PORTUGAL IS GETTING A TEMPLE!
A member told us on Wednesday that the groundbreaking for the temple was announced. Then, on Sunday they announced in Sacrament Meeting that the groundbreaking for the Portugal Lisbon Temple is December 5. It's a private ceremony but it will be broadcast to stake centers throughout the temple district so I'm hoping that Presidente Amorim will let the missionaries watch the ceremony. :) When we found out I got chills and almost started crying... so, pretty normal reaction for me. :)
This week was a pretty good week. On Tuesday we walked all over the Quinta de Alçada and Quinta do Bispo and Gândara... but we had the sound off on our phone and we missed 10 calls from our ward mission leader. He wanted to have the correlation meeting an hour earlier but whoops. We missed that meeting. Then we had a lovely icy ward council where a couple of missionaries got raked over the coals by the Bishop... it was awkward to witness. On Wednesday Sister Larson left to do a division in Coimbra and Sister Colas, who is currently serving in Coimbra, came to stay with us. It was great because she actually started her mission in Leiria so she started calling up members and she helped us to just work with the members all day long. We helped with some visiting teaching appointments and it was fantastic because that way we were able to get in to meet some inactive members that we'd been trying to visit. It was actually really nice to spend an entire day just working with members. For lunch on Wednesday Sister Colas decided to show us one of her favorite things about Leiria: Cacos. Cacos are these nifty little sandwich things and they are just wonderful. They have them on Madeira as well, but fortunately we have the restaurante right next to our apartment and there is a little stand where we can buy them right next to the park by the bus stop. It was a wonderful little discovery... but it was even better when I discovered that they make nutella cacos.... felicidade. :)
This week Raquel (from Coimbra) and her friend Ana Bia came to do a two-month camp kind of a thing for theatre here in Leiria, so we're teaching Ana Bia with Raquel so that she can be ready for baptism when she goes back to Coimbra (she was almost baptized once... but that's a very long story). She's 18 now so she can choose to be baptized when she wants, and it will be good for Raquel to be able to teach with us as well. She's having a rough time, but helping the missionaries always helps people feel better. :) This morning we actually went up to the castle with Raquel and Bia. It was pretty fun. The saddest part was that my camera died. Fortunately, Sister Larson took lots of pictures for me. :) I like visiting the castles in all my areas, and the best part is that this castle is literally only a 10 minute walk away from our apartment! :)
The coolest part of this week though was that we were invited to attend a special Convívio Moçambiquano with the ambassador of Moçambique for Portugal... Yep. We were invited to attend because we have a companion from Moçambique. Presidente Amorim has this thing where he wants all of the missionaries to do "Coisas Ousadas" to help spread the gospel and we figured that sharing the gospel with the ambassador from Moçambique was pretty bold, so we prepared a business-style letter explaining our purpose in Leiria and inviting her to learn more about our message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Presidente Amorim reviewed the letter and said that he was actually quite impressed by it. We went and there were a lot of inactive members and ex-pesquisadores there that we were able to talk to. The whole point of the convívio was to talk about paperwork and legal stuff that I didn't really understand but we contacted a lot of people, I gave a Book of Mormon to a man who said he was atheist but then he almost started crying when I gave him the Book of Mormon because he said he felt it was a special book, we got a couple of references, a man came up and talked to me because he had lived in Germany for 17 years and he thought that I was German so we talked for a while and then I talked to him about church and the Book of Mormon, and lots of cool stuff. Then, there was a menos ativo member in charge of planning the whole activity so he arranged for the three of us to speak to the ambassadora before everyone else. Sister Varuçale gave her the letter we had prepared and invited her to learn more about our message. It was a pretty cool experience... I think.
I love you all! I'll will try to write lots of letters this week during lunch! Don't forget to read in the Book of Mormon and to invite a friend to church... and to invite someone to talk to the missionaries! :)