Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sheep Ears, Flocks and Shepherds

Hello dear family! How are you all doing? Thank you for all of the emails and letters! I loved getting those pictures and I will be putting them up in the room.

Things are going really well here in Mafra. I'm still freaking out a bit that I'm in such a small town so far away from everyone else, so I'm still adjusting, but life is good here. We've been doing a LOT of finding the past week, which has been different for me. My fingers are getting really good at pushing the buttons to get to talk to people over the intercom.

We had one great experience this past week. We went over to this really nice building to give it a shot with knocking and by chance the door was already opened, so we didn't have to get buzzed in. So we walked in and went to the top floor. The door to the apartment was already opened, so we rang the bell and this older lady walked by. She was a little taken by surprise, but we talked to her about how we were here to bring her happiness. She responded back in broken Portuguese that she wasn't interested, but invited us in to have a glass of water or a Coke with her. I then asked her where she was from and she responded South Africa! I was really excited to speak in English with her rather than hammer through a broken conversation in Portuguese. We ended up having a lovely visit with her and she was a very interesting woman. Her name is Hester and she ended up asking us about why we were here and what we believed. We were able to teach her some principles about the gospel, that she would see her husband again and that God still speaks to us. After we talked about that she invited us over to visit her again. We left her with a prayer and she asked us repeatedly to come back to visit. I could tell that she felt so much better after we had left. She could see that we were servants of God. It was nice to be able to help a person in need.

On Thursday we were walking to the chapel and on the way there I saw a flock of sheep grazing on the side of the road off of a hill. They came complete with sheep dogs and shepherd to complete the package. It was SUPER funny. I am in a completely new environment.

Also on Thursday we went up to Torres Vedres, which takes an hour by bus on small windy roads through small little dinky towns to get there. There used to be a branch up there, so there are a bunch of less active members up there. So we went up there and all of our plans fell through, so we knocked and did some contacts. I had a goal to give out a Book of Mormon before we left, but no one was giving us the time of day, so I wasn't sure what would happen. So we were waiting at the bus stop for our bus back to Mafra and I saw this woman who gave up her seat on the bench to let an older lady sit down. That impressed me and then I had the thought that I needed to talk to her. I kind of pushed it to the side, but then remembered that I would regret it later, so I ended up going up to her and talking to her and she and her friend were really nice and really receptive to the gospel. I was able to testify of the Restoration and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and she accepted a copy! YAY! It is always amazing for me to see that if I really put my mind to a goal, the Lord helps me to achieve it.

On Sunday we went over to the Esteves' house to eat lunch and it was crazy. They have a daughter, Emma, who is SUCH a girly girl. Wow. I don't know what I would do if I had a daughter like her. She was being a little annoying the whole time, but she's a kid so it happens. We just got this new film from the Church called Finding Happiness, so we put it on to watch with them and there could not have been more commotion, but the son, Simão, was listening and I was really edified, so it helped me. I found myself refocusing what my purpose is here. I really am here to bring happiness and light to Portugal, to Mafra.

Although people brush us off and don't want to talk to us, they really do. They have no idea what they are missing. They really don't. They cannot even imagine what happiness they could be having with the restored gospel.

Monday night we had a family night with Júlio and Ana. They like to cook really weird food and see what the missionaries do. Monday nights menu: sheep ears. Ick. They tasted REALLY gross. It was like chewing on really soft bones with no flavor. I was not a fan, and consequently put the rest of it on Elder Burkett's plate when no one was in the room. :)

Yesterday we had zone conference and it was SOOOO nice to be around other missionaries. I learned so much and was so edified. President Terry is such a wonderful man and I am so blessed to be able to learn from him and from Irmã Terry.

Things are going really well here in Mafra. We are still trying to find those who are ready to receive us, but we are working really hard and that's all we can do. I love you all and I know that this is the Lord's work. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon!!

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