Monday, November 16, 2015

Little Brother is going to Alaska!!!

Alaska Anchorage Mission?! He's going to the MTC December 2?! What?! I knew it! I totally called that he was going up north.... I win. Mom and Dad it looks like we're just turning into a cute little family of missionaries. :) I have been talking nonstop about Benjamin's mission call all week long.... All. Week. Long. Also, I am so excited for Christmas! He's going to be skyping from the mission field! Best Christmas ever! :) If I could I would give you a play-by-play of all the thouhts I had and exactly how I reacted, but it's enough to say that I am really, really, really, REALLY happy. :) Alaska just feels right. Benny is supposed to go to that mission and he's supposed to go there now. He's ready to be a missionary.
And now for the Portugal news...
We had a really good week. Things are getting better here. It's not that magically everything is beautiful and sunshiney and investigators are falling into our hands, but we're working a lot harder and we're seeing results from all of the work we've put in all transfer. These last five weeks have been a little bit rough and kind of frustrating sometimes because sometimes we wonder when things are going to change and when we're going to start seeing the results of our work, but we kept going because we knew that the results would come when they needed to come. Heavenly Father had things we needed to learn before we would be prepared and qualified to work with the blessings He had ready for us. We just kept working even when we just wanted to give up and now things are starting to pick up. The work is accelerating for us and Heavenly Father is giving us a lot more opportunities to work. Hooray! :)
Last Sunday we did the Listão with the Bishop's family, and then he told his brother the stake presidente about how well it went and then the stake presidente talked to Presidente Amorim about it and now Sister Larson and I have been invited by the stake presidente's family to come and do the Listão with them next Sunday. It's a little bit terrifying, but that's really cool that the stake presidente picked us to do the listão with his family. The listão is a huge project that Presidente Amorim is doing and it's a ton of work but we're getting lots of members who are asking Sister Larson and I to come do it with them, so it shows that the members are starting to trust us now. There have been a lot of problems in this area where the members don't trust the missionaries and the members here are generally pretty wary of us, but things are getting better.

(Actually, it's good enough now that yesterday we got invited to come do Skype on Christmas at the Costa's house.... and they are a super cool family. I really hope I stay here for Christmas).
Also, blessings are starting to kind of just rain down on our heads. We've been trying to work as hard as we can all transfer long and then last Sunday Heavenly Father literally just handed a family of investigators. We went out contacting before church and found the guy that had been following us, but then as we were talking to him this Brasilian lady and her daughter (Jaqueline e Giovane) came up to us and told us that they have been living here in Portugal for 3 years but have never known where the chapel is. They were at church last Sunday and then on Wednesday we went with the Bishop and his daughter Iolanda all the way out to Mira de Aire where Jaqueline lives and we had a fantastic lesson with them. Jaqueline has been a member of the church for a long time but she and two of her daughters (Giovane e Inês) are living with her boyfriend João. We taught the first lesson about the Restoration super simply to Giovane and she was so excited and accepted the invitation to be baptized so quickly. She is going to be baptized December 19 by her older brother who is coming from Brasil to spend Christmas with them. So now we just need to teach the whole family, get João and Jaqueline married, and then Giovane, Inês e João can all get baptized for Christmas. Hooray!!! :)
This week we also did a noite familiar with Zaida, Tiago e Diana.. basically the cutest Moçambique family in the whole world. Zaida was baptized about 3 years about but wasn't active and we started going and visiting them and now they're coming to church every week and Tiago, who is 13 years old, is now reading the scriptures and praying and coming to church everyweek. Literally a miracle. The first time I met Tiago he was being a punk and he was hitting Zaida but now he's praying with us and he's reading the scriptures and coming to church. And he's super happy to see us now! Miracles are happenning! :)
Yesterday our ward had the primary program. It was the funniest thing I have seen in my entire mission. There were 5 kids in the program and two of their mothers had to sit with them, but the Bishop's son Afonso, who is 7, was so funny. He cracked me up. During a couple of the songs he would look at the lyrics on the page and then get a really confused look. Then he started turning the papers upside down and on the side to try and read it but he could never quite figure it out. His mom kept turning it right side up and handing it back to him but everytime he would get confused and start flipping the page upside down to read it. Everybody was laughing so hard, and Afonso is a comic and he loves to make people laugh so he was enjoying himself. It was pretty cute.

Also, fun story: We're sitting here in the capela and we hear the doorbell ring, so we go outside and there's this great big black man standing there at the gate and the first thing he says to us is "I need protection." That statement did not instill much confidence in us, but after talking to him for a minute we discovered that he was contacted by the sisters last year and never did anything but he lives right next to the capela and just decided to come and ask for help today. So now the elders are going to meet with him and it will be great and he'll be a great member once he gets baptized. Yup. :)

So have a lovely week family. You're all wonderful. :)

Little Sister Smith

P.S. Sister Larson took a pretty decent picture of me on the road yesterday and then the other picture is of a cutesy part of Leiria close to the library where we do email. :)

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