Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Big Mountain and the Joys of Carnaval

Hello family! Thank you for the emails. They were especially good this week. Thank you for the words of support.

This has been a week of adjustment, of course. Let me start with telling you about my companion, Irma Vega. She's from Wyoming, has one sister, and is a licensed cosmetologist. She will be fixing my bad haircut later today. :) She has a great desire to work hard, be obedient and wash the dishes, all of these things are aggreable with me. It's nice to have a companion who is so willing to learn and work. I've been helping her with her Portuguese (this is her third transfer) and it's been really fulfilling to help teach her. We're getting along really well.

Setúbal is a big area for me, coming from Faro. We walk A LOT. We also have a gigantic hill, it's really a small mountain, that we hike up frequently. I will be losing weight here, for sure. There are two wards in the city and four companionships of missionaries. I am also serving by Elder Gardner again, which has been funny. I still don't really know the members, but we're getting there. I feel like we're opening up the area right now because Irma Vega was being trained her first transfer in a tripla and was lost most of the time, then her second transfer her companion was sick, so they stayed in and then she got another companion for the last three weeks and there were some problems, sooo the area hasn't really been worked in a transfer and we're trying to figure out how to make the best use of our time.

Kat mentioned how it must be nice to see water and green. It's pretty much just buildings like the rest of my areas. There are, however, a couple of big parks. AND there are actually trees here. It's amazing to see trees! They are starting to bloom! So we've been making contacts in the parks, on the streets and everywhere in between in an effort to find people to teach. We've also been knocking a lot. We have one person that we teach, Carmen. Really, just one. We usually teach a bunch of people, I just don't mention all of them. So we're working on getting that up.

We taught Carmen yesterday and she's ready and prepared to be baptized, but she doesn't agree with tithing. So, she's working on that right now.

This past weekend was the weekend of Carnaval. Saturday we were trying to get buzzed into the building at the "Quem é?" box, when all of the sudden, I heard the sound of water hitting the ground. What could it be?, I thought. Then we heard it again. Every time the sound was getting closer. It was dusk, so visibility was getting low. All of the sudden I realized that they were water balloons. Someone had already thrown one at me and barely missed my face (thank goodness!). We were under attack and were pinned in a corner of sorts. Fortunately, there was a column that we hid behind. And who, you might ask, would throw water balloons at two siste rmissionaries? Let me tell you, two ten-year-old kids. Yes, me and Irma Vega, two grown young women, were pinned in a corner by two ten-year-olds, who were throwing water balloons at them. So sad. After about 15 balloons there was a ceasefire. I peeked my head around the side of hte column. They had retreated to refuel. So we took the opportunity to escape, hugging the wall as we went down the stairs so they couldn't get us again. We left with minor injuries: just one wet skirt on Irma Thomas. I will always remember Carnaval for the rest of my life now.

Yesterday was the actual holiday of Carnaval. ~There was a big party/dance thing that we brought Carmen to. I saw SO many people that I knew. I've really gotten toknow a lot of members in Portugal. Wow. It was fun to see them again.

Sunday was my first time at church here. I was overwhelmed at the amount of people that were there. Itw as incredible. It was also Elder Rissi's first Sunday int he ward as well. He's from Porto, so the ward was really excited about having him there. Tonight we're going to dinner at the Bishop's so he can get to know me better and then we have a meeting with Irmão Caleira, who is the Ward Mission Leader, and was the former Area Seventy. He's really excited about missionary work. I am really looking forward to getting to know these members better so we can work through them. Not to say that I don't love knocking doors, but...I would like to get references and teach the friends of these great members.

Well, the work is rolling forth here in Setubal. We will start finding the elect. Acutually we made a really great contact in the park on Monday, so we hope that Antonio will want to hear more. Thank you for your prayers and support. I love you and I love this work!

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