incredible decision in their lives to be baptized, that they are following the example of Jesus Christ which makes are Heavenly Father Super Happy, but that it also makes Satan mad, and will literally make him do whatever he can so that they don´t keep with this decision and feelings they have felt. Maybe a doubt will come into their minds, they may get a job that makes them unavaliable to go to church on Sundays, or someone may make a comment to them that shakes their faith. When we said that last line, that someone will make a comment to them, Dulce and Viviem both looked at each other like “Wow - that Happened!" Apparently one of their friends was saying something about them getting baptized. Anyways, we shared 3 Nephi 18:18 and talked about how prayer is the way we can fight against him. We challenged them to continue praying to our Heavenly Father and to continue doing what´s right. Excited to see them get baptized this week!

The other highlight of the week was hearing the testimony of the sisters' recent convert here, Ihta. She is from Bangladesh and doesn’t speak Portuguese and just a little bit of english. That is how she was taught. Anyways, she shared her testimony this week while a member translated and it was so awesome. She was just so unbelievably happy. In her words more or less she shared, "I love mormon book. I read it all days. I just want everyone to be mormon. I´m so happy. Every day is just an adventure of happiness.  I feel like I´m not even on this world, this planet. I thank the bishop and the prophet of this church." She is seriously the sweetest lady, and is a true testimony to others that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can really change lives. She likes passing out mormon.org cards to the people outside her shop as they wait for the bus. It is awesome seeing converts like her!

This week we also went to the buffet again with Irma Luciane and had a little party for Elder Hobson's Birthday yesterday!

Short of time today. Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Holmes