Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Piri, Piri, A Baptism and Transfers

Hello family! It was so nice to hear from all of you today. It is so great to hear what is going on and to be able to laugh at the funny stories that are going on in your lives. I am very blessed to have all of you in my life. I love you all so much.

This past week we had Ana's baptism. It was so nice and went so well. We spent a great portion of the week preparing for the baptism, which included getting the program done, which took forever, and preparing a musical number, which took forever. We practiced a song for me to sing because we couldn't find a violin anywhere, but then at the last minute we found one, so we played " A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" which was pretty well done. Irmã Brady did a great job of getting the piano part down pretty quickly.

We finally met Ana's boyfriend, Pedro, who baptized her. He is great and was a fantastic missionary in Porto. We had a really fun time with them the night before her baptism. We ate dinner and played games. Her brother and his girlfriend were there and we were able to have a gospel discusison during dinner, which was great because it was really low key and we taught really important principles about the Plan of Salvation. Her brother, Ricardo, is hilarious! He couldnt make it to her baptism or confirmation, but I'm going to try and get him going in church.

Oh! Transfers! I am staying here in Seixal and so is Elder Gardner, but Irmã Brady is going to the AÇORES! Woah. She's afraid of the ocean and of flying, so President had to make sure that she would be able to handle going there. Elder Xidis is going zone leader and he's headed up to somewhere in Lisbon to be companions with Elder Halling, whose older sister Anna-Lisa was my Portuguese teacher. She was rad. Irmã Johnson is coming up from the Algarve to "greenie break" me and Elder Holmes is coming up to be my district leader. Lots of changes going on here in Seixal, but I'm really excited to work with Irmã Johnson, though I will really miss Irmã Brady. We've become good friends and laugh a lot together.

The baptism was great though. The camera girls came and filmed the whole thing, but not the baptism itself. Ana was so happy and so was Pedro. She is so amazing and I'm so sad that she's moving to England in a month. She's so great and has become a great friend.

Monday we all got together as a zone to have a zone meeting. It was fantastic. First I love my zone and all of the missionaries in it. It's so nice to get together with other missionaries and see what they are doing. We had a couple of talks given by the district leaders and Elder Davis spoke to us about giving a consistent and diligent effort, which I think is something we can do all of our lives. We talked later about the people who have been the "saviors" with a lower-case "s" in our lives. It was so interesting to see the influence that one person can have in our lives. I really hope that I can make that difference for someone here. The whole meeting was so edifying and I feel a greater desire to do all I can as a missionary.

After the meeting we had lunch! We at tacos, which was fantastic. It was nice to have something different to eat. The food here is fabulous, but it's all pretty much the same, so it's nice to mix it up a bit sometimes. Then afterword, some of the elders, Elders Mortensen, Flint and Coombs, decided to eat a piri piri. A piri piri is a really really hot pepper. So they each ate one straight up. I took pictures and then bemoaned the fact that I didn't take part in it, so Irmã Brady gave me a little prodding and so I decided to take the plunge myself and eat a piri piri. I, of course, didn't want to do it by myself so I make Elder Marriott do it with me. I was smart and didn't drink too much when I ate it, knowing that it made it worse, but Elder Marriott wasn't, poor guy. It was like fire though. Wow. It was really hot, but a good experience. However, I got a bit of a headache afterwords, so trade off there.

Life is good here. Our investigators are doing alright. None of them came to church on Sunday. Leo and Renata are working in Lisbon, so they can't come down. Celeste is still reading the Book of Mormon and progressing as is Renata.

I am loving my life and feel such satisfaction in this work. My Portuguese is coming along pretty well and I've been very blessed. I love you all! Have a great week!

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