This week was a semana da Páscoa. It's very different to be serving here in Portugal where Christianity is normal and every one is "Catholic". the way that others celebrate Easter is very different from how we celebrate it as a Church, but it makes me very grateful for the restored gospel in my life. Last year in Miratejo there was a big parade as the priests and all the church goers walked around with the statues and their candles. They did that here as well in Viseu and it was interesting to see the different levels of faith that the people have. Some people really do and honestly believe what they've been taught their whole lives and then there are the people that go just on Easter and Christmas, but the thing that I thought of was that even though most of those people don't really understand who they are Heavenly Father loves each one of them. I still don't understand how He is able to love us all when we do things we shouldn't do or when we don't try to follow Him the way He has taught us, but He still loves us. He just keeps loving us all the time. I hope someday I understand that.
This week we had one day of sun, and it was the first day the sandles came out.... that was one of the happiest days of my life. I got to walk around in my sandles all day long... it was fantastic. Never was there a happier missionary than me that day. We also finally got copies of the Book of Mormon! The entire mission has had a shortage of copies of the Book of Mormon and we literally have had only two for the last 4 weeks so we were pretty stingy with them. We didn't give any away, but then we got a big box from Porto and they are all the new editions that came out this month. With the new edition of the Bible the tripla has changed as well and oh is it nice to walk with o Livro de Mórmon de novo. :D Happy day.
Thursday we had 7 appointments... and every single one of them fell through. We were a little bit sad in the afternoon but then we decided that we needed to get over ourseves and be happy because we had no real reason to be sad. Then, that night Ribeiro called us and told us that he had come into Viseu from Sátão and that he wanted to meet us at the capela. We taught him about the Restoration and he told us about how he felt on Sunday when he came to church two weeks ago. He told us that as we were talking about the Book of Mormon during Gospel Principles that the thought came to him very clearly "Get yourself a copy of the Book of Momron and read it." Then as he was leaving the capela he said that he was asking God what he needed to do and the answer came to him, "Continue coming to this church." When he told us that it was so incredible. He has already started talking to all of his evangelical friends and pastors here in Portugal and in France and he's explaining about the Gospel to them. It's amazing to see that Heavenly Father really does take care of each of His children and all of us need to become converted to the gospel in His time and in His way. If we put our trust in Heavenly Father, everything works out in the end and it works out better than we could ever plan for ourselves.
I love this gospel. I'm so grateful for my Savior and for the chance I have to come to know Him and help other come to know Him as well. He knows every one of us and He knows what we need to grow the most and become like Him. As we do the little things every day like praying and studying the scriptures we are able to find the faith and the trust in Heavenly Father's plan. We are able to trust Him and move forward happily. I've seen that in my mission and I've seen that change in myself. I'm just grateful that Heavenly Father is real and that He does love us. I know it because I've seen it so many times and I can't deny that it's real. I love you all! :)
Síster Kendra Smith
P.S. The pictures: the one day of sun when I got ot wear the sandles and then the cathedral today with the sisters.