Monday, November 18, 2013
I'm in a mission full of miracles . . .
Queridas pessoas na minha vida,
Another week gone by so quickly! Where do I even begin? Let´s start by talking about how if I´m going to gain weight anywhere on the mission it is most certainly going to be here in Matosinhos. The members are so fantastic and feed us several times a week. Not just that, but they also think that we´re too skinny so they always ask us why we´re not eating more RIGHT after I put away a sold 2 or 3 plates of food. Sometimes they even put the food onto my plate for me so I can´t even say no. It´s really quite a hilarious situation to be honest and I always end up practically rolling out of there houses. Good news is I now know what Portuguese food is! Basically, it´s a lot of fish that still has it´s eyes and heads and bones and stuff. We get a lot of laughes because I really have no idea how to eat around all the tiny bones so I end up destroying the fish in general. The standard Portuguese dish is bacalhau, but we also eat a lot of carapau, sardines, and tuna. It´s pretty good stuff even though it´s still staring at me when I eat it. I´ve also noticed that practically every meal involves potatoes, cooked in all different sorts of ways, ALL good. At EVERY meal, dessert is also a necessity. So after they´re already loaded me with soup, fish, potatoes, and salad then they put these delicious desserts in front of me. Like I said, if I´m going to gain weight it will definitely be here!
In other news, it has been yet another week of miracles. The work is moving a little slower than I´d like but it´s picking up as we go. We´re working a lot more with the members and having more contact with recent converts and less actives which is nice. We also marked a baptism!!!! ...which now will have to be postponed because he didn´t come to church. His name is Pedro and he´s fantastic. He has incredible questions and is really ready to be baptized, he´s just a little nervous. His phone doesn´t work well so it´s been a little complicated getting in touch with him but we´ve made plans to track him down this week. (How did missionary work even HAPPEN without phones?!) But anyway, it just goes to show that even when we do EVERYTHING we can, we can´t take away people´s agency. Not that I want to, it just obviously makes me sad that I can´t do more sometimes to help people improve their lives. The greatest thing is, I still get so many reminders that Heavenly Father recognizes my efforts. Let´s be honest, I´m not doing everything right here. It´s my third transfer, I´m training, we´re still learning the language and all that so obviously I´m not quite the organized, experienced missionary I want to be and THAT´S OKAY. I´m really hitting a point where I feel like I´m doing all I can and He´s making up the rest, just like He always promises he will. So yeah, Pedro may take longer to be baptized, but we´re still working with our miracle investigator Luiz and he´s progressing really great and still going to church! Even just now, literally as we were doing our emails and such someone came up and asked us about the church and said he´d like to go with us!!! We´re having so many experiences that just don´t happen without some heavenly help. I guess if I´m learning anything here it´s just to work as hard as I can and do the best that I can and Heavenly Father WILL always make up the rest. I can´t say it enough, miracles are SO real!!!
Some other fun facts... oh! I´ve been getting pretty creative with my contacts on the street lately and honestly having a blast. The people up here in the Porto area are a little more closed off than down south and it was really starting to make me crazy those first couple weeks. But then I noticed that people were always SUPER nice when we asked for directions, way nicer than even just introducing ourselves as missionaries. So then we started doing a lot of GPS contacting, in other words, I´d pick a random place we might need to know about (post office, stores, whatever) and start by asking people where it is and then asking their name and slowly introducing ourselves and why two random Americans who don´t fully speak Portuguese are doing in Portugal. It has turned out to work pretty well and people are a LOT nicer! Sometimes we also extend our language study onto the street. Whenever I come across words I don´t know, I stop strangers on the street and just ask them what it means. A lot of times they don´t know, can´t explain or I don´t even understand the explanation but it´s gotten a lot of people to open up to us easier! So basically I´m learning that you just have to get creative here and the people really are super nice.
Not much else to update really...I did my very first division this week with the sister trainer leaders...NERVE WRACKING. But it went super well and I learned a lot. It´s always so interesting to teach with other missionaries because everyone´s styles are so different but so good! Tomorrow we have interviews with President Fluckiger and man I´m stoked for some inspiration!!!
I hope you´re all doing well! I think and pray for you often. Never hesitate to shoot me an email anytime, I love hearing from you all!!! Fiquem bem e saibam que eu vos amo BASTANTE. É verdade, vocês são incríveis e sinto muito falta de vocês. Fiquem firmes, fixes, e orem por mim ;)
Com TANTO amor,