Hello family! It was so nice to hear from all of you! It sounds like things are all going well and that you are all preparing for Christmas. I really just realized that Christmas is coming today. It's only two weeks away and we all know what that means! Phone calls and good food!
Well, it has been a HECTIC week here in Portugal. We had a special zone conference with Elder Gérald Caussé of the First Quorum of the Seventy this past Saturday in Lisbon, so the whole Algarve zone came up and we enjoyed the company of the other missionaries as well as Elder Caussé. He was SUPER funny. Wow. The whole conference was about the successes that we are having in Europe. The Area Presidency is really customizing the way that we do missionary work here in Europe. It's so inspired. Really. Elder Caussé said numerous times how wonderful President Terry and Irma Terry are and how priviledged we are to have them in our mission. Apparently our mission is the complete opposite of the rest of the missions in the area, where we are working well with the members but have a hard time finding people to teach. This is the opposite of the rest of Europe. But we got some great counsel and training and the whole conference was so positive. We all left with a resolve to do better and the energy and the excitement to do it.
President Terry asked our zone to prepare a special musical number. Well, he asked Sister Nelson to arrainge it (I can't spell anymore, sorry...) So, fortunately, my companions have GREAT voices and the three of us sang a beautiful arrangement of "I Stand All Amazed." It was such a pleasure to sing and feel the Spirit edifying us and the other missionaries. I was so glad that there was finally a musical number at a conference.
So we all know that the Church is very young here and they are all trying to figure it out. Our branch president does a fantastic job in training the members and helping them figure out how to fulfill their callings. He is a great teacher and usually branch council is a very uplifting experience for us all, but this month it was a little different. Many things happened that caused some feelings to be hurt in the branch, though they were smoothed over by the presidency. One member of the council raised his hand and asked why we celebrate Christmas since it is a pagan holiday. (Keep in mind that they already cancelled the Christmas party because they thought it wasn't appropriate and they don't celebrate Halloween or anything like it in Portugal, well, at least here in Faro.) So to me when he said that I thought, oh no! Don't cancel Christmas too! He went off on the birth of Christ being around April and how we shouldn't celebrate pagan holidays. Our wonderful branch presidency responded in such a loving way and showed the joy of the Christmas holiday and season. Just so you all know, Christmas will still be celebrated here in Faro. Fhew! We are all very excited about it.
I am so excited for Christmas this year. What better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than by being a missionary! The streets here are filled with lights, they don't light the buildings, but the streets and it's beautiful. Christmas music is playing in the stores and there are red carpets lining the downtown area of Faro. I love Christmas.
Albertina is doing great, family. She broke her foot last week in her apartment when she tripped over something, but we've been able to help her out. We talked to her on Monday and she told us that she knows that it's true! My heart was filled with joy as she said that. She is changing and being filled with the happiness of the gospel. She always calls us her angels. I am so priviledged to know her and to help her.
We were able to teach Felicia, the lady that we contacted a couple of weeks ago on the street, who is less-active. She is very receptive, is now reading the Book of Mormon, and wants to come back to church! I'll keep you updated on her.
Well, things are going great here really. My mission is really flying by. I can't believe how fast the time is going. The weeks just fly by and so do the days. I love this work and I know that it is the work of the Lord that I am doing. I am so excited to talk to you all on Christmas! Have a great day! I love you!