Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Amazing What People Will Throw Away

Hello family! It was good to hear from you and I'm glad that things are going well for you all.

This week was a really good one for us. We've had to go up to Lisbon a couple of times to see the doctor about Irma Vega's headaches. Still no solutions, but we're able to work at a more normal pace now and I'm very happy about that. We are seeing the blessings of hard work here in Setubal. They are small, but they are there.

A couple of weeks ago we stopped this Brasilian lady on the street and talked to her about our life's purpose. She was in a hurry, but we were able to set up an appointment and get her address. Last Wednesday, we were able to go and talk to her, Leide, and her roommate, Aline. We went into the house (what we call a Brasilian house, where there is a different family or person living in each room of the house or apartment, but they share the kitchen and living room). We met Aline and at first Aline didn't really want to listen to us, but we were in her room, so she was polite. We started teaching the 1st lesson, but I felt like we really needed to focus on why we are here and how the Book of Mormon answers our questions. When we switched what we were teaching, Aline immediately started paying close attention and the Spirit really entered the room. We will be going back to teach them tomorrow afternoon and we invited the rest of Leide's roommates (housemates, really) to listen to us.

We also looked up a few old investigators to see if they would be interested in talking to us again. We went down into the downtown area of Setubal and looked up Betania, who Irma Vega already knew. When we got to the street that she lived on, a young boy called out "Irmas!" I looked up and all around to see who was talking to us and I saw, on a balcony, Orlando, with a big smile on his face. Unfortunately, his mom wasn't home, so we told him that we would pass by again the next day at a better time. He said, "okay, I'll tell my mom!" We passed by the next day, but his mom was again not there, but we were able to talk to Orlando's older brother, Henrique, and sister, Melissa. Melissa had the same big smile on her face and was excited to see us as well. We invited them to church and they all commited to coming. Even better, Orlando invited his friend, Rafael, who was there with him to church and Rafael told us that we should go see his mom. Rafael also told us that he would be coming to church. Orlando had come to church before (he's 10) and came by himself. He LOVED primary and was really excited about going back. I can't explain how warm their smiles are and how happy they were to see us. It was like a light entered into them when we talked to them. I really want to be able to teach them.

Saturday we had our mini MTC in the ward. There were two workshops and a bit of a testimony meeting. Oh, well there was supposed to be one, but we got started a half-hour late and there wasn't time. But anywho, we didn't even really have to do anything because Irmao Caleira had it so well planned out. All we had to do was direct traffic and give the five-minute warning, which, of course, was ignored. :) it was a great meeting and all of the active couples in the branch came, except one. i hope they are able to implement what they learned into their lives.

That evening we were walking back home, rounding the corner of our street when we heard someone call out to us. He was a guy about our age and normally we just ignore them, but he kept calling out, and so I turned around to talk to him. He asked if we were friends with "Irmao Murray" (Elder Murray, he's been serving here for the past six transfers and knows pretty much everyone). His name was Hernani, and he told us that he wanted to change his life and find happiness. Well, I think he found the right people! We were able to talk to him for about 20 minutes and give him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He was so grateful to get it that he tried to give me beijinhos! (the kiss on either side of the cheek. it shows gratitude here. you give them when you're given something generally) I had to tactfully explain that I couldn't give him beijinhos, but I gave him a hearty handshake instead. The elders have been in touch with him and hopefully he will make the changes he needs to make.

Maria Trindade and Artur are progressing slowly, but surely. They came to church on Sunday!! The ward was GREAT at welcoming them. All of the members greeted them and talked with them. There's a couple, the Martins, who are ward missionaries, so we asked them to sit by them. They didn't just sit by them, they sat on either side of Trindade and Artur. The Martins were wonderful and they even helped us teach last night. Unfortunately, Trindade is very very very chatty. Wow. She does not even breath between phrases. It's incredible. Don't worry, we're working on it.

We had a great zone meeting on Monday and we shared experiences that we had had with making contacts. Right now, our mission is making a big push with contacting and teaching people on the streets. That meeting was very edifying and since then we have made a more concerted effort to talking to everyone that crosses our path. We have had some great experiences from it so far. Monday was my best day in Setubal so far, hands down. Everything went so well for us.

The reason for my title, you might ask? Irma Vega and I have been noticing in our time together that people throw some interesting things away, namely, toilets and bidets. We have seen at least five-six toilets by the dumpster and at least as many bidets. It's becoming an epidemic.

Oh, I also got pooped on by a bird again yesterday. That marks two times in Portugal for me.

Things are going well here, we are seeing slow progress. I am really happy in the work and I know that I am a representative of Jesus Christ and that He has restored His church. I love you all!

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