There were, of course, many funny incidents with said baptism. Firstly, it was really difficult to get a man to speak at the baptism from our ward, so we decided to invite Elder Erhardt, because he met them at the first activity and is Brazilian (pois!) and he really wanted to be at their baptism. I knew long before the day that he would be the person who was late, because he Works in an area 40 minutes away. So, the apologies started as early as 30 minutes before the baptism was meant to start, as they had just got out of a lesson late. We waited as long as we could, but 10 minutes after the start time the bishop insisted on starting. So I sit at the piano to play. They announce the speakers, see that Elder Erhardt isn't there yet and swap the order so that he speaks last instead of first. My mobile then goes off, and I hop out the handily placed door next to the piano (what grace that this is the first chapel I've seen organised this way!) to make sure Elder Erhardt arrives at the right place. We hurry inside and he delivers a great and personal talk. We also realise midway through this talk that we haven't downloaded the backing music for our musical item onto a pen drive, so Sister Souza disappears to do that. Finally, after a beautifully emotional baptism service, the member who was programmed to give the last prayer (who was there all the time!) disappears and Elder Valentine (who is only there as Elder Erhardt's companion) is asked from the pulpit to say the closing prayer. You wouldn't have thought it, but there were actually a great number of people there!
Aside from all the fun, it was a wonderful moment. I am so pleased to know that they are conscious of the commitment they have made and determined to stay strong. We are not just adding up numbers to make the church look good or big, but we are bringing people closer to Christ and helping them to improve their lives and the lives of others.
Afterwards, we had a movie night as an activity for the ward. This week we had seriously stressed out when we couldn't download the film, but perseverance won through in the end and everything was prepared perfectly. A member brought great speakers, our ward mission leader offered his laptop and President let us borrow his projector! Lucky us! The film 'facing the giants' was amazing. It is about a coach of American football who hasn't had any success in 6 years, the parents are planning to replace him, his house and car are old and he finds out that he can't have children, which is what he wife wants really badly. Everything is in opposition. Although he was always a good guy, he is prompted to turn and rely more on God. He develops a new team philosophy through deep scripture study that looks beyond football as a goal, but rather a way to live life. The team decide to praise God whether they win or loose. They start working more together and build their determination and faith. The scene that stood out the most to me was when the coach challenges the leader to carry another player across the pitch on his back. He asks how far the leader thinks he can go and the leader says 20 yards. The coach challenges him to do 50 and although he thinks it's impossible he agrees. Then the coach blindfolds him so that he can't see how far he's come or how far he has left to go. He just has to continue through the pain - when he has given all he has and collapses at the end, he sees that he has crossed the entire pitch! So it is with us, we don't need to keep our eyes set on a mediocre goal, we just need to give our best effort and we will surprise ourselves with what we can do!
So, this pday was one of my favourites. We went to the most beautiful bookstore in the world. You literally pay to get in (and can get that Money back if you buy a book). It is said to be the inspiration for the stairs in Harry Potter, and definitely influenced the moving staircases and the staircase in Dumbledores' office in the film. Books, Harry Potter and beautiful architecture - you can't beat that! I also found a simple Portuguese history book, that I had always wanted to remember my time here in Portugal, so it was a win win situation. We even had typically English rain to add to the atmosphere!
Other cool things that happened this week - Delfina (a recent covert of almost a year who was kind of less active as she hadn't come to church for ages, because she had problems with her feet and never appeared for her lift) turned up at the baptism after we invited her ALL BY HERSELF! I was so proud, it was like an investigator coming to church for the first time. So much more excited to visit and encourage her now! We also got to see Daniela and Victor this week. It had been really hard to visit them together as he has been called into work a lot more. We called to change a marked appointment and she said he had got home on time for a change that day, so we hopped on a bus and just turned up! We even got them to agree to come to the baptism and activity, which they really enjoyed, so that was positive.
Challenge for this week: find new investigators. We haven't found a new investigator for 2 weeks now :( But just like the team in the film who may or may not have won lots of their matches after the change in philosophy (you'll just have to watch it!) we're not going to give up! Com amor,