Oh, guys. This week was just lovely. It's so exhausting to try to boil down all the magic and wonder of a whole WEEK in Evora with Sister Radvansky in the 35 minutes I have left of email time. I will make a real effort though.
Manuel went home teaching with Americo this week, totally organized between them and not us. Woot!! He is doing SO great.
Noite Familiar at Nazare's was a pleasure, as always. Antonio Junior dug it and Sister Rad is loving the members and there was just such a happy, convivial spirit.
Yesterday was just magical. We had asked the Stake President if he could come out here and do a special fireside sometime, and it ended up being yesterday. So we had Branch Conference, then a lunch with everybody at the church, then the fireside, about Family History work. Basically everyone who came was at the church for 6 HOURS yesterday. And they all seemed to dig it and not get bored. Blessings.
A lady named Marlene, who has 2 friends in the branch, came. She has been invited to church lots of times by Nely and Cherry and us, but this was the first time she actually came. Just to the fireside actually. But timing is everything. She LOVED it. The fireside about Family HIstory just knocked her right out. AFterwards she raised her hand and said, "I am sad it's over. I want it to keep going!" I asked her if we could visit her this week and she was like, "It is I who wants to visit YOU!" I think this is her moment.
Ulisses and Ana are kind of becoming back-burner investigators. I still really want them to progress but it just hasn't been connecting.
I wish I had time to tell you about Luis's progress and Luisa, who wants to be baptized. More on them next week, hopefully!
A cool thing happened last night. We went to have a lesson with Lina, a convert of 4 months who we visit a lot and is awesome but hasn't been coming much. We planned really specifically for this lesson. It was cool. We didn't end up following the plan exactly, but we both agreed that the effort we had put into planning enabled it to be a really spirit-guided lesson. We talked about covenants and church and trusting in the Lord's promises, relying on them. She told us that she honestly doesnt feel good when she doesn't come to church. At the end of the lesson she looked at us beaming and said, "I promise you, Sisters, that I will come to church every week starting now. And I promise Heavenly Father." It was SUCH a cool lesson.
We were talking afterwards about what we learned:1. preparation is SO IMPORTANT. It qualifies us to have the spirit guide us.
2. People, in general, want to do what is right, even when (I daresay especially when) it is hard. It is hard to get out of bed on Sunday morning. It is hard to turn the other cheek. It is hard to resist temptation. But we all crave the satisfaction and peace that comes from doing what we know is right, despite it being the harder option. People are good. I truly believe that. Deep down we all want to follow the higher law Christ established. We want to walk that path. We sometimes just have to let that inner thirst reawaken. We have to water that seed.
3. The best way to handle any situation is with truth and love. We were trying to decide if we should hint around the subject, or dar faca (give knife, it means like chastise), or what. But in the end the only way to go about it was with truth and love. We love you, Lina. That is why we are here. You made a covenant with God and will be very much blessed when you make the sacrifices necessary to keep it and renew it each week. Truth and love. Direct, simple, and loving. It is what we all need. It is the answer to every sticky situation. Eternal truth and love love love Christlike love.
Well, I love you. THAT is true.
I am loving serving with Sister Rad. She is such a good teacher and it's so fun to serve with someone my age in the mission. She has a great Portuguese accent that I am hoping to pick up! She is teaching me so much about FAITH. She just trusts fiercely in the promises of the Lord. Like, there's no hemming and hawwing about stuff because she just has such complete faith that the Lord will fulfill his promises to us and to our investigators and recent converts and members. She often prays that we can continue to work in "the spirit of diligence and obedience" so we can be worthy of the Lord's blessings. She is exactly what Evora needs right now and Heavenly Father is just good and kind for letting me serve with her.
Antonio Junior is a rock star. He's so chill and awesome and prepared. We have taught every single lesson so far with members present, in the church. On Friday we taught the word of wisdom and the only thing he even uses is coffee, which he said he would switch out for Coca Cola. He got a twinkle in his eye and laughed, saying, "it's funny, I just got a coffee machine, for Christmas," not in a bitter way at all, just honestly amused at the irony of it. I like him so much. We are going to play soccer with him and Manuel today. They are getting to be friends. It is so rad! No longer need we worry that we can't invite young people to church. We have two really awesome young guys who are going to make any person feel invited and cool.
We were talking afterwards about what we learned: