Hello family! Thank you for the emails! It was great to get the updates on the door and the President.
Well things are going great here. We had Zone Conference on Thursday and it was a great conference. We were all very edified by the Spirit and the pizza. We learned to protect our backs and our knees and to rely on the Spirit. We focused a lot on having the faith to find and that the Lord will guide us in our work. I have already seen this throughout my mission and am seeing it right now.
Friday I hit my one year mark! WOAH! It was crazy! My birthday was not my favorite day in the mission, so this day completely made up for it. My companions are wonderful. They kept surprising me all day. Irma Machado made fried chicken (and taught me how to make it :)). And then after our appointment with Albertina we got a call from our elders here in Faro. Elder Smith said that he needed to talk to us at the church. I was wondering what I had done. As it turns out, my companions had planned a surprise birthday party for me. We had juice, little biscuit things and Ana Lucia's amazing chocolate cake that they begged her to make. It was great! They sang "Happy Birthday" to me as well. I felt very loved. The day ended with a box of Lindt chocolate balls on my bed. YUM. A perfect way to end a birthday.
I can't believe it's been a year. My mission is starting to go really fast.
So not this Sunday but the last Sunday we were walking home and we had some extra time so I made a silent goal to contact people as we walked home. As we walked down the skinny sidewalk I saw two girls up ahead. So I decided to stop them. They seemed nice enough. They were smiling and all bundled up in giant coats. (No it's not that cold here. They were just from Africa.) So I stopped them and they were so nice and so open. They are studying at the University of the Algarve and gave us their numbers and we set up an appointment for Saturday. Throughout my mission I have not had great success with people actually following through on the appointments that we've made, but we called and confirmed and they were excited to see us.
So we went over to their dorm room at the university. And yes, it was very strange to be back at a university. Very strange. They buzzed us in the building and we were very warmly received by Umara and Aidil. They invited their friend Claudia to listen as well. We had our lesson in a little corridor right by the elevator. Before the lesson people were milling in and out and I wondered how it was all going to work out. But we sang a hymn ("I am a Child of God") and prayed. Then we told them about the restoration of Christ's church. The Spirit was so strong as we taught. These girls listened and understood what we were explaining. As I told them about Joseph Smith and the First Vision I felt the Spirit manifest the truth of it to me again. I then asked if they had ever heard of the Book of Mormon. Claudia perked up and responded that she had. In fact, she had a copy of it in her room and reads from it. She went really quickly to her room and got it for us. Her friend had given it to her and she seemed excited that we were from the same church that had the Book of Mormon. We finished the lesson and invited them to church the next day. They committed to coming and to reading and praying. During the whole lesson not one person entered where we were. It was an answer to prayer as we were able to have a reverent atmosphere.
That next day we went to pick them up for church at 9:15am. Aidil came down in pijamas. They had been up late studying and couldn't come to church, but they wanted to come later. So Irma Machado and Irma Holtzclaw went back to pick them up before Sacrament Meeting, as I was playing prelude. I only got to talk to them after the meeting, but the members were SOOO excited to see them. They were very warmly received. It was an answer to prayer. Really. They loved church and we were able to set up a family night with our members who are also from Cape Verde.
So that next night we had our family night. The girls showed really up late again, but to make up for it they brought a friend, Nancy! So...we were okay with them being late. We ate Cape Verdian couscous (AMAZING!). It's kind of like a bread. Kind of. The lesson was great and we were able to get to know them more. As we taught I could see in Claudia's eyes that the believed what we were teaching her. I am so excited to continue teaching these elect girls! It was an answer to prayer.
Yesterday we had a division with the irmas of Portimao and it was great to see Irma Rasmussen again. She'll be done in a few months and that's so weird to me.
Well, things are going great here. We are being greatly blessed with success. I know that this God's work. I am a representative of Jesus Christ. This is His church! I love you all!