Hello family! this email is coming to you a day early because perhaps the stores will be closed tomorrow. The endearing joys of Portugal.
This past week has been great! We had a fun p-day with the irmas, we went bowling and I didn't get last place! I only got second-to-last place to Irmã Oliveira, who is Brasilian and was bowling for the first time. (And, I was in last place the whole game until the 10th frame and I rolled a spare...at least I saved my dignity at the end and got a whopping score of 50! Some things do never change.)
We had our Christmas Conference the next day in Miratejo and it was FANTASTIC! President and Irma Terry are incredible. They had a few surprises for us at the Conference. One was that they had gotten a DVD version of the Forgotten Carols and they had us watch it. I thought of you all and remembered when Dad told me the story for the first time. For me, that was a tender mercy. They also gave us a book full of our favorite recipes. Thanks Mom for sending those in! We were so grateful to Irma Terry for putting that together. The Spirit was strong as President and Irma Terry testified about Christ's divinity and gave us insights into the scriptures. It was very edifiying and I got to catch up with the elders I was in the MTC with, which was nice.
Well, one funny thing here in Portugal is that there are Santas hanging off of balconies and windows ALL over the apartment building. I guess since no one lives in houses, they don't have chimneys, so Santa just has to come through the window rather than down the chimney. I might buy one of them for next year, as tackey as they are.
Well we've had some success this past week. We marked Diogo for baptism! He is SOOO excited to learn and to be baptized. His face lit up when we asked him and his grandmother cried. Unfortunately, his mother and father are divorced and he's with his father on Sundays, since he works every other day of the week and he doesn't make any effort to bring him to church. But we're working on it. Diogo is SOOO excited though.
We also tried to mark a date with Albertina again. The Spirit spoke through me as I extended the committment to her, and I was shocked when she said no because of the strength of the Spirit in the room. She wants to get baptized, but she has difficulty in accepting some of the commandments. It just about broke my heart, but she has her agency and we're hoping that she will gain the faith to keep the commandments.
This Sunday all of Irma Nelson's piano students had a recital for Christmas. The sacrament meeting room was PACKED with standing room only. President and Irma Terry came down to watch it and it was wonderful. The room was super stuffy and the students are progressing really well. I was proud of them and of Irma Nelson. She does a great job with them. She also had me play the violin at the recital with her at the piano. We played "O Holy Night" and I had flashbacks of when that went horribly wrong years ago in church, but it went well this time and everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was nice to play again. I also directed our missionary choir at the conference as we sang "Where You There?" It's nice to be able to participate in music again.
Another way that we are participating in music is that we are going door to door caroling! It's actually been a GREAT experience. We've found some great people (families!!!) and we have fun with people thinking that we want money...but it's been very positive.
Oh! About Christmas, you can call this number at 4:30 my time so I think 10:30CST, 289801488. I think you need to put 351 before it. You have my cell number if you need it.
Well, I'm out of time. I'll talk to you soon! I love you all! I might be able to email tomorrow, so please let me know how you are all doing! I love you! Merry Christmas!