Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fishy Hands, Crazy Make-Up and 40ºC

Hello dear family! It's been a very eventful week, so this is going to be a poorly written email so I can include everything. Here we go...

So last p-day that Nelsons came up from the Algarve to go to Mafra with us! It was so amazing and I LOVED going back. When we were on the main highway just north of Lisbon heading to Mafra I got SO excited. We saw the convent and drove around. It's a bit different now, they are making it more touristy and it looks good. We also went to see the Esteves and that was my favorite part. We walked in and President Esteves greeted us very warmly, as always. But my favorite part was when little 8-year-old Emma lit up when she saw me. Not only is she young, but it's been a year since I've been there. She remembered me! That was so exciting. I am so grateful that I got to know that wonderful family. I saw pictures of Filipe on his mission in Mozambique and he looks so happy. It was a nice visit.

Then that night we taught Leide more about keeping the Sabbath day holy. I felt very guided as we taught her. I explained that all of us can do better to keep this commandment and I invited us all to do better and to keep the Sabbath day holy as best we can. I was about to close up the lesson, but I felt like I needed to share with her what my dad always did when he had to work on Sunday. That he would go into work really early so that he could get back in time for church. That next day we called her to see how she was doing and she told us that she was going to work it out with her boss so that she could go in early then leave for church and then go back and stay later if she needed to. I was touched at her desire to keep the commandments.

We returned on Friday and had a great lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ. We then invited her to be baptized on the 5th of August. She immediately accepted and said, Yeah, that sounds like a good day to me. It is certainly perfect for me too! That will be my last day in Setubal and will be the last real thing that I do as a missionary. She is the most amazing person. Truly humble and willing to change. It's been such a joy for me to see her change and become ever so much happier. So yay!

Friday night there was an activity in the other ward that we invited people to, so we went and were surprised to find out that it was an activity all about strengthening your marriage. We watched a film all about how to make your marriage better. It was a good film and very American. It was SOOO weird to see the American culture again and hear the different accents. I will have a shock when I go home. For sure. I couldn't stop laughing at the expressions that they used. Elder Valencia was laughing right along with me, so I'm not alone.

On Saturday we had a church cleaning project. I felt so Mormon as we cleaned. They really need to do more service projects here. Then right after we had a "Sardinhada," which is basically a sardine barbeque. Let me tell you what, sardines are not my favorite, but carapaus (horse mackerel)are AMAZING. What you do is put a piece of bread on your plate and then the grilled fish on top, then you peel off the skin and dive in with your fingers to eat the fish. It was SOOOO good. I ate four. Don't you worry. I am more Portuguese with every day. I LOVE fish. Who knew? We did smell like smokey fish the rest of the day though. But we're used to the smell. It's all the restaurants grill here.

The musical fireside is coming along quite well. We will be singing this Sunday and so it will be my last time with the choir on Sunday. I'm actually really sad about it. It's been my favorite service project that I've given on my mission. They very "subtley" asked me and Elder Wray to leave the room at the end of the they may be planning a party for us. We'll see.

Monday was a crazy day. President Torgan called Sunday afternoon and moved our interviews from Monday to Tuesday. It threw everything into chaos because we had eight elders in Setubal from other areas who then had to stay for an extra day and had nothing to do that whole Monday. But the zone leaders saved the day. We had our district meeting and then we took a lunch break and then we went back and played a "game" that Elder Wray made up. We had to go out and talk to as many people as possible and at the end we had to see who got the most points, based on a scale that we didn't know anything about when we set out. We got points for knowing how old an old lady was, for how many times and older man said that he was too old to change and how many times a business man said that he was in a hurry. It was so funny to hear the different points. At the end the companionship with the most points (we almost won) won "Companionship Night," which included a board game, popcorn, two ties and candy. We laughed so hard. The elders are so funny. Of course, you get a group of 19 and 20 year old boys togehter, what do you expect? They all really are like brothers to me.

Unfortunately, that whole day it was SCORTCHING hot. It hit 40ºC, which is 104ºF. Yes. It is hot here. Well, right now it's chilly and overcast...but that's beside the point.

Yesterday was a great day too. We had interviews. It was good, but very different. Then we went out with Sara Cordeiro, who is amazing. She went knocking with us and then went with us to teach Maria de Nascimento (Mary of the Birth). We had to HIKE up a HUGE hill to get there and then when we got there we walked into her house and saw that she had a shrine to the Holy Family. Really, very big. It was also very hot and this lady had makeup smeared all over her face. She kept rubbing her eyes and smudging it even worse. I don't know how I kept my composure, but I was really blessed. I hardly even cracked a smile. All I could think of was Iza from the Emperor's New Groove. Think of her and you will be able to picture this lady. I think by now I have pretty much seen it all.

Well, that's pretty much it. Phew! Today we're having a water balloon fight with a bunch of missionaries and pretty much all of the youth and young single adults of Setubal. It's going to be great! I love you all and have a great week!

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