Hello dear family! Thank you so much for the emails and the updates about everything going on in Texas and Utah. Let me just say how grateful I am that it is not snowing here. It's gotten really cold at night, and unfortunately someone dropped the heater and now it's broken (and no, it was not me, surprisingly enough), but we have the hope that we can fix it as we have some handy elders in the area. But my hot water bottle and five layers between clothing and blankets keep me nice and warm at night.
Well, I write to you from Lisbon. Yep, that's right, I'm actually in Lisbon right now. We have our Christmas Conference tomorrow in Miratejo (just south of Lisbon), so the whole Algarve zone came up for the conference. There will be bowling today. We are all excited. Most of the irmas are getting together to go bowling today. It should be really fun.
This past week has been BUSY! Albertina is doing well, she has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but she just needs to act upon it. She knows she needs to be baptized and really live the gospel, but something's holding her back. But she'll figure it out. Diogo is also doing really well. He came to church and has been doing his reading. He is really participating in the lessons now and is excited to see us.
Felicia, the less-active that we found on the street about a month ago, came to church! We walked with her to church and she loved it. She really wants to get her life in order and is starting to really comprehend the gospel better. I was so excited that she came to church! It's been a few years for her. She is reading from the Book of Mormon as well. She's progressing very well.
We've run into a surprising number of Muslims this week. First we met Behrooz, who is from Iran. We don't know if he is Muslim, but he really wants to learn about the Church and is the nicest person ever. We also met Abido, who is from Morrocco. He was VERY Muslim, but very respectful, though he spoke a mixture of Portuguese and Arabic. Fortunately, Irma Machado speaks a little Arabic, so she was able to understand what he said. It was a very postitive experience both times.
Saturday it was POURING almost all day. Fortunately I had my red polkadot umbrella with me, but my legs and feet were SOAKED all evening and night because we were at the chapel all evening for the branch "dinner" that turned into a party, as I had predicted. We all had a good time and ate great food. There are some members of the branch that can really dance. Wow! I was shocked! Before the party some people were decorating and they set up the Christmas tree. There were some extra decorations, so Ana Marta, the branch president's daughter, who is very serious, quiet and a bit sullen, went to town and decorated me! So I became a Christmas tree as well. Don't worry, we took pictures. :)
The next day we had a couple of devotionals. We watched the First Presidency Christmas devotional, which was wonderful and way too short! I loved when President Eyring talked about making aluminum foil balls to throw at Samuel the Lamanite. Albertina came and watched that devotional, well, actually, we picked her up as she has a broken foot with a member, Noemia. Then she stayed for the branch's devotional. The devotional was actually pretty good, not too long and "Silent Night" was only a little funny...I maybe might have had to stare at my hymnal to keep from laughing...
We've been finding some great people to teach and one of our new investigators, Lena, even made us lunch on Monday! The work is going really well here and I am loving Faro.
I am excited for Christmas! I can't believe that it's next week! Wow! This month is going by soooo fast. I hit 11 months in the mission yesterday I realized this morning. I'm almost a year out! I can't believe it! Well, I hope that you all have a great day. I love you all! Merry Christmas!