Hey family! Thanks for the emails! I'll get right started, I have a lot of stories!
Well, I failed to recount something that happened this past week. We got back to our apartment on Sunday night after our day. We noticed that our water pressure was really bad. Hum, funny. Then we noticed that it was getting worse. Then we noticed that the water heater wasn't turning on. Then we noticed that we had no more water! Oh no! So, me being the hopeful thinker that I am, I waited until the morning to try and figure it out. So we woke up that morning. I fiddled around with the water heater. (Yes, I am trying to be more handy. And, no, I am not getting any more handy.) So that was not in any way useful. I waited until 8:15am when I deemed it late enough that I could call our landlord. I maybe might have woken him up, but is there a better way to wake up in the morning? So he groggily muttered out something and said that he would figure it out. So we were some dirty irmas that day as we did not shower, obviously. But we came back that night and the water was back on!
However, that morning we thought we would have enough water to flush the toilet--but we didn't. So Irma Holtzclaw had unscrewed something in order to try and get the lid off of the toilet tank thing. This created a leak. So that night we went home to a puddle in the bathroom floor. So we spent the next 45 minutes trying to get the screw back in and clean up the floor. Good thing my mother taught me how to turn off the water in the bathroom! Thanks Mom! It was an eventful finish to a funny problem. Really water is so important. That experience gave more significance to water and how the Lord says that He is the living water. We cannot live without water, as we cannot Iive without Him.
Our New Year's Eve, or Passage of the Year, as they say here in Portugal, was very lame. Really. Everything fell through. We were able to give an investigator some company, but for the most part we were trying to find people to talk to. NO ONE WAS OUTSIDE! We talked to a bunch of old men, the source of a lot of humorous things here in Portugal. One man asked us what we were doing that night to celebrate and we said we would be at home, sleeping. He laughed in our faces. It was so sad. The rest of the members had gone to Portimao for a party at the church. But we, by some miracle, found a vending machine, got some Fanta and drank Fanta at 10:30pm and took pictures. That was my New Year's Eve. New Year's Day no one was out. Seriously. No one. It was like a ghost town.
Well, yesterday was the last party in the season. They don't say "Happy Holidays" as we do, but "Boas Festas" which means, have good parties. Yesterday was the day of the kings. We saw school children around Faro wearing paper crowns. It was so cute.
I witnessed a miracle this week in all seriousness. I have been working with a less-active, Laurinda, since I got here. When I arrived she was still mourning her daughter, who had died years before. A mighty change has been made in her heart. She is so happy now. She thinks positively about her daughter's life and is at peace because she lived a good life. She loves hearing the gospel from us and especially singing the hymns. I never thought that she would come to church because she had shot me down numerous times. But, this past week we invited her and she came! We went to go pick her up (and we walked about a 5K at a speed walk before church to get everything done) and she didn't answer her door. So we walked back to church. When we got there she was already there! She had waited for us, but misunderstood when we were going to meet, so she went ahead without us! It was a miracle for me tos ee. She hasn't been to church since her daughter's death. I have seen such a change in her in my three months here.
Oh, Albertina got her cast off of her foot! That's pretty much the only progress she's made, but at least she's healing physically, right?
Well, today we are going to see Spain! We're going to Vila Real de Santo Antonio, where we can see Spain and a castle! We got our groceries bought in under five minutes. It was a feat! Well, things are going great here. We are having great experiences every day. Sunday night we really tried to find by the Spirit and we were blessed. We ran into an investigator who had disappeared, as she had moved, we made some great contacts and it was all because we felt like we needed to walk down a street we never would have. My testimony grew of the importance of heeding the Spirit in all apsects of our lives. Have a great week! I love you all!
Com grande, o grandíssimo amor,
Irmã Laura Thomas