Monday, April 11, 2016

"Mais ou menos" is a good thing :)

This week was mais ou menos. It's not bad, nor is it fantastically incredible, but it's just mais ou menos. I think that's good though. Nothing bad is happening and we're just going along every day. I used to always think that when people told us they were feeling "mais ou menos" it was a bad thing because they weren't over the top happy or excited, but I see no problem with just having a nice calm, normal week.
Last p-day we spent several hours in the Centro da Juventude doing email because Sister Costa hadn't heard from her family in several weeks and we took advantage of the email rule Presidente Amorim put in place a while ago. He said, "You use as much time as is necessary to write your emails as long as you remember to write the mission presidente." Okay. Done. We spent quite a while doing email, but I get bored and I have hard time focusing after two hours so I found lots of stuff on the Church website that I really liked. I'm definitely copying Clarissa and starting a project of watching all General Conference sessions from the very first recordings. It will be fun. :)
On Tuesday Sister Fernandes, Elder Hicks, Elder Judd, and I all caught a bus at 6h00 to go up to Porto for the Conselho da Liderança. It was a pretty uneventful bus ride and then we all went on our merry way on the metro to get to the capela das Antas for the meeting. It was a pretty good meeting. It was a typical meeting with Presidente Amorim where he has a schedule but always runs for much longer. At the very end he showed the very end part of Élder Bruce R. McConkie's last Conference address... oh goodness. I lost it. I had never actually seen the talk, but once he started bearing his testimony I just started crying and it wouldn't stop. It was fairly embarrassing but I couldn't get it to stop. I don't normally cry but that time it just wasn't stopping. The Spirit... it does some funny things sometimes. While we were up in Porto Sister Fernandes and I had to leave our greenies together in Viseu. They were TERRIFIED! It was the sweetest thing to listen to them planning and praying together. It reminded me of when I was still in the stage and it was like Heavenly Father letting me see just a glimpse of some of the changes that have taken place. Sister Costa and Sister Christensen were incredible though. I think they do better than the rest of us. :D They did so well and they were so excited to tell us all about all their adventures. It was like sending kids to school for the first time. Everyone is nervous, but we know it's all going to be okay in the end. :) Luckily for them, they get to do that every week as we do divisions. They're going to be such good friends. It's pretty cute. :)
On Thursday we had our zone meeting at our capela here in Viseu. It was a really good meeting. The elderes in Covilhã are the funniest, most hard-working people out there. Elder Wanlass is so happy to go work and he just is constantly joking. He made the meeting very interesting and very funny. Sister Fernandes and I did a practice to show how Presidente Amorim wants us to teach the 3ª liçâo to our progressing investigators. At the very end the zone leaders had the three new missionaries and the two of us who are ending to bear our testimonies. Elder Hicks shared a really nice testimony about how it's a very strange thing to think about when we realize that we spend 18-24 months defending the name of someone that we've never met, but that we know is real. I thought about it and it's true. We've never met the Savior and yet we take this time to defend His name and teach His gospel and do His work. I hadn't thought of it like that before. It can't stop when the tag comes off though. If we ever stop defending His name we stop coming closer to Him.
We have been trying so hard to get in touch with Ribeiro because he's so incredible, but we have only been able to talk to him briefly. He's down by Mafra still and he doesn't seem terribly interested in answering the phone these days... so we'll see what happens there. He loves the Book of Mormon and he told us that he's almost read the entire book... so.... we don't know what's going on there. We're also teaching an investigator who the elderes gave us a few weeks ago. Her name is Humberta. She is from the Açores and she is really lonely because her son is always and work and her husband is working in the Algarve. The first time we went there we invited her to be baptized and she kind of panicked and told us that she needed to really be completely prepared for that, but the second time we went back and we taught her about the Book of Mormon with Rute. When Rute talked about her baptism and when we explained that the Book of Mormon would help her be ready for baptism she was completely calm and she accepted it. It was a sweet moment. We were also able to get in with Alícia yesterday. We've been meeting with them for several weeks but nothing is really happening and yesterday we taught her the third lesson. When we asked her if she wanted those things in her life she said yes. She wants to keep learning and receiving the lessons, but she said that needs more time to feel that it's something that she will commit to. It was incredible. We have been wondering if she even wanted to keep meeting with us, but she said that she does because she feels good when we're there and that her son Maurício (who is 8) loves reading the Book of Mormon. He stole it and hid it in his room so that he could read it. I don't think I've ever met another little kid like that. He knows when he feels the Spirit and he told us that he feels it when we're there and he loves reading the Book of Mormon. He will be a great missionary when he's older. :)
This week I've been realizing how much Heavenly Father is doing to refine me. It's annoying and frustrating sometimes to see all my little weaknesses, but in the end it will be much better because of all this time.
I love the Gospel. When I study it every morning it has a special meaning to me because I can see that it's real. I see it in the lives of our investigators and in the lives of the members. I see it in myself. It's true and I'm grateful that I have it. Amo vos todos!
Síster Smith
P.S. Pictuers: Zone meeting and on the road with Sister

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