Hello family! Thank you all for the updates and the love and support. I am grateful to have such a great family.
Before I forget, please send packages for the time being to the office in Lisbon. The post office lady had a fit when I showed her a copy of my passport instead of the original. Fortunately, she got over the fit and gave me my package. So ridiculous.
Things have gotten better here this past week. We've been able to get out and work again most of this past week. So that's been a great blessing. Right now we're working on cleaning out the ward list (yes, missionaries have to do that here in Portugal, actually in Europe). So we've been able to come in contact with a few less-actives and find some people who are willing to listen to us. It's been nice to see some progress. Nothing too special has happened on that front, but I'll keep you posted.
On Sunday, Rosária showed up at church! We didn't even have her number and Ana Gaspar, her friend, didn't call her or invite her. She just straight-up came on her own. She works at café and that is a very tiring and demanding job. She left the café to the care of her daughter so she could come. That's a pretty big sacrifice. I was very pleasantly shocked! She got there for Gospel Principles and then stayed for sacrament meeting. She seemed to enjoy church and after the meetings I asked her if we could see her the next day, which was her only day off. She said that she'd have to see and that she would call us. I didn't push it, but kind of figured that if she really wanted to meet with us that she would mark a time with us. But I left it at that. The next day the elders called us and said that Rosária would be at Ana Gaspar's at 5:30pm for us to meet with her. (A lot of members don't have our number because one of the irmas kept losing the phone and so we got a new number, so they call the elders with messages for us. We're working on it.) I was again pleasantly surprised. We had a great lesson and she asked some good questions. She is truly searching. We had her say the closing prayer and she said a very heart-felt prayer. I am looking forward to seeing her progress.
This past Thursday, maybe Friday, I don't remember, was Father's day here in Portugal. So we decided to call our bishop and wish him a happy Father's day. He is, after all, the father of the ward, right? So we called him and he was so surprised and happy for our call. (He's a great bishop. SO nice and caring and funny.) As he we were saying goodbye, he told me to send "beijinhos" (little kisses) to Irma Vega. Normally, men don't say that to us because we're missionaries. And he recognized that, so he said, oh well, it's my day and I'll send you beijinhos! It was funny. We all laughed.
Well, as I am trying to boost my companion's self-esteem and help her see how great she is, I decided to try a new tactic. She is a dancer, and since I like dancing and have a pretty limited knowledge of dancing. I decided to have her teach me ballet. I figured it would be a good way for her to see the talents that she has and how capable she really is. So the past couple of days we've been doing ballet. She is great and I am...a beginner. It's been fun for me and I think for her as well.
I have learned so much this transfer about what it really means to lose yourself in service. I am really trying to serve and to give and I have been able to see areas where I can really improve. I have really been able to go to the scriptures for the answers and I have found them. The Lord has heard my prayers and answered them. This week I was given so much peace as I sat pondering about the mission of Aaron in Alma 21. The scriptures truly are the gateway by which we receive answers and personal revelation. This transfer has certainly been different than I thought it was going to be, but I have learned a lot. I feel like I've really been able to help Irma Vega and that she's why I'm here in Setubal. I love her so much and I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve my mission right now.
I love you all so much and I hope that this week will be one in which you find the answers you need through fervent prayer, unfailing faith, and diligent study in the scriptures. Have a great week!
Irmã Laura Thomas
Oh, things are still going well for Wumi and she will be baptized on Saturday! YAY! Hopefully, I'll get pictures that I can send to you.