Hello family! Thank you so much for the emails and support! I love hearing from you all every week.
It's been another ridiculously fast week. I don't know where the time goes. It's so interesting that when you want time to slow down it speeds up.
We've met with some of our members this past week and talked to them about who they know who would benefit from hearing about the gospel. We had a great experience with a couple in the ward, the Martins. They are amazing and they came up with some great ideas. We have been trying to meet with them for weeks, but it never worked out. We are trying to do the work differently here. The members need to do their part and find people for us to teach. Our best as missionaries is just not good enough, so we're working more through them members and teaching them their role in the work.
Sunday I had an interesting experience. We were sitting in Relief Society and the lesson was about the temple. The Portuguese are always talking about having a temple in Portugal and wanting a temple in Portugal. So the lesson just became a bit of a debate on why there's no temple in Portugal. The teacher did a great job of teaching about the temple and the lesson came back to where it needed to be for us to learn and be edified. But as the little discussion was going on I became a bit frustrated and sad at how they just didn't seem to "get it" about why the Church here isn't ready for a temple. As I pondered about it I realized that we can use this great passion that the members have for having a temple here to give them the motivation for doing missionary work. If they want a temple here, then the Church needs to be stronger, so they need to share the joy of the gospel with those around them that they know. I felt very strongly that we needed to change a good amount of things in the ward and set a goal for the number of people we want in the ward by the end of the year. I talked to the ward mission leader and he agreed completely. Since then, we have all been brainstorming ideas and tonight we will meet with the bishopric to make some changes here. The Church here is so ready for growth. We have laid the foundation and now it can really grow. I know that by the end of the year, there will be great growth here in our ward, if the members do their part. And, they are amazing, so they will. I am grateful that I am here to be able to get things started.
Monday we had our district meeting and before it started we had a great lunch. Elder Valencia made us some GREAT chili and it tasted SOOO good. Wow. It was also Elder Walker's birthday. So...I used the cake that Mom sent me and made a birthday cake for Elder Walker. Oh my. The elders were all soooo excited to see that cake. I got thank yous for the rest of the day from all of them.
Yesterday we had a great experience. I have been bugging one of the young men here in the ward, Pedro Caleira, about teaching his friends, because he's a great member missionary and talks to his friends all the time about the Church. So yesterday we finally taught his friends. It was a great lesson. I love teaching about the Restoration! I was so pleasantly surprised at how well his friends paid attention (there were five of them, all age 17 or 18) and listened and participated. Two of his friends were really excited to get the Book of Mormon and to read and pray about it. The Spirit was very strong as we taught and testified. I was so grateful for all of the preparation that Pedro did so that his friends would have the respect to listen to what we had to say. Some really good seeds were planted yesterday. I am excited to see what happens with them.
Other than that, nothing else really has happened. Leide continues to do really well. We invited her to find a new job before Friday so she can get baptized, so we'll be working hard so that can happen. I love you all and hope you have a great week!