Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Camels, Oh My!

Hello family and Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Though, because Thanksgiving is not on a P-Day, we are celebrating today! The whole zone is getting together at the Nelson's, the senior couple in Loulé, for a feast! We are all really excited. So right now my hands are FREEZING! It is pretty chilly here in the morning and at night, but during the day it is fine, so we should be comfortable playing tennis later today.

This has been a CRAZY week! I've had three different companions! Irmã Churak had to go to Lisbon to renew her visa, so I did a division with Irmã Oliveira for about two days. It was great! I picked up my Brasilian accent again, sort of, and we had a great time. We've really bonded this transfer and I learned so much from her. She's a great teacher and we learned more about one anothers' cultures. But she had to leave Friday morning, which left me without a companion until that night. So I went around with Ana Lúcia, who is a young single adult in the branch. I had a pretty normal person day, as she had to do homework and take care of things around the house. This was fortunate because I was pretty sick with a cold/sinus infection. So it gave me the much needed time to rest and recouperate. The next day I was feeling much better and was back in the saddle again.

We've been working a lot with Ana Lucia's family. Her mom, Veronica, was less-active for a while, but now she's back to better activity and she wants to really live the gospel. We are working on helping her have a stronger foundation and also teaching her boyfriend, Carlos, and her son, Elias, as well as talking a bit to her other daughter, Vanha. It's been rewarding to see the changes she has made in just six weeks. I can see the desire that is growing in her to live the gospel.

Albertina had a weird week, but she's back to her normal self and she came to church on Sunday (the whole block, as usual) and then there was a baptism in our building from the branch in Loulé, so she came to that as well and she loved it. She also loved the food afterwords. :)

The branch in Loulé had a talent show that we were able to attend. The Ecuadorian men played some great music for us from their drums, flutes and guitars and the women did a traditional dance from Ecuador. They told me that if I came to their branch again that I would have to stay. They miss having sister missionaries there. We also had enrichment and Cristina, and investigator, came! It was a HUGE step for her to come to the church, so now that barrier has been knocked down. YAY!

Sunday we attended the baptism of two girls from the Loulé branch. Somehow I ended up helping out with almost everything. I got roped into doing the program (at the last minute), and it took longer than expected (of course), and it didn't print out right. But fortunately, there were some elders in the building that figured everything out. However, one of the jets used to fill up the baptismal font broke off leaving a bunch of gunk in the water. So...I got roped into finding a solution. That solution came in the form of a mop. So, feeling like I was cleaning out a pool, I was able to clean out the water in preparation for the baptism. Something I never ever pictured myself doing. Fortunately, I had help, and one of the elders actually touched all of the gunk, and my hands stayed clean. It's the little things really. The baptism was great and we were all edified. Albertina really liked it and I'm so glad that she came.

Well, the circus is in town family! It's right by where some members live, so we took a little side trip to see the animals. There were lions, and tigers, and camels, and shetland ponies. Those lions were HUGE!! Wow! And stinky. I never imagined that I would see circus animals on my mission, but hey, you never know.

I had a cool experience on Monday. I had just been thinking about how I needed to be better at listening to impressions that I get while I'm out in the road. So we walked by this woman who was cleaning up the leaves on the street and she smiled and said hi after we greeted her. We passed her and kept walking, but I felt the clear impression that we needed to go back and talk to her. So, I gathered my courage and we went back. After talking to her for a minute, we found out that she is a member! Woah! She ended up sharing some of her burdens with us and we were able to comfort her. We will be talking toher again on Saturday and I'm really excited. How grateful I am that I heeded that prompting and the help that I am given so freely. I am truly blessed.

So, we got transfer calls yesterday. Irma Churak is going to Setubal and I will be staying her and being put in a tripla, with Irmã Machado (American with a Portuguese name) and Irmã Holtzclaw. They both just got to the field this transfer, so I will be greenie-breaking both of them. It will certainly be a new adventure and I'm sure that I will be given a LOT of help, all of which I will use, to be sure.

Well family, I love you! I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Eat too much food for me!

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