Monday, May 18, 2015

I found mountains and plants!!!

Every day feels like eternity and every week feels like a month, but
then as I look back it's weird to think that it's only been one week
since we skyped and that we're only in the third week of the transfer.

There's not much going on. We contacted a young man from Cabo Verde on
the road one day and then a few days later we started having lessons
with him. He accepted the invitation to be baptized but he wouldn't
accept a date. His sister is visiting from France and she sat in on
our next lesson. When he wouldn't agree to a baptismal date his sister
told him, "If Jesus is calling you then you need to answer and be
baptized." He told us right after that he wanted to be baptized this
Saturday. We were super excited, but as we've started teaching the
lessons we're not entirely sure. He's keeping his commitments and he's
feeling the Spirit, but we think he likes us and that makes us really
uncomfortable. We talked with President Fluckiger about it and our
District Leader and they both said that there are some red flags that
we need to pay attention to. It's a little confusing and we're not
entirely sure what to do. We don't feel really good about baptizing
him just because of the way he acts around us, but at the same time
the Spirit is so strong in our lessons and he's actually gaining a
testimony.... I don't know. We'll see what happens.

It's been really hot here lately. The heat combined with the humidity
is very interesting for me. Sometimes it's so hot that it's a little
hard to sleep at night and my clothes are always sticking to me. It's
a little different from Idaho. I'll probably dry out when I go home.

Today we went to Sintra. We got permission from President Fluckiger to
go all the way up to Sintra as a district and he gave us permission to
leave our studies early so that we would have time to get there. We
took a train to Sete Rios in Lisboa and then we switched trains to go
to Amadora and then we switched trains again to go up to Sintra. I
love Sintra. I haven't seen mountains in so long and it was so nice to
see the mountains. There's the option of hiking up the mountain to the
sites or taking a bus and because we still need to work we took the
bus up the mountain (but someday I want to go back and do the hike...
there were so may cools things along the way). Once we got up to the
top we went and saw the Palace of Pena. There were palaces and castles
to go see but we just went and saw one. It was so cool. With the
weather today we were literally up in the clouds. It was so cold! And
there were forests all around.... it was really nice. I think that
it's the prettiest part of Portugal. It was FULL of tourists though! I
don't think I have ever heard so many languages at one time and there
were Americans all over the place. We wear missionary clothes on
p-days too so we got all kinds of looks. There were a couple of LDS
people that we ran into but the funniest part was when we were leaving
the palace we heard a lady say, "Aagh, the Mormons are here!"

It's kind of weird because on P-days we generally talk to more people
because people come up and tell us "Hey, we've seen people like you in
______ (insert name of any European country). What are you doing
here?" That happens to the elders all the time, but not for us. We
still talk to more people than the elders, but the elders get stopped
so much by people anytime we go touristing in really big touristy
places. In our own areas people generally think we're proselyting for
a different religion (Interesting note: here in Portugal the Jehovah's
Witnesses are called Testemunhos de Jeova... so everyone calls them
TJ's). It makes life a little more interesting when they decide to
bible bash us.... normally we just leave. When the Spirit is gone, we
shouldn't stay so we avoid lots of awkward situations by just leaving.

The work is a little hard right now. Nothing is happening and
sometimes I don't feel like I'm making a difference, but I got a
blessing and I was promised that I was making a difference and that I
needed to keep doing the little things every day. It's always nice to
know that you're making a difference and you're not wasting your time.
Sometimes I forget that Heavenly Father's plan is different from mine,
but then sometimes I worry that because of my weakenesses I'm throwing
a bunch of kinks into His plan... usually I have to think for a little
bit and change my perspective on the situation. I'm not perfect, but
I'm grateful that even with all my imperfections I have the chance to
serve a mission. Heavenly Father knew I needed to serve a mission
because there were lessons I needed to learn that I wouldn't have
learned any other way. I'm grateful for everything I have learned and
that I still have one more year to keep learning.

The Church is true. It really is, and I'm so grateful that we have the
Book of Mormon. It's not just any other book. It really is revelation
that Heavenly Father has given for us right now. The more I've read it
here on the mission I've gained a testimony that the Book of Mormon
really was written for us and the things we're going through in our
lives today. I just love the scriptures. And I love you all too.
You're all really special.

Little Sister Smith

P.S. The first picture is me with Carlos e Maria João Santos. They
adopt all the missionaries because both of their kids live in the
United States. Their daughter lives in Henderson but their son is
getting married in July, so Carlos is leaving this week to help and
Maria João is leaving in July. I'm gonna miss them.

The second picture is in part of the palace.... so cool. It's so cool
that it almost doesn't seem real. It was cool to see, but I'm sure
glad I wasn't a fancy person living back then.... not the life for me.

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