Hey family! Thanks again for the updates and emails. I hope that your week is still going well.
Did I mention that we use the internet in a Western Union? Funny, huh? I sure have used the internet in some interesting places. But there's no crazy Indian music and body odor in this one and they don't kick me off after a half-hour, so I count my blessings.
This has been a good week for us. Albertina is doing GREAT. We talked to her about baptism on Monday, but she doesn't know how she can pay tithing because she's on a fixed income and she can barely eat as it is. So today she is fasting and praying to know how God is going to help her pay tithing. She wants to get baptized, but only if she can keep all of the commandments. She is an amazing lady and every time we see her she just lights up. It's so refreshing to be loved by your investigator. She is changing and growing and becoming so much happier. She's so great.
Diogo is doing well as well. We're encouraging him to read from the Book of Mormon and we worked with the branch to try and incorporate him better in the branch. He's a good kid and I like teaching him.
There is also a young single adult here, Ana Lucia, who is great. We go over to her family's house every Monday night and I think it's my favorite appointment of the week because I can see how much they need to hear what we say. They are hungry for the gospel. Her mom, Veronica, especially really listens to what we say and applies it. It is a bit difficult to keep everyone on subject and focused, but they are just wonderful people.
So last week I mentioned that we were going to Ponta da Piedade in Lagos. That was an adventure. So we got there and had to find a place to keep all of our stuff. So we went to the old chapel and were able to keep our stuff there. That took a while. I was also flooded with memories of last year when we went there together. I took a picture on those stairs right where Jen and I were last year. I'll get that to you.
Travelling in a big group while sightseeing is a big NO. Everyone always has a different pace and idea of what to do. We finally made it to Ponta da Piedade with two hours before our train was to leave. So we (thankfully) split up into smaller groups and fortunately Irma Churak felt like being a mountain goat with me. So the two of us went with Elders Dimick and Curtis climbing around. I was grateful to have jeans again. I've missed them. It was really refreshing to be out in nature and I felt like I was back in Moab. We had a good time and took some good pictures.
Unfortunately, we left Ponta da Piedade a little later than we should have and not everyone wanted to run for the train. So we missed our train, but were able to catch a bus back to Faro. It was an adventure and now I will travel in smaller groups. But it was good to see everyone.
We also had an open house at the church that the branch set up as a missionary opportunity. So we and the elders were there all day to show people around and walk them through the different organizations in the Church. Only three people showed up, but it was a good opportunity for us to show our support to the members. I was able to talk to Presidente Nunes and his wife quite a bit about what they wanted for the branch and it was so nice to be able to see more of their perspective on things.
To set up for the open house included a display for each organization that each class did itself. But they wanted some pictures hung up on fishing wire from the ceiling tiles. So Elder McKinley and I set to doing that. He would climb up on the chair, get the ceiling tile out, hand it to me. I would stick the fishing wire on then I would hold the picture while he stuck the ceiling tile back in. I mention this process because it REALLY reminded me of my youth, helping Dad with any type of project. He would do the real work and I would "hold the picture" in the process. A simple, but necessary thing. It was a funny reminder of home and it made me laugh when Elder McKinley got covered in a bird's nest, while I just watched. Good times at the church were had.
On Sunday we had our branch council and it was wondeful as always. I love how this branch really counsels with one another. They bring up concerns and they figure it out TOGETHER. I've never seen a unit in Portugal do that and it's so good. They work in unity to figure things out. They discussed the upcoming Christmas devotional that we will be doing in place of the Christmas party. The branch president mentioned that they could do a dinner or some other type of social activity if they wanted to (I chimed in on that one. The Church here needs to have more fun!) I asked when we could have the dinner and after a good 15 minutes of discussion dates were set and everyone was excited for the "non-party" dinner. This is an activities branch.
Well, things are going well here. We're in the process of finding, but we're working on working better with the members. Things are progressing and I am happy. I hope that you all have a wonderful day! I love you all!