Hello family! Thanks for the updates as always. I feel very blessed to have such a supportive family.
This week has been a really good one for us. We are starting to see progress! We are starting to teach! This is exciting! We had a great week last week with using the members. Unfortunately, none of them got to help us teach anyone, but they went finding with us! We went out with Sara and Carla, two Laurels in the ward, on Saturday and they knocked some doors with us! Sara has already helped us a few times and she's great. She would not talk to me hardly at all my first couple of months here, but now she's helping us and she seems to really like talking to me. I've seen such a difference in her lately, she seems so much happier now. I don't know if it's related to her helping us, but I do feel like it was inspired that we work with her. Carla was fun to work with too. She was so nervous to knock doors. The poor girl. The most I had her do was push the doorbell and even then she seemed uncomfortable. But the next day at church she said that she liked going out with us and wanted to go again. Yay!
We also went out with Sineide, who is a rockin member from Brasil. She's amazing! She's new in the ward (and in Portugal) and we've really bonded. She really helped me feel at home here in Setubal. We always sit together in Relief Society and I just love her. Well, she lives outside of Setubal and about a 25 minute walk from the bus and she doesn't have a driver's license, so pretty much she's alone all day. But she really wants to help out with the work, so I asked how she could help us and she suggested that we talk to her neighbors. So we went out there on Thursday and knocked out a couple of streets. Let's just say that her area isn't the most receptive area you could find. Sineide was a bit shocked I think at how closed people tend to be here, as she is used to Brasilians and their open, friendly nature toward strangers. The Portuguese are wonderful people as well, but they have a hard time with strangers. Even after all the rejection she wants to go out with us again!
Did I mention that Setubal has a soccer club/team here? Vitória. Everyone is all about Vitoria here. Wow. A couple of weeks ago there was a game and seriously, I think the whole city went to the stadium to watch. Wow. Everyone was wearing green, no, everyone was wearing Vitoria clothes. Wow. Flags were flying, scarves were abounding and I was grateful that we had an appointment for that night. :) I have never seen a city shut down like that. I really felt like I was in Europe there.
A couple of days ago there was a field day for one of the schools at the park right by our house. They were recruting people to play rugby! I was so happy and excited! I haven't seen rugby here yet. Yay!
As you all know, we've been doing a lot of "finding" my whole time in Setubal. I felt that we needed to go back through our records and look up all of the potential investigators and former investigators again regardless of whether they have been looked up before or not. So we embarked on this journey and we have actually found a handful of people already in the five days we've really been looking for them. We found Marcelis and Lindalva, a couple from Brasil. They have already met with the missionaries about 10 years ago and they were very welcoming and receptive. I hope that they will act and will be ready to accept the gospel again. We've got a teaching schedule with them and they seem happier with every visit we make.
Also, on our division with Sara and Carla, Irma Lister and Sara finally got in touch with a less-active family that we've been wanting to work with. We've talked to all of the children, just not the mom yet. Well, they found her (consequently, Sara is related to this family, the Dias family). The elders have been working with Sonia's (the mom) parents the past few months and they told us to stop by. We had such a good feeling about them. So Monday we went over and had a GREAT family night with them. Wow. If there ever were people who were ready to come back, it is them. I mentioned to Sonia that her parents had been coming back to church. Surprisingly enough, she had no idea, but there was a hope and a joy that came into her eyes when I told her. I am SO excited to keep working with them. We're going back tonight!
Leide is still doing great. Just FYI. She's amazing.
I forgot to explain the title of last week's email. So, here in Setubal, I've been the cook and have discovered that I actually like it. I make killer rice now. Pretty much, I only cook Portuguese food. But I just threw things together a couple weeks ago in a skillet and IT WAS AMAZING! I am finally getting this whole cooking thing down more. It's great! Yay! Who knew that I had it in me?
So my confidence has beena bit down the past few weeks as several of the Brasilians that we've worked with have mentioned that they can't understand me or that my Portuguese isn't that good. Well, Sunday we were at lunch and a member's mom, she's probably in her 80s, told me that I am more Portuguese than American and that she understands me very well. If an old lady can understand me than anyone can! That evening at choir the members there also mentioned how Portuguese I am and that my Portuguese is quite good. I don't say this to boast, but that I think it's funny what different reactions I get. I do feel quite Portuguese though. What a great compliment!
Well, that's it! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!