Querida família! Hello! It was so nice to hear from you and how everything is going back in the EUA. I have absolutely no concept of time anymore, so it's nice to hear what's going on back home.
Life is great here in Seixal, Amora, Arrentela, Cruz de Pau. I don't really know what to call where I live. I live in Cruz de Pau, but we work most of our time in Arrentela. The weather is finally starting to warm up, and warm up it has! I'm already starting to get brown. Yesterday we were in a pastelaria and the workers told me I looked like I had come from the beach because my face was reddish from being outside all day. It will not be long until the tanlines come back with a fury. But I'm really enjoying the pleasant weather here. It makes me sooo happy!
Things are great with Irmã Brady. We get along really well and have become good friends. We have a lot of laughter in this companionship, so that's been really nice. My Portuguese is still improving, but I still have a LONG way to go. Especially since the people from Cape Verde speak SOOO fast and have a hard time understanding everything they say, but I get the jist (gist?) every time, so that's a blessing. I'm really enjoying the time that I have with Irmã Brady and she's been a great companion for me. We're both learning and growing a lot from one another.
Well, last week we cleaned the house of a very less-active member, Rosaline. She's from France and speaks Portuguese with a weirder accent than I do. Her house was absolutely disgusting, bless her heart. There was trash everywhere and grime as well. We spent four hours over two days getting her house cleaned up so that she would be ready for her daughter and her 3 month old granddaughter to come. I would not want a baby around what was in that house before we came. Ick. I learned a great lesson that reinforced my testimony that the Spirit really can abide better in homes that are clean and tidy. It was such a different home when we left. Though Rosaline did not appreciate our message about visiting teaching, I have the hope that her heart will change and she will see the benefit of serving others. I certainly can see that in my life, because we felt so happy and fulfilled by helping her.
Our investigator Anabela is a character. She always insists on feeding us something, unless we are very firm. Last week during one of our lessons she started breastfeeding her son right in front of us. Needless to say, I felt very awkward. This week I gained a greater testimony of the missionary handbook. The kids here are sooo cute and I love them so much. I really have never seen more beautiful children than those here, especially the children from Cape Verde. It's really hard for us to not pick them up and hold them, but it's a rule that we can't, so we've been obedient, and my, we've been blessed. So we were teaching Anabela about keeping the sabbath day holy and her daughter, Mariana, was sitting on her lap. We were about done with the lesson when we heard the sound of water hitting the tile floor. I thought that was strange then I thought, there's just no way, but oh, yes. Mariana had decided to go to the bathroom right there on her mom's lap. My how grateful I am for the rule that says we cannot hold children or put them on our laps. That could have been me. Dodged that bullet.
Well, we've been stood up by a lot of our appointments this week, but we've been blessed with the opportunity of finding new people. We were knocking doors and found Celeste. She's from Cape Verde and she's AWESOME! She's been searching for the truth and when we got to her door she let us right in without our saying more than "Hi, we're the missionaries." Seriously. We taught her the first lesson and left a pamphlet for her to read. When I shared the 1st vision with her the Spirit was very strong in the room. She was touched and I could see the change in her from these words. We went back yesterday and gave her a Book of Mormon. She was so excited to get the Book of Mormon and kept thumbing through it. I can really see the light coming into her life as we teach her the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I'll keep you updated on her.
On Saturday was Irmã Brady's one year mark on the mission. For this we did splits with the Irmãs in Almada. I went to Almada and it was great! I was with an irmã that I was able to help a lot. We knocked a lot of doors and had a lot of street contacts. I talked to this great guy who didn't believe in God. I was able to testify to him that God does exist and that he loves him. It has been my best contact because it really felt like a conversation. I loved talking to him and bringing him truth. The area of Almada was great too. It was fun to see how differently missionaries work.~
We had 5 investigators at church this past week! Our investigators are all doing well. Ana is progressing so well and is so excited about the gospel. She really gets it and understands how important it is. We had a family night with the Castros. It was wonderful They really took to Ana and we had a great time eating an amazing meal and talking about the gospel and our Savior, Jesus Christ. She is holding strong and not smoking. Instead, she's taken to running every day.
Leu is doing well also. He went to our ward family night and we had them pretend they were misionaries knocking doors. I was an "investigator" and I was taught by Silvino, who is a recent convert, and Leu. They were amazing! Leu committed me to coming to church and testified of how important it is.
I am so blessed here. I love this work and the people I am teaching. I have been so prepared to be here by my living in Brasil and being taught about Cape Verde and learning Portuguese before. I can see the hand of the Lord in my life everyday as I strive to do all I can for this work.
I love you all and I hope you enjoy Conference! I'm SOOO excited!!