Biggest success of the week was Lusia. We were walking back from some fruitless tracting and passed a members house. They were in their garden and invited us in. Sister Da Luz shared a scripture about the tree of life and Lehi sharing his knowledge with his family. We asked them if they had friends we could be introduced to and they were adamant about this Luisa. She has seen a baptism before and has been to church 3 times, but somehow has never met the missionaries. Golden right? So we made an appointment with her and went round with the member. Luisa talks a lot and showed us a lot of pictures of her family, but we shared the plan of salvation with her, which she loved, because her husband died two years ago and she doesn’t really feel much of a purpose to life since then, especially as her family live in Lisbon. We invited her to get baptised on the 20th or 27th of February and she chose the 20th because it is sooner!! Good reason hey? If we manage to do it then she will be confirmed on my birthday, that would be the best present ever!!! Still a long way to go and we have to talk about wards because she lives in the other area, but obviously our member is a really good friend to her. We taught her again on our own and she made us camomile tea and cakes. It was so English, it was lovely! She was really excited at the prospect of being able to help her family by doing work in the temple and brought up her baptism herself. Hopefully she will read the sections we have marked in the Book of Mormon.
We also had a great experience a couple of nights ago. We had passed nearly every investigator to give out invites to conference and no one had let us in or was very responsive. It was raining hard and, because it had been sunny when we left, I had a rubbish umbrella and no wellies! After 4 hours we got back to the flat to dry off. My feet were soaked and my legs were really red. It made me think of the hymn ‘Bright beams our father’s mercy’ because when life boats go to save these struggling seamen it isn`t because it’s a nice day and they just happened to get lost, it’s because there is rain and storms and waves and lots of obstacles. So it is with sharing the gospel, if it’s not hard then those people wouldn’t need saving. Anyway, we went back out into the lesser rain clothed with layers and boots even though we had no one to see. We knocked some doors and then said a prayer on the side of the road. We were both impressed to cross to the other side and then saw a light on and were literally drawn to it. At 9:00 at night (when usually no one will let you in and often complain about even considering knocking at such a time) Arlina let us in and we met her nieces Veronica and Vania. They were lovely as we shared a message about prayer and Vania has even been to our church before. We’ve been back and it was a little more confusing as their dad was in and out of the house, but I am just grateful for that experience.
Stake Conference was amazing! We got up 1 hour earlier than usual to catch the bus with everyone else from the chapel. Everyone just slept on the way to Coimbra! We met lots of missionaries there, including a sister who was at the MTC during my last week and still refers to me as her ‘training leader’ which was really nice. It was also nice not being the newest person for once! Then we sang in the choir and Mauro (one of our recent converts) played the clarinet beautifully. Then, we had a member of the 70, Elder Leimer speak. It was awesome! He doesn’t speak Portuguese so he spoke in English (oh what a blessing) and someone translated. This meant we had extra time to digest what he was saying. He was just so personal and interesting and funny! He had all the missionaries stand up and told the members that we are here and it’s hard to fill all day every day and that they should be giving us people to work with. I could have hugged him! That is just what we need. He even said they should be feeding us! It was the first time I really felt like a missionary. He also talked about how different eras have different focuses- tithing for Lorenzo Snow, the Book of Mormon in the 80s and for our day it is the Sabbath day to protect us from the world creeping in. He said we need to not just hear the words, but make sure we act... which is so important right now! He even asked Sister da Luz to bear her testimony!