This week.... I don't even know what happened. It feels like it was a really long time ago. Time is just weird.... and it keeps getting weirder as I get closer to the halfway mark. I look back and sometimes I think, "Wow! It's already been eight months! I should have been using my time so much better!" and then other moments it's more like, "Oh no... it's only been 8 months... I have such a long way to go." I've heard that's pretty normal though.
This week we had a division with the Sister Training Leaders... it's fun and it's always an adventure to work with someone else and Sister Da Luz and Sister Wood are really nice, but I was just glad when I got to work with my companion again. I just like working with Sister Parkinson. She's an amazing missionary. We laugh a lot about how weird it is that we clicked right in the beginning. Day 2 we spilled all the secrets that we had never told anyone else and we've just had so much fun ever since. The sad thing is that we have transfers in two weeks and we both think that we're not going to stay together. Transfer night will be a sad night in our apartment. Hopefully we'll serve together again. (Lots and lots and lots of prayers will be said for that!)
On the Fourth of July there was a baptism. The zone leaders are in our district and they baptized a young man named Paulo. There is definitely a difference in the way Sisters and Elders plan baptisms. With Avelino's baptism, everything was planned several days before and then we took care of everything else in the morning. When the elders planned their baptism, they planned it the morning of and didn't turn on the water for the font until a half hour before the baptism was supposed to start. Unfortunately, the font in this capela needs at least two hours to fill up enough... so we ended up singing hymns and watching Mormon messages for about an hour waiting for the font to fill up. It all worked out in the end though. Paulo isn't a very big guy so there was enough water to baptize him, but our investigator Gabriel was there and even he said that Sisters plan things better. It must be true. :) After Paulo's baptism there was a jogo de futebol. We played futebol for a while and it was pretty fun. I had a nasty fall, but fortunately there was some divine intervention and I landed on the ball so I didn't break anything nor did I sprain or twist anything. Sister Parkinson and I both decided that I had some pretty good luck or a really good guardian angel.
Sunday night we went to Xeca and Avelino's house and Xeca gave us a Portuguese chicken soup... it tasted really good until we discovered that it was the whole chicken... internal organs and the feet included. It's a very normal Portuguese food and Portuguese people think it's just funny that we don't like eating chicken feet. As we were eating the soup Xeca and Avelino were just laughing at us. I don't think I have ever seen them laugh so hard. I'm still not quite brave enough to eat the chicken feet though... someday. Someday I will eat them. :)
Today there was a jogo de futebol with the elders and some of the youth at the capela so we went, but I was still pretty sore from my fall this last week that I decided not to play. Sister Parkinson had so much fun. She LOVES soccer. Later we decided to take the metro across the river. We got off at the metro stop in São Bento and just wandered around four an hour and a half. It was so much fun. We went into the cathedral and then we wandered around the streets. Sister Parkinson hadn't been inside any of the Cathedrals here so when she went in she had an "I'm in Europe" moment. Then we just wandered around the streets for a little while. It's tourist season so there were street performers out playing music. That's what most people think of Europe is the little touristy streets and the street musicians. It's very different but sometimes it's fun to just go and be a tourist. There were some street performers from Russia playing music and we sat and listened to them for a while, and they played a lot of pieces that I played in symphony. It was pretty fun.
On Sunday, we taught young women's and this week there were three girls there. We talked about ordinances and why they're important and we got them to talk a lot about when they all went to the temple in Madrid and how it felt to be at the temple. We wanted to remind them about how special the temple is and how they should always keep the temple as a goal. It's strange how you never really appreciate the temple until you don't have a temple to go to. Sister Parkinson and I talk about that a lot. We really miss the temple. I think I miss being able to go to the temple more than anything else, and we just want to help the members have that same love for the temple. If they feel that way then they'll start actually donig their part and working for their temple. The temple in Portugal is for them and not for us the missionaries. If the members start working for the temple, they'll get a temple and it will mean even more to them.
My brain has run out of things to say.... yup. My little advice for this week is that if there is a temple within and hour of your house, just go to the temple. The temple is more important than anything else.
Little Sister Smith
P.S. There's the chicken foot that Xeca ate... we did not eat the chicken feet. The other picture is the touristy road that we wandered down today. It was pretty fun.