Monday, April 11, 2016

Blessed with Some Investigators!! (with pics)

Oi Família! 

This week was a good one and we were blessed with some lessons, finding some less actives, and some of the investigators we found last week made it to church. Serafina, we had knocked the door the week prior and her son was sick, she opened the door, and we left a prayer with him. This week we taught her some more lessons, she loved all the lessons, has the desire to get baptized, and made it to church and loved it. We figured out super late though that she has a bad habit of smoking. You would never guess! Elder Empee and I were shocked, so we decided to make a goal with her to stop and she ended up wanting a blessing as well. She says how the day she stops smoking will be one of the best days in her life. And then being baptized a couple weeks after, even more ALEGRIA! 

Last week I told you about a family that we knocked on their door and wanted to give them a card. This week we got to teach them again with our member Kevin (about 20 going on his mission soon) and they loved it again. Patricia, the Mom, says that her husband Regenaldo has never showed interest in religion at all, but something seems to have caught his interest with us and our message. They both got to read a little bit of the Book of Mormon, and in spite of being nervous and caught off guard, Regenaldo got to finish our lesson with a great prayer blessing his family and asking about these things. He works on sundays, so it was tough for him to make it to church, but Patricia and her daughter Laura (4) were able to make it to church and seemed to like it. Didn´t have much time to catch up with her after but seemed happy. It was a great testimony meeting, where Kevin even got to bear his testimony about the spirit he has felt lately, and even talked about the experience he had with us which was really cool. It was nice hearing him say after our lesson this week something like this, ´´hearing that that dad’s heart has been softened and accepted the missionaries in his house, just shows how true the gospel of Jesus Christ really is!´´ Sunday I had the privilege of sharing my testimony as well, testifying how Christ is there for us, how through him and his grace, he makes all the difference after all we can do. When we fall short, HE truly makes up the difference. 

We´ve also been teaching Elvina the last couple of weeks, a girl about our age, and this week she made it to church. She was nervous to go, with everyone then knowing her and then affiliating herself with our church, and then during sacrament meeting, she gets up and bears her testimony! haha it was interesting. I was like wow! She shared how she would never have thought she would be here that day, and kinda just shard a little about life, but the whole ward was interested! From what it seemed, it seemed like she had felt something there and liked church. She grew up in the pentecostal church. She likes the studies she has with us.  She is going to have some family for the next couple of weeks so not sure if we will see much more of here. But at least she got to experience a little of the church, and of the gospel.

Lastly, Elder Empee and I helped a man who was struggling getting back to the house from the hospital, which was a blessng for him. I was so tired and have no idea what he would have done if we weren´t there. He could barely walk! Not sure what he really had, but he was grateful. Got to see Sonia, Viviem, and Dulce as well this week, with their other sister Kiami. Wanted to have the mom there like we planned, to talk to here a little about church, but improvised and had them teach us the first lesson, the restoration. Haha it was fun, some laughs as they tried to act like misisonaries, but it blew my mind how much they truly had learned from us and how ready they truly are for baptism. They seemed to know everything about joseph smith, the church being restored, the book of mormon, all the way to the authority being restored, baptism, repentance, and everything (which isnt even in the first lesson!) I think they surprised themselves with how much they really knew. Tough thing with them is seeing how ready they are yet not really sure what exactly more to do, but just pray that at some time, hopeully soon, they enter the waters. 

Had a fun family noite with some a recent convert famlly, Veronica, guilherme, and filomena Alves. Had the kids invite their friends, had the sisters there Vanaquer and Olivera, and I taught them a hand tapping game and the Pig snorting game. They were pretty impressed and thought it was way funny how long i could do my pig snort. Afterwards we got to teach the little friends how to simply pray, and Guulhermes friend Anderson left us with a great prayer to go. 

Hope all is well and LOVE you all. 

Elder Holmes

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Wrapping up the week with General Conference! (with pics!)

Working in Odivelas!  

We ran into some members from Sacavem yesterday as 
we went to Benefica to listen to General Conference.  

First pic is with Joanna....
then with Irmao Panzo and finally with Joaquim -- all from Sacavem!

Bom Dia Famlia, Tudo Bem!?

This week seemed to go by fast. And ended well with Good old General Conference! Been a nice start to the transfer with Elder Empee. A couple weeks ago we had taught an Elvina and Teadora, and when we had returned to teach them again, Teadora didn´t seem like she wanted us back again so we didn´t get back in the door.This week on Tuesday, we decided to stop by again, and Elvina was more than Happy to let us in and teach her. She loved learning and seems interested. She invited us to come back on Thursday because she wanted to cook us Bacalhão com natas, a special Portuguese dish here, and be taught again. We were pumped. She is about our age, from Angola, studying architecture here in Portugual. Nice Girl and hope to see here progress! Read 2 Nephi 31 with her and enjoyed explaining to her the Book of Mormon. As I said to here, ´´If you pray about the book of mormon being the word of God and Know that it is true, you will know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if you know Joseph Smith was a prophet, you know that He restored the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints again here on earth, the only church with the proper priesthood authority to baptize in his name,´´ or something like that in Portuguese. As I was finishing saying that, she was saying if for me hahah she said ´´I know, I have that memorized already from you guys saying it.´´ Haha well it is true! She got sick this weekend but hopefully she got to attend general conference in her house on the computer. 
Had another lesson with Sonia, Vivem and Dulce, watching the video the restoration and trying to pull out the doubts that have come into their minds. Trying to help them set a goal for baptism. Sad to see. Pedro as well had a hard time meeting with us because of work. Hopefully we can see him this week!

