Hello family! Thanks for the updates!
Well, this has been a long, yet short week. We had interviews with President Terry this past week and it was so nice. I felt like I was just talking to an old friend. He is such a great mission president and I am so grateful that I am able to serve with him. I also cannot believe that the transfer will be over next week. This one has really flown by. Wow.
Well, Albertina is still doing well. She is kind of struggling with her testimony, but she's so wonderful and we know that she will find out for herself that what we are saying is true. We brought Ana Nunes, the branch president's wife, with us and shew as wonderful with her teaching. She was simple, clear and to the point. It was a miracle.
Right now we are working on getting to the less-actives. I had the opportunity of speaking on Sunday at church, which I found out about on SAturday night. I felt that I should speak on retention. I was actually nervous and I was having trouble with my Portuguese, I have my days. But it really helped strengthen my testimony of the importance of the work with the less-actives. I read through Luke 15 and I was impressed with how the father was looking for his son "while he was yet a great way off" (quando ainda estava longe). That is how we must work too.
Oh, so one thing that I've noticed about Faro is that, while it is wonderful and I love it, there is one thing that I could live without...but I guess it just makes it more endearing to me. Well, the dog owners of Faro do not clean up after their dogs it just does not smell great here. I don't know if it's from the canal thing or from the animal population. But Faro is SMELLY. Wow. Just in case you wanted to know...though you probably didn't. :)
Oh, I've also gotten my hands on a violin and Sister Nelson, who is a senior missionary here with her husband, teaches piano lessons as her mission activity. So the two of us have gotten together and we will be playing things for Christmas. It's been nice to play again. I even clipped my nails even more! It's a nice way to express myself. I am an artistic soul.
On Sunday we got a call from our elders at around 5:00pm saying that there was a baptism right then from the branch in Loulé. So we got there and the church was a madhouse! Everything was last minute, and it started really late. But it was probably one of the best baptisms I've been to. The Spirit was so strong throughout the meeting. The branch in Loulé consists of mostly Ecuadorians (random, I know) and they are such beautiful people! The men and the women have long black hair that they keep in a long braid. I just wanted to touch it! And their children are so beautiful! It's so hard not to hold the children here. They are such humble, kind people. AND they make great food. We had this great corn nuts type thing. So good!
We also helped out a recent covert, Maria Joao, this week. We just randomly stopped by on Friday night with the intent of seeing if she could teach with us the next day. But when we got up there she was a bit distressed. We asked if she needed help and, as it turned out, she had to move out thatnight and the next day and had no help. So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work! We also called the elders and they came right over as well. We helped her the next day as well and she got all moved over to her new apartment. She told us that night that we had been an answer to her prayers and that she had told the branch she was moving but she didn't have the courage to ask for help. How grateful I am that we were able to help her.
To thank us she made us this great couscous bread thing (which is a typical Cape Verdian food). Holy Hannah it was good! Wow. I love the food here. Yum. It was a good food week for us. The members are really starting to feed us here. It's so great. Really. I will miss the food here.
Well, Monday we had a bit of an adventure. We went out to follow up with an investigator, Fatima. She lives in the middle of nowhere. We went out there at 7:00pm and we had a bus at 7:55. So we talked to her and her wonderful daughters (really, they are the nicest people). We showed them "Finding Happiness" and the Spirit was so strong. They were riveted on what we were saying. Unfortunately, as we were heading out the door, we heard the bus go by. So after waiting in the cold and in the hope that it had only passed to turn around, we figured it out and called Noemia. She came to our rescue and picked us up, as there were no more buses. The members are great here.
Well, things are wonderful. I love Faro. I love this work. I know it is the Lord's work that I am doing. Next week is transfers so I'll let you know if we have any changes. There are 19 new missionaries coming in so there will be big changes in the mission. I hope that everything stays the same down here though. I love my district. Well. Have a great week! I love you all!
Com grande amor,
Irmã Laura Thomas