So the big news is - I'm staying in Matosinhos with Sister Gouveia. Yeah, not really that big this time. In fact I didn't feel like we had transfers at all as it's the first time I haven't changed companion. We actually worked on transfer day, that was strange! Our miracle day started with the sisters from Madeira calling (that was a surprise to see on the phone) because their flight had been cancelled, so after their training meeting they were stuck on the continente for a day. They popped down on the train to our area, because Sister McNabb started in Matosinhos and we gave them a couple of people to try, plus some less active members and general help about people they might know. They found us a couple of new ones, which was great (not so great when you can't find them the next day!) and were just generally a positive attitude that was good to have around. We had pizza and chips for lunch and it felt almost like my old areas when we had 4 sisters in the house. Both Sister Gouvei and I miss that- although this is by far the tidiest house I've been in! Also, during that day we went by some one in the area book for the area we inherited from the elders. Sister Gouveia especially felt impressed to try her at that time. I had only noted the building number down, not the floor or flat number, but by a miracle the first button we pressed was hers, she let us in and was in tears before we even sat down. She has had a lot of health problems and suffers from depression and really felt she needed us back in her life. She has a great testimony of the power of the priesthood from when elders gave her blessings in the past. It was a real testimony that Sister Gouvei needed to stay in this area, because she was really able to connnect with her on some of the issues and they made an instant bond that I would never have been able to form. It is important to remember these things because during the sweltering hot days when we are walking between one lost appointment to another (sadly these people are among those!) you Forget the miracles and feel like God has forgotten you. I was reflecting on this as we watched `17 Miracles' today for PDAY. I was so excited to watch it for the first time! For those of you that haven't seen it, it follows the true stories of some of the saints that crossed the plains in the Willie Handcart company to join the saints in Salt Lake. It recounts several amazing miracles, such as food literally appearing from heaven, and being able to make a meal out of 2 biscuits. However, as we do, admist these miracles people complained about the still very real hardships of deaths, ration cutting and general hard manual labour. I realised that I need to have more faith like them and don't want to look back with regret at any negative feelings I may have had. This is a marvellous and miraculous work. Miracles I am hoping for this week - that Daniela and Victor will finally come to church! They really felt they missed out last week, especially as she felt blessed that her daughter slept through the night after the church activity and wanted to show her gratitude to God. She is also Reading the book of Mormon pretty fast and has loads of questions for us, we didn't even get to our planned lesson last time, she had so much she wanted to share! Also, that Liliane can be baptised. We spent all last week trying to catch her sister so she will agree to it and help us out. Managed to mark a time, got bishop to come with us and she just wasn't there when she said. I wish so much that people would just be at home more when they say they will be. It's such a small thing!!! Just that would be a miracle this week!
So this week we found out Liliane, our marked person is illegally in the country, so can't get baptised. It was pretty demoralising after we had put so much effort into helping her, but at least we know we did everything we could. However, things have gone well with Daniela and Victor. We were at their place twice this week, once again to help them clean the house in preparation for coming to church and their holiday. Daniela turned up absolutely shattered, because Maria Clara isn't sleeping through the night, but they came anyway, which shows such admirable commitment. The members were great! Straight after sacrament, half the ward descended on them to check how she was. The Relief Society president had already taken Maria Clara in her arms and quietened her and everyone was suggesting a blessing for them both. Then they had dinner appointments coming out of their ears. I am sure that this support will really help them feel comfortable here and gain a testimony of Christ`s love. When we make these small moves to help people, they are really appreciated. Just hoping that they come back from their week holiday with news that Maria Clara is sleeping through the night and a wedding date!! ;) Oh, fun landmark of the week, I finally ate Bacalhau as a member made it for us. It was in a lovely cream sauce with cheese and really wasn't too bad, but I still spent the whole time thinking it would be better with chicken! I have an increased testimony of blessings. This week was really tough - especially with Lilane and not feeling like our little successes were actually worth anything. I was just sprialling down into a desire to give up, but we asked our district leader Elder Carrelo for a blessing and it was truly inspired. We didn't say anything about how I had been feeling or the worries I was having about not having an effect here and yet the blessings promised by the Lord through him were just what I needed to hear. There is real power in the priesthood in this church (as also demonstrated in the great film Èphraim's rescue - also watched this week!) We also had an interesting experience tracting this week. We went by an apartment block that was very chic - you literally had to work out the code for each house and a security guy came up to us and said we couldn't knock doors there. We were a little ruffled and wandered on, past other similarly chic, probably tourist flats. Finally, we came upon a road we had never been down before. We knocked the doors, were let in and had 4 people say we could come back. Hopefully, some thing will come of it. We certainly feel like we found our golden road.