Hey family! ~Thank you so much for the updates and love. I hope that things are still great. I write to you from yet a different locale, a video rental store. Who knew that you could find an internet cafe in a video rental place? Best computers I've found too.
Well, it's been another crazy week. The baptism of little Joana went well, I had a bit of a hard time because Leide cancelled at the last minute (she had fallen asleep and could get ready fast enough). That broke my heart a little bit, but things got remarkably better in the area starting that next day. There were two holidays in a row last week and Thursday we tried to stop by Vanessa Sousa's again, hoping that she would be home. We stopped by and tapped on the window. Her daughter answered and told us that we could go around and they would buzz us in. We got to the door and guess what! WE GOT IN THE DOOR! This was quite the feat. The elders had been stopping by and for one reason or another, Vanessa would make up excuses for them to not be able to come in, and she did the same with us a couple of times. So I was thrilled that we were finally in her house and could have a lesson with her. It went great. She was so receptive and we set it up to meet with her three times a week.
We then saw her on Saturday and all of her kids were there and she promised that she would go to church the next day. So church came around and she wasn't there for relief society, I tried calling and got no answer. So gospel principles started and to my delight, Elder Rissi said that Vanessa was downstairs and had just arrived with her kids! I was so excited! The whole ward greeted her so well and it was just great. He mom and brother bore their testimony and I think it was good for her to see. Hopefully, things continue to go well and she chooses to let us in. But I am excited about her progress.
This week we've also had more time to go out with the young single adults and we even have gone knocking with them. Let me tell you what, they get so excited to knock! Granted, they would never say a word petrified to open their mouths, but they love just being with us. I am still seeing a small and subtle change in Sara Santana. She is a great girl and keeps saying to us, I don't know why, but I just love going out with you two. I know it's because she's feeling the Spirit and is able to bear her testimony and strengthen her faith.
This past little while our ward has been struck with illness. A brother in the ward has been sick for about six weeks, he's older and we hope that he will be able to get better soon. On top of this our bishop was diagnosed with cancer and will be undergoing treatment (hopefully) this week. Another brother had a heart attack, but was up and bearing his testimony on Sunday. I am constantly amazed at the members here. They have such a love for one another and it is truly like family. They worry about one another and take care of one another. I have not seen a ward/branch that is like this in my whole mission. The members have such a love and it is so evident in all they do. They truly live the gospel.
Right now I am in Lisbon! We are doing a division with the Lapa Irmas, Irmas Andrus and Machado. It's been fun to see their area and help with the work. And of course, Irma Machado and I always love seeing eachother. Yesterday I was with Irma Andrus and we walked by a bit of a park. We saw about 70 old men playing cards at various tables. Don't worry, we walked right by so I could get a good look. It was like a tournament. It looked like a flock of pidgeons hovering around bread crumbs. So funny!
Setubal has turned into a tropical rainforest...except for the whole forest part. It is ridiculously hot and humid. It keeps raining on and off, which takes away the heat, but then it becomes so super humid that it's suffocating. I dare say that it's worse than Texas. Let's hope that it lets up a bit. I cannot live in heat like this again. At least I will probably have air conditioning wherever I live in the future. Be grateful for air conditioning and ceiling fans. They are like little miracles. I can sleep without covers on though. I take great pride in that.
Things are going well here, better each day. Doors are being opened and we are being greatly blessed. It's such a joy for me to be able to see this progress and I hope that we will be blessed to see even more. I love you all and have a great day!