We met and taught a good new amount of investigators,this week and will see if they keep with their proximal visits with us and want to progress. One was pretty awesome that I hope they continue. Seems like they have good potential. Elder Empee and I decided to Knock some doors, and one we knocked the lady said, ´´Who's there?´´ ´´Hello!´´ ´´Who´s there?´´ ´´Elder Empee e Holmes.`` ´´What`` haha kept going back and forth until she yelled through the door she didn´t want anything!  We calmly said, ´´Just a card for you?´´ No!  ´´Just a card?´´ Finally she opened the door, we gave her a card of Jesus Christ, and then she just started firing off super good questions, telling us how impressed she was with our appearance and manners and Portuguese, inviting her husband to meet us and accepeted a meeting with them the following night. Haha Loved how she said, ´´you guys talk so firm, like you guys just KNOW that these things are true, without doubting. How did you guys come to that conclusion?´´ We responded and said how it was all through prayer and the following night we would answer even more questions like these. Patricia from Angola and Regenaldo from Brasil. Taught them a great lesson on Saturday, and they told us how they felt we are here to help them find God’s church, and a good environment for their daughter Laura (who is 4) to grow up in. Elder Empee and I growing up in this church testified of the blessings that truly come from this gospel. Hoping to see them progress!

General Conference was Great! Hope you guys all had the opportunity to watch it. I loved in the beginning how Henry B. Eying challenged us to pay tune to the spirit throughout this weekened and listen attentively to the inspired speakers. For our investigators, I loved elder Bednar´s talk. I love how he shared how after we are baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, as we weekly partake of the sacrament we can be clean through repentance through the Holy Ghost during the week. It isn´t just the act of taking the sacrament at the end of the week that gives us a remission of our sins, but it is the weekly taking, daily repenting, that allows the Holy Ghost to cleanse us. I also loved Bonnie L. Oscarson's when she asked us ´´Do you believe it or not? We have the knowledge of the things but do we believe them ? We need to get the gospel from our Minds to our HEARTS´´ And lastly, Elder Holland’s last talk. How he expressed the Love he and all the General Authorities have for us, and how we need to take today and apply it into tomorrow. Coming off a spiritual high of conference, and keeping that spirit as the days go on. I loved how he said the first great commandment is to love God with all thy heart, but the first great truth is that God loves us. How he loves the ones that want to improve and is Happy when we just keep trying, that he will never desert us and will aways be there, especially when we struggle. I know these men are God’s servants here on earth, and that what they said is exactly what we needed to hear.

Love and miss you all!

Elder Holmes

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy Easter Everyone!

   The Hunt for the Golden Easter Egg!                  

 Irma Luciane Buffet
Familia Dimitruv! 

Olá Familia,

Então! The last week of transfers came to an end here in Odivelas! On monday night we had another lesson with Sonia, Viviem, and Dulce. We explained the importance of baptism, how it is the door of salvation, the way back to our Heavenly Father. Challenged them to be baptized this past week, and to continue praying about it. We didn´t get to teach them again until Saturday, and decided to do more of a family night with them. The mom was there, and by the end of the night she was opening up more, and they all enjoyed a video we shared with them about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, being Pascoá. It was nice testifying that Christ really died for us, but that he was resurrected, and for that, we too can be resurrected and live with him and our Heavenly Father one day, together as families forever. 

This week we got to eat some Cachupa with Domingas and Celeste, Luciane brought us to the Minheiro Brazilian Buffet again (she does it for the missionaries once a month it´s so bomb!) and Familia Dimitruv had us over as well. The ward here in Lisboa 5 is pretty incredible! 

We also heard about the attack in Belgium, where 3 missionaries were involved. We are making sure of keeping Richard Empee, Mason Wells, and Richard Worby in our Prayers, along with their families and everyone else that was involved. Apparently Mason Wells was present in the Bombing in Boston, Paris, and then Belgium. What in the world? Unreal!

Pedro is going back between 1 to 0 cigarettes every other day but trying to help him stay strong to get baptized. Has a hard time of getting to our appointments on time and church, but he along with Viviem and Dulce were there for our Pascoá Sunday which was nice. Ana has been working a lot, and I think is going to spain this following week, so was tough getting in contact with her. Met a nice guy Aníbel though, an x-soccer player, who finished the lesson by saying ´´I want to be a mormonista`` in portuguese haha but wants to REALLY get to know the Book of Mormon because he likes stories so we will see how it goes with him. 

Saturday night I went and bought some mini Chocolate easter Eggs and hid them in our Kitchen for Sunday Morning for Pascoá haha! Had Elder Reni, Elder Hobson and Elder Ward on the search like good old times back in our house. Coudn´t do an easter without one. Little chocolate eggs were 5 points, plastic ones 15 and the Ovo de OURO 50 Points! It took them a little while to find the Ovo de Ouro because I hid it above the stove inside the pipe, but Elder Hobson encountered it for the Win. Yeah buddy! It was pretty funny, fun way to start the Pascoá as well.

Transfers came around and Elder Empee, one of my friends in the MTC, is going to be my comp! WIll be nice! I wrote in my Journal in the MTC I wanted to work with him. And Elder Easton is going to be comps with Elder Hobson which will be pretty sweet! 3 from the same MTC group living in the same house! 

This week I enjoyed reading in Alma 34 about the atonement of Jesus Christ and in the Bible about the resurrection. I know that Christ lives, that he was crucified for us, and that on the day of the ressurection, that empty tomb not only showed that he still lives, but that we too can live again, as resurrected beings. In the book of John, he closes his entry on the Resurrection stating, ´´But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.``Happy Easter!

Elder Holmes